Today, while searching through the Girl's medical records to find a salient document for her doctor's appointment tomorrow, I came across all her infant records from Children's Hospital, where she spent a goodly amount of her time as a baby and toddler.
When the twins were about to be born, the Girl was diagnosed with IntraUterine Growth Retardation (IUGR), a fancy schmancy term for her brother hogged all the food and she stopped growing inutero. Because of this, I was induced early and the twins were born prematurely. When the Girl, who was baby b, arrived, she was a footling breech delivery, and her placenta was black with calcification. Her umbilical cord was as thin as one of those red coffee stirrers from Starbucks, completely black, and fell off at birth. Her apgars were 4 and 8. She was not a healthy, robust baby. She weighed 4 lbs 5 oz at birth, and because she was born during the very short era of driveby deliveries in MA, she was sent home weighing 4 lbs and slightly jaundiced. Good times.
Because of this shakey start, she had a lot of birth issues that created the Worlds Crankiest Baby (tm). She cried pretty much nonstop for around 18 months. She had a lot of physical problems and saw a bevy of specialists including a neurologist, otolaryngologist, and pediatric gastroenterologist regularly. She had lots of tests including an MRI, a couple of EEGs, full genetics workup, etc. Oh, the fun of it all.
What I found today was the case notes from the famous (or infamous, depending on your opinion) Dr. Richard Ferber of Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems fame. Yes, my baby girl was an actual patient of the good doctor. But not only was she a patient, we were also his neighbors, so I could threaten to drop her off at his house if she didn't learn to sleep. It was quite convenient.
Now I know that the 'anti-cry-it-out' crowd is freaking out with disbelief that I would subject my poor baby to this monster. You couldn't be more wrong. Dr Ferber is the sweetest, kindest man you could ever imagine. Plus, he's a miracle worker. He got my baby to sleep when nothing else worked, including medications. The Girl went to see him when she was 18 months old and not only had never slept through the night, she never slept for more than 2 hours at a pop. From his notes:
...in general Girl is asleep by 7:40 with a pacifier. She wakes between 8 and 8:30 and stands, yells, and has a demanding cry or whine. The mother (that's ME) is in within about 5 monutes, lays her down, gives her her stuffed animals, covers her, and leaves, and she goes back to sleep. She then wakes again between 10:30 and 12:30 in the same way but cannot be consoled easily in the crib so the mother has taken to bringing her into her bed. Once they leave her bedroom, she is quite happy. She goes back to sleep with the mother after 15-30 minutes. In bed with the mother she wakes 1-4 times more (usually 1-2 times) and sits, talks, chases the cat around the bed, and lets the mother keep putting her towards the pillow. She is up for another 15-30 minutes at each of these wakings. She does not seem in distress or even unhappy in that setting. She wakes in the morning, most days around 6 am (only occasionally as late as 7:30). This means she is in bed for 10 1/2 hours and gets perhaps 8-8 1/2 hours of sleep....
Is there any wonder why I was a zombie after 18 months of this? The funny thing is, she's still a terrible sleeper. She is the lighest sleeper I've ever heard of, and she doesn't sleep through the night even now. She doesn't get into my bed and chase the cat anymore, but she really does have sleep issues even to this day. Makes me wonder just how bad her sleep habits would have been without the help of Dr Ferber.
When you go as a patient to see Dr Ferber he spends an initial two hours with the family. He talks about all the family habits and schedules and is interested in everything from what you eat at every meal to what kind of TV you watch. He gets a great picture of how the family unit works, and what the child uses as transitional objects. The second hour is a physical exam of the child, plus a discussion of what you need to do to change naps, mealtimes, and even bedtimes to suit a particular child. Every child is different and he certainly took my Girl's personality into account when he designed a new schedule for her.
The changes were fairly simple, changing from 2 naps to 1, moving mealtime and bedtime to a schedule more in tune with her needs, and a progressive waiting routine. Within 2 weeks, the Girl went from frequent nighttime wakings to sleeping through the night, even in the midst of a raging ear infection.
The man is a miracle worker. He saved my life and made me a nicer, calmer, more rested mommy. So don't you go saying anything negative about my sleep guy. Evah! Stumble It! JBlog Me