A co-sleeping one off?

Last night we did something that I said I never wanted to do. It is a discussion Eddie and I have had many times but I am trying to maintain my ground on. We took Elbie into our bed when she woke at 2am and co-slept for the rest of the night. It’s not that I am against it or frown upon it as it is something that works for many families but it is just not right for me.

I was brought up in a family where my parents room was theirs and theirs only at night. It wasn’t some scary mysterious place that we were never allowed to enter. I spent lots of time as a child in there playing around with my mum’s make up and trying on her shoes or sat on their bed reading my books. I would sometimes prance around in front of their full length mirror when no one was looking pretending to be Madonna singing into my mum’s hairbrush. At night though it was different. If I had a nightmare or felt ill in the night I knew getting into my parents bed wasn’t an option but sneaking in to wake them up for some comfort definitely was. My mum would then get up with me and take me back to bed and if I really was feeling unwell or scared she would sit with me until I drifted back off, comfortable and snug in my own bed. Not getting into my parents bed was never an issue as it was never introduced to me, I didn’t feel like I was missing it or ever want to get in. I loved my bedroom and my bed and who doesn’t prefer to sleep in their own bed? I believe that it is important to show children that their own bed is a safe and comfortable place even when they are having a scary dream and it also shows them some independence. I don’t want Elbie to be reliant on us to sleep or get into a habit of having broken sleep.

Now that I’m a parent myself I can understand wanting to keep some space sacred too. A small place that we keep as a couple and child free. We live in a small flat so there isn’t much room that is not shared but our bed for me, is for Eddie and I. I want to be able to roll over as much as I want and stretch out if I need to.  I want to have the option of pulling the duvet up to my ears if I’m cold and most of all, some privacy for Eddie and I as husband and wife.

When pregnant I dreamt about the days our small little child would burst through the doors and jump on our bed waking us up at the crack of dawn. Lazy Sunday mornings with the three of us tucked up in bed chatting and being silly. This is not a dream now but our reality and these mornings are something that I cherish. Some of my favourite times that I want time to freeze so that I can capture the moment and make sure I never forget. This is all wonderful but only past 5.30am. That is my cut off. I know it probably sounds mean but before 5.30am it’s still sleeping time and sleeping time is for sleeping in our own beds. This is where Eddie and I disagree. Eddie is a firm believer in letting Elbie get into bed with us if she wakes in the night. He says that if she is frightened or simply can’t sleep then we should move over and make some room for her to hop in. We agree with most of our parenting but this is something we are struggling to agree on.

Last night happened by having no other option as Elbie was sharing a room with her big cousin and we didn’t want her to be woken as well. This is the first time she has woken in the night in months so it took us by surprise and we panicked a little about how to settle her again without the whole house waking so we chose the easy option. Elbie fell asleep curled up like a little warm football between us. And just like a football she rolled around all night long and kept me awake. I agree with Eddie in that having her so close and feeling her warmth while you sleep, or at least try to sleep, is amazing. Listening to her little breaths while she dreams is one of the best things ever but not while I am trying to get some shut eye. It of course has brought up the whole debate between us again and I’m sure it won’t be the last time it comes up either but fortunately for me, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, Eddie doesn’t often wake up to Elbie in the night if I’m there. This is where I’m hoping I can win this battle but only time will tell if this was a one off or if I will be sleeping on the edge of the bed.

One

It has been a while since I have written anything and to be honest I regret not writing things down. So much has happened since my last post and I’m worried I will forget the little things. It’s difficult finding the time these days as every moment I get to myself I either want to sleep or sit mindlessly staring at the tv. This I know is not very helpful to life but sometimes, most of the time, it’s all I can find the energy to do. So before I get distracted again and get cross with myself I’m writing about it.

 

Tomorrow my little Elbie turns one and I’m feeling so many emotions. I could never put into words how incredible the past year has been and also could have only imagined how much my life was about to change a year ago. Becoming a mother as I have said so many times has made me feel like this is what I have always been working towards and what I have been put on this planet to do. It is beyond magical. The day I found out I was pregnant with Elbie is the moment my life changed forever. My mind and body was consumed with nurturing and loving this tiny little bean inside of me which at the time I referred to as Blip. Our tiny little Blip. On my cycle to work I would talk to it and tell it how much I would love it and protect it while constantly worrying about it not becoming a reality. I was 17 weeks pregnant when I first felt a flutter of movement and as the months past Blip became Bump and our dream was definitely becoming reality. I couldn’t believe how much I loved this thing growing inside of my belly when I hadn’t even met it yet. My whole world was now about protecting my bump and watching and waiting while my belly grew. 

Pregnancy felt like a spiritual journey for me and I felt so lucky to be a woman, to be able to grow a human while doing my day to day business. How fucking amazing is that! Our due date was getting closer and closer and nesting became my favourite pastime. With the nursery painted and the cot up I began to wash and iron all of baby’s tiny new clothes (they were never ironed again that’s for sure). I read Katherine Graves‘ hynobirthing book over and over again, which I couldn’t recommend more and I was starting to look forward to labour and couldn’t wait to meet our little baby.
 

Just two days ago I was walking down the street pushing Elbie in her pram like I do almost every day and I had a flash back of waddling on the same road on the same route to the park. I was heavily pregnant with just days to go, trying to imagine what it was all going to be like. So much excitement and anticipation into the big unknown of motherhood. Thinking about this made me so happy and also made me chuckle to myself to think about how naive pregnant me was about labour and becoming a mum. You can try to prepare as much as you like but the truth is nothing can prepare you. On reflection I shouldn’t have wished my last days of pregnancy away and enjoyed being able to have a hot cup of tea. Appreciated being able to sleep for a solid period longer than two hours, although sleeping was getting pretty tough at 9 months pregnant anyway but at least I had the option of staying in bed. I should have read a book, had long uninterupted showers, enjoyed having a tidy flat and most of all taken in how incredible my husband was and savored our last days together before we became three. Of course a year on I can do most of these things again (I still haven’t read a book and definitely don’t have a tidy flat) but my goodness a year ago my life was about to get turned upside down, inside out and shaken about but in the best way ever!

Elbie Marjorie Josephine Noel was born at 19.59 on the 18th May 2016 weighing 6lbs. I was overcome with relief and the amount of love that I had for this tiny little slippery wrinkly bundle I had in my arms. This small human that was half me and half Eddie, we had created the most perfect baby that had ever been seen. Everything felt so surreal. I was a mum and this was my daughter. I remember scooping her up in the water and holding her for the first time, holding her tight to my chest and she looked up into my eyes. That was the moment my whole world changed again. I didn’t know that love that strong was possible, it scared me. I never ever wanted to let her go, not even for a second to get out of the pool.

 

The next 6 weeks were a haze with a mix of euphoria and tiredness. Tiredness like no other, tiredness, just oh so so tired. How can a baby that practically sleeps all of the time not sleep at all?! I couldn’t believe how tired I was. Even when I did sleep I slept with one eye open, constantly checking that Elbie was still breathing. Looking back now though I look back with such fondness on those nights that I would be up while the world around me slept. I would hear the little husky cry of Elbie next to my bed and drag myself up into the living room, wrap myself and Elbie up in blankets and put on Mad Men. I watched episode after episode with Elbie intermittently guzzling and falling asleep for a few minutes then feeding some more. No one told me that new borns feed for hours at a time, like many other things I would come across as a new mum that people don’t talk about. Each day we learnt something new and got to know Elbie and she got to know us too. We would spend our days gazing at our perfect daughter in absolute awe. We couldn’t believe she was ours to keep. One night after Eddie had sent me to catch up on some sleep I heard him playing Prince’s The Most Beautiful Girl in the World to Elbie on his phone. I was the happiest girl in the world.

The weeks past and so did the months. Each milestone celebrated and I found my self constantly working towards the next. Elbie’s first smile and first laugh. She made us work for that laugh and the first time I heard her laugh was when I was dancing and singing in the kitchen. It was the best sound I had ever heard and still is. She began to roll then sit and then came the weaning stage which was so much fun. She felt like she was on the cusp of crawling forever but as soon as she got it boy was she quick. This was when I learnt to stop earning for the next milestone. Why oh why was I so keen for her to crawl? Watching and guiding Elbie’s growth and development is both the biggest joy and fear I have ever known. I’m sure this is something every parent feels, it is such a huge responsibility and what if I get it wrong? I do know that I try my best every day though to teach her right from wrong and how to be mindful and strong.  

Now here we are about to celebrate a whole year, a whole year of Elbie Marjorie Josephine Noel. A whole year of being parents. A whole year of pure unconditional love and happiness. 

Happy 1st birthday little chicken! 
Xxxx