Transitions Ahead

I’ve been a bad blogger lately. It’s partially just being really busy, and partially because things are going on behind the scenes. Nothing major in reality, but they are big in my mind.

The biggest of these is that this weekend we’re transitioning Eli to his own room. To his crib.

It is a milestone, but I imagine that for most parents it’s not that big of a deal. And truly, I don’t want it to be that big of a deal. But I continue to be shrouded in anxiety (though I’m 2 therapy sessions in) and the idea of my baby not sleeping in the room next to me, of being on his own, is terrifying.

And it’s scary because it gets rid of the last tiny measure of control I have had. When he was sleeping next to me, I could keep an eye on him throughout the night. I could make sure he was breathing, which I do, pretty much every night. I could make sure he was on his back and his airway was clear. Basically, I could rest easy (okay, easier) because all the controllable things were controlled.

But this transition takes away all of that.

In his own room, he can do what he wants. He can roll over and sleep on his tummy and I won’t know until he wakes up. He can stick his arms/legs through the slats of his crib and I wouldn’t know unless he cried. He can get his thumb stuck in his pacifier and no one would see. He could stop breathing and I wouldn’t be there to notice.

It’s particularly troubling because he’s gotten really good at rolling from his back to his tummy now and in the process has either forgotten or just decided against rolling back. So over and over I imagine that he groggily rolls over onto his tummy and can’t get back, so he just goes to sleep that way and something terrible happens. And logically know that plenty of babies sleep on their stomach and nothing happens, but I’m not having issues with my rational mind.

I want to let go. I want to be more carefree. But at the same time, I’ve come to realize that this anxiety serves a purpose for me. It makes me feel like I’m preparing, like I’m keeping everyone safe, because I imagine everything that could go wrong and then I take steps so that it doesn’t. Unfortunately, this control comes at the cost of tormenting myself with terrible scenarios of my family being devastated.

Realistically, I know that him sleeping in my room only mitigates a few of the risks. When I’m asleep, it doesn’t matter that he’s a foot away, he may as well be a mile away because I am dead to the world. The reality is, I’m trying to control an uncontrollable situation. And I’m realizing that I can’t and that makes me feel totally vulnerable and scared.

I know that this is going to be the best thing for all of us in the long run. Eli sleeps so much more soundly when it’s quiet than he does with noise. I imagine the first several nights will be a struggle because it’s such a major transition, but eventually, I know it’ll be as normal as him sleeping with us has been, it’s just hard to imagine that right now.

I want my baby to be happy and well-rested, but I also want to keep him safe and close. I’ve come to realize that I can’t reasonably have all of that. And so I worry. Because it seems that it’s the only thing left I really can do.

8 Responses to “Transitions Ahead”

  • Editdebs:

    I can relate. This parenting thing is really hard. I always say that I was pretty prepared for most of my parenting duties, but I was not prepared for the black cloud of fear that follows me around. I learned how to ignore that cloud, but it’s still there. Now that my son is 17 and getting ready to fly away from me, the cloud has made itself larger again. I just pray and try to remember to enjoy each minute I have with him.I try to make sure I don’t let that cloud control my life–and my son’s life. I want him to do what is best, which means he needs to go away to college and grow as an independent person. Yeah, it’s hard. But so worth every anxiety.

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  • Jen:

    Our little guy has been in his own room since week 4 (he hated the pack n play in our room and was surprisingly cool with the crib – so we took the leap early). I only say that because I still — nearly 5 months later — check on him multiple times a night: at least once before I go to sleep, each time I get up to pump, when I get up in the morning, and before I leave for work (if he’s not up on his own yet). Every time I have to either hear him breathe or feel his chest rise and fall.

    Is this healthy? Probably not. Will it keep something terrible from happening? Definitely not. But it works for me, and I’m sure you’ll find something that helps you deal with this transition, too.

    Good luck!

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  • VDog:

    The mind is a very powerful thing. Would an angelcare monitor help ease your anxiety? Hugs!

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  • We were planning on the crib/nursery transition at 4 months, then it stretched and delayed. I was able to keep them in the pack n play in our room a little longer, figuring as long as they were still waking through the night to feed, it didn’t make any sense to move them.

    I was super anxious the first nights. Even now (at 10.5 months), I still wake in the night, and actively listen for their screams, craning my ear (if that’s even possible) towards the door. I’m convinced sometimes that the air purifier and humidifier (white noise) make noise at the exact same frequency as my babies, and that they’re masking the piercing cries. Even when I remember, “No, dummy. You can never truly sleep if they’re screaming,” to convince myself they’re not screaming, sometimes I have to get up, walk 20 feet down the hall, and check.

    Anxiety is our burden. We worry that it’s our job to constantly fret about our children, that it’s those concerns, that mindfulness, keeping them alive and healthy. Our first date in the evening went like that. We left the play at intermission because we couldn’t reach my in-laws, who were babysitting. Never mind that the worse thing that could have happened was that the babies woke up (gasp!) and needed to be fed; we left immediately. Our next try at a date went much better. I allowed myself to relax, allowed myself to come down off of High Alert, and actually enjoyed being out on a date with my husband.

    Virtual squeeze, Katie.

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  • Cheryl:

    I don’t know if you can get it in America but I have the Air-wrap on our cot which stops baby from getting her arms or legs stuck through the slats but which they can breathe through if their little face squishes against it. Hope the transition all goes smoothly, xxx.

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  • Lindsay:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while. I don’t even recall how I stumbled upon it. I have a son just a few days younger than Eli (born 5/15). He’s my third. I’m a total type A, neurotic, and I struggle with anxiety. Despite being SO much more laid back in so many ways this third time around, there are certain uncontrollable things, like SIDS, that scare the crap out of my, and I can’t let go my NEED to attempt to control the uncontrollable. We also are in the process of transitioning our son to his crib. We were in a RNP, then moved to the swing, and finally after a few horrible nights of transition, he’s at least sleeping flat in the pack n play all night in our room. Next comes the crib. The crib scares the crap out of me for all the reasons you’ve detailed. Oh, and I get that it’s a totally irrational uncontrollable fear. One thing that really helped me sleep when we transitioned the other boys to their crib was investing in an angle care monitor that goes off if it detects a lack of movement (breathing). It’s a bit over $100 and seems completely unnecessary, but I’ll pay a lot to have the peace of mind to be able to sleep myself. Just a thought. Good luck to you.

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  • Melanie:

    Katie,
    Have you considered getting a Babysense or Angelcare monitor. We had a babysense monitor and it relieved some of my anxiety with her stopping breathing in the middle of the night. It has a sensor that you place under the mattress and if it doesn’t detect movement for 20 seconds an alarm will sound. I had a lot of anxiety regarding SIDS and this seemed to relieve some of it. Just something for your to consider…

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  • Becky C:

    DANG IT! I typed a whole, big, long comment and flipped the page and lost it! :/

    Here I go again…I also had trouble transitioning my kids and I still check them every night! They are 8 & 13! ;) I believe it would be worth the extra expense for you to get an Angel Monitor (checks for movements/breathing ever so often and an alarm sounds if there is a pause)… http://www.walmart.com/ip/Angelcare-Deluxe-Movement-Sensor-with-Sound-Monitor-2-Parent-Units/13352094

    Also, you could get a nightvision/video monitor for his room. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Summer-Infant-Day-Night-Baby-Video-Monitor/10928614 You could just take a peek at your screen on your nightstand and see if he’d flipped over, without disturbing him! ;) They would be worth every penny, simply for a little peace of mind! ;)

    I hope this is more helpful than hurtful! It’s so hard to adjust to these changes and although we can’t possible protect them from everything, we can do our best to try! :)

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Welcome!
I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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