13 August 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010 - 17 comments

Pipe dreams

Many years ago I had wild dreams of the perfect nursery with the perfect crib and all the beautiful perfect pieces to polish off my dream.  I had spent years putting all the little fillers in, the red frame, the parisol lamp shade, the hand made crib bumpers and skirt.  My dream nursery.  The one I didn't get with Big J but the one I was going to give to a beautiful little girl who was born in my heart.  Little did I know that I would sit and stare at that nursery for almost four years.  So much anticipation went into those four walls.

Fast forward a few thousand days and my dreams of the perfect nursery are replaced with dreams of a restful nights sleep not only for me but mostly for my daughter.  It's a known fact here that we have had major sleep issues since day one with our cricket.  The sleep issue was no surprise to us when we were in China as our referral paperwork clearly stated "moderate sleeper".  Little did we know that what that translated to was really, "hates to sleep, can operate on little to no sleep and will wake at the drop of a feather".  We seriously walk on eggshells here once we are able to get those beautiful eyes to close.

In the last few months it had become very clear that our "sleep issues" were more than not wanting to fall into blissful dreamland, sleep was becoming torture for us all.  We've tried it all let me tell you!  Co-sleeping was immediately dismissed because our little cricket would only play when we were in bed and I mean play all night long.   Then there are the special blankets, sound machines, night lights, door open, door closed, 10 different kinds of jammies, swaddling, rocking, not rocking, walking, singing...and the list goes on.   We've even tried driving around but as soon as the engine gets turned off the eyes open and it's time to party and play.

As the weeks wore on this summer it was becoming harder and harder for us to even put a completely snoring passed out baby in the crib.  The minute our bodies would touch the rails of the crib the cricket would scream in terror...sound asleep mind you.   Our nights also became a struggle of who would get a full nights sleep and who would spend the night in the rocker.  It wasn't pretty.  Then during a camping trip we decided that one of us would sleep with our girl in the bed and the other on the couch.  We could easily get her down in a regular bed but always felt the need to stay with her to make sure she didn't fall out of course.  We had pretty long periods of sleep surprisingly using this method.

At home our tactics began to change.  Once we were able to get the cricket to sleep one of us would sleep with her in the twin bed in her room but always had too many kicks to the kidneys.  Then we brought in a futon mattress but soon realized that A. she would roll off onto the floor, wake up and then play the night away or B. it was like sleeping on a cement floor for the parent who was on duty that night.  But it was also apparent that the futon was actually working.  The cricket would go down on it with no struggle and if we did have to sleep with her on it, we actually got some sleep, not rem sleep but sleep non the less.

The trip to L.A. was the kick in the head that was the beginning of the end.  By now a crib or pack & play was met with screaming, kicking and pure terror so I chose to sleep on a mattress on the floor with her during my stay.  Each night I could easily get her from bottle to bed with no trouble.  Each night when I crawled into bed beside her she wouldn't wake.  Each morning I was pushed off my pillow during the early hours only to discover my cricket sweetly passed out still.  I fretted the pillow and would sit up and watch her sleep to make sure she didn't suffocate.  And during those hours I saw on her face for the first time during sleep...a peace.  With each morning she woke with such happiness.  Big smiles with sweet hugs and kisses.  Every morning.

On the drive home Mike and I shared our thoughts of what to do.  Obviously the crib was the problem and our thoughts were put in stone that first night home, she wanted nothing to do with the crib.  The next morning Mike said he had the solution and by that afternoon our little cricket had a new bed.  Behold the pipe bed.....

With the mattress from the trundle bed on the floor, ten dollars worth of PVC pipe made into a wrap around bed rail and dressed up with the bumpers from the crib we have a new bed.  The cricket LURVES it!  She loves to be in it and has no issues with bed time, nap time or anytime she's in it.  She also has a new pillow that she loves almost as much as the bed.  Just seeing her smile when she's in there is enough to melt me.   It's also enough to kill me thinking about these last 6 months and what the crib did to her.  It was nothing short of torture for her.  

Now don't get me wrong, we still have some sleep issues but the terror is quite obviously gone and that is worth letting go of my dream nursery forever.  The only thing that would fulfill my dreams now is seeing my daughter happy and comfortable with sleep.  When we took the crib down this week, we did it together, mommy, daddy and daughter.  It was a painful process for me but worth hiding my tears to see my sweet baby wave goodbye to the crib when it went out her door.  After it was gone we all got in her new slumberland snuggled....with smiles.

(excuse the horrible picture quality...trying to capture a busy baby is like trying to take a picture of a shooting star!)


Oh my gosh, this is SO familiar. We had horrible sleep issues with Tahlia (for almost 18 months). Like your cricket, T would scream whenever she was in the crib. For months I slept on a mattress on the floor next to her crib. Looking back now I wish I had though of making her a pipe bed :-) Maybe the crib itself was her issue all along.....

I am glad to hear you found a solution. Sweet dreams, everyone.

Can *totally* relate!! We've been home 6 months with Isaac and he still wakes two to three times a night. He's moved past the screaming terror as well, thank goodness!! His referral paperwork also stated moderate sleeper.....what an overstatement! Our new little guy is supposed to be a HEAVY sleeper.....I HOPE SO! We could use it after this.

Sounds like this is working for you. I'll remember this option if I have the same issues when Mia comes home.

GIRL! I had no idea you were having so many troubles with the sleep issue! I am so glad that you have a found a great solution that is working - and when it comes to sleep, WHATEVER WORKS!!!

Love the bed! Tell Daddy that was some good thinkin'!!


So glad you found the reason.. now you can all get some sleep..
Jennifer is toooo stinking CUTE..
Love ya

I can't tell you how happy I am to read this post from you. I could tell that day we talked how much of a toll the (non)sleeping issues were having on you. Hurray for Pipe beds! I hope this is the beginning of many blissful nights of sleep for you all.

It looks like I won't be able to visit at the end of the month :( but thank you so much for the offer. I will take you up on it one day.

Love the bed great modification. After surgery Annalise would have nothing to do with her crib. I tried turning it into a tot bed but it was too far away from me. We have to honor what are kido's are trying to tell us. That cute nursery is just what you said it was a pipe dream to keep us going through the wait. Now it’s reality who cares as long as it brings you all some zzzzz’s

Sleep problems are so horrendous. What a terrific solution though! Wishing you and Cricket many long, peaceful nights in the future :)

I am soooo happy you figured it out. That is just so strange and I know when we had lunch you guys were really unclear what the issue was. This is such a great realization and im sure it will help her tremendously!!!!

Big hugs,


I hope now you start to get a little sleep. Hang in there girlfriend.

But, I feel your pain with the crib!


Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this. What a mystery & what great detectives you guys are! Must be such a relief to see your cricket rest peacefully. xo

Very interesting, I am so happy you found something that works and were able to eliminate that anxiety.
I too have the perfect room waiting and I never thought that I would change it, a year ago, but I would give it all up in heartbeat to have my baby home today.
Hoping for many great nights sleep to come for all of you!

If only these darlings could tell us what they need. I am so glad you found a solution for Jennifer.

Amazing what the ingenuity of a sleep deprived parent can come up with!! Kudos on the new bed. My hope for you is hours of uninterrupted sleep....

I'm sorry you've had so many sleep issues. Sleep can make you or break you for sure!! So happy to know you've found a way that your sweet cricket is happier and less stressed going to sleep. Here's to many more peaceful nights for all of you.

Isn't it interesting that such "little" things can cause so many problems? Remember, (to other future adoptive parents) your child didn't have a fancy crib in the orphanage or foster care. They might be afraid of stuffed animals and aren't used to having ANYTHING in their crib to sleep with. We kept our daughter's room very simple (nothing in the crib, only a few pics on the wall and a few things on the floor) partly because I have NO decorating sense whatsoever(!) and partly because we were told to keep it simple. Glad you are getting more sleep! Love your blog!

What a great bed. It looks so cozy. Don't you love those moments of clarity that lead to great solutions.