*Or, "How we became the accidental co-sleepers."
Before Eleanor was born, G and I discussed it thoroughly and we both agreed that having her next to the bed for the first several months was important. But, as many know, when Nora was born she had super high hemoglobin levels, which ended up with 2 different hospital stays for jaundice. I spent a lot of time crying, terrified. On the way to the hospital at one point, I remember sitting in the back, stroking my listless newborn's head, absolutely afraid she was going to have permanent damage.
So needless to say, it was a rough time. On top of everything else, she loves to sleep, and waking her for the feedings---necessary to get the jaundice levels down, as the fluids flush it out---was a nightmare. We even tried touching her with cold ice cubes, and she batted them away. Eventually, out of sheer exhaustion, I fell asleep with her in the bed early one morning while nursing. I woke up, saw she was still in our bed, and freaked out. I was afraid of rolling over on her, of killing my own child accidentally. But I realized that physically, because of the way we have her, it was impossible to do so. And she was calm, sleeping peacefully (rather than her normal fitful sleep). We decided to try just having her in bed, in a certain position on my arm. And it worked.
Each day I wake up to a little one who is wide eyed, staring at me. As soon as she sees my eyes open she grins and I start to sing "Good Morning" from Singing in the Rain. "Good morning, goood mooorning, you slept the whole night through, good morning, good morning to yoooouuu!" She is joyful, smiling bigger, her dimples getting deep and her eyes crinkling like her daddy's.
We love having her in bed. Garret says he's surprised but that he loves having her with us. Yes, it means she's used to falling asleep with me, so for naps I have to lie with her, nurse her. But once she's out I can generally get up and do other things. We know that if we have a second child any time in the near future it means 2 in bed. I used to wonder how on earth we'd get a kid out if we let them start, but realize (from those other co-sleepers I know) that it's a natural progression...that some day she'll be excited about her own bed. And then I'll have to train her to come crawl in bed after her daddy leaves so that I can wake up to her happy face!
For now her nursery sits, pretty much empty. We've got plans to transform it into a playroom, with a toddler bed for naps and the day she eventually wants to try out a night on her own. But for now? Well I'm just delighting in having this bond with her....and to never ever waking up to a crying baby!