I finally did it. I cut the proverbial cord. I tore off the band-aid.
I removed the extra bed from my daughter’s room.
Her room used to be our guest room. This room housed a spare mattress and two spare box springs, all stacked upon each other like a princess and the pea scenario. (The complementary mattress to that second box spring is in the basement with a split-queen box spring set (who knew these things existed?) for our guest room.) We built her room around it because we had guests staying with us up until I was 36 weeks pregnant, and the guest room in the basement wasn’t finished yet.
Before she was born, I knew I wanted to co-sleep. Not sleep in our bed with her, but sleep with her in her room while she slept in her crib. I figured (correctly) that since she’d be feeding at all hours of the night, I wouldn’t want to be traipsing across the hall every hour or so while listening to her wail until I could get to her.
So we kept the bed in the room. And, surprisingly, my husband slept in there with us every night he was in town. My original goal was to sleep in there while he stayed in our bedroom since he was going to be getting up for work. I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible. And, after a few weeks of him waking up every time she did, asking if I needed anything (which I didn’t), and then going back to sleep, he stopped waking up at her cries. Which was better for me because I didn’t want to disturb him while tending to her. What I didn’t expect to enjoy (or need so badly) was his just being there, sleeping next to me while I fed her, asking if he could do anything even though there wasn’t anything he could do (nor would I ask the man to get out of bed at 3am to get me water that I could get myself). I was really blessed that he stayed with us in there as long as he did.
The time I slept in her room was glorious. For me. And for our daughter I have to imagine. We were within 6 feet of her while she slept, I was able to get to her within seconds when she cried, and perhaps the most beautiful of all was that I was able to hear her sounds and learn her developing patterns over those 12 weeks in a close and comfortable way.
My husband spent some of the time during these first few weeks away on business travel, so he had experienced the “normal” sleeping situation of no crying baby and no wife stirring next to him all night. Needless to say, when he returned home after a few trips, he was anxious to get back to our bedroom.
I wasn’t. I was content in there with her. All of us were together (dog included) and I enjoyed this closeness. The sweet proximity. But I knew at some point we’d have to go back to our room.
I told him he could go whenever he wanted, but I was going to stay in there with her until her nights were less punctuated by feedings. I knew it would come eventually, but I wanted to spend every moment I could with her.
One night, while bouncing her on the exercise ball to get her to sleep, I teared up thinking of how the nights would be different once I moved back to our room. No more little baby noises keeping me up. No more of us being so close to her and her having that security of Mom and Dad right there. It made me really sad. And I knew I wasn’t ready.
But after 12 weeks of being with her, and a few nights of her sleeping through until the morning, I knew I had to think about my marriage and move back into our bedroom.
So we did. And though I have the monitor next to my head, those first few nights were different. Difficult. Only for me, though. Not anyone else. I’m sure the other three bodies in the house slept better than before, but I missed being with her.
Eventually I got used to being in our room. I even started dreaming again which was strange. Sleeping long enough at one time to have dreams? Who’d have thought?
But we kept the bed in the room. Partly because there wasn’t anywhere else to put it, but partly because that’s where I fed her. All throughout the day I’d feed her 9 times out of 10 on that bed, surrounded by pillows, comfortable for both of us, and it was where I enjoyed spending that time. We had been gifted a glider, but since there was no room in her bedroom, it took up residence in the living room. Everyone else used it more than I did – especially our dog.
Sometimes in the morning she would get up just before my husband was to get ready for work, so when she went back to sleep, so did I – in the bed in her room. It gave me an extra solid hour of sleep that I wouldn’t have gotten in our room with my husband rushing around to get ready. And this made it difficult to fully transition out of her bedroom.
Recently, a friend of ours moved from DC into town, and she had a need for a bed set. Lucky for her, we had an extra. With the mattress from the basement and a box spring from her room gone, and guests coming into town shortly, I knew the time was coming quick to move the bed from her room into the guest room in the basement.
So this past week while my husband was at work, I did it. I’d been mentally preparing myself for weeks, and I knew I just needed to get it done.
I tore off the band-aid.
I moved the mattress to the basement. I moved the spare box spring to the garage. I moved the glider into her room (though it made quite a statement in its temporary home in the living room). I somehow enjoyed rearranging her furniture and making the room “hers” instead of “ours.”
And when my husband came home that night, I showed him my progress. I was proud of myself, and excited to usher her into a new part of her life – out of the 4th trimester, into a time when her room is truly her own.