Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sleep deprivation makes one crazy.

I'm writing at 2:30am, sleep deprived, jet-lagged, and emotionally unstable, so excuse the typos, poor grammar, or the sin-fest that may pour out of my heart because out of the heart the mouth speaks, or in the case the fingers type.

She won't sleep.  It's been a very hard and long weekend with her.  She is sweet by day and terror by night.  We have tried just about everything, co-sleeping, leaving her alone, pack n' play at the bottom of the bed, laying on her bedroom floor, giving her a bottle in bed to sleep with (Yes, I know her teeth will rot, gasp!)  When you are sleep deprived and desperate you will try anything.  She has spent hours, yes hours (4 hours at one shot to be exact) just screaming and crying and screaming and crying.  We began clocking it because we know that these things can feel longer than they are.  Well I'm hear to tell you that 4 hours of screaming felt like 24!!!  And she does not receive comfort easily, not at night anyway.

Her body has some adjusting to make too.  The few times she has slept have also been disrupted by a dirty diaper or two in the middle of the night.  Mostly around 1am and 4am.  Put in the context of a twelve hour time change and those dirty diapers would be during the afternoon in China.  So her bowels need to get the memo that she is living in a new time zone and adjust accordingly.

I'm caught in a sea of emotion.  My selfish heart craves sleep and I'm angry because she is the reason I am not sleeping.  I want to scream back at her "stop it, please just stop!"  I'm tired and during the day that comes out in it's own ugly ways.  I'm short on patience, I don't tolerate certain behaviors from my other children that otherwise wouldn't normally bother me at all.  And then there is the mommy-guilt syndrome.  My mind can't escape it.  For instance Sunday night when she fell asleep in my arms around 9pm I freaked and rushed my other kids to get ready for bed knowing if Scott and I didn't get to sleep right away while she was we may not sleep at all.  My other kids argued, "wait a minute, we don't have school tomorrow, we want to stay up."  I explained to them why they needed to go to bed and they surrendered and went.  She only slept until 11:30.  We got two hours of sleep.

Monday afternoon she fell asleep in my arms while sitting on the couch.  That same mommy-guilt syndrome kicked in hard.  Do I reposition myself and nap with her?  Do I attempt to put her down and spend some much needed time with my other kids who I have been away from for two weeks.  Sleep won, my other kids neglected again, asked to sacrifice mom one more time, as if they haven't sacrificed enough already.  I slept deep, but I woke up feeling guilty.  Such a weak mom I am.  Where is Mrs. Incredible when you need her now?

Then there is an emotion for Mercy that runs so deep I don't know where else to turn with it except to Jesus himself.  I actually get where Mercy is coming from.  In some small and strange way I can sympathize.  She is terrified and nighttime enhances that 100 fold.  A girl who fears light because of a medical condition fears darkness even more.  It wasn't but two weeks ago that I entered her country, the role reversed.  I was the one terrified and battling culture shock.  The noises, the smells, the unfamiliar language, the not knowing where I am or what to expect, the fear of the unknown.  I'm pretty sure she is feeling the same way, but I'm an adult.  I used my words to talk it out with Scott or spent a night typing it out on a blog post and I prayed to my savoir who comforted my fears and filled me with peace.  She is two, she has zero vocabulary and no way of expressing her fear, except to scream and cry (which she does extremely well by the way).  She doesn't know Jesus yet or how to pray, so we try to be her Jesus, her place of comfort but we fail.  It's heartbreaking.  I want to take every fear from her and reassure her she's safe, I will never leave her, I will still be here when she wakes up, food will be here when she wakes up, I love her and that will not ever change, that she can trust me.  And then the tears flow hard.  How many times have I in my own way screamed and cried over my lack of trust in the Lord?  Too many!  And what is His reponse?  I'm here, I want to take every fear from you, I will never leave you or forsake you, I will provide everything you need in my son Jesus Christ, I am here when you sleep and when you rise, I do not change and my love for you will never change, YOU CAN TRUST ME!  I'm slow, so slow to grasp this.  I love her and I want her to know it, Jesus loves me and He wants me to know it, Jesus loves you too and He wants you to know it.

Pray for us.  Pray for discernment as we get to know her, constantly questioning and second guessing how to handle her.  Pray for sleep, for her, for us.  Pray for her heart to begin to trust us, and for us in 
our weak, human, selfish state to be consistent in expressing our love to her. Pray for our other kids 
who continue to adjust to a new sister, continue to sacrifice on her behalf but have their own needs, 
desires and wants to be met.


  1. Oh, I'm so so so sorry. I get the horrific-ness of sleep deprivation... that alone is hard enough to battle. But on top of all that, as you said here, there's so much ELSE going on in your heart. In her mind and heart. In her little body. I am praying for you. I'm so sorry.

  2. Praying for you. Wishing I had a miracle cure for you but time is the only thing that will even things out/help her adjust. Thinking of you often and praying for your strength. It's very hard now, it does get easier, it DOES:) And we all have "mommy guilt" so you are not alone!

  3. Such a beautiful analogy between showing your unfailing love to Mercy and God's unending love to you! I don't know about you, but writing helps me sort things out when times are tough. You have a gift for writing, and I'm glad you've shared so that people know how to pray!

  4. Have you tried useing a sleep machine? I know you can get ones which can be sync's to an Ipod and you can upload your own music or they have natural sound. I read she loves music so it may help her sleep better and longer. Will be praying for you all this week.

  5. Jane, this is messy, but it's beautiful. As I was thinking about the "messy beautiful," God brought this scripture to mind. It describes you perfectly. Thank you, my friend, for radiating the glory of Christ even in the flurry of unstable emotions.

    From Psalm 84:
    Blessed are those who strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
    As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
    They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.

    I'm praying for you!

  6. Jane, God has given you such a blessing in that you are putting yourself in her shoes. You are understanding her perspective and that helps you to have patience and compassion. We will pray for perseverence for all of you. Trust and believe that God will not forsake YOU during this time either, just as he has been there for you through the past year. Praying...

    Two thoughts I had to try for sleep, and maybe you've already tried, but since she likes music, how about playing that when you put her to bed. Also, put something in her crib that would smell like you, a shirt you just wore or your pillowcase. ??

  7. Praying! I so remember the screaming from collin with his refux. 8 hours a day / night felt like all the time. There is nothing worse then not being able to comfort your child. He was inconsolable. We just had to always try, to be there for him, to be faithful, and now, he is the snuggliest little guy, and so full of love and trust. So be faithful. she is scared. she will learn, that you guys are trustworthy, and comforting. it will take time. and when you are tired, the time you don't spend with your other kids may feel like forever, but its not, and they will be ok too. cause you raised them right, and they know they are loved, and you can love them best when you get those cat naps in. so we will pray for rest, for Peace for Mercy and for understanding for the kids. Thanks for so honestly and humbly sharing.