For the record, I have always been adamantly against co-sleeping.
I never wanted to co-sleep.
I guess my non-parental point of view was that the big bed belonged to mom and dad. It was their quiet, intimate, alone together place that children needed to be void of. Children needed boundaries, and well, the bed seemed like an easy place to draw the line. So for the first eight weeks, mama and pop shared a bed and kiddo pie had his own bassinet right next to mama's side, to be transitioned to his own crib whenever he started sleeping through the entire night.
Before we knew about Elliott and his special little heart, I read a story on Casey Wiegand's blog about co-sleeping and why they do it in their home. I'll admit, I read this post with a judgmental heart. While I did respect that household sleeping arrangements are the choice of each individual family based on what works for them, I didn't understand why anyone would actually chose to co-sleep. What happens if the kid is in bed with you for 2+ years because it is difficult to transition them or they don't want to be transitioned? How would you manage alone time as a married couple?
Not co-sleeping, it worked for us for about 8 weeks of Elliott's life. Or, I guess you could say, it didn't work exactly but that is what we did. Elliott woke every hour or so and cried. I would get up and feed him if need be, or consoled him back to sleep. Many times, I would rock for 20 or 30 minutes, positive he was dead asleep, and would put him down ohsocarefully only to end up waking him up. In those days, Elliott and I weren't the only ones lacking sleep. Taylor didn't sleep much either. He worked his full time job while I hunkered down in the barracks at home with the baby during the day. We were both exhausted. I felt like I was at war. I was a sleep-deprived, tired mess.
And then, the whole my-kid-has-a-heart-defect thing happened.
When Elliott had his first stay at the hospital after being diagnosed with truncus arteriosis, we chose to go home every night and sleep in our bed. After the initial shock of the news about Elliott's health and the middle of the night anxiety attacks wore off I was sleeping 8+ hours every night, dead to the world. And then Elliott came home. I was ready to put my battle clothes back on.
The first few days were the same as they had been. But then one night while I was soothing Elliott to sleep again Taylor took him from me and laid him down next to him in bed. And he slept. He slept like a warm little baby should. Woke up once to eat, then fell fast asleep again until morning came. That's when life really changed.
And so it continued. Now, having Elliott asleep between us makes us feel comforted. Almost losing him weeks ago stirred something inside of both of us and we needed to keep him close. To feel his warmth and to hear him breathe. He was ours to protect, to comfort. He was ours to love.
Now that his heart is fixed, our kiddo pie is a totally different baby. I know he is constantly changing, constantly evolving, but for the first time we feel we are seeing the really Elliott. His cute smiles and gurgles and growls have no end. He is more alert during the day, happy, awake for longer stretches. And sleeping nearly through the night. I'll take a full nights sleep with a crowded bed any day of the week.