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Before we even knew I was expecting, I knew to expect a night like we just had from a baby. We’ve been insanely lucky/blessed with how “easy” a baby Emmie has been. Of this we are well aware. But even with an “easy” baby, there will be hard nights.

I suspected Emmie was getting sick just after the worst of my own cold had passed. The first night was fine, nothing unusual. Even during the day, she seemed somewhat OK, even if her nose was a bit runnier than usual. She even went to sleep just fine. But at about 10 PM she woke up SCREAMING. It was that awful, terrible, vocal-cord destroying baby cry that hurts just to listen to it. Nothing we did seemed to make anything better. So we just held her, and shushed and tried to feed her and tried to calm her as she threw herself backwards and SCREAMED and SCREAMED. The only thing that stopped it was turning on the light and distracting her with something.

That was how I ended up playing with her in our bed at 1 AM. Peter left to sleep on the couch and I sleepily watched her play until she would get fussy/frustrated/SOMETHING and then the screaming would start again. I honestly don’t really remember much of the rest of the night, other than trying to sleep next to her on the floor of her nursery, with her waking up to scream that awful, nerver-destroying pain-cry every 20 minutes, more or less on the dot. Then, I remember handing her to Peter (both her and I in tears because nothing was stopping her screaming) at 3 AM saying, “I can’t do this anymore, it’s too hard.” Adding another star in his Daddy-crown, he took her (from a dead sleep), saying “I know, it’s hard” and he let me sleep, which I accidentally did until the morning (so sorry, baby!).

I know many parents deal with this on a daily basis for months on end. They have my undying respect. One night was bad enough.

After taking her to the pediatrician to make sure there was nothing else going on, like an ear infection, it turned out it was just a cold, plain and simple. Every night after that was a lot better, and we just threw every baby-cold trick in the book at her (warm bath, humidifier running full blast, crib mattress propped up with a pillow on one end, snot sucker when needed) and that seemed to keep the screamies at bay.

I know we’ll have other (very) sleepless nights in our future, and other, much more disgusting illnesses, but I feel like now that we have the first one under our belts, we might be a little bit more able to cope with whatever comes our way. Parenthood: figuring it out as you go.