After so much encouragement yesterday, I thought I should follow up how last night went with Benjamin - pretty good, in fact.
He went down for bed at 7pm. He woke at about 9pm, and I nursed him and put him back to sleep. James and I hit the sack around midnight (we had a friend over and got lost in a debate about capitalism versus communism.) Benjamin woke twice between midnight and 5am, and both times James got up and soothed him back to sleep within minutes. Then Benjamin slept until about 7am this morning.
Most notably, when Benjamin woke up, he woke up happy. I can't recall the last nap or morning he awoke when he wasn't crying, disoriented, and obviously still tired. There was a time when, although he was nursing every three hours through the night, he would at least wake up slowly. I would lie in bed and hear him start to rustle, cooing to himself, and after 5 minutes or so he would pull himself up and "call out" for me. In recent months, he just wakes up sobbing.
Also notable is the fact that both yesterday and today's afternoon naps were of good length, and he didn't wake an hour in, needing to be put back to sleep.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. I have a good feeling about all this. So often I find that is the case: you seem to hit rock bottom in the situation and feel you absolutely cannot go on any further, and then things suddenly turn around.
(In this case...it's about time!)