Yikes, I almost dare not to post. There are two camps - AP (attachment parenting, which I love the concept - and truth be told, my daughter was in a crib from the day she came home until my ex left the house when she was 2 1/2 and now it's about 50/50 with her in her own bed or with me, probably more for me than her *blush*) - she's was in her bed last night, but when she felt sick, she came to sleep with me and that was fine - by age 4-5, I suspect that my very independent daughter will want her bed.
That being said, I support the Ferber approach (which my ex and his mother advocated and I do not regret, even though my little one had a "stop breathing" alert that had me rushing to her room at least once a night). I do believe that a secure child will go to sleep, It's not about cry to sleep as much as: now it is time to sleep and this is your responsibility.
Now for your situation - and please, if none of this fits, or offends, please disregard.
I fundamentally like the Ferber approach (please read it with an open mind) - it's not so much about cry til they fall asleep as much as: I love you, you are secure and safe, I am leaving the room, you are responsible to go to sleep. If you continue to cry, I will come, comfort you momentarily, but I will leave again - you are responsible for going to sleep. In some way, I do see this as a Montessori approach in which the child, at birth, is given one responsibility - to feel loved and to go to sleep.
You are fed
You are dry
You are loved
You have your physical needs met
Now you must sleep
One of the fundamental concepts of this approach is that the child goes to bed AWAKE and is AWARE that he/she is going to sleep on his/her ACCORD.. If the child is asleep when you "sneak away" - you don't get the benefit of the child feeling secure with his/her own presence to go to sleep.
Hope this helps and does not offend (trust me, my sick daughter is up in my own bed tonight, but truth be told, the day she says, "Mommy go away, I want my bed" will be a sign of victory (of course with nightlight and me reading a book).
Please, follow your heart, and if you are leaving your child to go to sleep, be honest with the child. Whether they be in your room, or if you need to go back for some soft words and a back rub - do it! Again, this may be a very divergent approach, but I want my child to feel safe in her own presence more than I want her to feel safe in mine.