I, too, have a sleep-fighter. She is now 2.5 and it isn't *too* horrible most nights anymore, but naps are still a huge battle (she can't go without one or falls over at around 5pm, but isn't quite ready for one at a reasonable hour, either, so we're caught between 2 worlds, sorta).
Anyway, one thing that might be making your baby wake is how many new things she is learning. Like pulling up, walking, etc. My daughter has never been a "good" sleeper so anything like teething or learning new skills made her wake incessantly.
Depending on your baby's personality, one thing that helped a little with my daughter was to give her lots of stimulation earlier in the day. Some kids react the opposite way if they are sensory sensitive, but with my DD it made (still makes) her happy to have big things going on. The louder and busier the better (like the Children's Museum).
There is a book called "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Eliz. Pantley. You can find tons about it on the MDC Nightwaking/Family bed board. I will say this: it didn't solve all our problems. If you have a truly sleep-fighting child, nothing will. BUT, it helped. It gave me ideas for setting a bedtime routine, etc. As for sleeping through the night without waking a minimum of 2-3 times, the only thing that worked for us was gradual, total nightweaning. I hated to do it on one hand, but was to the hair-pulling stage on the other hand! Lack of sleep really does make me "crazed."
One thing I want to recommend that helped me a lot was to have my DH be in charge of putting DD to sleep some. Granted, we started it later, like when DD was 16 months I think, but it's soooo worth a shot if you have a DH, mother, or anyone who'll agree to do it. Then you get some time away from the exceedingly stressful situation. If the baby cries with your DH and you can't take it, go outside where you can't hear or better yet, go to Starbucks or somewhere for a half hour. I don't mean to sound callous, but I don't view that as CIO. I view it as remaining sane as a mom, which is the most important gift you can give your baby. I also spent hours nursing my daughter to sleep and it just wasn't working for me, plus it seemed like she just used that time as "rest" and if anything she got her second wind and then was up after the long session. Not cool. When I quit nursing her to sleep and it was definitely not a "No-Cry Sleep Solution" - she was mad as hell for a few days, and not pleased for a couple of weeks, but my DH was thankfully there to agree to take the brunt of her anger and walked her to sleep.
In time, it WILL get easier. Something to look forward to, but it doesn't make a difference now, so work on what you can realistically do RIGHT NOW to get some relief from the situation. The most important step to succeed in making a change in your methods, I found, is to really commit to it yourself. If you feel wishy-washy it never works. When I finally decided without a doubt something like, "I WILL NOT walk my child to sleep anymore. She must learn to fall asleep lying down" - I found I really had the resolve to not give in no matter what. You will recognize when that moment of decision comes. Sometimes it takes a while, and that is okay. You shouldn't do anything you don't feel comfortable with, but if you're really miserable you should search for something you are comfortable with and go for it. Sounds like things can't get much worse sleepwise, so anything is an improvement, right?
I don't really mean to joke about it. I know first hand that it's so hard to meet a child's needs all day looooonng and then be exhausted when you have to face the hugest challenge of the day with a sleep-fighter! Esp. when people whose kids willingly sleep always want to give you advice b/c they think THEY had something to do with their kid's sleep attitude. Grrr. It is really, really hard and you are not alone!!
BTW, there is a thread here you might enjoy:http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...threadid=69014
Hang in there - Best of luck!!!