Tuesday, April 13, 2010

When does the fear go away?

I'm referring to the fear of something happening to my daughter while she sleeps. SIDS. Ugh, the thought rips my heart open and makes it hard to breathe. I understand, now that I have a daughter, my life will be have plenty of added worries about her safety. Right now, I'm still really afraid of something happening to her at night.

She's almost 6 months, and I feel like I should be less worried about SIDS. I'm not. I honestly feel like I was getting better about it, and then last night happened. After last night, I'd say now I'm MORE worried.

Rosemary has been rolling from stomach to back since about two months and it felt like forever before she’d go the other way. She tried so hard and finally, last week, she was able to do it! I was very excited for her as we've been working on it for a while now.

Well, not so much anymore.

Last night I was going to bed and I always check on her first as that’s my routine. So around 1:45AM (I'm a night owl), I go into her room.

She's not moving, face down completely! Head not even to the side a little! I FREAKED. I frantically started jiggling her body and nothing happened for what was realistically only 30-45 seconds. Those were the longest seconds of my life!

For those seconds I swear I didn’t breathe and I felt like I was going to puke or pass out. I’ve been nervous before about her sleeping and SIDS, but never like this.

I was practically in tears, and of course being suddenly woken up, she was too. She cried some and I'm sure I could've let her fall back asleep in her room, but I went ahead and woke her up all the way after that. I'm thinking most of us would have done the same. Right?

I went ahead and changed and fed her (and got in some snuggles of course) before putting her back to sleep in my room. To be fair, she often does this (sleeping the second half of the night in my room.) I know, I know, she's 6 months; I should put away the pack n play. I conveniently keep it out in my room for when I need her close, I mean, she needs me close. There was also just no way that I was going to sleep with Rosemary anywhere but in my room last night!

All I could think about was how I’d been out in the living room while she could’ve been dead. This thought makes me feel sick. I had the monitor right next to me and she still wasn’t safe. I never even noticed if she needed me! Now, how am I supposed to get past that? The fact that any night now she could just roll over, get stuck, and not be able to breathe scares the you know what out of me. Especially since I’m right there! What’s a Mom to do? How can I make her safer than she already is?

I know that statistically the likeliest time something like that would happen is 4-6 months (which is pretty much in the past), but that isn’t making me feel any better right now. I don’t have bumpers on her crib, and that’s not making me feel better either. I feel like the only way to do that is to watch her every second of the day, and that’s just not practical.

So how do you ladies make yourself feel better about this? I’m just going to have to tell myself over and over she’s fine, she’ll always be fine and nothing is going to happen to her when she's asleep. She’s getting older and babies just roll, that’s what happens. I’m still pretty nervous for night time tonight. I really hope I’m not in there constantly checking on her, but I guess if that’s what makes me feel better for a few nights, that’s what I’ll do. I promise not to go back to having her sleep all night in my room.

To think just the other day I was planning on taking down her pack n play. I’m pretty sure that’s out of the question, sorry husband.

I’d love for any tips you readers have on this! I’m sure this fear is something all of us have dealt with since our babies were born.

Unfortunately, there may even be some of you living with the result of SIDS. I think just knowing it happens so randomly is what scares me the most. One day you have your baby and boom, the next she could be gone. I just don’t think I could survive that. To those of you who have, you are the strongest of the strong. I’m sorry if my fear seems silly, when you’ve actually had to live through it.

I want to add that Rosemary never sleeps on her stomach. Ever. Not even for naps. She has been sleeping on her side for a couple weeks now, and even that freaks me out. I'm not saying its’ bad parenting if you let your baby sleep on their stomach, some babies sleep best that way. What happened last night only freaked me out, because my daughter has never slept on her stomach.

Please wish me courage for tonight. I feel like it’s going to be a rough one for me. Poor Rosemary is going to be sleeping and here comes Mama opening the door every half hour. Fingers crossed she doesn’t wake every time.


  1. I wish I had good advice to give. All I can say is you do what you can to keep her safe and from there you have to let go. No bumpers and blankets is a plus. If it makes you feel better then you can check on her a few times a night. Beyond that I have nothing.

    Hope you feel better about this soon :)

  2. I can imagine how scared you were, and I am right there with you.
    I have those fears. I check on my son 4-6 times a night... Try checking on her less and less until you feel comfortable with only a couple times. Have you thought about an AngelCare monitor? It monitors breathing too.

  3. Do you have a video monitor or the Angel Care monitor? I have a video monitor and now that Hailey is rolling from back to belly in the crib, it makes me feel more comfortable. Even if I have to watch her for 5 minutes straight until she flinches, it often makes me feel more comfortable knowing that she is okay.

  4. Thanks ladies. I just feel crazy being even more worried at 6 months, ya know? I feel like this should be getting easier, not worse. I'm really freaked about the rolling, but how could you possible stop that? You can't, so it's just something I need to get over.

    I've always been on the cautious side when I go check on her. If I don't hear her breathe when I go in, I'm totally the Mom that nudges the baby just to be sure. I really just feel crazy to be so paranoid, but I can't get the thought out of my head, what if? Now I'm just worried last night's going to make me even MORE paranoid. I was getting better too, dang it!

    I only have standard speaker monitor for now, but if I'm still pretty upset about it in a few days, I may try to get a video one. It just seems silly to be getting it so late in the game. If that's what it takes me to feel better, I'm going to do it though. I think I'm going to talk with my husband tonight about it, see what he thinks.

    Thanks again ladies, it helps to write about it and to hear ohters input on the issue.

  5. My daughter is 27 months, and every night I still make sure she is breathing. I think it is natural. I have 2 family members within the last year that lost a baby to SIDS. (Both babies were having health issues though.) So yes, it is a normal fear to have. My daughter slept with me (and still does!) since the night she was born. So, I was ultra careful with pillows and blankets. I worried like crazy. When she was 12 months, I sighed with relief that she was pretty much passed that stage.

    I don't think I will be as worried if I have a second one, but I will still check every night to make sure she/he is breathing.

    Don't worry so much. It sounds like you are a good and careful mommy. Blessings!

  6. Oh you're certainly NOT alone - I think I thought about it quite frequently until Addie was about 5 months old....I think I would have worried more though had she been able to roll over by herself (and get stuck there). Hang in there - keep checking, it's better than just sitting and worrying about it. The day will come when you'll know that she's just fine. It will. Promise :-)

  7. My son is 2 years old and I still worry about this. I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Syndrome and one thing I learned in therapy a long time ago is that the only thing you can control is what you do. It is already very unlikely anything will happen to your daughter, but your being anxious about it won't make it any less likely, know what I mean?

    I read a TON about this when my son was a baby, and one thing that struck me as odd was that when a baby dies of SIDS there is no sign of suffocation... and yet, much of the advice we moms get to prevent SIDS (like no bumpers or blankets) is suffocation related. So of course, we jump to the conclusion that babies that die of SIDS suffocated. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is my personal belief that SIDS is the result of a genetic problem we moms have little or no control over, and that once you've removed suffocation dangers from your daughter's crib it is very unlikely she will suffocate from simply rolling over onto the mattress. So, if she has the genetic predisposition there's nothing you can do about it, and if you've taken the precautionary measures to avoid suffocation there's nothing ELSE you can do about THAT, either. I won't say, "Relax and don't worry about it," because they taught me in therapy trying to not worry is actually not the right thing to do, but I always found it very liberating to let go of control when I know I have already done everything in my power to prevent or rectify a situation.

    Have I made ANY sense??

  8. You are so right about the two being very different. I think most of us just associate the two together and worry about both happening when our little ones sleep. Maybe it's easier for us to want to think we can prevent something like that? I hate thinking something might happen to her that I can't.

    I have major anxiety too. That's why stuff like finding her face down makes it even worse on me! I did ok for the most part this week. The next night was pretty rough, but other than that, I've just been checking on her pretty regular.

    Thanks for the comments ladies!

  9. This happens and its ok to worry. Worry! For heavens sake, you have to in order to take all the precautions your daughter need to sleep safely. Take the bumpers out of her crib, no pillows or blanket. Make sure she is dressed warmly and put her down. She will roll on her tummy and most likely sleep well. How are the muscles in her neck? In the pictures, she looks like she can hold her head up pretty well. If she has those muscles, she should be able to move her head should she need to breathe more easily.

    On night, I heard my son whining in his crib. I don't remember how old he was, but it was in the first months, maybe he was 3 months. I tried to make him put himself back to sleep so I ignored it. Then, his cry changed. I got up and found him wrapped up in a dress of mine he'd pulled down on himself. I hung it over the side of his crib without thinking. It was the dumbest thing to do. I couldn't believe it and I never ignored his cries after that. It was tough. I cried thinking about it. It was traumatic, but now I will NEVER do that again.

    Hope you're feeling better and sleeping well!