Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Breathe, baby, breathe

So, I have this sleeping problem.

The problem is that I can't sleep at night if I'm home alone. Not because I'm lonely or insecure or anything like that. I'm scared.

I am terrified that Brooklyn is going to stop breathing. I'm petrified of SIDS. I have to stay awake and make sure she is still breathing. I'm scared to death that just the two of us will be at home and something will happen to her in her sleep. I'm afraid that she will make some kind of noise while suffocating and I won't hear her, or I won't be able to see her in the dark or get to her in time.

I know I would never forgive myself if something happened to her. I have to protect my sweet baby from that horrible monster, SIDS. And sometimes I think that God is going to think I'm not a good enough mom, or think that I'm not grateful enough for her, and take her from me. She's the best part of me, the best thing that ever happened to me. She is more important than anything. I love her so much that it literally hurts sometimes. I couldn't handle losing her. I know I would die. And I have such anxiety about this that I have even had several panic attacks since she was born. I don't know why my mind does this to me.

This fear has intensified since Brooklyn went to the pediatric cardiologist 4 weeks ago. He told me that the type of heart murmur she has (a ventricular septal defect - VSD) can cause too much blood to go to her lungs. "Keep an eye on her breathing, especially when she's sleeping," he said. I became even more afraid after Brooklyn started making this horrible noise with every breath she took last Monday. She had an upper GI done, and it turned out the noise was due to gastroesophageal reflux and tracheomalacia, not an airway obstruction or anything with her lungs. But I am still just so afraid of the worst.

So I sit awake and hold her, so that I can always hear her.

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Then I can let myself breathe.

Most nights, my husband gets home from work by about 2 a.m. On Tuesday nights, he works an extra security job until 6 a.m. Every day, he tells me to try to sleep when Brooklyn sleeps. And every day, he comes home to me sitting on the couch, holding the baby.

I don't know why I can sleep when my husband is home. I don't understand why that changes things for me. How is it any different if he's there, but asleep too? I don't know. I still lay there and worry for a while, I still listen for her little breaths. But I can let it go and drift off to sleep after a while, as long as I'm not alone.

It's okay for now, because I don't have to wake up at any particular time in the morning, except when Brooklyn wants to nurse. But I have to go back to work in 12 days. I don't know how I'm going to function then.


Momma Mary said...

That is SOO tough. I remember it. It's awful. I am praying for her!

I know it's against ALL SIDS rules, but what helped me to sleep at night was to have Little Monster in bed with me. That way, I could nurse and sleep at the same time. Even at naptimes. I didn't sleep as well as I would have had he been in his own bed, but I didn't worry that I wouldn't hear him suffocate.

The anxiety. I think it's normal, but it isn't bad to ask for help. It's okay.

I know it seems like it will never end, but it goes all to quickly. Soon, your child will be running circles around your feet. When you ask her to stop, she'll kindly throw a temper tantrum. Treasure these days, and (easy to say, hard to do) try not to stress out too much!!!

ms. c said...

Hi Amanda,
I think that all new moms are terrified of SIDS. Everytime my baby sleeps for more than an hour I panic as I walk into his room, and find myself thinking that he has stopped breathing (and that`s why I haven`t heard a peep from him).
Having your husband home probably makes it easier because you have someone to lean on. You are lucky to have him... ;)

Also, thanks for your comment on my breastfeeding post! Here is a link to find large sized nursing bras: I bought one of their bras and am satisfied. It actually FITS- it`s so marvelous! Good Luck!

~Jess said...

I can completely understand your fears; I probably wouldn't be much different than you.
Good luck and hopefully you'll be able to relax and enjoy your baby soon.

annacyclopedia said...

I'm here from NaComLeavMo, and just want to second what momma mary said. I would encourage co-sleeping if you feel ok with it, or is it possible to put Brooklyn's bed or crib right next to you. Many families I know, including both my sisters, have rigged up a way to have the baby's mattress pushed up tightly against their own bed - so baby is close by, but not necessarily in bed with you.

And also about asking for help with the anxiety if it gets too much, especially when you have to go back to work.

Mostly I just want to wish you lots of peace with all this right now, and hope that your worry doesn't stick around for too much longer.

baby~amore' said...

Hugs -no wonder you are anxious.I would be the same after a DR said that.
Can you get a baby monitor to help ease the anxiety.I agree with co sleeping comments too.We still co-sleep with our twins almost 2.

I'm here from NaComLeavCom
My Little Drummer boys

Kim said...

I did the same thing will each of my boys. I was so sure something would happen. I had them sleep in my room as long as possible and even now (they are 7,4 1/2 and 1) I go in and check on them in the middle of the night! And the first time they slept through a feeding at night - I was almost too afraid to go into their room!And then they grow up and ride their bikes off down the street and get rides home with friends and disappear into the school building! Ugh! Here from NCLM!

Mandi said...

I remember that feeling of panic too! You need to get an Angel Care Monitor. It's $90, which seems expensive, but it's well worth the peace of mind. Basically, it beeps if it doesn't detect movement for 20/30 (?) seconds, and then a loud alarm sounds. We're now using ours for our third baby, and it's been well worth every penny!

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