'Still Alive. Still Cute.' (SIDS Paranoia)Esther Haynes
Mike and I usually take turns checking on the baby at least every 45 minutes after we put her to bed and before we head in to sleep. A couple of months after Hazel was born, I asked Mike what exactly he does when he goes into her room. “I make sure she’s asleep, and then I listen to hear that she’s still breathing,” he said.
“Me too!” I answered.
Now, she’s six months old, and one of us will come back from checking on her and say, “Still alive! Still cute!” Then we’ll resume whatever we were doing. (It reminds me of an episode of “Intervention” I saw in which the son of an alcoholic woman tearfully told her that he was always checking to make sure she was still breathing as she lay passed out on the couch. But that’s totally different. Anyway.)
Sometimes Hazel will be in such a deep sleep that it’s hard to tell if she’s actually breathing. Like last night: When I got into bed, I leaned over her in the co-sleeper and listened, but couldn’t hear anything. So I stared at her chest to see if it was rising and falling—but in the weird sleep-suit thingee she wears, it was hard to tell for sure. So I turned on my book light and shone it on her eyelids to see if she stirred. Nothing. I wondered, “Should I risk waking her up?” Then I thought, “Yes!” So I finally put my hand on her forehead to A) make sure her body was still warm and B) to see if she reacted—which she did. “Aungh!” she grunted, then shifted her position. Finally I lay down, satisfied that I’d disturbed Hazel’s sleep enough to quell my paranoia.
Mike had a similar story last week when he took her to the grocery store in the front carrier: Hazel was so unresponsive at one point that Mike ended up taking her completely out of the baby carrier to make sure she was still with us. This was in a crowded NYC Fairway store. Of course, she didn’t nod off again after that.
Is this normal? When can we stop being so obsessive? Are you constantly afraid that your baby might die from SIDS, or are we going a little overboard? Let me know what you think.
More posts from Esther: