When All Is Quiet On The Breathing Front

So I was sitting down, trying to figure out what I wanted to say to start this post when Red came up to inform me that Ivy was fitting perfectly in the 12 month pajama onesies he had bought for her. WHAT THE WHAT. It’s so weird to realize this baby has already gotten so big. In my head it still feels like she was born maybe… two, three weeks ago tops. But nope! Here we are, being all gigantic and fitting into clothes as if she were already a year old as opposed to the seven month little upstart that she is.

I had wanted to get on here to share a “fun” fact that I happened to learn in the most terrifying of ways. See, we do co-sleeping, something I never really anticipated doing or loving but here we are. My body has adjusted well and when I need to shift about in my sleep into a new position I automatically wake up and arrange the two of us carefully.

I have a small habit of checking Ivy’s breathing when I do this. It’s not like, a real paranoia or anything but it’s a nice reassurance to put my hand on her little belly and feel the soft rhythmic movement of her breathing. So a few nights ago when I woke up to shift, I instinctively put my hand on her tummy without giving it much thought. But instead of the soft rise and fall of her chest I felt nothing.

Nothing. at. all.

I sort of told myself that it was probably fine, I had just caught her as she finished exhaling. I kept my hand on her tummy and waited to feel for her inevitable intake of a new breath.

And waited.

And waited.

I felt panic and bile rise in my throat as all pretense of calm motherly instinct flew out the window and I grabbed Ivy squarely by the shoulders and shook her as gently as a panicking mother can when she doesn’t feel her child breathing.

Ivy woke up almost instantly and regarded me as only a grumpy, sleepy baby can. She casually turned to me and latched back onto my breast to go back to sleep. I was shaking and breathing hard for a while. Noticing Matt was still asleep I pulled out my phone and dialed the nurse advice-line at our pediatrician’s. I needed to know if Ivy was okay.

The nurse I spoke to was very kind and understanding. She had me check Ivy’s color and asked me a few general questions about how we were sleeping and potential hazards. Blanket or pillow over her face? No. Blue in her lips, fingers or toes? No. Breathing fine and acting normal? Yes.

Finally the nurse told me that sometimes when babies are in the deepest part of their sleep cycle they can just not breathe for a little while. Apparently some newborns can go up to 15 seconds between breaths.* As long as Ivy didn’t have blue in her lips or extremities then she was fine. Or, she added, if I tried waking her up and couldn’t get her to stir, that was also a bad sign. Slapping the bottoms of her feet is apparently the most effective way to wake a rousing baby and if she didn’t wake up from that, call an ambulance. But everything sounded fine and would probably be okay though I was more than welcome to schedule an appointment with her pediatrician come morning.

Otherwise, she said, try to get some sleep and do your best not to worry.

Ivy slept just fine though I spent at least three hours attempting to fall back asleep and failing miserably. I knew she was probably fine but that moment of horror at feeling her not breathe was seared into my brain and I couldn’t shake it. I read comics on my tablet and checked Ivy’s breathing every few seconds or so.

We did end up taking her in just to make sure nothing was up and our pediatrician said she was in ship shape. So I guess the whole incident was just an unfortunate timing moment on my part and nothing more. I still keep thinking about what would have happened if she hadn’t woken up, if we’d have had to call an ambulance, if, if, if.

It can be hard to shut those horrible little possibilities up. It’s so frustrating, as you get older, to learn about how little control you have over so many things in life. You take the steps you can take, make the best decisions possible and pray you’re not one of the unlucky ones. It’s a hard thing to accept and I continue to feel blessed by the luck I’ve had so far.

*This is just what she told me. Please don’t take anything written here as medical advice; if you have any questions or problems with anything to do with your baby, call a medical professional. My situation could be completely different than yours so it’s always better to check with someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

Panic! On the Roadtrip

So I get to check off, “Rush to the Hospital in a Panic Over the Baby” off my To Do while Pregnant list! ((Spoiler alert, everything’s okay.))

Saturday morning was going to be spent in a jovial state; my friend and I had made plans to drive down to see the world’s largest pistachio. It’s not too far away from us, like three hours, and I figured any little road trips like this need to happen before I have the baby since I’m pretty sure my schedule is gonna be pretty hectic and different after the fact.

I woke up early on Saturday, got ready and away we went! And of course it was oh… About halfway there that I realized that I hadn’t felt the baby move at all since the night before. Normally this little one is very active early in the mornings. I’ve long gotten past the being able to sleep in phase of my life because the Early Morning Internal Gymnastics Routine is pretty damn punctual for someone who doesn’t have access to a watch or smart phone. So it was weird that I hadn’t felt anything yet.

I tried to calm the shrieks of panic in my head and focused very intently and very quietly on my uterus, feeling for even the smallest little flutter or motion. When I didn’t feel anything for half an hour I got impatient and poked and prodded at my stomach, determined to wake baby up if indeed it turned out they were merely sleeping.

For once, baby was in the front of my uterus instead of skulking in the back, practicing for their teenage years. I was able to clearly feel a limb of some sort through my flesh. But poke or press as I may I couldn’t feel the baby move or react to my pestering at all. It was around then that all rational thought flew out my brain and I went, “Hey, I think I need to call my doctor.”

And of course we were in a long, desolate stretch of road. The kind of road that is the Land of No Cell Phone Service. My friend was all politeness and understanding as she turned the car around so we could drive back towards the city and the precious, precious cell phone towers.

I called and described what I was experiencing and the on call doctor told me it would be good to come in so I could get strapped to a monitor. My friend magically got us back to the city in almost half the time it took us to leave it without speeding too horribly or killing us all in a wreckage of twisted, burning metal.

I got to the hospital, sat down in the bed, lifted my shirt, got the monitor strapped on and then my baby went, “HOLY HELL I HATE THESE THINGS.” *punch*kick*squirm*wiggle*back flip*pirouette*

I was only there for about half an hour, all things considered. They had me chug some juice and water just to make sure I wasn’t low blood sugar or dehydrated and so they could monitor all the baby’s movements. I got to watch my baby violently kick the monitors through my tummy as I sipped cranberry juice and tried to recover from the adrenaline crash.

Babies really do have a tendency to hate the Doppler and the like and since my baby kept trying to run away from the dang thing (Keep it up while you can! You will only run out of space more as you get bigger!) the nurse kept having to come in to readjust the monitor so the heartbeat was audible.

I’m pretty sure that if my baby could talk they would have said something like, “Geeze mom, just because I choose to sleep in once doesn’t mean I’m dead or anything! Gawd you make such a big deal out of everything!”

I’m glad everything was okay and I’m glad no one made me feel silly or like I had overreacted for coming in. In fact everyone who dealt with me: the triage nurse, my actual nurse, and the doctor, all made a point to say that they would much rather prefer that I call and come in if something feels wrong or off than to not. I appreciated that because no one wants to be treated like a nuisance when they’re concerned about health related anything; baby or not.

So no giant pistachio for me. But I still got to spend the day with a good friend; a good friend who didn’t make a big deal out of turning around and said I had been very calm and collected through the whole thing. (Which is amazing because I felt like a complete wreck on the inside. Yay bluffing!) July 1st is narrowing in and I can’t believe it’s coming in so fast.