Friday, December 2, 2011

fear of SIDS

Every day I am afraid that Emma might die.  Every single day.  I try to reason with myself, but there are not arguments that help:  yes, SIDS is relatively rare, but so was the incompetent cervix that killed Adrian.  Yes, two bad things are less likely to happen than just one bad thing, but I thought that after having infertility and having to do IVF I had enough of the bad thing.  Then the incompetent cervix happened, and  I lost Adrian, and I was convinced that I should be safe from harm for a long time.  And then I nearly died from the delayed post partum hemorrhage, another bloody rare complication that happened to us.  So why not more?  Is there an end?

I sleep next to her, with my face right next to her face, so that I can feel her breathing at all times.  If she takes a nap, I usually like to be next to her as well.  I don't let her be by herself almost at all, although there are times when I rely on the baby monitor to tell me when she wakes up and I go downstairs, make myself a cup of coffee, and write on my blog.  Like now.  Without her.  All the while hoping that I won't go upstairs when I am finished to find her blue and lifeless.

MrH is fairly certain that it won't happen, that she is a strong baby that has no health issues.  But I have read enough blogs to know that it happens to strong healthy babies.  I should stop reading SIDS blogs, but it is part of my blogging community, and I feel that in supporting each other we get better at handling grief, and hence I am not going to stop.  Besides, the fear is my issue and mine alone, it is not caused by reading other people's stories, quite the opposite:  I read other people's stories because of my fear.

Lately I have started wondering about the purpose of this fear.  Could it be that in finding her alive and well every single day, multiple times a day, I get a jolt of happiness and relief?  Could that be the contrast that my mind is seeking?  Am I geared towards living life on a rollercoaster, and hence a period of relative calmness and well-being is too boring, too predictable, and I need to create some drama with my mind? ... you get the picture...  The one thing that is for sure in my wild ride so far:  the things that have happened to me have, without exception, been UNEXPECTED.  I could not have predicted or thought out a single one of them.  So is it that thinking about SIDS keeps it away?  of course not.  But my subconscious is a bovine place that does not know these things, hence it will do what it does best: illogical things.

Anyway, I was wondering if you guys also worry about SIDS, mainly those of you who had your babies after a long struggle, those of you who lost babies before.  Even those of you who lost babies to SIDS, do you realize that the likelihood of it happening again is extremely low, and despite that do you worry anyway?  How do you cope with the worry?  Do you worry about the worry changing your relationship with your child, making you more protective, more paranoid?


  1. i know you know our story. but Julius had NO health problems before he passed away. he was so strong - almost 20lbs at 4.5 months. he was perfect in every way. the thing about SIDS/SUID is that that label really means nothing. there are no things to look for, no things that can be done to prevent it. SIDS does not discriminate.

    i don't say any of this to make you worry. that is not my intention. i just say this to be honest about what has taken my son and what claims 3000 babies in the US/yr.

    i am extremely worried about SIDS claiming my future children. even though they say that there is less than a 1% chance of it happening again. to me, there are no guarantees in life, ever. i will never stop worrying about this especially because of our history. so i will do things to help me take it one step at a time and have piece of mind (monitor, etc).

    i think the level of worry is dependent on the person. but i was a worrier before Julius passed away. i worry much more now. once you lose a child you are terrified to ever lose another one. i think i will be more protective as well. but along with that i KNOW i will be more loving not taking anything for granted. and i'm ok with that.

  2. I worry every day! I didn't leave my daughter alone for the first 4 months! I think my fear of SIDS comes from me believing that we aren't supposed to have our happy's just too good! And after battling IF for seven years you get used to only bad things happening.
    Slowly I'm getting better, but I refuse to not use our angel care moniter! My family thinks we are over the top having it, I don't care.
    I'm sorry to read of your loss of Adrian. IC is really a terrible thing.

  3. I have phases of being crazy paranoid and then pretty relaxed. I've definitely been much more relaxed since Lucas has turned 7 months and is out of the main risk age group. But I still use my angel care monitor every night and sleep a lot better knowing it's there and will go off if it stops sensing his movement. (We've only had 1 false alarm in the many months we've been using it, and I have no idea how much of a false alarm it was since I immediately grabbed him and he moved, maybe he had been breathing all along, maybe he forgot to breath for a minute, we'll never know, but I'll take a few false alarms any day over no alarm. Plus he still sleeps in our room (but in a pack n play) and I try to keep the fan on most nights.
    I also didn't leave him with anyone at all besides me or my husband, mainly due to this, because it seems like most babies that die of SIDS are somewhere else- daycare, baby-sitter, etc. We are leaving him with someone for the first time next week and I'm nervous about it even though it will only be a couple hours. I hope he doesn't cry the whole time (he's super attached to me lately) and I also hope he doesn't sleep!

  4. I worry a lot about SIDS too. I have also wondered whether I too need that happy 'jolt' every time I go and find her happy and wiggly in her bassinet, and also if worrying about SIDS will somehow 'keep it away'. However, I worried a lot about something bad happening to my 'eventual' children before getting pregnant due to working in the NICU. I figured that this worry would somehow be preventative. And then I got pregnant and Aidan died. And then I figured what are the odds of it happening again? And then I got pregnant for the second time and we were massively lucky that Kaia didn't die. Sheesh.
    We use the Angelcare monitor whenever Kaia sleeps. I couldn't sleep without it.

  5. the worry never passes :) once SIDS is out the way, it's worrying about them choking to death (as sadly happened with a friend of mine), then worrying they will get in an accident or be snatched by someone...then oh lordy just wait til they get their drivers license!!!

    It's part of being a mother I think. Human babies are so vulnerable and mother nature gives us super powers to protect them- one of them being constant worry. Dads are protective but often not in quite the same way: my girl is 3 now and I still check her every hour before we go to bed: hubby doesn't even think about it!

  6. The worry doesn't pass. Especially now. Especially knowing that sids happens after age of 1 as in my case. I'm terrified that it will happen again. That it was something genetic. I'm terrified everyday. I also sleep with her face next to mine so i can feel her breath. I do wake up and see her so still so lifeless and i know shes gone in my head. I am again holding another dead child and then she breathes or she coughes or she just nuzzles into me.

  7. I worry about SIDS every single day. I'm afraid for DH to sleep with us because I'm afraid of suffocating her and her dying. DH and I are afraid to put her down to sleep every single night. She sleeps in a pack n play next to our bed, with a night light near her pack n play so we can always look over to see if she's breathing. I'm not sure if the worry will ever go away but it definitely makes me paranoid and overprotective of her right now. I am just so afraid of losing her like I lost all of my other babies (four pregnancies before her).

  8. Oops, the first DH in my comment should be "DD".

  9. You know our story and with Alistair's likely hood of survival being so low I didn't even expect him to make it through the birth and then every time I went to look at him I almost prepped myself to expect to see a little baby not breathing. I think its how we be honest Alistair is 2.5 years old and I still look at him to see if he's breathing. However, I think time provides peace as wellas I'm not as emotional about it. You've been through quite a trying few years to say the least and if it provides you comfort to lay next to your beautiful daughter and feel her breathing on you then allow yourself to do this with enjoyment. I learned not to fight my fears and grasp them as well and it makes life so much easier then trying to deny/fight the feelings you truly have....Have a beautiful day as it sounds like your just a beautiful mom! <3 Julie

  10. Just reread your blog and your last question re. your worry about the worry changing the relationship with your child, making you more protective, more paranoid... I'm sure it will change the relationship with your child but if you can learn to grasp this positively your child will grow up feeling supported and secure. I think one has to be carefull they don't protray a sense of general angst in living life and also cause oneself to live in life this way as its an awfully stressful way to exist for oneself, ones husband and children. Don't get me wrong I have alot of worry regarding my sons life span, quality of life, how long my loving husband will be alive, and the list goes on. But if I allow this to consume me which it easily could my life would go away from seeing the positive side of life and what there is to enjoy from it. Life is way to short to be all consumed within the negative and the worry. I think its a learning process in how we make sense of our situation and we continually evolve to live more positively or negatively however we choose.... I choose to see the lighter side of life and work at keeping it that way. Your daughter and husband are so lucky to have a wonderful loving and concerned mother. Thats a lot more then a great deal of children have in this world.