Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rolling Over, Oh My

SIDS. A term that strikes terror in my heart. As the name implies, SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant who is younger than one year old. It's a frightening prospect because it can strike without warning, usually in seemingly healthy babies. Most SIDS deaths are associated with sleep (hence the common reference to "crib death") and infants who die of SIDS show no signs of suffering.

The other morning I was doing a happy dance getting ready for work as Elyse had slept all night and was still sleeping without even waking for her morning bottle. I was so happy and proud, until that terrible thought crept into my brain. Wait. Is she OK? That is strange she hasn't even made a peep. I better go check on her. It is amazing how I can go from celebrating to heart racing panic imagining the worst of circumstances that will not go away until I am reassured my daughter is OK. The only thing that gives me a bit of comfort - Bill worries just as much as me.

We've done our research. The following have been linked to an increased risk of SIDS:
  • smoking, drinking, or drug use during pregnancy;
  • poor prenatal care;
  • prematurity or low birth-weight;
  • tobacco smoke exposure following birth;
  • overheating from excessive sleepwear and bedding - including pillows, bumper pads, positioning devices and toys;
  • sleeping on their stomachs.
I took care of myself when I was pregnant. Elyse was full-term. We would never let anyone smoke near her. She only has a sheet in her crib - nothing else. No bumpers, blanket, toys, nothing. We keep a fan going to help with circulation in her room. She sleeps on her back... Well, until recently.

Bill and I are both aware that babies will eventually be rolling over and often you find them on their tummies. Everyone tells you, "It is OK once they know how to roll over." Our doctor has emphatically told us, "Always put her to sleep on her back until she is one, but it is OK if she rolls to her tummy." I get all that, but... It's my baby. I can't explain it to you. It terrifies me.

So, lately we've found her on her tummy. Often, what I'll do is go into her room before I go to bed and if she is on her tummy, I'll roll her back. It doesn't wake her up. It makes me feel better. It doesn't matter what anyone says. It doesn't matter that millions of parents (including friends of mine now) let their young babies sleep on their bellies because they tend to sleep better that way. While I have no judgment at all for those parents, it doesn't matter to me. For Bill and me, if there are rules we can follow that could help keep our baby safe, you can bet we will follow them. It just isn't worth the gamble to us.

Bill found her on her belly the other morning. I had rolled her over in the middle of the night, but we still found her this way. One thing is for sure, whether she's sleeping on her belly or back, no doubt this girl does wake up happy! Just the beginning of worrying about her daughter. Good thing she's more than worth it.

I apologize for the poor video quality!

video

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