10 seconds of sheer terror

I came across a horrific story out of Michigan about a month-old baby who died while sleeping with his parents.

That was always a huge fear of mine, even though The Hurricane never did and still doesn’t have any inclination to sleep in the same bed as us.

I remember either the first or second night we had her home from the hospital. With all the grandparents around, and a new Mommy trying to bond with her baby, I hadn’t had a lot of time with my new daughter. So, after a feeding, I sent an exhausted Boss to bed, put on the movie The Last Samurai, found a comfortable spot sitting up on the couch, and snuggled with my new baby, who was sleeping soundly.

Well into the movie, I realized The Hurricane, who was swaddled and cradled in my arms, hadn’t moved for a while – not a leg kick, finger bend or little cry – and I started to panic. I remember trying to rouse her while we were still sitting on the couch, but she didn’t respond to anything I did, which admittedly wasn’t much because you can’t exactly shake a baby awake or flick their ears when they’re less than two days out of the womb.

I then remember leaping to my feet and calling her name, doing what I could to wake her up – to get some sort of response – without completely losing my mind. All I could think of was that I had suffocated her against my chest while I watched a fucking movie, and I didn’t deserve to be a parent, and I could never forgive myself for this horrific act of irresponsibility …

And then she woke up. I don’t think she started crying, but just made a peep, just enough to let me know she was OK, and I had over-reacted to a soundly sleeping baby.

What I do remember clearly is the greatest sense of relief I have ever felt – it washed over me like a rolling wave in a warm ocean. I sat back down on the couch with her, stunned, my heart racing.

I hugged her tight, but made double-sure she was still breathing.

I know it was the scariest 10 seconds of my life, and I can’t imagine the pain, and guilt, and self-loathing, and sadness, and heartache those young parents in Michigan are feeling today.


5 Responses to 10 seconds of sheer terror

  1. That’s just horrible.

    I remember when mine were new and shiny, I always freaked out when I couldn’t hear them breathing or making noises over the baby monitor. I would run into their rooms and put my ear close to their mouth and would get a HUGE sense of relief when they made a sound.

    I’ve had many times having a sleeping baby on me while watching TV. Sometimes it’s the only way to get them to calm down if they are fussy. They like the warmth and the sound of your heart beat.

    • 1sttimedad says:

      @ Super Mega Dad

      Oh yeah, I forgot about the monitor-to-the-ear trick. We did that constantly when we’d be downstairs and she was in bed. It’s amazing how paranoid you get. I still get that fear whenever she’s going up and down the stairs.

  2. Eric says:

    I seriously think that will be me…
    I have heard “dont wake a sleeping baby,” but F%*$ that…
    if I am afraid my child isn’t breathing… I think I would do as much as a I could do CONFIRM he was alive! HORROR man, horror…

    • 1sttimedad says:

      @ Eric

      And just wait until the first time he sleeps through the night … it’s nuts but so many horrible things go through your mind when they alter from the schedule. After the first couple of times it goes away though.

      @ James Austin

      Hate to even think about it.

  3. James Austin says:

    That is seriously scary stuff. I couldn’t even imagine.

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