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.