Expecting our Little Brother in November!

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Monday, January 31, 2011

In Which I hide my Anxiety Behind a Facade of Carefree

James was 10 weeks on Friday. This felt like a victory to me, because weeks 8-10 is the peak time for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

I feel like since I got pregnant I've been anticipating disaster--maybe it's an infertility thing--after taking three years to get pregnant, and suffering repeated early pregnancy loss (something like 7 chemical pregnancies and 1 miscarriage), it's just so hard to believe this is really it. And you'd think I'd have gotten over it when:

-I hit the first trimester (13 weeks gestation), or
-When I passed viability (24 weeks gestation), or
-When James was full-term (37 weeks gestation), or, say
-When he was born

And it's true that each of these milestones brought relief, but then I was just worried about:

-Late term miscarriage, or
-Premature birth, or
-Stillbirth, and, now,

In fact, I still feel like I am guarding my heart, trying not to get too attached (though I obviously am, anyway). I am still thinking that something could go wrong, and I want to be prepared for it.

Sometimes I feel like I can't picture him being 3 or 5 or something and I wonder if that means something--even though other times, I do picture him being older . . .

I was starting to feel a bit more confident that "this was really it" when James was around a month old--we had made it through the birth and he seemed to get more lively and personable every day. But my fear was reignited when we heard at my Midwife's Christmas party that one of her clients had "lost" her baby at 3 months old. I don't know if it was SIDS, I couldn't ask--it was obviously very painful for my midwife. But it was still so so awful to think about.

So of course in order to make myself feel better, I researched.

For back-sleepers (or since the Back to Sleep initiative got good hold), the incidence of SIDS is about 1/2000. And there are many things one can do to further reduce the risk: Not smoke, breastfeed, maintain a safe sleeping environment (firm mattress, no pillows or blankets), sleeping in the same room as the baby, etc.

SIDS peaks between weeks 8-10, and then the risk falls to zero at one year.

So it did help me to read about this--to note that statistically, it is very rare, and that I am doing everything I can to reduce the risk. Of course, when I did this research, James was about 6-7 weeks old, so I've been on pins and needles--checking him compulsively when he is sleeping in another room . . .

Sometimes in the evening when we are downstairs and James is already asleep for the night upstairs, James (the hubby) will go to check on him. My heart pounds until he returns, or better yet, calls down that he is fine. Sometimes he takes too long, and my mind jumps to scenarios--if the baby was gray and not breathing, what would James do? Would he scream? Would he yell at me to call 911? Would he grab James and shake him?

It is just awful. I'm definitely anxious by nature so I'm used to these patterns of thought, but I can tell you right now that I won't really relax until he is a year old.

It's funny, too, because in other ways I am so nonchalant. I don't have any issue with people holding him, I didn't worry about his neck when he was a bobble-head, I'm not scared of him rolling off of the couch, getting scratched, etc. But apparently I'm just spending up all my worry on the rare but awful scenarios instead . . .



Karen said...

I could have written this. My James is 14 weeks tomorrow, and I have small panic attacks every time I have to go to sleep, because I can't check on him every 10 minutes. My son Ryan turned six years old last week, and I still worry something is going to happen to him (the snow banks at the end of our driveway are huge and we are in a blind curve, and I am scared when we pull out, someone will hit us right where Ryan sits...that's my current freak-out). The anxiety never goes away, but you learn to control it and co-exist with it.

Iris Savea said...

Eirik is 10 months old... i STLL check on him... when he goes down, before i go to bed, if he has slept for 3 hours straight... whenever we made a major change it was worse. the first few weeks he was in his crib i was probably up eveyr hour... now we tend to put a blanket over him becuase its cold. I know hes got good head movement and isn't going to suffocate, but i still freak out. When he started sleeping on his stomach i spent a few weeks trying to roll him over. I think its natural mommy anxiety! Just know you're not alone!

Amy said...

Totally normal. Jensen is a year old and I still can't go to sleep until I hear him move, or make a noise, or even just breathe heavy. You never get over the anxiety sorry to say.

Saffron Viola said...

I know how you feel.....I have a 2 1/2 yr old daughter and a 2week old son, and I can't ever picture them outside the age they are now.....I guess with my 3 miscarriages, I sometimes find it hard to look outside the box, and now after getting my tubes tied at the hospital, I fear it even more that something will go wrong, and know I will not be able to have a child of my own again. God has been so great to me over the years, and I have put my faith in him, to know what is best, and why the things in my life have played out as they did. I'm a light sleeper and have tuned into all of my kids sleeping patterns, and begin to worry myself when they sleep to long....I just pray that things will go alright for my family. You would not be a good mom if you did not worry, even a little....:D

laurengould said...

Yeah, sometimes when I think about things like this, I am amazed that all mothers are not crazy-lunatics worriers like, say, Mrs. Weasley. And I think as a parent, the worries can never go away, they just change and you will adjust.

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