On Christmas Eve last year, I had a terrifying experience with Isaiah. We’d been asleep for a while when my phone went off. I’d accidentally forgotten to silence it and was anything but pleased to be wakened in the middle of the night. It was a friend saying “merry Christmas” so apparently it was some time after midnight. I didn’t check, I just wanted to go back to sleep.
Before I could fall asleep again, Isaiah made a funny noise and stopped breathing. After waiting a few seconds, figuring he’d start again (it’s normal for babies–and adults–to stop breathing for brief periods when they sleep), I decided that I needed to wake him. It took some effort to get him to wake up and start breathing again. It was so terrifying! I’m very certain that if I hadn’t had him in bed with me that night, he would have died. I honestly don’t think he would have wakened on his own.
This experience changed some of my thoughts on co-sleeping. I’d been doing it mostly because it allowed me to sleep more. Not that more sleep is a bad reason, it just isn’t the only reason by any means. After that night, I realized that there are things co-sleeping does that putting a baby in a crib in another room can’t. It allowed me to be aware of a problem immediately and act to fix it. Had Isaiah been in another room, I probably wouldn’t have even known that he’d stopped breathing until morning.
Now, even if Isaiah had started breathing again on his own, not breathing for longer periods during the night is an issue that needed to be addressed. Because he was with me, I was aware of it and was able to talk to the doctor about it immediately. The doctor was concerned, too, and immediately got a breathing monitor delivered to my house for Isaiah to use when he slept.
Isaiah wore the monitor for several months. At first, he set off the breathing alarm frequently. As he got older, the alarm went off less. By the time we got in to see the specialist, his nighttime breathing was “within normal ranges.” I had trouble relaxing the first while without the monitor, but his breathing has been fine since. This experience has, however, solidified my belief that co-sleeping is best for me and my babies.
Just a quick update. I’d forgotten about this post, or I would have written something sooner. In 2012, Isaiah was very sick. He battled tonsillitis for months. Nothing we tried helped. He’d get through a round of antibiotic and be sick again within a week. After a couple visits to the doctor, he referred us to an ENT to talk about removing Isaiah’s tonsils. The referral took a while, then the surgery was scheduled a month after that, so by then, Isaiah had been sick for about 4 months. He’d lost 10 pounds (1/3 of his total body weight, which had everyone concerned) because he’d been completely unable to eat. He was almost entirely on a liquid diet, so I was grateful that I’d been informed about extended breastfeeding. He may not have made it otherwise.
Through all of this, he’d still been having breathing problems at night. When I mentioned that to the ENT, he told me that the chances were, his tonsils were the cause. He determined at our first appointment that Isaiah’s tonsils were much larger than average, even when healthy. In June, Isaiah had surgery and his tonsils and adenoids were removed. Since that time, he eats better, hasn’t stopped breathing in his sleep and has barely been sick. This is a complete 180* from where we were before the surgery. I’m so glad that he made it far enough to find out what was causing the breathing problems and have them solved. And I’m so happy to see all the other things that were helped by this one thing.