She’s still breathing

Instinctually I am listening for the sound of her breathing or to the
sound of her swallowing, and if those noises sound okay then Iím
listening to the sounds of the house to make sure monsters donít come
out of the walls to hurt her
.”

I’ve talked about my much less severe version of this before but can’t remember if I’ve
written about it. When you become a parent you stop sleeping, or
you learn so sleep with your ears open. With our first child I
remember being awake in the middle of the night, lying in bed thinking
about the horror I would experience if we woke up in the morning and
our daughter wasn’t breathing. After some period of time sitting
there awake and worrying I would get up out of bed, walk to the nursery
to check and make sure she was still breathing. And then spend
some time there watching her continue to breathe until I felt safe in
letting her stay they breathing so I could go back to bed.

Some
of this stemmed from a neighbor we had whose baby would stop breathing
durning the night. They had some sort of monitor that would alert
them when the baby stopped breathing and they would rush to wake the baby up and
get the breathing started again. And there is a whole other story
about the a-hole that lived in the next unit and called the police
accusing these poor parents of child abuse because they wouldn’t close
their windows on the odd occasions when the baby was crying itself to
sleep.

That heightened sense of awareness has returned (or perhaps never
really left) so that now when the girls are sick and cough or sniffle
at night I hear them and sit awake in bed wondering if there isn’t something I could do, some
medicine I should give them to help their symptoms so they can get back
to sleep. The end result is the girls are actually sleeping
through the night and I sit up all night worrying that they aren’t
getting sleep 🙂

And then when Chelsey was becoming a toddler she would fall out of bed
at night. I would hear the “thump” and bolt out of bed and rush
to her room expecting some sort of bloody horror from having hit her
head on the night stand or something. She was usually just
sleeping there still on the floor. We would put her back in bed
and I would go back to bed, heart racing a 1000 mph and try to get back
to sleep. The worst would be when I would hear the “thud” rush
into their rooms and both were sleeping soundly still in their beds.

And did I ever tell you about the time when Cindy gets up out of bed in
the middle of the night, starts walking towards the girls room, not
responding to any of my questioning as to what she is doing, only to
get to the hallway by the girls room, make some very strange hitching
or hiccuping breathing sounds and proceeds to fall backwards into my
arms and falls unconscious. I don’t think I’ve ever been that
terrified in my life.

Breathing and sleep are wonderful things. I look forward to the
days when I can sleep that deep dream filled sleep through the night.

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