I Always Think My Baby is Dead

Yesterday my shower was cut short.

The phone wasn’t ringing. The dog wasn’t barking. The doorbell hadn’t rung. The baby wasn’t crying…

Well, that was the problem. The baby wasn’t crying.  I had put her safely into the exersaucer, where she was happily bouncing. I had the dog with me in the bathroom with the door closed, so there was no chance of him getting near her. I was all set. Perfect. But somehow, in the 3 minutes that I had spent in the shower, I had convinced myself that someway, somehow, she was either in the process of dying or dead. Had she choked on her spit up? Did she face-plant the toy and get stabbed in the eye? Is she suffocating on Sophie? Had she passed out? I admit that even on the best of days my imagination can get the best of me, but do I really need to add this to my list of worries? No, but I am guessing (from my limited experience) that THIS IS MOTHERHOOD.

I say that because incidents of this nature, though different in their specific details, are a very common occurrence these days. You can give me any situation, and in my mind I will find a way where it is entirely possible, and even likely, that a mother might find herself with a dead baby.

My daughter is the most important thing in my little world to me. I would never leave her, anywhere. She’s the first thing I think about in a day, and the last too. So, why would I leave her at Dollarama? Well, the answer is that I wouldn’t, and I didn’t, just to be clear. But for a split second when I was driving home tonight (before I turned around to check), I convinced myself that when I set down her carrier at the cash register, I had left her there and only took my purchases with me. That’s logical right?

I am a pretty laid back person, most would agree. I’m laidback most of the time, except for when I am not, and in those times I suffer from a condition called O.C.P.C.D, which is better known as Obsessive Compulsive Pulse Checking Disorder. It’s real, and it’s serious.

 I have been having a really hard time getting my daughter to nap during the day. I have tried everything, short of medicating her and letting her “cry it out”. Lately if she naps at all, it is right after nursing and she sleeps on me, until the moment I lay her down somewhere else and she wakes up immediately. So, you can understand how excited I was when I laid her in her crib, (of all places) and she didn’t wake up.  For the first 20 minutes it was just pure excitement…the thrill! I didn’t know what to do with myself, as I was half expecting her to wake up every five minutes, and just waiting outside her door waiting for a cry. After that, I started doing some things around the house, and was feeling quite accomplished for quite a while. And then, suddenly it hit me. Maybe she is dead. That’s why she’s ‘sleeping’ so well! Now we’ll just say that altogether she napped for 3.5 hours and after the first hour, I checked every 20 minutes to make sure she was still breathing. I was watching her tummy, watching her face, listening for breaths. You name it and I was doing it.

This reminds me of the first time she slept through the night. Actually no, it was more like the first time I woke up before her, and she was still sleeping. Panic! She’s not crying to be nursed, and something horrible has happened. Nope, she’s just sleeping like all humans do, and she’s fine.

It’s just crazy… How we automatically assume the worst in any given situation, and then blame ourselves for whichever imaginary situation we’ve come up with in our minds. I can’t even describe the depths of the words ‘a crying baby is a breathing baby’, and what they now mean to me.

One time…one time, I left her playing on her mat in the kitchen while I went to the bathroom, which was 6 feet away, with the door open. In the 30 seconds I was in there I’d convinced myself that my ridiculously calm, gentle dog had had his way with her and that I’d be making headlines the next day in the news. None of which proved to be true. The dog was fast asleep on the next floor up, just like he was when I went in the bathroom.

Oh, and not to mention co-sleeping. I mean, yeah, most of the time (actually all the time as I turns out) it’s fine and I am totally aware of where I am, and where she is and make sure not to have blankets near her etc. We don’t co-sleep all the time, but hey, once and a while it’s quite lovely just to snuggle back into bed with her instead of being up for an hour feeding in the middle of the night, in a cold rocking chair, in a lonely room just waiting to crawl back into bed. But the other night, for some reason I woke up after being wrapped and snuggled up like a bug in a rug with my giant heavy down-filled duvet. In my sleepy slumber I thought I had her in bed with me and thought she was lost somewhere in the blankets not breathing.  This of course was not true, not has ever been close to true, as I always sleep with her in a safe place, and away form any blankets of the sort.

None of this matters though. Logic is no longer logic, because the worry is incessant. It doesn’t matter what makes sense, what is likely, what is unlikely, what is probable, what is possible, what is common, what is not common…all that matters is that I am her mother, her protector, her source of food, her calm, the one who grew her, her biggest fan, and the one who will fight for her to have a full life and be the best she can be of whatever she is going to be. I am the cheerleader of her life. There is no one who will care for her more than I will care for her. No person who will love her more unconditionally than I will. I am her mama bear.

Right now it’s early days. Heck, it’s only been 5 months. But it’s amazing how many times in 5 months you can worry sick about what something means or doesn’t mean, what you’ve done that’s hurtful or helpful, or whether your baby girl is breathing or not breathing. That’s my job though, and as crazy as it is, and as crazy I am, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a good thing because I have a feeling it’s going to be like this for a long long time!


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