Wow, I can honestly say that I would have never thought that I would be someone who could ever give some insight into SIDS but here I am……
On January 16, 2017 after fertility treatments I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I had made it to term (37 weeks) and was looking forward to my new experience of having a full term baby as my previous girl was a preemie and spent a few weeks in the NICU. On January 18th, 2017 our new addition was sent home and we started this new life as a family of 4. We had a few hiccups with breastfeeding and weight gain, but I thought we were on the mend and things were going well.
At 10 days old after midnight I woke up in the complete dark and just knew something was off. I told my husband that our baby was not breathing and was hysterically trying to feel around for her so that I could pass her to my husband and turn on the lights. His first reaction was to tell me to calm down until he saw this blue, limp unresponsive baby in his arms.
My husband and I were told to take infant CPR with our first preemie child and those tools helped my husband to get our baby girl breathing just enough to hold her over until Oxygen came. He was able to stay calm and get her breathing. Once we got oxygen, our baby although in clear distress started to react to touch and become responsive again.
Upon further testing at the hospital Norah was diagnosed with periodic breathing and underdeveloped lungs and was put on Oxygen 24/7 for close to 5 months until she could acceptably pass a sleep study. I asked what would happen if I didn’t wake up and catch this and the pediatric respirologist suggested that it most likely would have been a case of unexplained death…. SIDS!
Why am I telling you this? Well firstly it has taken me this long to be able to talk about it and secondly, I think it is important to share our stories so that maybe we can stop this from happening to more babies. Knowledge and awareness is power.
So, what were my clues? 1. Looking back nurses never just took one set of vitals at the hospital they would always try a few times until they got a number that they were satisfied with (And believe me they were all dedicated awesome nurses!). 2. Norah had blue feet and hands for quite a while after birth. When I asked about this both times I was told that it takes a bit of time for circulation to get moving in babies’ extremities. Looking back, I should have pressed on this. And 3. I wish I would have pressed or asked about an injection of steroids for lung development. 4. A common symptom of breathing difficulties is failure to thrive. Or babies experiencing troubles gaining weight because they are putting so much energy into breathing. We had experiences this with little Norah from day one! October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, it is time we share our stories of survival and love!