Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sleep Wars

Two nights ago, Gwen's Angelcare alarm went off. This is the monitor that has a sensor under the crib mattress, sensitive enough to read her breathing movements. If there is no breathing for 30 seconds, the alarm goes off. This happened at 2:45am.

EVERYTHING IS ABSOLUTELY FINE. But at the time, it was without a shred of exaggeration the most terrifying moment of my life.

Gwen was on her side pressed up against the crib bumper (more on this in a minute). Chris started unswaddling her, saying "Wake up baby, wake up" while I turned off the monitor. By the time we got there, though, she had already started breathing on her own: the alarm wasn't sounding anymore. And despite Chris's pleas to wake up, she was already awake, blinking in confusion at the light and the sudden appearance of her frazzled parents.

She was absolutely fine. She didn't even cry. Chris finished unswaddling her and then we took turns holding her to make sure she was alright, and sitting down to encourage our heartrates to return to normal. I nursed her for a while. Chris gave her a bottle he'd already had waiting since it was supposed to be his night to take the night feedings. Gwen showed no interest in sleeping, but then again she'd slept for nine hours before the alarm woke her up.


We were up for a couple of hours at that point, too anxious to get back to sleep. We finally got Gwen back to sleep sometime around 5am, and I made Chris move her from our bed back to the crib because there is no Angelcare monitor in our bed.

At 6:30am, the alarm went off again.

I'm ashamed to say that this time, I barely reacted, except to spit out some choice expletives. (It seems that the more I actually care about something, the milder my language is: the first time the alarm sounded, all I could say was "Oh my goodness" over and over.) Chris went into the nursery and found Gwen flipped onto her tummy. He brought her back into our bed to nurse.

So, here's what we think happened.

The Angelcare sensor rests on a piece of plywood that is, for some reason, not quite the entire size of the crib mattress. At 2:45am, Gwen had rolled over far enough to be off the plywood, thus out of range of the sensor. She didn't stop breathing at all.

At 6:30am, however, she was smack-dab in the middle of the crib and thus fully in the sensor's range. We think she actually did stop breathing briefly, because she had flipped herself onto her front and her face was pressed into the mattress. Why babies don't just open their mouths in cases like this is beyond me. But I guess that's why products like the Angelcare exist.

(Yes, I do feel like the ultimate crappy mom for responding to the first (false) alarm and not the second (true) one. I suck.)

So, to sum up sleeptimes recently:
Tuesday Oct 14 (swaddled, in crib and sometimes swing): 3 hrs - 2 hours - 2 hours - 2 hours
Wednesday Oct 15 (swaddled, in crib, and with a serving of rice cereal for dinner): 6 hours - 3 hours - 2 hours
Thursday Oct 16 (swaddled, in crib, and with rice cereal for dinner): 9 hours, alarm goes off, 1.5 hours, alarm goes off, 1 hour
Friday Oct 17 (unswaddled, in crib, rice cereal): 2.5 hours - 1.5 hours - 2.5 hours - 2 hours

Anyway, last night Gwen slept all night in her own crib with no alarms sounding, so we are fairly certain we've correctly decoded the events of the previous night. So here is our dilemma.

When Gwen is swaddled, it is more difficult for her to roll onto her tummy, but she can still do it. However, if she does roll onto her front, she cannot roll back again. (She has a hard time rolling from front-to-back even when fully awake - it's a very rare occurence.)

On the other hand, if we leave her unswaddled, she is more likely to roll from her back to her front, and had only a slightly improved chance of being able to roll back over again. Oh, and also, she sleeps like crap.

After two full days of sleep logging (we're only supposed to do one, but the alarms going off inspired us to start from scratch the next day) the one thing I'm sure off is that Gwen is getting super-resistant to sleep. She is taking longer and longer to "put down" either for naps or for bed - sometimes three hours or more. I keep telling her that this is unacceptable, but she's just not listening.

(Yes, we need the crib bumpers, because before we put them on we would often find her with her leg through the bars or hear her crying from bumping her head on the wood. We reasoned that since she is old enough to roll over, she's old enough not to get herself in stupid situations. Yeah, not so much.)

1 comment:

Amberism said...

Sleep bumpers make me SO nervous that I can't use them. I feel like my own nervousness is just bringing the bad omens, you know?

I had a receiving blanket casually (carelessly?) tossed over the Claire's crib for, uh, a couple of weeks at least. We also toss her blankets at the end of the crib and don't always pile them on top of her (instead of swaddling I use the two-three baby blanket method, the theory being, it's heavy and restricts movement - yeah, not so much). Anyway, this morning I went to get her for her morning feed (she was calling for me) and the receiving blanket was wrapped around HER NECK. Moment of panic, for sure. I'll be more diligent from now on about the blankets.

I've also had to rescue her from the leg-through-bars or head thumping, but she seems to have figured that out and has stopped doing it lately.

Anyway, girl babies just hate their mothers. This is my new theory because Claire has the same sleep routine as my friend's SIX WEEK OLD. I am up as often as she is and Claire is freaking SIX MONTHS OLD. Seriously, Callum slept 12 hours SOLID at 6 months, unless he was teething. SOLID. I haven't had more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep since she was born.

I apologize for the all caps, but I'm tired!


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