March for Babies

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I've got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret,
or make me frown
I had strings
But now I'm free
There are no strings on me

Hi-ho the me-ri-o
That's the only way to go
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me

Hi-ho the me-ri-o
I'm as happy as can be
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me

I've got no strings
So I have fun
I'm not tied up to anyone
They've got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me

The monitor is officially FINALLY a thing of the past. The last two reports showed that she has gone two full months with "no patient events". This means that even though the alarms sounded off, she was actually fine, they were false alarms.

The irony of the monitor: It was there to keep her safe, to alert us when/if things went wrong with her heart or her breathing. All the experts will tell you that a baby’s crib should be free from loose blankets, stuffed animals and anything with a cord or ribbon longer than six inches to prevent strangulation or suffocation. Then they go and attach a ten-foot cord to her 24/7.

The bad part of the monitor: It is a ball and chain in the most obvious sense. You must drag it everywhere. It comes in a handy little shoulder bag but that is just one more thing. When it is plugged into the wall, you are stuck. When you are pacing with a crying baby you must be careful not to turn in circles or you will tie up your own feet. You must hold onto the cord so that the weight of the cord itself is not pulling on the leads which must be taped to the baby’s skin since the adhesive does not stick on its own. The skin will develop sores from being covered in tape all the time. No chance to breathe since the only time it is not covered by tape and leads is when the child is actually in the bathtub. You cannot lotion the skin or apply healing ointments because then the leads and tape will not stick next time. You will accidentally unplug the leads or let the battery run out setting off the alarm and scaring both the child and you. The monitor alarm sounds just like other noises in your daily life, which will scare the crap out of you. The smoke detector, a truck backing up, the microwave going off, that ringing in the pipes when you are in the shower and noises on TV will all make you jump in panic. You will suck in your breath and look for the baby each and every time you hear such a noise, even when the baby is not there.

The good part about the monitor: When the baby’s heart rate decelerates and she stops breathing and turns blue the alarm will go off to alert you that the baby needs help. Without that alarm you would not know until it was too late to intervene and you could lose her. That one instance in June has made these past five months of lugging that thing around worth it. The false alarms have done more psychological damage to T and me than anything else could have, but it was there when we really needed it.

What do we do now? We check her every few minutes and feel her chest rise and fall and listen to her sigh in her sleep and must reassure ourselves that she is Ok. She is free from her strings and she is a real live normal kid, just like Pinocchio.


Anonymous said...

Hi, first of all- congrats! I am the mother of a one month old. I am scared silly about SIDS so I got the angel care monitor - it beeps when it feels no vibrations after 15 seconds. Has not gone off yet - thank god. Here is my question - what do I do if it does go off? How do I revive my daughter? Since you have experience and since so many new moms read this blog could you post the proper steps to take? I would really appreicate it. Thanks! Maggie

Cat, Galloping said...

yay, congrats! i second the recommendation for the angel care monitor, for your peace of mind.

Miss W said...

Congratulations, Blue! My lowercase did not come home on any monitors, but I can assure you, I felt all those same fears when they took them off while still in NICU. "He needed it yesterday...but today he's fine? You're sure that that few event-free days means he's not going to have any more?"

Granted, you've had 2 months with no events...but, like you I would still be nervous.

It's going to take you a long time (it did for me, too) but eventually you will realize you have a baby who is just as normal as other babies in the basic life-sustaining areas (breathing, heart beating, etc.)

For me, it was easier to go cold turkey on things and just check him frequently. I kept him in my room beside my bed. I have a full-size bed in his room so I can stay there when he's in his own bed. And after months of waking up all the time to check...eventually you just don't. You will still worry, but you know you don't need to run and look every few minutes.

Again, congrats on going unplugged -- that's so huge! Beyond happy for you!

JJ said...

Wonderful Wonderful!

Susan P. said...

Yeay for Azure!!
What a big, big day.

It seems like years ago since our little guy was on the monitor, but's only been 2 months.

Happy Regular Breathing!!