As I was on my way to work this morning I replayed the horrifying event in my head that recently happened to our family. This awful memory has occupied 100% of my mind for the past six days. I can't seem to simply shake it off, because it was a life altering occurrence.
At first I was not sure why I made the decision to share this story with the internet, as the only two others I've confided in are my Mother and Sister. As I told the story to the two of them on Saturday afternoon, I realized that the pain was too new and deep to revisit the situation. I didn't want to believe that my worst nightmare almost became a reality. Both times that I told the story I got a knot in my stomach as I fought back the tears and by the time I hung up the phone I felt as if I had been hit by a train.
As you can see, this is not easy describing to you guys what happened on this gruesome day. Deep down, I think I'm afraid of the judgment from my readers. I have already beat myself up over this, so go ahead and judge me if you would like, because it's not humanly possible to feel worse than I feel at this very moment. I look at it like this; it's worth losing every ounce of my pride in order to bring awareness to other parents out there.
I've decided that I want to share my experience with you guys for three reasons:
#1. I hope that by writing down my feelings, I will be able to get my agony out and into the open. Somewhere other than in my mind, where it haunts me the most. Basically, I hope this will bring the panic that I have felt everyday since the occurrence to a standstill.
#2. I recently noticed that I frequently discuss the happy events in my life on this little blog of mine. This is deceiving, because really though, I'm an ordinary girl who makes mistakes. Just like everyone else, I have good and bad days but most often I choose to only share the good. I would hate for my readers to think that every day of my life is filled with blissful sunshine, a perfect husband and a constantly happy baby...because it's so not!
#3. The main reason for this post is for my sanity. I will be able to sleep better at night knowing that there is a possibility that I prevented this from happening to someone else's child. I wish for my tragedy to raise awareness!
Ready, here I go.
This is going to be a long post, so bear with me. This bit of information may seem irrelevant right now, but just go with it. A while back I realized that I was not sleeping well at night because there were two huge creases in the bed where Jonathan and I lay each night. I knew it's not feasible to flip our mattress, as it has a plush pillow top that must face upward. Well, a few weeks ago, I found out that king beds are "practically" square, therefore we should simply turn our mattress on the quarter to smooth out the droopy spots. After learning this, I went home and rotated our mattress 90 degrees. I noticed a gap at the foot of the bed, but I didn't think anything of it.
Do you remember that I blogged on Friday about it being one of the best days of my life? Well, in a matter of 9 hours my delightful day turned into the most frightening day ever.
Friday night we had friends over for dinner and games. Cole was asleep in his crib and it was time for our friend's baby to go to sleep. Instead of retrieving the pack-and-play from the back of the closet, I decided to take the easy way out. The parents of the baby offered many times to help get out and set up the pack-and-play, but I refused. They even offered to run next door and grab their pack-and-play. As most of you know, I'm stubborn and I didn't want to cause an inconvenience for our guests. I decided to transfer Cole from his crib to our bed so that our friend's baby could go down in the crib. At the time, it was not even an issue because we have allowed Cole to sleep in our bed on numerous occasions. I have even been so stupid in the past that I have let him sleep in our bed just for fun, even when his crib was not occupied. I know every book in America says that it's a bad habit to form, but I thought it would be ok .... just this once. He didn't even wake up as I transformed our bed into what I thought was a safe sleeping area. Cole was not crawling yet, so I thought he would be just fine. I even surrounded his little body with big barrier pillows just in case.
The evening came to an end and our guests went home; Jonathan and I finished cleaning up the remainder of the dishes. Once we were done I sat down on the couch to watch TV, but Jonathan decided to go upstairs to check on Cole. Thank God he did!
Jonathan shrieked "LANE"! I could tell by the tone in his voice that something was terribly wrong. I ran upstairs to find Jonathan cradling Cole in his arms; he was crying but at the same time gasping for air. His little body was pale and his face was swollen, but his eyes were especially puffy. I took Cole from Jonathan's arms and held him to my chest. At this time he was vomiting all over us. It wasn't the usual spit up, it was a massive upchuck, which my son had never done before. My knees began to feel week and I collapsed onto the floor embracing my baby. We were covered in puke, but that's the last thing on my mind. Jonathan ran downstairs to call 911. Just as he got back upstairs with the phone, Cole's cries began to come to an end. He calmed down enough for us to check him over and make sure he was going to be alright. His breathing became steady but he was shivering. I don't think he was cold; I believe he was shivering because of the trauma and shock he had encountered. Jonathan filled up the bath tub with warm water and Cole and I sat in the bath for a good twenty minutes. He got his color back and started to act like himself again. He even started to chuckle at us, but Jonathan and I were so distraught and the last thing we could do was laugh along with him.
All Jonathan and I could do was cry. We could not believe what had happened to our child. We literally sat in silence as tears fell from our eyes until the wee hours of the morning.
Cole finally fell asleep in Jonathan's arms as he rocked in the glider. Pook kissed his baby goodnight and placed him in his crib. That night I woke up almost every 30 minutes in a cold sweat. I would run into Cole's nursery and make sure he was ok. Finally, I gave up and brought my pillow and a blanket into Cole's room and slept on the floor next to his crib. Cole was in a deep sleep and it was comforting for me to hear his little baby snores.
We discovered that the small crack that was once at the foot of the bed was no longer there. Instead there was a large gap at the head of the bed, which I didn't notice as I put Cole to bed earlier that night. Cole must have scooted his way up and wedged himself between the mattress and the head board. I assume we couldn't hear him because his cries were muffled by the mattress. We are not sure how long he was stuck in the crack, but all we can do is hope that it was not for long.
Cole woke up Saturday morning as the bright, carefree and pleasant baby that he is. You would have never been able to tell that he was fighting for his life the previous night. I don't think Cole even remembers what happened (well at least I hope) and overall I think the incident had a greater impact on Jonathan and I. My baby boy is definitely a fighter and I'm so glad that he decided to hang on until Jonathan found him. I thank God that the outcome was not any worse than it already was.
I am not placing judgment on those who co-sleep with their baby, but please let this horrible incident bring you awareness. Please do not make the same mistake that I did. We are lucky and I thank God for the outcome He chose for us on that particular night. I will be the first to admit that I love falling asleep next to my snuggly baby, but after this experience I realize that it's a risk that I am not willing to take ever again!
I will not go as far to say that I have completely failed as a mother. But I will admit that I got pretty darn close. What was I possibly thinking? How could I have been so STUPID?