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Friday, May 24, 2013

My Baby Sleeps Too Much

I've been asking around, and the general consensus is that a baby cannot sleep too much. So when I say he sleeps too much, I mean for me.

Since becoming a mom, I've hesitated when I begin to tell another mom about my sibling that died in 1992. I hesitate because now I think about how terrifying the story must be for other mothers.

What I can tell you that will hopefully relieve some of the worry in this story is that the condition my sister was born with has been studied much more since she died, and is now included in many mandatory newborn screens. I was very relieved to see it listed in the pamphlet the hospital gave us that outlined everything they were testing for.

I'm not a doctor, but the best I can explain is that my sister received her four month vaccinations and had a reaction to them because of her metabolic condition. I cannot explain the medical details because I don't clearly understand them. Because of the nature of her death, it was considered SIDS.

The grief of a five year old is something that is difficult for me to explain, and I know it is difficult for others to understand. The main emotion that a child (in my personal experience) feels is confusion. I remember vividly that I felt like I needed to act more sad because everyone around me was sad. I remember not crying, but feeling like I should. I remember having fun playing in the funeral home lounge.

What I don't remember is much afterward. My mom has told me some of the questions that I asked, and to be honest they were pretty morbid. I know that my little mind was just trying to make sense of what had happened, but even now it breaks my heart to think of what my parents went through trying to explain it to me. And just in general, it breaks my heart to think of what my parents went through.

Without consciously being aware of it, my mind coped in many different ways. Until I was a teen, there were only two friends that I felt comfortable with staying the night. I hated being away from my parents because when I was, I would worry that they were going to die too.

My parents never had another child, and didn't adopt until I was an adult. This left me terrified of babies for most of my life. As a teen I didn't think I would ever want to be a mom. It didn't occur to me at the time, but I didn't like babies because I was afraid of them. Even babysitting older children, I would have to check on them obsessively to make sure they were still breathing.

And then my brothers were born. I was forced to share my personal space with a newborn, and then a year later, another newborn. My brothers' presence made me get over my fear of babies. Once I fell in love with them, I was terrified to lose them. I would often go into their room to check on them, but only if they were quiet. Because if they were crying, I knew they were alive.

That is why it bothers me so much that Isaiah sleeps so often. If he's awake and looking at me, I know he's alive.


  1. I can't even imagine experiencing this..as a sibling or parent. I"m glad it is a condition that is studied more so families have less of a chance of experiencing the same thing.

    1. It was really hard, but thankfully as Isaiah is getting older it isn't so present in my mind. I don't know how my parents made it. I can't even imagine.

  2. After my aunt had the scare of her life when my cousin stopped breathing a month or so ago, I began thinking about this too. I know the monitor she gets while sleeping helps give them SOME peace of mind. But I guess it's just the motherhood thing... a piece of your heart living outside your body! And I'm so happy that research has been done on your sister's condition! You can't change what happened but I'm sure like you said, it's nice knowing there is an awareness now to help keep it from happening to other children.

    1. Motherhood is so scary. I wasn't prepared for that part!!



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