So last week I wrote a blog post about my irritation with parents who place their infant bucket seats on top of grocery carts. "What are they thinking?" I wondered, "how could they possibly think that is safe- what would happen if the baby fell?"
Lucy is teething right now- getting her 4 top teeth in all at once. She's in rare form: not sleeping well, irritable, not wanting to eat. On Wednesday night she woke up around 10 pm- she goes to bed normally between 6:30-7:00. It's really unusual for her to "wake up," she might stir a bit, want to nurse, etc, but she rarely actually sits up in bed and wants attention.
Anyway, it was time for me to go to bed, so I thought, I'll just nurse her back to sleep and we'll go to sleep together. I should also add at this point that Lucy is a very quiet, still sleeper- she never rolls around or otherwise moves in bed at night. That's part of the reason why bed-sharing with her is such a dream. So I climb into bed, nurse her back to sleep, and we drift off to sleep- or so I thought. I was out like a light when I heard it:
I immediately woke up. My heart stopped as I heard my poor baby begin SCREAMING like I've never heard her scream before. I KNEW what had just happened- Lucy had fallen out of bed onto the floor. I jumped out of bed, grabbed her off the floor (she was laying on her back) and had her in my arms before Brett even made it into our room from the living room. I have never been so scared in my life.
Thank God she was okay. I was initially all for taking her to the ER, but after I calmed down some and we looked her over, we ended up staying home. She had not a bump, not a bruise, no swelling. No signs of dizziness or disorientation. She could move all her limbs, didn't seem to be in pain when I moved her. Lucy's pupils responded to light, and just a minute later she went from crying to playing happily again. We monitored her for any signs of vomiting or diarrhea, but ultimately, she is fine.
As for me? Oh, the guilt! I had been bugging Brett for a couple weeks about taking our mattress off the frame and putting it on the floor- when it's on the frame, the top of the mattress is at the top of my hip- probably three feet up from our hardwood floors. I felt extremely guilty about not convincing Brett to lower the bed earlier; he wanted to move her straight to her crib, but I wasn't ready for it. After all, she almost exclusively nurses at night now. Also, I felt terrible that she fell WHILE I WAS THERE. Whenever it's just me, as in Brett isn't in bed yet, I stack pillows around her other side, but clearly Lucy was able to climb over them.
The very next day, we took our bed off the frame. Further, we placed Lucy's crib mattress on the floor, between our bed and the wall. Add in a baby gate at the end of her mattress and you have what we call "the baby cave." This is my compromise with Brett- Lucy gets her own "sleep surface" so we can gradually move her into her crib, and I get to keep sleeping with her nearby.
The "baby cave"
It's really an ideal set-up. I nurse her to sleep, move her to her mattress. If she wakes up, I can reach over and pull her into our bed to nurse (and we often just fall back to sleep together in our bed). She is also able to pull herself to standing and reach me to wake me up.
We're working towards ultimately having Lucy sleep in her own bed, because I don't believe bed-sharing with a newborn and a toddler to be safe, and I don't think I could manage night-nursing two children at once. I definitely need to work on my own anxiety, though- I can't bear the thought of having her in the other room all night. I worry a lot: that she'll somehow become trapped in her crib, that she'll throw herself out and hit her head, that she'll be hurt in some kind of freak accident that would have been avoided had be still been bed-sharing.
I have no clue how some mamas are able to put their newborns in cribs in their own nurseries from the start. Please don't misunderstand me- I'm not judging here. I just trust my own instincts, and I worry about things like SIDS. The other day I was reading a magazine and saw a print ad for a device that alerts you when your baby doesn't move for a given amount of time. To my way of thinking, if I was worried enough about SIDS to consider buying such a device, I would prefer to bed-share instead. When Lucy was an infant, she never needed to cry at night when she was hungry, because I always woke up when she started to stir and her breathing changed. I trust my mama instinct over a monitor any day.