Everyone has broken or bent a rule at some point in their life. You go five miles over the speed limit or don’t use your turn signal. Or maybe you go into the express line when you have more than ten items. I am no different. Despite not only knowing the bedsharing safety rules, but writing about them in detail on this site, I broke them. Hey, I never said I was perfect!
Rule Number One – Baby should sleep in between the parents
1. Baby should sleep in between the parents. You don’t want baby falling off onto the floor and cracking her head open. Nor do you want baby getting stuck in between the wall and the mattress. To protect from this, place baby in between you and your partner. If you sleep alone, then place a pillow between the wall and the mattress to prevent your baby from falling into the gap. Always sleep on the edge away from the wall, if applicable, so that baby can’t fall all the way to the ground.
I wrote that! But I guess, once you do something so many times without issues, you get a little cocky and let your guard down. Last night, the husband I spent an hour trying to get Baby to sleep in her crib, but every time we laid her down she started screaming. Eventually, we just threw in the the towel and brought her into our bedroom. We put her in between us and fell asleep as we had done many nights before. After an hour or so of sleeping, she started to rouse and and having already fed her on my left side, I moved her over to my right side and continued to nurse. At that point, the only thing in between Baby and the edge of the bed was my arm. If she rolled in her sleep, she would roll into my arm and stop. Or so I thought.
Around 2:00 am, I was in the midst of a particularly odd dream regarding living on a cruise ship and holding Baby exceptionally close as I toured said ship. Suddenly, I was awaken by a loud thud followed by a high pitched scream. What seemed simultaneously, I hear my husband jump up and scream the first profanity that comes to his head. So, I’m thinking he hurt Baby accidentally. I sit up almost reflexively, realize Baby isn’t in the bed between us, and look down on the ground to see Baby on her stomach on the hardwood floor. Again, almost reflexively, I reach down and grab her and pick her back up to the bed. My lower half didn’t even move, so I managed to bend out of the bed and support Baby’s weight and mine from just the waist up. Adrenaline is a powerful thing. By the time I got her back in my arms and started soothing her, I turned to look at the husband and saw him just standing up, then tripping on some cord that appeared out of nowhere. He was obviously disoriented so I told him I had Baby and to sit down before anyone else got hurt.
Those events happened in less than 30 seconds, although it felt like minutes at the time.
I was so scared that she could have a concussion, but I couldn’t keep her up all night so I tried to nurse her back to sleep, which was surprisingly easy all things considered. But I couldn’t sleep. I was terrified that Baby would stop breathing in her sleep. So I stayed awake reading about symptoms to look for and searching Google for similar incidents of moms whose baby fell off the bed, frequently pausing to check Baby’s abdomen to make sure that it was rising and falling. It didn’t take long too find a plethora of other moms who’ve had similar experiences, and while I’d like to say that provided comfort, it actually made me feel like a worse mom. Each mom who recounted a similar story mentioned that she’d started bawling hysterically while trying to comfort her child. But I didn’t cry. Did that mean I was a bad mother? Why didn’t I cry!?! I guess I was just so focused on seeing if Baby was okay and alive and moving that the last thing on my mind was crying. Or maybe it was because it was in the middle of the night so I was too disoriented to cry.
In the hours that followed, the husband and I pieced together the events and I realized that his cussing was due to him falling out of bed and hitting his head on our nightstand. So when I had finally turned around saw him getting out of bed, that was actually him getting up from the floor. So now I have two people on concussion watch!
It’s now been 12 hours since Baby fell off the bed and she seems like her normal self, save the fact that she’s rebelled against her morning nap. She has no bruises on her face or head and aside from two minor scratches on her leg, she has no evidence of the night’s events.
What have I learned from this fiasco? FOLLOW THE RULES! And get Baby to sleep through the night in her own crib*.
*To clarify, I still support bedsharing and think it is a wonderful thing. This experience just shows that it is very important to follow safe bedsharing practices.