24 March 2010

Video Monitor

Dear Friends,

Josh and I are having an ongoing conversation (argument) about the video monitor that I have for Lexy. During the "pregnancy days" my girlfriend Jennifer sent me the best book I have ever gotten "Baby Bargains". Highly highly recommend it. I bought so many of the things I needed for her (Lexy, not Jennifer. I don't think Jennifer needs someone to watch her on a baby monitor) based on it, and a few things I didn't, but it was a true saving grace. It recommended a Sony audio monitor. I never considered having a video one, it didn't even occur to me that I would want one.

And then Lexy spent 13 days in the NICU. And then she came home. None of this led to the video monitor, she spent the first few months in a bassinet next to our bed so I wouldn't have to get up 3 times a night to breastfeed. There was no need for a monitor at all. What led to the purchase of the video monitor was a terrifying event one morning at about 6:15. Lexy had been fed, burped, and put back to bed. Josh was in the shower getting ready for work and I was attempting to get a little more sleep. Lexy choked. And then had a seizure. At least, it looked like a seizure. Her head jerked back, she made gurgling noises, she spasmed and her eyes rolled back in her head. Her whole face turned red. It was absolutely terrifying. I had no idea what to do. Sheer panic. Gut wrenching body numbing can't get your hands or head to function at the same time panic. I picked her up and thinking of the gurgling noise, put her to my shoulder and whacked her on the back. Thankfully she coughed and the spasming stopped.

I have never had such a frightening experience. It truly felt like 20 minutes, but it was really about 5. Josh stayed home from work until the pediatricians office opened and I could get her in for an appointment. I love our doctor. He was my doctor when I was little. He's the kind of doctor that gives you his home number when you go out of town, just in case you might need it. For this reason I'm not sharing his name. It's hard enough to get in to see him, and we already wait for at least an hour for every appointment. But, he's worth it. He told me that what happened sounded a lot like something called Sandifer's Syndrome. It's something that happens to some preemie's. Some babies outgrow it, some don't.

I remember sitting in the exam room thinking, "Dear God, please let me be sick and keep her healthy. Lexy's already had enough sickness in her short life, let it be enough". My mother was with me, again, thank goodness for a nurse in the family. It always helps with the translation. Basically, as I understand it, Sandifer's happens with a short circuit in the brain. Something along the lines of "I've eaten and need to spit up, but now I'll choke a little and that will turn on something in my brain that makes my body think I should have a seizure-like event". Okay, so that sounded better than actual seizures. But, off we went to the pediatric neurologist for an EEG. Again, thank you mom for going with me. It was terrifying seeing such a little infant with wires and tape and machines all over her head.

The good news is that she doesn't have epilepsy or any other seizure disorder. She was diagnosed with Sandifers and we were told to keep her "elevated while she slept", trying to keep the spit-up/choking combo to a minimum, So, Josh rigged up her bassinet to our bed on a platform and bungee corded it down so it wouldn't move and Lexy slept on an incline for the next 2 months or so. She had 4 or 5 more episodes while her neurological system caught up with her body. Eventually it all evened out. Eventually I was comfortable moving her into her crib in her own room. Eventually happened sooner than it would have because of the invention of the video monitor.

A few of the episodes had very little noise. Just enough to wake me up and make me look at her. And once I grabbed her up and patted her on the back, the episode passed. My parents bought the video monitor so I would be more comfortable moving her into her own room. Thankfully Josh understood the whole situation and was patient while Lexy was in the room with us. But, I have come to LOVE my video monitor. I can watch her sleep, I know when she wakes up from her nap, when she's rolling and not really awake and that I have 10 more minutes to lounge in bed in the morning or sit and relax before getting her up from her nap. I think it is amazing.

Josh wants to know how much longer I want the monitor. I don't plan on getting rid of it anytime soon. Way too many pros. And Lexy still doesn't wake up at a specific time every morning and her nap times vary. I prefer to see what the noises coming from her room are on the monitor instead of peeking in her room and waking her up early. I think I win this one, since he's at work for most of her sleeping times. It should be up to me, right? Still, I do wonder what the right time to give it up will be. When she's 20? That way I can catch her trying to sneak out of house when she's in high school.


  1. We have been having a similar debate in our house lately. G is 18 months old, and I still use her monitor (not video, just audio). It's my lifeline to hear at night (I understand the NICU thing-- 9 days for us), and I just can't cut that cord!

    Confessions From A Working Mom

  2. I would continue to use the baby monitor until she has made the transition into her "big girl" bed and for a little while after. You want to keep an eye on her to make sure she isn't crawling, falling out of, or jumping on the bed. Once she gets used to sleeping in a big bed of her own, I think you can drop the monitor.

  3. How about until she's old enough to object? I didn't really know about video monitors or I might have had one, but I was recently at a friends' house who had one and LOVED it. Being able to tell if they're waking up without going in... WONDERFUL! And as they're old enough to start playing and talking, it's so great to be able to observe their wonder, their imagination, and what they do. They don't even have a concept of privacy or needing any yet, so you can't be invading it!

  4. For this exact reason I bought this (Angelcare Deluxe Movement Monitor)

    not because she had seizures but because I would constantly be checking on her just because I was a freak about SIDS. It was the ONLY way I could get any sleep.