Before my twins were able to come home from the hospital last August, they had to be able to do certain things like eat, gain weight, and breath on their own. Both of my boys were great eaters, and continue to be to this day. As for the breathing, we thought my bigger guy had an issue.
The hospital performed a sleep study right before he was released to make sure he wasn’t having any Apnea’s or Brady’s (short for Bradycardia) while sleeping. Apnea’s are when the baby stops breathing for more than 20 seconds, and Brady’s are when the baby’s heart rate drops below 60 beats per minute. Both of these conditions are monitored with loud, beeping machines in the NICU. The recording they did for 3 nights for my big guy showed some irregularities, so we were sent home with an Apnea monitor.
The monitor was both a blessing and a pain. I admit it did help me sleep better knowing I would be alerted to any stops in breathing, however, the only times it actually alarmed were false alarms that gave me panic attacks. Plus, it was LOUD. I mean a piercing, high-pitched alarm that was hard to turn off in the dark when you’ve been woken up after only sleeping a few hours at a time.
So, the good news, as I said, we only had false alarms. It turned out the only times our big guy alarmed was when his monitor slipped off or the wires weren’t plugged in right…or someone tripped on the cord going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. We got to give the monitor back after only about 6 weeks. Since I am the constant worrier, however, I do admit I got both babies monitors that you clip on the diapers for my peace of mind.
We’ve been good with the breathing, no need for the use of the CPR class we were also required to take thank goodness, until the other night. Both my twins were sitting on the couch with us playing with their new favorite toy, a plastic baby spoon. Well, my little guy decided he needed both and grabbed it away from his brother. Brother was NOT happy. And by not happy, I mean he looked like he was crying with his mouth open and eyes shut, but no sound was going out or in. In fact he was starting to turn blue around his mouth.
I had read somewhere that you should blow in their face if they stop breathing, which I did immediately, but it didn’t snap him out of it. I called his name rather loudly, moved him around a little, gently slapped his cheeks, then finally tried the breathing again, this time in his mouth. That finally snapped him out of it and he took a giant breath, then continued to really cry.
At that point, I was ready to cry. What the heck just happened? My baby just got so made he held his breath and almost passed out. Obviously, I had to call the doctor right away. If my husband hadn’t been there to calm me down, I might have taken him straight to the ER.
Well, my doctor calmed me down immediately, and said this is a perfectly normal baby thing…not just preemie. They are called Breathing Holding Spells, and they can happen at any time, but usually something, like anger or fear, triggers it. The baby can’t help it, and they often grow out of this by the time they are 5 or 6. 5 or 6?!?!?! Well, I hope my nerves can hold out that long. BUT, at least I know it’s not a result of his being premature or of his past history with Apnea’s or Brady’s. Phew.