Saving My Baby

This is an inspiring story from Sarah Kaganovsky…dare ya not to get teary-eyed!!

I gave birth on a February afternoon by repeat caesarean. A pink, squalling bundle was handed to me, and I gazed lovingly into eyes that seemed to recognize me. I whispered sweet words of belonging to this girl child of mine, and comforted her outraged cries. She was the daughter I so desperately wanted.

A week after her birth, a friend dropped off a ring sling. I snuggled my 7 lb bundle into it and went about my way with a mostly content baby. Within two weeks, I was wearing her constantly. Towards afternoon, she’d begin to sob and scream inconsolably. She would arch and thrash, refuse to nurse, refuse a soother, the swing, my arms. The only thing that would quiet her screams was the sling.

Screamy baby began to lose weight. I carried her – day in, day out – in the sling. Repeated trips to the doctor revealed nothing. She was unable to nurse, screaming hysterically within moments of latch on.I was told rudely “ Do breast compressions. Breast is best.” Breast compressions made her choke and gag… and scream. I began feeding her formula. We went back to the doctor. Reflux. Milk Intolerance. Delayed gastric emptying. Her weight gain was poor, and the screaming increased in volume. Nights were long, filled with arching, thrashing baby. There was many a night that I slept with her in the sling, sitting up on the couch, unwilling to move her from her comfort zone. People told me I was spoiling her. I told them “ We’re coping. This is all that works.” I was told to let her cry it out, but I had no desire to abandon my child to a dark room to cry out her angst. My responsibility to her did not end when the sun went down. I whispered in her ear that I couldn’t stop her crying, but I could hold her while she cried.

I paced the floors with her, snuggled tummy to tummy in the sling. At six months, I begged the doctor to hospitilize her – I knew something was dreadfully wrong. The pediatrician agreed. She was poked, prodded, xrayed, and force fed. The screaming continued.

A day before discharge, my pediatrician’s partner waltzed into our room with his holier than thou attitude. He told me I wasn’t putting in the effort to feed her, to put her in another room to sleep and let her cry it out. I banned him from treating my child.

I worked part time, baby in sling. I got a mei tai, two more ring slings. I carried her everywhere. In the shower. To the doctor, to the park, on playdates. People nastily asked me how she would learn to walk if I never put her down. I ignored them. Carrying her stopped the screaming.

Just before her first birthday, she developed a high fever and cough. I took her to the ER, still wrapped in my sling. We waited 7 hours. Xrays revealed her heart was enlarged. We were admitted. I carried her nonstop for the next few days – through a terrifying whirlwind of echocardiograms and finally a diagnosis. During one particularly memorable screaming fit, a nurse turned to me in tears, and handed me my sling. My daughter quieted, safe in her sling.

She was in heart failure. A rare and very serious heart defect had been causing massive heart attacks. Fatality rates were 90% in the first year. The screaming was her suffering from crushing chest pain. In the hallway, the cardiologist turned to me and quietly told me that it was my parenting – the constant carrying – that had allowed her to survive against all odds.

My daughter never cried alone, left in a room. Had I ever practiced CIO, I would have woken to a lifeless baby. I held her through months of gut wrenching doubt, moments when I cried too. But today, I watch my daughter play and run, and laugh. I carried her through a mom’s worst nightmare… and we both survived.

Comments

  1. 2
    shantel davis says:

    Wow, this is one of the most heart breaking yet inspiring stories I have ever read. A mothers intuition is never wrong and should never be doubted! I would never practice CIO even before this article just for knowing that they are crying because something IS wrong maybe they are too young to say and as a mother it is MY job to figure out the cause. Sounds like common sence but I do know lots of people who just put the baby in their room after diaper change and feeding and let them cry out whatever trouble they have.

  2. 3

    She’s a good Mommy!

    (I believe in CIO a little bit. My pediatrician reccomended it at 6 months old, but I didn’t do it until my kids were over a year old and they also didn’t have issues with lying flat on their backs. The CIO I think is fine is when you check on them every 5 min. or so while you are transitioning them to sleep mostly on their own. And it’s a long process.)

  3. 4

    Wow what an amazing story of a mothers love and determination. As a pediatrics nurse I can relate to this story, I have seen numerous families who have been treated like this by doctors and I always tell them to trust their instincts.

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  1. […] and great advice from a mom living our worst fears, a tear-jerking story of a mom trying to save her baby, and a hopeful, happy ending in […]

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