Is Back Always Best?

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I am writing, once again, at 1am. It has been awhile since I have written a post at this time, but I can’t sleep. I guess all moms are up at this time at some point.

Tonight I have been dealing with a complication from Lyra’s NG tube. Lyra has now had an NG tube for over 2 months. As a consequence, she has major problems with congestion sometimes. Basically, the tube irritates her nasal passages causing more mucus to be produced. Moving to dry Colorado has not helped the congestion situation and the problem can become more pronounced when she is laying on her back. Given, Lyra sleeps on a 45 degree wedge, but that isn’t enough when she is congested. Tonight I basically woke to her choking on her own mucus. My husband and I frantically ran around picking her up, turing on lights, disconnecting her feed, and dashing into the shower. After stripping her and getting her (and my clothed self) into a nice steamy shower, her breathing rapidly improved. She has been changed into a dry diaper, given saline drops to loosen the mucus, and wrapped in a new blanket (I skipped the pj’s). After that, she promptly fell sound asleep on my chest. This time she never turned blue (as far as I could tell), but when this happens it scares the living snot out of me.

….I couldn’t think of a better phrase at 1 am….

So now, I am faced with a new dilemma. Do I put her back down on her back, like I am supposed to? OR, do I put her down on her stomach where she is less likely to choke on her mucus? Since before I became pregnant I have preached to that babies MUST be put down on their backs. I understand that, since doctors have started recommending this, the number of SIDS cases has gone down. However, she is gagging on her mucus when I put her down that way, so is it really safer for her at this point? My instinct says, “NO!!!!”. At the moment, she is on her tummy and I am sitting 10 feet away listening to her breath. We have two humidifiers running full blast (and have all night), and she sounds so much better. She is sleeping peacefully with her little hands tucked under her chin.

But the guilt won’t leave me.

I sit here, wide awake, looking at her and wondering if I should just flip her back over. I know that is what the doctors would likely recommend, and it has been pounded into my head that babies must sleep on their back (although they don’t always in the hospital…. that is another story). However, the rational side of my brain points out that, when she gets congested like this, putting her on her back only leads to a scary situation for her and us. At what point is her sleeping on her back doing more harm than good? I don’t have an answer.

So, for now, I sit and watch my little one sleep away, on her tummy. At least, if I can listen to her breath, I know she is okay.

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Her first North Face jacket. Welcome to Colorado!

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Swimming with Uncle Kyle.

She pulled out her tube, so we let her enjoy some “no tube” time.

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4 responses »

  1. How much longer will she need the tube? If it is a few months have you guys talked about a GTube? It might be a little more comfortable for her and her nose. In any case she has an adorable smile and looks so much like you!

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    • Yes, we plan on getting a G Tube. We have an upper GI next week and we also need to do a consult with surgery at Children’s in Denver. We are hoping she will have one in the next two weeks or so.

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  2. Let her sleep however she sleeps best. I learned that with Evan. After three weeks of neither one of us getting any sleep, I laid him on his tummy and he has been a strong sleeper ever since.

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  3. I struggled with the same predicament with Wilson-belly or back?! At first I would only place Wilson on his back but he never slept well and eventually he just started rolling over onto his belly and falling asleep so I just let him sleep that way. Sometimes I make a few adjustments with his head but otherwise I don’t take him off his belly. He has been snoozing on his belly for the last 2 months and has never slept better!

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