Thursday, October 9, 2008

Diagnose Me

It's time for some help.

My biggest fear in the world is SIDS. I see magazine covers screaming out the risks, news headlines spouting statistics, and I hear stories about someone who knows someone, who had an uncle whose step-brother... You get the point. I know it's a fear that all Moms experience, but I sometimes worry that my fear is so extreme it's unhealthy.

Today I was in the kitchen doing dishes while Madelynn slept on the couch two feet away, when all of a sudden this awful voice in my head said, "Your baby is dead". I hear this at least twenty times a day. Every day. I always run to check for breathing, but as the voice comes more often, I've been trying to fight it. I think, 'No. She's fine. She was breathing 30 seconds ago'. And then I'll fight back, 'But anything could happen in 30 seconds, it takes less than a second to stop breathing'. Back, 'It takes no seconds, moron'. And forth, 'I could have checked by now'. And back, 'You should have, it's too late now'...

But this is really my mind. This argument will go on for a millisecond, which actually feels like an hour of debate, then I'll run to check the baby just in case that voice was telling the truth this time. This isn't a little nagging whisper in the back of my mind, this voice is evil and clear and loud as hell.

When she's napping a little longer than usual, I have to poke her every few minutes to make sure she'll flinch. If she doesn't flinch right away, my breath catches in my throat and I just know she's dead. I have panic attacks. I didn't even really know what a panic attack was until now. I get shaky, my heart races, and my stomach drops. It's this awful wave of complete terror.

I read the boards on Babycenter that have support threads for women who have lost their babies. I can't help it. I don't want to read that, but I have to. I'm obsessed with miscarriages, shaken baby syndrome, and of course SIDS. Their stories make me feel so lucky, yet they always make me cry and give me nightmares. Oh the nightmares.

I can't sleep anymore. It's 2:45.

The severity of these fears comes in waves, the worst of it when she's asleep, and the least of it when I'm playing with her. But even when we're sitting on the floor together, most obviously still alive, there's still this dark shadow that flies through and reminds me that this could possibly be the last time I get to play with her. The last song I sing before the nap that kills her.

And now, I can't get my baby to sleep on her back anymore:

Is it possible that I have some kind of postpartum depression that went undiagnosed and is just getting worse? I can't imagine that women live with anxiety this severe every day.

I need to be evaluated. I need to sit in a room with a complete stranger, crappy art on the walls, and talk about these fears. And cry. A lot of crying, while said stranger nods their head and then prescribes me with some kind of upper.

Knowing that my baby is two rooms away, sleeping on her belly, makes me sick to my stomach. I'm finally as crazy as everyone said I was.

No comments: