"You got up too much last night."
"I know. I just didn't want her to get into a bind."
"You don't give her enough time to work it out for herself."
And here's where I admit the truth. "I know it's just half the time I'm just checking to make sure she's still breathing."
And then the floodgates opened up and I let out several gasping sobs. I was near uncontrollable for a good minute or two. My husband let me cry and my daughter felt the tears trickle into her hands.
I still, 9 months in, can't just let things be. Certain things I can, I've made my peace with. But with the delicate tightrope act that is breathing, there's just times I can't trust that it will happen as it should 100% of the time, because it never did before.
For the first three months of my daughter's life, it took every inch of self-discipline not to march into my pediatrician's office and demand, DEMAND that they find some medical condition that necessitated we have a pulse-ox machine at home. I didn't know how to sleep without glancing at a machine to tell me my child's oxygen saturation. I would stay awake just listening for one loud sigh that proved she was still breathing so I didn't have to get up and check.
Lately, she's taken to rolling onto her stomach to sleep. Despite all my attempts to roll her onto her back or side, she still rolls to her belly. There's this little inner voice that says "SIDS, SIDS, SIDS" but she wants what she wants and won't be swayed otherwise.
At night, we put her in the room by herself and turn on the monitor to listen and trust that she's fine and it freaks me out every time I do.
Solid foods are now the bane of my existence. When she coughs and splutters, I silently curse that I should've found a way to keep Ukiah's old suction machine.
The act of breathing, one of the many acts that alluded Ukiah a big chunk of the time comes effortlessly to our girl. But I don't care how effortlessly she manages that tightrope act, I'm still going to put my hand on her back and feel for that delicate little rise and fall, I'm still going to listen for a deep sigh before I fall asleep, I'm still going shudder every time I close the door behind me when I put her to sleep at night and turn on the monitor, hoping and praying for the best. I'm still going to have a moment where I overreact every time she coughs when she's eating. Because I still can't trust it, and it's still my right as her mother to know just how well she's walking the tightrope on her own.