I’m part of a few breastfeeding support groups on Facebook along with extended breastfeeding support groups. There are so many things I loved to do with Gemma. I could go on and on all day long, but one in particular was breastfeeding. I loved it. That is one of the things I miss the most. It’s similar to when Mommies get that “achy womb.” I suppose I long to breastfeed and have the “achy boobs” (And I mean that literally too because it is quite an adjustment to suddenly stop pumping and feeding). I miss breastfeeding my baby in particular, not just any baby would do. That bond shared between a mommy and her baby breastfeeding is unlike any other. I’m not shaming bottle fed babies, as Gemma’s Daddy bottle fed her when I slept or was at work, and I’m not shaming formula fed babies. As long as that baby is happy and healthy, food is food.
People posts in these groups and it’s not always about breastfeeding. Today in particular a lady had posted about putting her baby on his tummy to sleep. That was a trigger for me and I felt that I needed to help that mommy and her baby. I know back then every baby was on their tummy and some babies only sleep on their tummies, ect, ect, ect. But my baby had in fact died because she was on her tummy. She did not turn her head to the side when she could not breath and smothered herself.
Everyday I beat myself up for allowing her to sleep on her tummy as does her Daddy. We go over it again, and again in our heads, why didn’t she move her head!? WHY!!?? She did pick her head up all the time, hold it up high for long periods of time. She did move her head from side to side when she was on her tummy. She had before slept on her tummy and was alright. I had put her on her tummy along with her dad. It was good for her gas problems and she seemed to like sleep on her tummy. If I could go back, I would never EVER put her on her tummy until she was able to roll from tummy to back and back to tummy. I feel like a bad mom. I feel like I had a hand at losing our daughter’s life. I made it OK for her to sleep on her tummy. Never will I make that mistake again. It had cost me and her Daddy dearly. I don’t think I’ll ever get over this. Because of this guilt, when I saw that post about the baby on his tummy, I had to chime in. I had to save this baby.
I had told the mommy what had happened with my Gemma and that I too in fact thought she would be OK on her tummy, but I was wrong and now she is no longer here. Other babies might have been OK on their tummy and other babies might only be able to sleep on their tummies, but is it worth the risk of your baby’s life? No. She had later posted that she had watched her son sleep and he was unable to move his head in his sleep once his nose was flat with the bed. She said he will continue sleeping on his back. I had also shared this information with Patrick and he too was concerned and made sure I warned her and told her about Gemma. Once she had posted about keeping her baby on his back, Patrick and I were both relieved. We felt that we had a part in saving this baby’s life, even just a little one. I don’t want any parents to go through what Patrick and I are going through, ever. We will continue to push “Back to Sleep.”
Gemma & Daddy February 3rd, 2018 & Gemma’s Memorial Card