I was asked to elaborate on the apnea monitor that Collen is on. So, here goes....
My sister, Megan, works in the NICU at the hospital here in town - Pitt County Memorial Hospital. I'm proud to say it is one of the top hospitals on the east coast! Well, when we lost Ayden to SIDS and the talk of a future child started coming about, Megan suggested that we insist Collen go home on an apnea monitor. They send a lot of their preemies home on them, so she was knowledgeable about the process and how it would work.
Basically, the apnea monitor is a band with two leads attached to it. The band fits around the baby's chest and is secured with velcro so it can grow with the baby. Cords are hooked into the leads and are plugged into the base of the monitor. The leads monitor Collen's breathing and heart rate. If his breathing and/or heart rate go below or above a certain level, the alarm will sound....very loudly.
Unfortunately, you can't ask for monitor just to have peace of mind. You have to have a prior history that shows you have a need for it. In our case, Ayden stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating simultaneously. In theory, if he had been on a monitor, it MIGHT have caught it in time for CPR to have helped. I highly doubt it since the nature of SIDS is so sudden and it seems to affect the brain in addition to the heart and lungs, but I wouldn't rule it out. So, Collen automatically qualified to be brought home on a monitor. Insurance will cover part (or all depending on your insurance) of your use of the monitor. Each month, we have to have the monitor "downloaded." The company who issued it to us calls, I hook Collen up to the monitor, we push some buttons and wait for some beeps, they download that month's worth of activity, and then the results are sent to a pulmonologist. Then his/her results are sent to our pediatrician who then relays the info. to us. (hhmm...haven't heard from our pediatrician, yet....). The down side = if we have 3 months in a row of "normal" results, we have to return the monitor. Yeah...3 months. I freaked out when I heard that (because we lost Ayden at 4 months) and contacted someone who works with Megan (she has been my go-to person with all of this and she has yet to let me down!), and she got on it for me. We're working on trying to keep the monitor at least through Collen's 4th month. SIDS peaks between 2 and 4 months, so I would sleep better knowing he was on it through his 6th month.
In addition to the apnea monitor, we are also using the Angel Care monitor. It works great for us - probably because Collen isn't scooting around yet. Once he starts rolling and getting himself into a corner, I'm sure we'll get false alarms. I love the Angel Care monitor because it tells me the temperature in the room, which is also a risk factor for SIDS (but don't get started on "risk factors"), so we're able to adjust if we need to.
We were told that any alarms from the apnea monitor were either true alarms or an equipment issue. When we first brought Collen home on it, it would go off at least twice a night. I would check him, and he would be fine. I finally cut the band shorter so it would fit more snug and that has helped. We have only had 2 true alarms (I think)....and in both cases, I think he just took a longer than usual pause in breathing, and by the time I got to him he was breathing again and sleeping fine. You know how babies sleep....scares you enough that you never get any sleep yourself because you stay up watching them breathe.
Collen will likely sleep in our room for his first year of life. Some may find that extreme and a bit overly paranoid - my answer to that is always - you imagine losing your child. Your whole perspective changes, and you'll d0 anything to be able to say you've done everything possible to make sure your subsequent child is safe, healthy, and alive.
Hope I answered the question well. Any other questions for me? I enjoyed sharing some informative content for you. :)