Last night I put my 8 month old baby girl into her crib. She was wearing a white, long sleeved footie sleeper and seemed comfortable even though the weather was warm. The light fabric kept her cool.
I layed her in the crib gently as she was already asleep, and as I let her go and slowly withdrew my arms, she stirred. I held my breath while I watched her to see if she would wake, my hand ready to oat her on the back, to comfort her if she cried out. She didnt. She rolled over onto her left side, settled in, and drifted back to sleep.
As her breathing grew steady, I tip-toed out of the room, my mind already on what chores i need to do before I go to bed as well. It seemed like I had just stepped out of the room when I sensed trouble behind me.
Rachel’s father was standing there next to the crib. He said that she was having trouble breathing and lifted her out of the crib. She was limp in his arms, eyes closed. She was still asleep.
Her arms and legs hung limp, only her head and torso were supported by her father’s left arm. My eyes traveled to her face, her sweet, peaceful face, and I noticed something not right.
There were masses covering her cheeks. They were not red or irritated, they were the same oeaches and cream color of her skin. I told him that I was calling 911, and as I turned towards the phone on my computer desk he stopped me with one sentence: “Its too late.”
Slowly I turned around, and her body had become invisible, and I could see her lungs. They were blue, and still. The bottom of each lung was blown out like a popped balloon. She died because they could not hold oxygen. She was gone. Her father held her as she slept her way into death. She still looked alive, the color was still in her face, her cheeks held warmth to them. She looked like any second she would open her eyes, turn towards me, and smile. I waited for the squeal of delight to ring through the room when she saw me, but there was only silence. She was gone.
I had never had a nightmare like that before. When I woke up I gathered her into my arms and held her to me, kissed her cheeks over and over. I didn’t want to leave her but I had to go to work. I can’t wait until I get home so I an hold her some more.