Parenting: Reasons to Panic #2: The Sleeping Newborn

I have vivid memories of Mr. Grouch, in his college apartment, during muggy summer months.  I can picture him, stripped down to his whitie tighties, sprawled across his twin bed, with the oscillating fan one centimeter from his toes, the soggy air leaving him too lethargic to move. A sexy, sweaty, beast.  The two of us are different in so many ways but in this way we are oh so much the same.  Wait, not in the sweaty beast way.  Well, actually, yes, in the sweaty beast kind of way.  What I mean is, neither one of our bodies can adequately handle the oppressive heat of July, August, September.  Our air conditioning runs on high all summer long and we keep our home chilled enough to be able to walk around the house in jeans and hoodies.  We do not like to be sweaty beasts.

So, when Baby Grouch was born, in the fierceness that is August, as ridiculous as it seems, we felt the need to put a little heater in her bedroom.  You turn on the heater, and then set it to the appropriate temperature, which, in our case, was around 71 degrees, and it has it’s own internal thermostat.  At the time of this episode, Baby Grouch was a couple of months old and was sleeping 3-4 hours at a stretch.

The first night she slept for 6 hours, I woke up, in a panic.  I got that surge of adrenaline that I had become so accustomed to, every time she woke me with her squeaks and squawks, but this time it was because she was quiet.


Shrouded with the fear of sudden infant death syndrome, I hurried to her room, and opened the door and a wave of heat hit me in the face.

Then the REAL panic started.


I was screaming and yelling and flipped on all the lights; I opened the windows and took Baby Grouch from her crib and removed her from the sweltering room and laid her in the hallway all the while still yelling panicked nonsense at my husband.  I unswaddled her and took her teeny tiny body out of the sack.  My heart was pounding out of my ears.  Just because she feels warm right now, doesn’t mean she’s okay.

She opened her eyes.

OMG OMG OMG “SHE’S OKAY!  SHE’S OKAY!”  I’m still screaming. Out loud, not just in my head.

This all happened within a matter of seconds and Mr. Grouch wasn’t even out of bed yet.  Er…he may or may not have been laying in bed, watching me silently while giving me the, you’re-such-a-freaking-crazy-hormonal-wife-I-don’t-even-know-what-to-do-with-you-right-now look.  He said calmly, “I think you forgot to set the thermostat on the heater”.  Indeed, I did.  It was over 80 degrees in that bedroom (probably 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the house) and for weeks I was sick about it.

Looking back, I think about that college apartment in the summer and how we didn’t have central air.  I realize that many people, in summer months, allow their houses to reach heinously high temperatures (and some even enjoy it.  What??).  Some of them probably even have babies that sleep there with them, that are okay.

What panicky sleep stories do you have of your newborn?

Still Sleeping

13 thoughts on “Parenting: Reasons to Panic #2: The Sleeping Newborn

  1. I am with you… Male shirt sucker and I are not fans of heat. We have toyed with the idea of moving somewhere cooler. Much cooler. NC heat is awful. ewww.

    I panicked a lot with my daughter. She came home from the hospital with diaper rash. They told me at the hospital she had it and I put cream on her they gave me. But when I changed her diaper at home for the first time I nearly fell out. It had gotten worse. and I panicked. It was just typical diaper rash but it was the first time I have ever dealt with it.

    I always felt “safe” at the hospital. Push a button and a nurse was running in the help me with mother hood. No nurse at home and I had never really dealt with babies, so I was a nervous wreak.

    But I made it : )

  2. Crazy mom-fears. I would wake up in a panic, grabbing at the blankets on the bed, trying desperately to catch the child who I’d imagined was falling off. Scared the dickens out of my husband who’d be awakened by this sudden burst of frenzied activity, which happened more than once.

  3. When my baby was tiny I was allowed to bring him to work with me (computer job – lots of boring sitting). I bought a sling to hold him close. I used it a coupled of times and noticed that little one got really sweaty in it. Soon after it was recalled for smothering babies. EEEKKK! I ran it through the shredder and held little in my arms from then on.

  4. I would have been the same way. Seems she liked the heat given it was the first time she slept so long! When we brought Ewing McTewing home from the NICU, I was so panicked he would have another seizure which would cause him to stop breathing and we’d have no way of knowing. He didn’t.

    1. i cannot imagine the amount of panic thinking about the seizure thing! good god. baby grouch started sleeping 6 hours after this…i’m not sure if she realized sleeping longer was better or if it was just a coincidence or what!

  5. We keep our house VERY cool as well. My husband has already warned me that this will have to stop when the baby comes. So my question is – after this meltdown, did you continue to use the ehater & did it work?

  6. Bringing Daughter home from the hospital, thinking it was a little chilly, turned the heater on as high as it could go. Went back in to check on her, room was boiling hot! I freaked out. Daughter sound asleep. Now 11 years later middle of summer still sleeps with a blanket!

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