Help with Heart / Apnea Monitor

Updated on February 28, 2009
C.C. asks from Skippack, PA
7 answers

My daughter was born last Sunday (2/22) and while in the nursery she stopped breathing and turned "blueish" twice. She was in the NICU until Wednesday. She had a 12 hour sleep test which showed 2 "episodes". We were sent home with an apnea monitor. It has gone off a few times with apnea alarm and I was wondering if anyone else has had any experience with this? Every time it goes off my heart stops. I could just use some feedback.



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answers from Pittsburgh on

I remember exactly what you are going thru. My daughter is three now but she was born at 28 weeks and when she came home she was on a heart and apnea monitor. I remember going to church and in the car her apnea monitor went off. I had to pull over and flick her feet. The doctors at the nicu explained to me that when they are born that young that sometimes their brain does not remind them to breathe. They said to just flick the bottoms of the feet that it wakes the brain up and has the baby breathe. We had our monitor for awhile and in that time never had to administer cpr. If you are extremely nervous like I would recommend taking a little cpr course at the local hospital or doctors just to calm your nerves. God bless you and your little one.



answers from Philadelphia on

My son was born 16 weeks prematurely, and when he finally came out of the NICU he had an apnea monitor. It definitely went off at times, but all the episodes were false alarms. We checked him every time the monitor went off as we were instructed to do, but he was fine each time. The only thing I can say is to make sure you check your daughter each time it goes off. My son had to keep his for about 6 months. Heart-wise he wound up being fine, but he does have complications (blindness) due to his severe prematurity. Best of luck. Lucy is a great name!



answers from Philadelphia on

My son was born at 28 wks and we got that stupid monitor too. His alarms went off *66* times one week, 6 alarms were real. I started calling the company at 4am, if I was up, someone else would be too. The damn thing would be going off and I'd be there watching him breathe! It is insanity!

You'll get used to it. It will go off, you'll just shake her and go back to sleep. Just keep her nearby so you don't have to run to her room or something. Good luck and patience. She'll be stronger soon!



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi C.. My son was born 6.5 weeks premature and was in the NICU for 8 days. He was diagnosed with apnea of prematurity. He came home on a monitor and stayed on it for 4 months. In the beginning when the monitor went off-I would literally drop whatever I was doing and run over. Then I learned that yes I need to check when it goes off sometimes the leads weren't on right or something else was going on. One night we were up all night on the phone with the nurse from the monitor company and could not get the thing to stop going off. To make a long story short we wound up taking the poor little guy to St. Chris and he was diagnosed with acid reflux (apparently that can make the monitor go off?). But overall to be perfectly honest I was happy to have the monitor. I didn't worry about him not breathing because I would be know if he wasn't without constantly having my hand on his chest. Now my son is almost 2.5 and is just as normal as any other child his age.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi C.
My heart used to stop too when it when off constantly too!!!!

My daughter was born at 23 weeks and spent 101 days in the NICU and we planned to take her home and the night before
we stayed over night at the hosptital with her and YES we had that very same episode she turned "blue". I freaked and ran and got the nurses. I had no idea what kind of experience we were in for when taking her home.

She was also sent home on the apnea montitor,oxygen and a PULSOX machine and since I was nervous to begin with and NOT A NURSE. The first week was hard that thing went off all the time.
My advice is whoever is supplying you wtih the equipment make sure the give you plenty of leads(the sticky pads that attach to your child) they fall off and the machine goes off. When your child moves and pulls the wires it goes off. If she is taking oxygen make sure the tubes are clear and change frequently they would get clogged ALOT and unfortunatly for us my daughter probably wasnt getting half the oxygen she needed because the tubes were clogged alot and we didnt know it!

I would say use your best judgement. I kept her on the apnea monitor for 2 months straight and after that the constant ringing I couldnt take it anymore. I took her off and just tested her oxygen myself and looked at her face to see if she was blue or I looked at her chest to see if she was tugging in to mean she wasnt getting enough oxygen. In speaking with others about the alarm going off its a common accurance in that because its so sensative to all of this things that it goes off all the time. Whe you take the leads off to change it goes off. I would shut it off first to change the leads and during the day if you feel comfortable because you are there and in the room after the first month trying taking her off. Its best to keep it on at night so that when your both sleeping and she is sleeping her breathing is shallow at times so the monitor will pick that up and if you need assistance AT ALL with your daughter you can have a social worker from the hospital she was born call and get you an at home nurse TO COME TO YOUR HOME AND assist you once a week at YOUR home if you need a second opionion or if you just want some reassurance that your doing the right things.
I needed it and and they came for the first year.

I congratulate you and totally undertsnd what you are going through my daughter is 3 now and completely fine
but those days were the most stressful days of my life. I was NUTS....the minute that alarm when off we paniced and didnt know what to do. We called the hospital a few times
at first and I think we almost called 911 we were that
panicked. Dont panice simple solutions check the leads
trust yourself to know the signs for lack of oxygen and always call 911 Immediatley if you think she is in respitory distress.

I wish you and your family the best and all of this
will pass and all will be well very soon




answers from Philadelphia on

I currently have 10 week old twin boys on apnea monitors and I can totally relate! We have had quite a few alarms and it scares me every time. I've heard from a few nurses and doctors that it is very rare to have to do CPR so I just keep telling myself that.
You'll probably start to feel a little better as she gets older. Like I said I still get scared but it's not quite as bad.
I know this is so much easier said then done but just rest assured that if anything does happen you'll know about it in time to stop it.
The other thing that I've read that brings me some comfort is that I've read that most babies experience apnea at some point and obviously most of them survive it even without monitors.
That said I hope you never have another episode!



answers from Johnstown on

Hi! My son had to be sent home on a monitor too. Of course that was 7 years ago, but yes I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember my husband could sleep through anything but when that went off he flew out of bed like his pants were on fire LOL!! I know ours would go off if the leads moved. (Weren't getting a good connection) I also remember having to put him in this sling and tilting his bassinet upwards. What a crazy 8 months. Did they tell you to wiggle your baby if the monitor went off? It is so scary but you eventualy get used to it. I have to say most of the time ours went off it was because of a lead. so check your baby first then look for a lead off. I know my baby turned blue twice WOW talk about scary!!!!!!! Hang in there!

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