I'll answer everyone's big burning question in two parts: part one will cover our wake up system at home, and part two will look at what we do when we're on the road/traveling (as our home system isn't completely portable). Two different strategies, and we hope they'll work for you and for others in the future (or, *nudge nudge* for manufacturers to consider making a baby monitor SPECIFICALLY for those who are hard of hearing!).
The wake up system at home is my favorite, it's the one that gives me the most peace of mind (I confess, I prefer this system rather than the one we use for travel...but you'll find out why in part two) - after all, sleep is a precious commodity. My husband did a TON of research on this, considering he's a computer geek. We actually found a baby monitor specifically made for those with hearing loss, called the Amplicom Watch and Care V120 Baby Monitor (http://dstele.com/electronics-and-gadgets/baby-monitors/watch-care-v120-baby-monitor.html). According to the website, they state:
The Watch & Care V120 Baby Monitor has a built in vibration alert which makes it suitable for people who are deaf or have hearing difficulties. The V120 has a range of up to 150m which gives you the freedom to move around with your monitor which will beep if you are out of the range.
|Rachel and I sleeping in on a Saturday Morning (I must have been half asleep when hubby took this photo!)|
Unfortunately for us, this system is only available in the UK, and parts of Europe. (BAHHHH) We emailed the company asking if they could send one over to us - but they identified a major problem: the voltage regulation in Europe is different from the one we have in Canada - and they have not received North American approval (whatever that means). Ergo, back to the hunt... this time, for a North American prototype.
|The European Amplicom V120 System. North American manufacturers, please make something like this for us!!!|
Finally, we found the Foscam 8910 System. It's not specifically marketed for baby monitor usage, but it has the capability to perform as a baby monitor. The Foscam is linked to our Wi-Fi System (if anyone's worried about their Wi-Fi getting hacked into, get a professional to make it super secure, or change the password on a regular basis). On my smartphone (I currently have the Samsung Galaxy S2... looking forward to upgrading next January!), I downloaded an app called TinyCam for about $2.99 that would allow me to connect to the Foscam. Voila! Live Video Streaming entertainment ensues.
|The Foscam at work in Rachel's bedroom - it's not usually this bright (must be the camera), and can be purchased for about $90 at foscamcanada.com|
Now, for sound detection, I plugged in an external bed shaker (or vibrator, as I affectionately call it...) to my smartphone, made sure that the squelch and volume levels were appropriate for baby cries (trust me, we did a lot of fake baby cries in one room to test the sensitivity levels!) and... that's IT. That's the baby monitor. I swear by it. It WORKS, and best part of it all - we didn't have to break the bank just to get a custom made system.
|The bed shaker (a.k.a. vibrator) - found at any HOH store online, or on Amazon.|
|A screenshot of what our baby monitor (using the TinyCam app) looks like. The red line is the sound threshold level (once the green line passes this threshold, it'll send a signal to the vibrator to wake me up).|
I love our home baby monitor. I can watch Rachel on my phone while I'm working on the computer. I have peace of mind that the alarm will go off when she cries (we haven't had any issues so far...). Last night, we had some pretty good sleep - about 5 hours uninterrupted sleep (save for a 3 am feeding!), and I feel pretty blessed to live in the 21st century.
See you in a few days for Part 2 of how we wake up at night (when traveling!).