On 12/19/16 my daughter died. She was 9 weeks old. I have always been afraid of SIDS, and after she died I learned more than ever this is a good thing to fear. It means your baby dies. Not ‘some baby’ somewhere out in the world. Your baby. Even though you lay her on her back and you don’t use blankets, and you don’t use crib bumpers, and you don’t put anything in her crib EVER besides the mattress and a tight fitting sheet. Even if you love your baby it can happen. Even if your baby is perfectly healthy. Even if when you put her down for a nap she was fine.
It means your baby dies anyway, for no reason. Just because.
There is nothing you can do to protect your child. It just happens. It happened to me, even though I researched SIDS and did everything I could to prevent it except actually strapping a heart monitor to her foot, which I sure as hell am going to do if I’m ever lucky enough to have another child.
What I found out through this incredibly painful time, is that nearly all of the people I know have either lost a child to SIDS, or have someone in their family who has. Until my child died, I had no idea any of these people had ever lost their kid ever. Or their grand kid. Or their sister or brother. No one talks about their babies. I can’t blame them. It is an extremely raw and emotional subject. I don’t want to tell you about my daughter because it hurts to have strange random people poking at your wounds. Everyone is always so sympathetic, but no one ever gets that it can, and may very well happen to you.
A few people have given well meaning advice. “Well of course you know, it could be you didn’t ________.” I understand the effort. You want to distance yourself from it. You want to say this happened for that reason, because that way you can distance yourself from such a horrible thing.
You can’t distance yourself. If you have a baby, your baby could die of SIDS and there is nothing you can do about it. Scared yet? You should be.
The only solution I have seen as of yet is the Owlet heart monitor, which will be what we use should we ever have another child. If you are expecting a newborn, please consider getting this. The monitor will let you know if your child stops breathing or loses a heart rhythm, and they let you know now, when it matters.
Please note: I do not make any commissions off of Owlet monitors. (Indeed, I would probably throw it back in their face if it was ever offered. The only profit I want from my daughter’s death is the saving of some other person’s life.)
We will be back to our usual, more festive, posts after this commemorative week is over. If you are expecting a child, or know someone who is, don’t be me. Don’t tell yourself it will be fine if you don’t _________.” Get the f’ing monitor. What’s the price of your child’s life worth to you? Can’t afford it anyway? You can get help. Money should never have to stand between you and your child’s long and happy life.