We were blessed with a daughter when our son was five-years-old. She was beautiful-a little doll. When she was born, she had a head full of black hair, and a wise look in her blue eyes. She was so loved. Not only by our immediate family, but at my school (26 children) as well as the Martial Arts studio, where my husband taught.
Our daughter was strong, just beginning to crawl, smart and opinionated. I remember thinking-“Here we go again!” Because her brother was spirited as well.
While I was pregnant, I received vaccines for dtap, flu, and swine flu. Our daughter was vaccinated according to schedule on time, every time. She died of SIDS following her 6-month well baby check up. She had her six-month shots two days before she died, July 5.
That morning, I woke before everyone in the family, to get ready for the day. She stirred for a moment, I settled her back down to sleep (she usually slept a bit longer in the mornings). I hauled the trash cans up our driveway, came back down to shower. When I came back to the room to change (15 minutes from when I left her), she was in bed, arched back, and not breathing.
I started CPR (my daughter was actually at my most recent CPR training with me), called to my husband, he took over as I called 9-1-1. The operator was reassuring as she was giving the instructions that we were already familiar with.
When the first responder came down the driveway, I was relieved. He was a childhood friend of mine and I knew that he would do his best for our little girl. He and his co-workers tried their best. I held our son on my lap, reassuring him as I could, while they worked on his sister. Neighbors came over, the first families were beginning to arrive to school.
We followed the ambulance to the hospital. They tried, they really did. A nurse tried to take our son to a separate room with coloring books and treats that he was completely unfamiliar with. They hugged us in a smothering- not comforting- way, and tried to tell us that it would be ok. I heard them call for a second epi pen. I knew it was hopeless. My husband and son stood in shock. I hugged my childhood friend, the firefighter who had come to the hospital. He said, “I’m so sorry,” and walked away.
They let us in to the room. We notified our family. I took the tubes out of my daughter, I cleaned her up as best as I could. We held her. Both my husband and I (we didn’t talk about until afterward) considered taking a family picture, as we hadn’t ever had time to do that. Family came to say good-bye. A dear friend took our son to breakfast with her girls.
And then we had to leave her there. We walked out of the emergency room entrance. I sat on the driveway. My breasts were full of milk and my baby was dead.
My husband drove back to our house with his parents, I asked my parents to drop me off at the restaurant with our son. I sat down with them and as the kids ordered breakfast, the waitress asked where the baby was? Our son said, “My sister died today.” In shock, we all nodded at the waitress, who had known me during pregnancy, and our baby from week one. That was our first public acknowledgment.
One of our friends, an MD, met us at home and said, “It’s 2010, and we Still don’t know what causes SIDS.” It was a mystery to us at the time. Of course, until we had the official autopsy report, we asked ourselves what we could have done differently, how could this have happened?
It wasn’t until years later that I read the vaccine insert and realized that SIDS is an adverse reaction to the vaccines she received. So, yes, we could have done things differently. We could have researched, instead of blindly trusting our doctors. We could have looked at our family medical history, riddled with autoimmune issues, and learned that she wasn’t a candidate for vaccines.”