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Mason's Story

It was shortly before our youngest daughter, Lucy's first birthday when my husband Bryce and I decided we wanted to try for another baby. Our oldest daughter, Ella, was about to turn 5, and with Lucy turning one, we had already decided we wanted our next child to be closer in age to Lucy.

Bryce and I were fortunate enough to be able to conceive another baby immediately, like we had in times prior. Mason's pregnancy was complicated like all of my others, and after steroid injections, he was born at 35 weeks and THRIVING. He skipped out on the NICU completely (Aside from the initial required observation period) and was a wonderful little nursling. Nursing was definitely where we spent most of our time together in his 4 short months of life.

The following is taken directly from my blog: (WARNING: Graphic)

"In the first few minutes of March 5, 2011 our lives were forever changed. Bryce and I had just decided to head up to bed after a normal Friday night. I turned the lights on in our bedroom and walked over to give Mason a kiss before I went to sleep. He was swaddled and laying on his side and his face looked funny from the side, half of it was oddly angled. As I rolled him over, my brain processed at lightening speed and confirmed what my eyes had seen... My baby was dead. He was blue, cold, and gone... I knew as soon as I saw him he was gone, and there was no going back. I screamed at Bryce that our baby was dead, and Bryce and I just looked at each other and screamed in horror for what seemed like an eternity (but was maybe 5 seconds) before Bryce ran out the door carrying Mason and jumped into his car carrying him to the hospital; no shoes, no car seat, no second guessing anything.

I screamed at the top of my lungs on the front porch as I called my mom, and in laws, and friends, trying to get anyone to get over to my house to stay with the girls (who amazingly slept through all the screaming), so I could go to the hospital to be with Bryce. I posted on facebook, hoping that if I just got enough prayers maybe it would be enough to save Mason... even though I knew deep inside (and told my mom repeatedly on the phone as she drove over) that he was GONE. I later was told by my friend Gretchen who answered the phone when I called (and came over that night), that her boyfriend had heard my screams on the phone to her, and described my screaming as being so pained, it literally sounded like I was having my arms ripped off my body.

They worked on Mason for over 2 hours in the ER, but I knew that the body lying on that table was no longer my son... his soul was no longer there. As I watched my husband frantically hold on to Mason and scream for him to 'please come back, buddy. please come back', I knew that Bryce was deteriorating fast, and that he had his hopes up for a miracle that I was sure was never coming… 2+ hours of CPR and no pulse was ever detected. I finally turned to the nurses, social worker and doctor and said, 'If you are pacifying us, please don't. You can stop. He's obviously gone. My baby is gone.' Bryce screamed no, but he knew too, that the lifeless body in front of him was simply that, a body."

Quite a vivid picture, right? But if you are a parent who has lost a child, you know all too well the horror of seeing your dead child. No one ever prepared me for this. No website out there provided me with information or stories about the fact that I would be haunted by these images for a long time. I was shocked to hear I had post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)... surely I just wasn't "handling it" well enough. Do normal people walk around afraid of the dark after they find their child not breathing in the middle of the night? Are normal people haunted by the image of their child's lifeless face?

Also, if you are a parent of a suspected SIDS baby, you may also know all too well the devastation of being investigated thoroughly by your local authorities. In the midst of a tragedy police still have to do their job to make sure your other children (if have any) are safe, and to discover to the best of their ability the cause of your baby's death. I was very bitter with our police department, but can now say to others that they were just doing their job. As people who didn't know me personally, the police had to investigate every possible cause of death for my son- as horrifying as it was for us, it was necessary.

After talking to numerous other moms, I've learned that being "haunted" is a common part of the grief experience... regardless of whether you found your baby in the middle of a normal night, delivered your baby early, watched your baby slowly get sicker and sicker and then die, etc. It is important for me to share our story (horror and all), so that if you are feeling like I did, you know it’s “normal”.

Well, as “normal” as “normal” can get if you are going through the experience of losing your baby…