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    Friday, 4 June 2010

    As a mother, there is nothing that petrifies me more than S.I.D.S

    Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    Just writing it hurts my heart.

    When I was 7, the reverend of our church and his wife, dear friends of my parents, lost their 9 1/2 week old son, James, to S.I.D.S.

    It was heartbreaking.

    James himself I don't remember, thought I'm sure I met him. You don't think to memorise babies "just in case".


    I remember the screaming silence of their house. I remember the "Please do not Disturb" sign on their front door. I remember my mother, devastated... she had loaned them the bassinette James was sleeping in.

    I remember Alice... their three year old daughter. So very blonde...

    And I remember when Elizabeth was born afterwards... and the machines they had hooked up to her cot that would go off if she didn't draw breath for a certain time frame. I remember the heaviness of unmentioned fear.

    Paul Arnott, four years after the death of his only son James, wrote a book to help other parents who have to walk this horrific time. It sits on my bookshelf... a constant reminder of this dear little boy my family knew.

    Two decades later, I heard about Angie's nephew Luke, who died at 10 weeks... only 7 weeks after sweet Audrey went to Jesus.

    I hate how there is no human reason for these children to die. They just do. And it terrifies me.

    Everyday, when I head to the cradle of my babe, I have to ignore the niggle of maybe this time. I know I and my children are not immune to the possibility.

    No child is.

    And that's why it sucks.

    And that is also why there are foundations that are raising money to fund research.

    Here in Australia, it's Sids and Kids. Since their conception, and the way they have raised awareness to certain contributing factors to 'cot death', the number of deaths has plummeted.


    Their main way of raising money for this research is Red Nose Day. Every year, the last Friday in June is the day you go around looking like a dork with a clown nose on your face. Or on your car. Or, even, as they did a couple of years ago, on your house.

    I am not making this up.

    Since I don't leave my house very much, I chose not to buy a red nose. However, for the last three years, I have purchased magnets for my car, write James' and Luke's names on them, and leave them on my car all year. By the time the next June rolls around it's just in time... by then they have faded completely :)

    It's becoming a tradition for us as a family... the yearly swapping of the noses, explaining again why sometimes babies die, but this is how we remember them and taking photos.

    I like it.

    For information on agencies and foundations in your area that work in the field of infant death research, click HERE.
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  2. 2 comments:

    1. Paula said...

      There are two foundations I support without fail: the Cancer Council, and SIDS. (and if I remember, the Starlight Foundation).

      One of my cousins died from SIDS at 4 months - right at the very upper end of the age spectrum for the syndrome. I never got to meet him. But he's the reason I support them.

    2. Jen said...

      I agree... they are my two as well.

      It's so horrible... A friend of mine had a friend who lost a two year old to it... it's so very rare... I can't even imagine the grief, thinking you were past the danger. And I remember hearing of a 16 year old boy who's death was determined to be it also. INCONCEIVABLE.

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