Borchardt Consulting

Posts Tagged ‘Death

Sleep positioners were originally designed after the Safe Sleep community began urging parents to place infants on their backs in order to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  Sleep positioners come in a variety of different designs but their design purpose is to keep an infant on his or her back.

Unfortunately, the unintended consequence of this product was to introduce yet another soft device into an infant’s sleep environment increasing the risk of suffocation.

Safe Sleep experts have long held that sleep positioners only increase the possibility of an infant dying due to either SIDS or accidental suffocation caused by the soft product.

To reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including accidental suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep on their backs, positioned on a firm, empty surface. This surface should not contain soft objects, toys, pillows, or loose bedding.

Once an infant can freely roll, he should be allowed to adopt whatever sleep position he prefers.

 

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It’s the things that you least expect that hit you the hardest.

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She’s had 18 years to get ready for this day. She should be past the tears, she cries some anyway. Bogguss, Suzy, “Letting Go “

I thought I'd be ready.

18 years. What a milestone. High School graduation. Prom. College Visits. What might have been?

No matter how long it’s been, we don’t forget. Grief can still crash like waves. It is all the more surprising when a particularly vicious wave crashes upon you. Although the years have gone by, it still hurts. 18 years. Who would have believed it was possible to survive 18 years without my precious baby?

Does it still hurt as much as it did in the beginning? I don’t think so, but I’m not entirely sure. It still hurts. Perhaps I’ve grown accustomed to the pain. I think that I’ve learned a large variety of coping skills that I can pull out of my bag of tricks when I’m having a bad day. My family and I are certainly not in the depths of depression and single minded sadness that occurred when our baby died. The sadness is more like a deep, soulful sigh.

Don’t get me wrong. There is laughter and hope. We’ve learned so many wonderful things along this journey of grief. I believe that our daughter sprinkles gifts in our path to help us keep moving forward. We’ve picked up many gifts along the way. As we walk down the path, we continue to search in the quiet places for all the delightful gifts that she has left. I am certain, that sometimes, I’m hurrying too fast and I miss a few. That makes the gifts that I’ve discovered all the more precious.

When my daughter died, I felt that I had lost all control of my life. But, the very first gift that my daughter gave me was the realization that I can control the grace and dignity with which I handle this devastating loss. I can choose to be sad or to be hopeful. I can choose to wallow in my grief or to honor her memory with good works.

Part of the grief journey has been keeping up with the evolution of the diagnosis of SIDS. In 1991, SIDS was a complete mystery and every parent’s worst nightmare. Then the arrival of the Back to Sleep program and the increasing number of risk reduction techniques. Wow! I did many of things wrong. Am I responsible for her death? Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I did nothing more than love my child. I did the best that I knew how at the time.

With each new theory, I have to revaluate my position. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. In the end, I still come back to the same place. I simply loved my baby. There is peace in that belief.

There are few opportunities to talk about her. Some of our friends and acquaintances don’t even know that we have had a child die. Once the years have gone by, how exactly do you introduce the subject? Do I introduce myself as a SIDS parent? “Hi, my name is _______ and I’m the mother of a baby that died?”

At some point, the information became a quiet treasure that I share only when I chose. I’ve reached the point of being comfortable with the “How many children do you have?” question. Sometimes, I have 3 children. Sometimes I have two. And sometimes, just for fun, I have six! What does it really matter how many children you have to the person standing at the bus stop with you?

The first time I only counted my live children, I was certain that the earth would open up and I would be swallowed whole. Surprisingly, nothing happened. Since then, I’ve become more and more comfortable giving what ever answer I feel like today. It’s very liberating. It’s become my little joke that only my daughter and me share.

18 years! I think instead of crying this year, I’ll celebrate. Who would have believed that I’d make it this far? I’m happy, hopeful and healthy. My children have grown up knowing that they are God’s most precious gifts to me. I will continue to grow my dead child along with my live children. They all will live in my heart together.

A parent in grief is like a vase that has been hurled to crash upon the concrete.  In one sudden, fluid and irretrievable motion, we are shattered into thousands of pieces in an unpredictable landing pattern.  The debris field of our souls is vast.

The base, still intact is mostly defined by jagged edges to be handled with care.  Sharp edges that will slice open those who are not cautious and even some who are.

Piece by piece the vase must be put back together.  Years of painstaking work will be needed to place back together the shards of who we are.  A vast puzzle of unfathomable  proportions, is swept up from the floor and lies in a dustpan.  Value and beauty worth saving, lying in a magnitude of destruction that seems impossible to replicate.

And it is.

Slowly and surely, with help and support, we once again begin to take form.  Reminiscent of our previous structure, but not exact.  Piece by piece is put back in place, but will never be flawless.  The glue of love helps hold us together.  Far to fragile to be set in a vise for bonding, we must sit in the open, unprotected from life, while the adhesive takes hold, in danger of being accidentally or carelessly knocked down again.

Once all the pieces are back in place, the best they ever will be, we are still fractured and chipped, yet we still are able to hold onto the potpourri of the beautiful flowers that we once held and are still  just as precious a ever.  Our imperfections bring character and showcase our history.

It may be years before we are able to build up the strength of a seal coating and even then we will occasionally leak when under pressure and need a little extra mending and tender loving care.

We always will have our chips and cracks, but will also survive to hold life’s most beautiful bouquets.


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