It is the worst thing that can happen to a parent. When something you take for granted every day, does not happen.
When your baby does not wake up…ever again.
Baby never woke up
We came across this heart-wrenching story of grief and loss, and it brought tears to our eyes. It’s the story of little Mariko, as told by her mommy, Arisa Chow.
It’s the story of how death can be sudden, death can be silent, and death can snatch your world away from you, in an instant. It’s also the story of being thankful for the little things in life, because one day you will look back and realise that those were the big things…
Baby Mariko was a precious 2-month-old, and in her mommy’s words, “(could) lift her head when she was only 2 weeks old and started to wriggle/ crawl before she was even 2 months.”
“She was perfect, everything any mother could have asked for their own child and never did any of us expect for her end to arrive so soon…”
Mommy Arisa still can’t come to terms with what happened…
“She was so healthy and couple of hours before we went to bed she was laughing and being her cheerful self even after I scolded her for making a massive poop bomb that stained my white skirt while we were at the setsubun.”
“If only we could see what was coming, if only.”
Arisa continues to be haunted by the events of that fateful night, “…when she cried in the middle of the night, I just groggily woke up to feed her on one breast while I dozed off afterwards…just to wake up an hour later to find her pale and not breathing.”
And that was how a mommy’s dream ended…:(
Final moments…Arisa with baby Mariko
Baby Mariko’s autopsy results showed that, “She did not choke nor suffocate, she just stopped breathing and her brain shut down. According to the blood test she was apparently developing a cold but it wasn’t enough to harm her at all.”
Four words in her medical report said it all, “SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME- SIDS”.
Before the tragedy, Arisa remembers taking SIDS lightly, “I remember well that I used to scoff at the current generation of mothers for being too overly paranoid about SIDS and thinking (that) letting their child sleep on their belly would cause them to suffocate, which leads to SIDS, but let me share with you this first hand, no matter how careful you are, if God wants to take your child away, he would do it, like how he did to my Mariko.”
For parents who have lost a child, the pain is indescribable. They may even feel guilty about it, and mommy Arisa pours out her heart, “Can’t help blaming myself that it’s because of me God took her away, as my punishment for not being a good mother…I can handle anything because i am used to it by now but the one thing i can’t handle is the demise of my own flesh and blood, my precious baby who didn’t get to even grow up.”
“Seeing my other friends and people who had their child the same year as Mariko, growing up so well makes me so envious that my daughter’s life was robbed of that opportunity.”
She reminds every mommy to cherish the blessed moments in life, “Please do cherish every moment with your child because you’ll never know when it would be your last…I would give anything in this world to see her (Mariko) and be her mother again.”
“Thank you for coming into my life…You’ll always be my one and only child.”
Thank you for letting us share your story, Arisa. Words can’t express how saddened we are to hear of your loss…do stay strong and take care.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a condition when an apparently healthy baby dies unexpectedly, and for no clear reason. SIDS victims are babies, who appear to be perfectly healthy when their parents put them down for a nap or at bedtime, but then they never wake up.
SIDS used to be more commonly known as cot death. However, it gave the wrong impression that babies would only be affected when sleeping in a cot. SIDS can affect babies wherever they sleep.
No one knows for sure why SIDS happens.
Here are some findings about SIDS or cot death:
- Most babies who die from cot death do so between the ages of 2 and 4 months. However, babies up to a year old can also succumb to cot death.
- More boys than girls die from cot death.
- SIDS is more common in winter, and tends to increase in particularly cold months.
- Premature babies, low birth weight babies, and babies exposed to cigarette smoke are more susceptible to cot death.
- Being a twin doubles the risk of SIDS, which is largely due to the lower birth weight of twins. Also, the shorter the time between a woman’s pregnancies, the higher her babies’ risk of SIDS.
Protecting your child from SIDS
Here are some safety tips that can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS:
- Always put your baby to sleep on his back.
- Don’t put blankets or toys in his crib. Use only blankets that are breathable and allow the baby to get fresh air. Use tight-fitting bedding on a firm crib mattress.
- Be wary of devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS, like wedges and positioners and other devices placed in the adult bed for the purpose of positioning or separating the infant from others in the bed.
- It is advisable not to share your bed with your baby. Sleep in the same room – but not the same bed – as your baby, recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
- Don’t let your baby fall asleep on a couch or armchair: Couches and armchairs are extremely dangerous places for infants, warns the AAP.
Sleeping on couches and armchairs places infants at an extraordinarily high risk of infant death, including SIDS, suffocation through entrapment or wedging between seat cushions, or overlay if another person is also sharing this surface.
- Keep the room cool, but not too cold. Stale, warm, and stuffy air makes it difficult for a baby to breathe.
- Offer a pacifier. Allowing a baby to soothe themselves to sleep with a pacifier makes their breathing more regular and consistent. This is a good thing.
To avoid strangulation, don’t hang the pacifier around your baby’s neck or attach it to his clothing while he’s asleep.
- Keep your home free of cigarette smoke and other heavy fumes and/or odour. It is also advisable not to smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy.
- Breast-feed your baby, if possible. Breast-feeding for at least six months lowers the risk of SIDS.
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore