This is literally every parent’s worst nightmare. We are honored that Keisha would open up to The Snap Mom Community to share her story.
by Keisha Waller| guest writer for The Snap Mom
Our story began mid July 2013. My husband had been a civilian for all of 3 weeks after serving 20 years in the Army. He was taking his CDL classes locally and came home for lunch when I showed him the positive test. It took a few weeks for our referral to be able to get in to see my midwife. She laid me back and began to feel around my stomach and said, “Girl, where is that uterus? Well, we will figure it out in the ultrasound.”
We went in the room and I left my oldest in the waiting room because I thought it would be internal. The technician started gelling up my belly and then the screen showed a baby, and the tech said “Oh Wow!” My first thought was something was wrong, and then it hit me…she was surprised and not concerned. I said, “Don’t tell me!!” She said, “I won’t… you can see!” There were two perfect little babies in my belly! Tears started flowing… I was excited and scared all at the same time. What a blessing!! I was 14 weeks along.
My husband left the next day for 3 months in Wisconsin for school. I woke up thinking it was just a dream… but nope, the picture clearly showed two perfectly healthy babies. Everything went smoothly. By 18 weeks they had found their spots in the womb. Baby A stayed head down from then on – his brother didn’t give him much choice because he was doing flips every day all day.
I have always had blood pressure problems and was worried I would again. I went in the hospital at 32-33 weeks with mild contractions. They stopped on their own but they went ahead and kept me so I could get the steroid shots just in case. By 36 weeks, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. I had been told that they would not induce my labor because of my prior c-section. However, I got cleared to be induced. So at 37 weeks +1, I started the induction process.
After over 18 hours….I started begging for a c-section. I could not get up and walk because I had to stay on monitors, and they didn’t have a mobile monitor for twins. I was not a very nice patient. My husband and midwife knew how much I wanted a vaginal delivery. After almost 24 hours of labor, Baby A’s (Jedidiah) head was almost out. At 7:10 AM, Jedidiah Abel took his first breath. He weighed 6lbs 9oz and measured 19 inches long. However, because of how active Baby B (Josiah) was, and that I am a heavy bleeder, they went ahead and began prepping for a c-section. At 8:09 AM, Josiah Abner was born. He weighed 6lbs 4 oz and was 18 inches long. Josiah went to the NICU for a few hours because they were worried about his sugar levels. Jedidiah stayed by my side. I nursed him as soon I was up, and then I was wheeled down to the NICU and nursed sweet Josiah.
(Jedidiah pictured on left and Josiah on right)
It was all too perfect.
I never thought about a complication during pregnancy and knew they were fine. I always had a nagging feeling that something was going to happen and this perfect picture we had would be shattered. I never knew it would be so devastating. My husband started a new job on Feb. 24, 2014. I wanted him to wait until I was 6 weeks postpartum, but he felt alright starting a week before. On Feb. 27, 2014, I got up to place Josiah back in the crib after nursing him. My husband had handed him to me before leaving for work. I laid him next to his brother and went to the restroom. I walked back in and saw Jedidiah laying there and I knew. I screamed like I have never screamed before. My older son jumped and cried, “What?!?!” I told him to get me a phone, and I grabbed Jedidiah. I knew it was too late. I went to the kitchen and grabbed the land line and sunk to the floor as I dialed 911. I was clutching on to Jedidiah for dear life but I knew there was nothing I could do to help my precious baby. I had no idea where my husband even worked… I was so exhausted from taking care of the babies, our 2 year old, and homeschooling our 11 year old. I never thought about getting a work number. I asked the operator to call our pastor. He arrived just after the ambulance. I flagged the ambulance in the house. They had to pry my baby from my arms. Our pastor sat with our other children until more friends came to help. My neighbor sat with me. Then another neighbor came in and prayed with me. I am not sure how long it was before my husband called, and I did not want to tell him over the phone.
I knew he would not wait. My words to my husband that morning on the phone were, “Jedidiah is gone.” He got home, drove the car into the yard, and ran in. Where I saw my husband break down and have to be restrained. He walked outside. I would just sit by Jedidiah as he laid on the couch. They would not let us touch him again or hold him. My husband asked them to cover him because he couldn’t watch me watch him. Our house was full of half the sheriff’s department, state police, and the coroner’s office. From that day, my life would forever be changed. A piece of me was lost.
I look at Josiah now and think “what if” some days, and other days I just hold him closer. Our faith is what has gotten us through. The pain never leaves, but caring for Josiah has helped me the most. He still lays in the same spot in the crib (not the same crib) as he did when he shared a crib with his brother. It is like he is waiting for him to come join him again. He does not like to be in a room alone. Our now 3 year old has really helped with that, and they have become so close. However, it is hard not to wonder how things would be if Jedidiah was still with us.
Jedidiah’s cause of death was ruled SUDI (Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy), essentially SIDS. There are so many misconceptions about SIDS and many can aggravate me. I have been told that letting Josiah sleep in his rock and play can cause SIDS, not swaddling the first 4 months can cause it, bed-sharing can cause it. Well let me just say… there is no CAUSE that any of us know and that is why it is called SUDDEN Infant Death. Sure, they think certain things can help prevent it but when it comes down to it… there is no real prevention. Jedidiah slept a foot away from his brother in the crib. They were both swaddled in a SwaddleMe wrap, they both had pacifiers, they were both nursing and getting the same milk. Neither had received a single vaccine before Jedidiah passed away.
I have met many amazing parents through my journey so far and I’ve asked them what they felt was a misconception. One mother actually said, “It can happen when they are awake. It does not only happen when they are sleeping.” I have met one woman who was holding her child when they passed. Sleeping on their tummy, sleeping in a swing, vaccines, swaddled or not, a blanket or pillow nearby… these are not causes of SIDS. We do not know the cause, and therefore it is not preventable.
Another misconception that parents have shared with me: it can happen to anyone. Studies show that by 4 months of age the chances go down, and by 6 months it is less than 50% and by 12 months it is almost non-existent. But can still happen after their first birthday. I was actually asked by a woman just a few months after our loss if I had swaddled, slept on his back, gave him a pacifier… I cut her off, and said “I did everything just as I was told to do.”
The guilt that a parent feels after this is overwhelming. We know there is nothing that we could do to change what happened but you cannot help but ask what if I had or did this or that, but we all know it doesn’t always matter. Even though we know we did not cause this to happen to our children, we are still left with so many unanswered questions because it is an unexplained death. They may never understand what causes this to happen, but we pray for answers so that other parents do not have to go through what our family has.