There is no greater heartbreak than that of losing a child. Children should outlive their parents, and when that doesn’t happen, entire worlds come crashing down, and all of a sudden, nothing is the same and grief settles in the hearts of the bereaved parents.
Amanda Saucedo, a single mom from Lorain, Ohio, is trying to raise awareness by sharing the story of how she lost her 30-day-old son Ben and how the feeling of whether she is the one to blame or not is destroying her life. She is giving out Benny Bears with her son’s short story attached to the parents of new-born babies.
Amanda, who once worked in the army, took her baby in her hands that night and brought him to her bed to feed him. She then put him to sleep next to her.
The following morning, she woke up to see that baby Ben wasn’t breathing and was surrounded by a pool of his own blood.
Unaware of what could have happened during the night, she quickly grabbed her son in her arms and called 911. The operator asked her multiple times whether she wanted to perform CPR on her little one, but Amanda was aware there was no point. She knew her baby was dead for hours.
Amanda was tested for alcohol and drug presence in her blood. There wasn’t any and she was eager to learn what could have happened to her son during the night.
“I only had one question for the coroner: ‘Did Ben suffer?'” the heartbroken mother said.
“‘Babies this small generally don’t suffer when they’re smothered,'” he answered.
“And that is the moment my whole life, my whole being, was consumed with guilt. I killed Ben?
“But I knew I didn’t lay or roll onto him. The coroner told us that by smother, he meant suffocation.
“Somehow after I fell asleep, Ben suffocated. I explained to him that there was nothing blocking Ben’s airway. How did this happen if his nose and mouth were not covered? I did not understand.
“While the detective was so kind about it, I felt like they were trying to find where I screwed up, as if I must have done something to put myself into an abnormally deep sleep. But there was nothing.
“I call this my hell day. It is the worst story to tell. And it never seems to get easier.”
Although there was no proof that Ben suffocated, his cause of death was recorded of positional ‘asphyxiation due to unsafe sleep conditions.’ This ruling filled Amanda with guilt even more.
“Of course when things like this do happen, other people always want to jump to conclusions and make their own assumptions about what must have gone wrong.
“Bed sharing accidents only happen to people who have been drinking, on drugs, or obese, right?
“Surely, this parent or caregiver was not practising the safe sleep guidelines written by the almighty attachment parenting doctors.
“The rest of the world always wants to find a fault – any reason they can cling to to believe this would never happen to them.
“Healthy babies don’t just die, right? Sadly they do. Mine did.”
Ever since Ben’s passing, this mother’s life is divided into two periods, before her child died after her child died. She is now doing all in her power to teach parents of babies of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and the potential dangers of sharing a bed with an infant.
“Science has proven time and time again that bed sharing absolutely does increase a baby’s risk of SIDS or SUID. Many people tell me that if their babies were to die for no reason in their sleep, they would want their child next to them, instead of alone. I would also have to disagree there. Never knowing if my baby would still be alive had he been sleeping alone is something I will take to the grave with me,” Amanda says.
“If Ben had died while I was practicing the ABC’s of safe sleep, I feel my life wouldn’t constantly be filled with doubt and guilt. Could his death have been prevented? I may never know. But I would not wish this feeling of guilt and never knowing the answer on anyone.”
Please help Amanda raising awareness by sharing her story with your family and friends on Facebook!
Love and Peace