I feel the need to start this post by stating my intention. This post is intended to inform not criticize lack of knowledge.
It was recently brought to my attention that people still question the facts surrounding Avery's death. Specifically, the reason for it and whether or not Eddy and I were to blame in any way. At first I was extremely upset and angry that people could question this. The thought that anyone would possibly think we did anything wrong absolutely killed me. However, after thinking it over and removing my emotions from the situation, I've come to realize, these questions are based from ignorance and a true lack if knowledge not real judgement. People want cause and effect. They want to know what caused Avery to no longer be here. After all, there has to be a reason right? Babies don't just due! WRONG! And if you aren't educated about SIDS or know that was ruled the cause of her death, I can see how you may have questions. So, let me take a minute to provide some education.
First, let me start by saying again, the medical cause of Avery's passing was ruled SIDS by the medical examiner. SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS is found to be the cause of death in infants after a thorough investigation into the death, including full medical examination and full police investigation is completed. SIDS is ruled the cause of death when there is no other explanation for the passing. This means all other reasons for the death are ruled out including health/medical reasons, suffocation, accident, etc.
There was nothing found physically wrong with Avery that caused her death medically. She was otherwise healthy. There was also nothing found as part of the police investigation which involved individual questioning of Eddy and myself and an investigation of our home, including her sleeping area. Therefore, it was ruled that this did not happen because of something we did. We are in no way at fault for her death.
Unfortunately, they don't know what causes SIDS yet so there is no absolute way to prevent it from happening. There is lots of research being conducted to find the cause with most recent evidence pointing to a chemical imbalance in the brain stem. Because they still don't know what SIDS actually is, there are no tests or cures. There are only some guidelines for things to help lower the SIDS risk, but they do not 100% prevent SIDS.
These prevention include placing the baby on their back to sleep, sleeping the baby in the parents room but in their own sleep area, eliminating loose pillows, blankets, breastfeeding, eliminating exposure to cigarette smoke and leaving a fan on in the room. We took every precaution given with Avery and yet, it still happened to us. Again, there is no way to prevent SIDS 100%.
As you can see, SIDS is still a big mystery but under no circumstances was Avery's death in any way something we did or something we could have prevented. Please remember this when dealing with families of SIDS deaths. As hard as it may be to wrap your head around the lack of cause, it's even more difficult for parents. Not a day goes by that we still don't wonder why and what if even though we know we couldn't have changed anything. We don't need the extra scrutiny from others looking down on us as if we did something wrong. Instead, we need support and love.
I'll end this post with some other quick facts from the CJ Foundation for SIDS:
SIDS claims the lives of almost 2,500 infants in the US each year - that's nearly 7 babies every day.
SIDS deaths occur unexpectedly and quickly to apparently healthy infants, usually during periods of sleep.
SIDS is not caused by suffocation, choking, or smothering.
SIDS is not caused by child abuse or neglect.
SIDS is not contagious.
SIDS occurs in families of all races and socioeconomic levels.
SIDS cannot be predicted or prevented and can claim any baby, in spite of parents doing everything right.
This website has lots of good information: http://www.cjsids.org.