“Mom, if I had checked on Caemen like you asked me to, would he still be alive?” Imagine your child asking you this question, that if they had done something differently, their sibling wouldn’t have died. That is exactly the question I got.
I was floored when I heard this. What was she talking about? I don’t remember asking her to check on her brother that day. But she does. And ten years later, she finally felt the need to ask.
I was cleaning up and cooking dinner, taking advantage of nap time, and grateful that I was blessed with babies that loved to sleep. Apparently at some point in there, 5 year old Cenya was sitting up at the counter having a snack. In her recollection I asked her to check on her brother while I was busy cooking.
She was always my best helper, my side kick, my right hand man. When she was 3 she wanted to help me with everything possible with her brother Covin. Change diapers, dress him, bathe him… She would have fed him if she could, but since that was left to mom (until he was older), she took over the task of burping him.
She was amazing at it too! I could not get that boy to burp for anything. She would just sit cross legged, drape him over her knee, and about three pats later a nice loud burp would come out. It was unbelievable! Try as I might I could not get him to burp, and on those late nights up feeding him, I would try EVERYTHING. I tried doing exactly what she did and… NOTHING. How I just wanted him to burp so I could get some sleep! Do you think I could wake Cenya up and ask for her help? I kid, I kid…
So back to that day, it would not have been uncommon for me to ask for her help with her brothers. “Oh honey, I am SO GLAD you didn’t check on your brother. I would have hated for you to find him. It absolutely wouldn’t have changed anything!”
She recalls being so into her snack, that I went to check on him instead. But that isn’t my recollection at all.
I remember the cooking part. As I said earlier, I remember being appreciative of babies that liked to sleep so I could get some stuff done around the house. All of my babies slept between 8 and 12 hours through the night by ages 8 to 12 weeks of age. Cenya being the latter, since she was born 9 weeks early. Which I guess technically put her at sleeping through the night at 3 weeks adjusted age.
I remember being terrified when I woke up and the sun was shining. I ran over to her Moses basket to check on her. And there she was sleeping peacefully. How could she have slept 12 hours without waking?! Her NICU nurses would be shaking their heads at me! She was only 4.7lbs when she came home from the hospital. But she did. And she slept through the night from then on, making up for lost meals during the daylight hours. She still loves her sleep!
Not only did all my babies sleep through the night, they slept long stretches at nap time. 3-4 hours at a time. So a long nap wasn’t cause for concern.
But as I was trying to hurry and finish dinner before the baby woke, I remember getting a sick feeling in my stomach as I walked across the house to check on him. He had been sleeping longer than usual. I thought back to all I had accomplished in that time, and tried to recall how long it had been since he laid down for a nap…
So this day, 10 years later, hearing from my beautiful, amazing, 15 year old, that she had been been questioning if she was responsible, was like a dagger to my heart. Doesn’t she know that nothing could have saved him? Doesn’t she know how thankful I am that she did not find him that way? Doesn’t she know how guilty I have felt that she had to dial 911 because my fingers weren’t working? Doesn’t she know how horrible I feel she had to be the one to talk to the 911 operators, because, apparently I was screaming incoherently through the phone?