Today marks my son’s 6th birthday. It’s exciting to think what going into first grade is going to look like.
Will he be the smartest in the class?
The class clown?
And, I wonder what the teachers are going to teach him this year. Maybe he’ll get his count to 100 correct, even with skipping some numbers here and there!
Or, when he gets home, maybe we can practice his small number subtraction.
Whatever the year may bring, I’m up for it. Because I’m his father and I love him.
Although the year might tough, there’s just one part of this story that won’t allow this to happen.
His Non-Existent Birthday Wish
My son Noah, the one to get his birthday wish, passed away from SIDS when he was three months old.
Those of you that have never heard of SIDS, at the bottom of this page is an explanation.
For us at the Henry Household, this exact date every year is a struggle.
And, I’m not talking about a financial struggle where we can just “catch up next month”.
It’s constant thoughts like: he would be starting t-ball this year or maybe we would be homeschooling him.
How the Younger Brother Helps
Sometimes it helps with having our other son, Jonah, simply because he’s physically present.
What doesn’t help at other times is that Jonah shows us everything we’ve been missing over the years. Since he is turning 4 this year, he’s just a couple of years behind where Noah would be today.
I’m not writing this to make everyone saddened and give the “aaw, I’m so sorry”.
I’m also not writing this to have anyone feel sorry for us, what we’ve been through, or condolences.
This is to remind me of why I’m here, the whole reason for this website, and to remember that life is not all about money, having a nice car, and a nice house.
In fact, those are the very last things we should be worried about.
Yes, of course, we miss him dearly and there’s a hole in our hearts that is permanent.
That hole is never going to be filled and never going away.
There’s another side to this.
Our Newborn Baby Lukas and the Enjoyment of Worry
Two days ago, we celebrated the one month birthday of our newest baby boy Lukas.
Born full term (the first of our kids) and healthy, we have been excited to watch him grow and embrace his cries.
One aspect of this newborn birth we get to experience daily is the fact that since he is a boy, his risk is higher for SIDS.
As you can imagine, nightly we are constantly checking his breathing to make sure he hasn’t become another statistic.
Although I’m confident that we’ll make it through this year (1 month to 1 year is the highest risk timeframe), it’s a daily battle of nerve racking worries and memories.
Noah is our first born and will always be our first little baby boy. And, even though we won’t get to experience all of his greatness through the age of 18 and beyond, he lives with us.
We have an over-sized picture on our family room wall of Noah to remind us every day of where we are going in life. Making sure not to fall into the ways of the world or living without purpose.
It’s not worth it to regret life later. Especially when you have the present to change it.
If there’s one hope I can share, it’s this: your life is different than ours. But, you still have your own version of a struggle. Just like our memories with Noah, you have memories of something in your life that affects your decisions, your future, and your purpose.
What is the Definition of SIDS?
SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Simply put, it’s when a baby passes away and after the autopsy is performed, there are no answers.
There are no signs of how, why, or what caused the baby to stop breathing.
It’s a really hard time for many families because there is no explanation. Sure, there are theories and research that has minimal evidence, but overall, the answer is “we just don’t know”.
Doctors are still working on finding the root cause for SIDS and I hope that they discover it one day.
Over the past few decades, there has been a ton of research and better practices to help prevent SIDS from happening.
Please do the following with your baby:
- ALWAYS put them to sleep on their back
- If swaddling, use a light blanket – breathable material
- Don’t overheat your baby
- Choose bedding that is not over-cushioned or heavy
- We always use a Rock-n-Play Sleeper for each of our children
- Sleep in the same room (not in the same bed!)
- Get regular prenatal care
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy.
- Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke.
- Breastfeed (at least start and try)
- Use a pacifier (no direct evidence, but cannot hurt)
- Make sure to talk to a doctor about anything your gut says needs addressed
You can find all of the above information plus a lot more on this webpage about SIDS.
I wish we would have known everything in that list. Some of it is common sense, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it.
There’s so much more I want to add here, but for the time being, I hope the message gets delivered.
Stop living life on cruise control and define your purpose. If there’s something you really want to do and the feeling doesn’t go away, chase it.