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The SIDS Survival Guide

Reviews and comments ...

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by Janice Roper

I learned of my infant son Danny's death from two homicide detectives who came to my office. They said it looked like SIDS. SIDS. No, you must have made a mistake. My baby boy was wide awake and smiling at me this morning. He is the picture of health. He can't just all of a sudden die. You must have the wrong baby.

My husband and I went to the hospital. The doctor told us it looked like SIDS but they would do an autopsy the next day. They took us to an empty room at the end of the hall to see his little body. There he was. Stiff. Cold. On his back with blood settling red beneath him. His eyes open. SIDS.

The hospital gave us a small pamphlet with big print: "CRIB DEATH" said the cover. It told us SIDS just happens. We should not feel guilty. We didn't do anything wrong.

The autopsy confirmed SIDS. The Maryland SIDS Information and Counseling Center sent us pamphlets. Stages of grieving. Father grieving. Some research reports in technical jargon. I read the research reports over and over, eyes blurring, hoping to understand. I was starving for information. These were snacks.

About a week later, we were sent The SIDS Survival Guide. I couldn't put it down. It was both information and solace. The book includes the latest information from top research experts in lay terms. It includes poems, letters, and articles on all aspects of coping with SIDS. There were individual chapters dedicated to fathers, siblings, daycare providers, grandparents, and friends. There were chapters on anger and guilt, planning the funeral, coping with birthdays and anniversaries, when to seek professional help, and having/monitoring subsequent babies. One chapter that I found especially intriguing was on "Dreams and Premonitions." Apparently this is a common phenomenon with SIDS deaths and the stories are riveting.

After reading the book, I ordered 30 copies. I gave copies to Danny's grandparents, aunts, daycare provider, a friend at work, and a SIDS parent I met on the Internet. The rest I left with the publisher to give to low income newly bereaved SIDS families who can't afford to buy a copy. The inside cover of these copies has a tribute to my son on a label.

Because of The SIDS Survival Guide, I feel like I am much farther down the path of grief and pain than I would have been otherwise. It let me know that what I was feeling was normal. That I wasn't crazy. That I should allow myself time to come to grips with this horrible tragedy. It made me feel a part of a community of fellow SIDS survivors who were reaching out to me to tell me I would be OK eventually. Although I will always mourn Danny and carry his loss like a whole in my heart, it made me see that life would go on and could have meaning for me.

What more can I say? I highly recommend the book.

I just wanted to loudly agree! This is really a wonderful, hopeful, helpful book, very up to date, with lots of "first person" accounts of surviving SIDS.

Ellen Siska

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