SIDS is the leading cause of death for Infants 1 month to 12 months old. Each year SIDS claims the lives of almost 2,500 infants in the US – that’s nearly 7 babies every day. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) defines SIDS as the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation. SIDS occurs in families of all races an social economic backgrounds and in spite of parents doing everything “right” to lower the risks, SIDS cannot be prevented.
October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a month I hold close to my heart. In honor of this month I have chosen to share the Jameson House story.I was introduced to this family some time ago when a friend was asking for prayers because they had lost their son Jameson to SIDS. That same friend introduced me to their now project of creating a house parents who have lost their children to SIDS can come grieve, talk and receive help and support.
The Jameson House does not exist, yet. This is our story and vision…and why The Jameson House needs to be built. January 2nd, 2013 was the most incredible day of our lives.
At 2:17 a.m. Jameson Reid Stidger was brought into this world. I will never forget the look on her face when Jameson was put on the baby warmer…seeing the look in Gabby’s eyes that she was a Mom, finally after, carrying him for nine months. From that day forward, her life had changed. Gabby was a “mom” to my other three children but this was her own flesh and blood. I could tell then and there that she was born to be a Mother and her purpose in life was to nurture this little boy. For Gabby’s entire pregnancy, she did everything by the book. She took her pre-natal vitamins religiously, ate healthy, didn’t drink or smoke. Gabby is a RN (registered nurse) and knew the importance of doing things right.
She was a perfect Mom…from the day he was born until that day he was taken from us. I home office and she worked nights. Our schedules worked out perfectly. I would watch him at night and when she got home in the morning, she would take over. Their nap time was so consistent…I could walk over to the couch where they were both sleeping at exactly 10:15 and take a picture of them sleeping together. It was beautiful to see a bond between a Mother and child that I had never seen before. They were in love.
July 2nd ,2013 was a perfect day…we went to the pool as a family and had a wonderful time. This was the first day that 6 month old Jameson felt comfortable in the water. Later on that day we went out for dinner, went back home so Gabby could get ready to do her overnight nursing job. It was a usual routine. I would watch baby Jameson while she either napped or got ready for work, or both. His soft skin and beautiful smile. The way he would get shy sometimes. His funny, yet cute little hair part. His wonderful giggle. That day was a perfect day, our lives were perfect, even though our schedules were quit hectic. Everyone fought for Jameson’s attention. All the kids would want to hold him or take him for a walk. He was the light of all of our lives
. July 3rd, 2013…out lives changed forever. I woke up at 7:17 a.m. to find little Jameson lying on his stomach. When I went to turn him over, I knew he was not breathing. As panicked as I was, I gave him mouth to mouth and CPR. I placed a call to 911 and was hysterical, not only to know that our healthy, happy Jameson had gained wings…but to know that Gabby was going to come home from work wanting to feed him and do their daily routine. It was horrific. Words cannot explain the feelings or emotions. The image of that morning will be burned into my memory forever. Gabby came home to a nightmare that unfolded in front of her. Police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and worst of all, the coroners vehicle. The only questions was “why”? Why did this have to happen to him…to us? He was perfect in every way. Why would God take our son from us? Why?!?
July 7th, 2013 We buried our little boy, personally setting him in the grave to rest. Knowing that was his body and his spirit was in Heaven. Gabby and I were not in our right minds, and will never be. Gabby wanted to be with her son, not having a plan to kill herself, just not be here. The next morning, a doctor’s appointment was set up for her for evaluation. July 8th, 2013. In the morning, Gabby was admitted into a mental health ward in a Minneapolis Hospital. It was not the place for her. Gabby, being a nurse, knew what kind of help she needed and this was not the place. She called me crying hysterically shortly after we had left, telling me this was not the place for her and to PLEASE come pick her up…even pulling the “if you love me” card. I explained that we couldn’t but I would do my best to get her out. After spending two hours with her crying on the phone to me, I went back the same day to get her out, to no avail. I got her out the next day. She told me how awful the nurses were and had nobody to talk to. We were promised that she was going to get help. If you call showing where she was going to be sleeping and a nurse calling her disheveled “getting help”, than it was a success. She cried up and down the hall hysterically for hours, and nobody cared. Gabby needed to be with her family.
The one thing that came out of her being in lock up was her idea of The Jameson House. While lying in that white room, with nothing on the walls, she imagined the perfect place. A place that hand comfortable beds, walking paths, a bench around a pond to watch wildlife…someplace serine. Most importantly, a place with therapists, RN’s and a doctor to do rounds once a day. We would also offer clergy for each patience’s preference of religion. The Jameson House would be a get away from all the people calling and knocking at the door, dropping of the next pan of lasagna. A place to grieve, heal and learn how to carry the pain and to get the necessary help. We later got a bill for $4100 from the hospital, for the worst possible care, ever. TJH would be free for the first two weeks. July 9th. We brought Gabby home, where she belonged, but stopped to see a therapist on our way. She made us feel at ease and it comforted us slightly, but did not take the pain away.
We just have to try to learn how to carry it. There have been many nights that Gabby has been crying on the garage floor and me lying next to her. So many times saying to ourselves that we both need to be at The Jameson House…that does not exist. The tears. The anger. The questions in our minds of why. Everyone we talk to think TJH is an incredible idea. The Jameson house does not exist, yet. We are taking all the steps to put it into motion. The plan is to build the first one in the Minneapolis area, in the suburbs on some acreage. We are having plans drawn up of what the house will look like. Taking into consideration that the walls have to be sound proof and all rooms handicap accessible. We would want meetings every week for grief groups and SIDS, so there would have to be a ample room. We would want a large kitchen area and dining area to accommodate 4-8 couples. It helps to be surrounded by people that are going through the same tragic experience. The floor plans of TJH would stay the same in every city that is built around America, we would just have to find the land to build them on. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of people in our same state of mind that could use a place like TJH to feel comfort, right now.
For More on the Jameson House Project or how you give to this project please visit the links below:
On October 15th at 7:00pm I ask you to join me and others across the world in lighting a candle in honor of Pregnancy and Infant loss Remembrance day.