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Mom uses loss to raise awareness of SIDS

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 10:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Benjamin meant the world to his mother, Samantha Glenn.

It was her second child, arriving just 11 months after his older sister, Amelia.

“(He was) very cute, a beautiful baby,” Glenn said.

But their world changed in March 2007, on the last day of a family vacation when Benjamin was four months old.

“I woke up and I put my hand over him in his playpen and his body was cold, very cold,” Glenn said. “You just get a sick feeling as a mom when you know something’s wrong.”

Benjamin passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. All these years later, Glenn said, it doesn’t get easier.

“His birthday is in November, coming up, he’d be 15,” she said. “You miss the first steps. You miss the first day of preschool, kindergarten, graduation. What would he be doing now?”

According to the CDC, in the U.S., about 3,400 babies die suddenly before age one each year. About 1,200 are from SIDS, while others are from sudden unexplained infant death, and accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed.

Glenn, who’s now a nurse at Stormont Vail, says she didn’t know much about SIDS, but over the years, she has connected with other families who suffered the same loss. She and fellow mom Carrie Steinle even started the SIDS and Infant Loss Network.

“When you think you’re alone, you are not alone,” she said.

Besides support, the group also shares information, like making people aware of the ABCs of safe sleep, which are ways to reduce a baby’s risk for SIDS.

“Baby needs to be alone in the crib; making sure they’re on their back; and the last part is to make sure it’s clutter free - no cute bears and cute bumpers and blankets - you get a tight fitted sheet and a sleeper sack,” Glenn said.

Health experts also encourage pacifiers, because they may improve breathing and reduce obstructions. But they’re also quick to point out SIDS has no symptoms or warning signs.

“Sometimes you can do everything and it still happens, but you have to try,” Glenn said.

She holds tights to memories. She keeps Benjamin’s first teddy bear close.

“It gives me a lot of comfort when I talk about him because at one time his hands were on it,” she said.

It’s a reminder Benjamin - and all the other children lost too soon - are with us forever.

“Time does not heal loss,” she said. “We learn new ways to cope, how to get past those hard days.”

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, remembering the lives lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and other deaths in infancy. At 7 p.m., Oct. 15, people are invited to light a candle to honor those lives.

You can find the SIDS and Infant Loss Network page on Facebook. In addition, the KIDS Network of Kansas (Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network) offers infant safety information through their web site.

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