What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Each year in the United States alone, medical treatment is sought for an estimated 1,400-1,600 babies who have been shaken. Don’t let your child become just another statistic! Tell everyone who cares for your child “Never shake a baby!”

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bringing us all together... with hope

The Shaken Baby Syndrome Support Network is formed for the families, by the families. We are here to share our stories, with the hope of helping someone else in comparable situations as ours which in some cases, go silently..

Last week, a blog entry was posted in regards to a news story about Justice for a family after 27 long years of hoping and praying. Many knew the reasoning behind the posting, and others had questions. So I am here to elaborate on the situation sharing my own personal journey, which is my personal journey, and could be deemed "opinion" in legal standings.

When I first was gathering my thoughts and feelings regarding what I felt and what so many others felt was needed for Shaken Baby Syndrome, I had one consistent thought in my mind.. "I just want a place where families can go and read. Read about coping, read other stories, and share at their own will and desire when they felt "ready" to do so in a non-opinionated environment." With that being said, knowing this is our inspirational blog, our blog of hope for those with little to none in their lives at certain points, I want to bring one thought to the forefront. If the resource can not help me.. It CAN help someone else.

Let's take a look for instance at the numerous support groups around the nation geared toward helping those with substance addictions. They are the life saving tool for so many in our world today, but in my personal case, I am blessed as I have not had to use those resources. But, they are there to help those seeking help with the problem at hand for them.

In my personal journey, the hardest subject and detour to deal with is the anger and rage instilled in my heart with no warning, and no answer as to how to deal with it "properly". I have had moments where I did not know if I would see the second because of the thoughts steering through my mind. The ones closest to me were the one subject to the most intense anger anyone should ever have to deal with. I am the girl who stood in front of the mirror in my bathroom, taking my acrylic nails to my face because I could not stand the anger and rage inside of me. I am the girl who has taken a knife to the counter top and carved "hate" into the counter top because there was no where to "point" my anger. I am the girl who refused to go to counseling for my anger and rage issues, simply because I thought I could get through this all on my own. I am the girl who wore the vulgar t-shirts and kept everyone at arms length, because I was the girl who was suffering alone, in the darkness, in my room, crying myself to sleep because I did not want to talk about it, in fear of someone else in my family hurting even a figment of the hurt I was coping with on a second to second basis.

All I wanted was to have this big answer book, this pamphlet that explained to me how to make all of this life shattering pain in my heart go away. Living through it and dealing with it, I wanted a place I could read, and sought for quite sometime other families and their stories, just to know I wasn't alone, and that when the time came and I was ready I could reach out and start this process called "healing".

I hope that everyone, and I mean all of you, whom are checking in on our blog, and following all of our postings, know that just because something may seem a bit "off" or a bit "awkward" that this is our lives, and our lives from every walk, from every perspective. It may not bring hope to you, but it just might for the next person that reads our site. In the coming weeks and days you will hear recollections from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and many other friends and relatives of the children of SBS to see things from all views of the tragedy, and the hope that the surviving children of SBS brings to all of us.

Unfortunately for my daughter, Justice did not prevail. I think there is a completely separate grieving process when such a system as that fails.. There is a person, a person whom stated what they had done, and talked about it openly.. and attempted to "do the right thing" by stating the truth.. and the system failed my family. Do I think the outcome would be any different grieving wise? Yes, I do. There isn't "that" kind of closure for my family, because just as I sit here and type this, this woman is sitting at home, with her children...

When Ricky's mother contacted me with his story I knew in my heart I had to post the story. Not only for the family's sake, and the triumph after 27 years of longing for justice that they must feel, but for all those families, as myself, that hold hope that maybe, just maybe something will come out, something might be said, or done that could just make the failing of the justice system justified, with the perpetrator in jail. I would be lying if I told you it is not something that I think about everyday.. because I do. Too many people know the truth, and I want everyone whom has been in my shoes, and who did not receive justice, to come forth, and feel they are not silenced just because of a justification.

Yes, this is America, and you are innocent until proven guilty. When you break down the lines of those whom have been failed by the system, you start to see the haze, and understand, sadly, you are not alone. I have seen too many families silenced because they have been told that they can not speak of this, because of the verdict in the court room.

This blog is a blog of hope and a blog of inspiration. I invite all of you to come forth when you feel you are ready, to share your stories, and to know that maybe those things left in your heart that you feel uncomfortable speaking of, can be easily typed and posted anonymous. The only way to move through the act of violence is to speak of the unconditional terms of the justice system. We don't just welcome parents of survivors, or parents of victims, or parents children whom have been shaken and have or haven't received justice. We welcome you ALL to take part. In order to be the support group we aspire to be, we have our mat at the door and a pot of coffee on.. Come on in.

The process we must live through is not always inspirational, but know our goal is to help you, the ones suffering in silence, and work together with the ones seeking to do good in their lives to help others know they do not have to suffer alone. We stand together, and make a declaration of hope to the families of Shaken Baby Syndrome. We are here, when your foundation is crumbling before your feet, read silently or speak loudly, because we are, the Shaken Baby Syndrome Support Network.

All my best, and warm thoughts;


Ok so I know this is such a little thing. As you all know, my son is a survivor of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

I know you all appreciate all the little accomplishments. Today was another one of those days. We have been working so hard. He was finally able to tie his shoes all my himself today.

Its even these little milestones that our kidos meet that are big for any child, but for a survivor of SBS, every milestone is a celebration.

I would be interested in knowing some of your childs successes. Please email me at tyandtaramitchell@yahoo.com

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Justice, Forgiveness, Acceptance

Lately the topic of acceptance, justice, forgiveness have been on my mind.

Everyone is different, everyone has different beliefs, everyone has different thoughts.

Its not so clean cut for me I guess. I have come to “accept” what happen to my son, and to “accept” what we have in our lives and that we may have challenges and issues ahead because of his assault.

I can forgive most things people can say, or do. I might be a little bitter for a little bit, or angry of whatever, but I have forgiven everyone everything I think in my life. But I will NEVER forgive him for what he did to my son.

Some people may judge me for this. Some people may say I can never move on until I forgive. I cannot forgive. This is something I simply can not do. I will “accept” what happen for what it was, however forgiveness is something he will never have from me.

Justice…..again everyone I’m sure have a different view of what justice is and maybe to what extent. I can only speak from my heart. Although I am pleased that he was found guilty and was sentenced to 13 years in prison, and we were lucky with such an exceptional sentence, as many of you know, some people get off “scott free” and some serve little time, some serve more time.

In my opinion there is no “justice” for a person that abuses a child. Whether the child is a survivor or an angel. There is no amount of time that a person could serve that could bring the child back, or bring the child back to the child they could have been.

There is no sentence that a court of law could give that would be justice for me. I know that some how some way he will pay for what he did. I guess my version of “justice” is that he will never be near this boy. He will never get to see him grow, he will never get anywhere close to him, and he misses out on the best thing in this world. Watching and loving a child as they grow.

So whatever your version of acceptance, forgiveness and justice, I hope you find that special place within yourself so that you can have some amount of healing and peace.

Love and hugs families <3 Tara

Friday, September 25, 2009

True Justice

According to Dictionary.com the definition of justice is: to cause to come before a court for trial or to receive punishment for one's misdeeds

July 9, 2007 …

I couldn’t wait for this day to get here. It was the day he was to be sentenced for my daughter’s death. The day I would finally be able to close this chapter of the book. I looked forward to this day, I planned for this day. I naively believed I would feel some sort of relief knowing he was paying for his crimes.

He had pled guilty in a plea agreement and we knew he was facing 30 to 64 years in prison. I was determined for him to get 64 years. Even though I personally felt the maximum of 64 years was not going to be enough to punish him for what he did.

When the judge delivered the sentencing of 40 years, I didn’t feel happy. I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t feel relief. Much to my dismay, I didn’t feel any different. The pain in my heart was still there. It didn’t bring my little girl back to me. I still didn’t get to hold her or kiss her or watch her grow up.

I am not saying I was not grateful for the punishment he did receive. I know many families who do not have the satisfaction of knowing the person who brought harm to their precious child has been punished. But in the end this monster has “3 hots and a cot” provided by us, the taxpayers, for at least the next 18 years when he will become eligible for parole.

Ultimately, I believe true justice will served on Judgment Day. Because on that day all the people who have hurt our children, whether they were convicted or not, will have to answer to their Creator. In my opinion, THIS is when true justice will be served… Until that day they will all have to live with the haunting horror of knowing what they have done and the fear of what is to come.


Thursday, September 24, 2009


Today we received a letter from the State of Washington Governor and the Superintendent of Schools. Every student in Washington from 3rd grade probably received a similar letter in the mail within the last few days. 3rd graders had to take the WASL test (Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL).

Although so many student I’m sure received the same form letter from the Governor congratulating them on passing the WASL, this has such extraordinary meaning to us.

Even though he scored just barely in the average range, he IS in the average range. When we first started this journey, he was way below his age range and way below other kids his age. He has tried very hard, worked very hard and had so many challenges to be doing so well.

So I am very proud of him, and I wanted to share this accomplishment with you.

No matter what mountains we may have to climb on this journey with a survivor, we can get there, we will get there, and together we will help our kids have happy lives.

I have made friends that have survivors and who lost their babies and they are angels looking down on us now. Although I truly do not know what you have gone thru, I just want you all to know, that I am here for you if I can be of support in anyway. I may not understand completely, but I do care, my heart is with you and I will lend an ear if I can.

I hope I was able to help today with our talk today my friend!

Love and hugs to all the families. <3 Tara

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

27 Years and Justice is finally Served!

Defendant Called "A Monster"
More than 27 years after he allegedly shook his infant son to death, the case of a North Carolina man finally goes to trial.
Posted: 7:34 PM Jun 16, 2008
Reporter: Todd Baucher
Email Address: todd.baucher@wtap.com

Story 10 Comments Font Size: One of the stepchildren of 48-year-old Richard Poore called him "a monster" on the first day of his trial Monday, one who often committed acts of abuse against him and his relatives.

"He'd just pick who he wanted to hit," said stepson Charles Hinton. "He'd want my brother to say curse words and my brother wouldn't say them, and he'd just punch him. I remember him doing things to my little sister."

And Hinton, who was five and a half years old in 1981, says he saw Poore violently shake his own son, Richard, Junior: violently enough to cause the four-month old infant's death.

"I just saw him pick him up and...run him against the wall," Hinton recalled, fighting back tears, "and just shook him and shook him and shook him."

Stepdaughter Heather Dunn says she was at school when the incident happened. she was notified by young Ricky's mother.

"I remember her saying he was gone," Dunn said. "And my (birth) dad came over and picked me and my brother up...and I remember we stayed with him."

Poore's attorney, Ira Haught, did not cross-examine witnesses, and declined to give opening statements until the defense begins presenting its case. That's something Pleasants County Prosecutor Tim Sweeney told us could happen as soon as Tuesday.

W.T.A.P News reported when Poore was arrested in 2006 that the case took more than two decades to prosecute because the completed autopsy report was never filed

This news story was submitted by the mother of Ricky. They have been going through the process for justice for 27 years! Little Ricky will never be forgotten, and though it took so long to get him justice, justice has prevailed.

Coping with Other Babies..

When I lost my little girl there was nothing I wanted more than to just hold her and love her and just have one more minute with her. Every time I would see another mother with their new baby I couldn’t help but be sad. I knew that this was an emotion that I would need to overcome because if I continued to be like this it would turn me into a bitter person and I refused. I tried just pretending like everything was okay when I was around babies and that didn’t work.. At the end of the day I would go home and just cry. I tried avoiding babies at all costs. Not fair to me or them. Then one day I decided that I was going to visit another family whose child was born that morning. I traveled to the hospital with all the fear in the world that seeing the baby in a hospital would just break my heart. I turned on the song “Jesus Take the Wheel” and drove to the hospital. I walked up there went to the room walked in the door. Then boom.. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that baby. It felt like God was leading to that moment in that room to heal me and comfort me. I held that little boy for a really long time. I am sure I wore out my visit and that they wanted their baby back, but they understood. I was perfectly comfortable being around that little guy from that moment on.

To this day the only way I am able to really feel comfortable around a baby the same age and younger than my daughter was is if I go to the hospital and hold the baby when they first arrive into the world. I think that this my way of coping with the emotions that I feel when I see a mother holding her new baby.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Special Mother-

Happy Tuesday Everyone

Mandy shared a poem that someone had shared with her, so I wanted to share one that someone had given to me after Kyle's assault.

This is for all of you that are parents of a survivor, or special child :) Love and hugs to you all untill Thursday!

The Special Mother

by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice,
a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.

This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children.

Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth
Selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.

As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew."

"Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia."

"Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a handicapped child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who knows no laughter?

That would be cruel."

"But does she have the patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.

Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it."
"I watched her today.

She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother.

You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of it's own.
She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."

The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.

Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.

She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied.

She will never take for granted a spoken word.

She will never consider a step ordinary.

When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.

I will permit her to see clearly the things I see--ignorance, cruelty, prejudice--and allow her to rise above them.

She will never be alone.

I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life
Because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.

God smiles.

"A mirror will suffice."


Monday, September 21, 2009


This poem was given to me moments after Nicolette’s funeral and since that day I have read it at least once a day. It gives me strength, hope, and encouragement and I would like to share it with you. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Be back Wednesday. Hugs

To My Mommy From Heaven

Mommy, don't cry,'cause God is holding my hand and telling me everything is okay

Mommy, God said that I will never want for anything and I will still feel your love all the way up here

Mommy, guess who helps watch over us while we play? They are God's helping Angels

Mommy, I am not afraid, my family is all here, They came to me when it was dark and held my hands

Mommy, God said, if you feel sad, remember this: I'll be the gentle breeze that brushes your face, the sun is my smile and the rain is washing away your pain

Mommy, I have to go now. I send you all my love on the wings of an angel..


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Life Today...

It has been 10 years since my sons assault. We have been thru many ups and downs. The first couple of years were very hard, but we took it a day at a time. He had intense therapy for the first year, and we spent a lot of time at Mary Bridge Childrens’ Hospital.

I meet my husband about 7 years ago. We now have a family of 5 with my stepdaughter and stepson. My husband adopted Kyle and we live like a “normal” family.

He is a good father and husband. Although we go thru normal trials and tribulations, we are a family and we work together to improve and grow our strength and family.

We will continue to face Kyle’s challenges head on and do everything we can to help him succeed.

We deal with a lot of social and acceptance issues. He was bullied the other day at school for being different. He is very sensitive and it is so hard as a mom to sit by and watch. We talk about things when they come up and I try to show him the bright side of things.

He will need to begin therapy probably this year. He knows he was shaken and almost died and was shaken by a man that lost his temper, but he doesn’t know who he was shaken by and that is his biological father. We are not really ready for this step, but I dont know how and when to do it. My husband has been the other father he has ever known. So we will need some counseling as well to figure out how we handle this situation, as well as how we help him thru his social issues.

We are very lucky to be in a good place in our life, and as a family, we will get thru anything life throws our way.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Shining Some Light

Once I was able to accomplish everyday common activities it was time to take bigger steps toward healing and growing as a person. I did not want to allow what happened to my daughter define who I was. I refused to hear “there is that lady whose husband murdered their baby.” I wanted to hear something more on the lines. “Look what she has been through and look what she has turned it into.”

One of the things that I wanted to do was shine a light on a subject that many just rather ignore rather than face it. That following April I wanted to use Child Abuse Awareness Month as a way to open peoples’ eyes to what was taking place all around them. We were still in the beginning stages with the legal system and preparing for the murder trial so I needed to be extremely careful what I did. I was told that Shaken Baby Syndrome was an extremely touchy subject, and I knew that I could not do anything that got to into detail on that subject. The last thing I wanted to do was jeopardize anything with the trial. Once I was given the okay from the District Attorney’s Office I decided to do go ahead and do a Pinwheels for Prevention Project.

With the help of my family and a group of family friends we placed one Pinwheel for each of the 333 cases of child abuse reported in Las Animas County, Colorado in 2006. Each Pin Wheel had a story behind it. Some worse than others, but all of them represented Children that were subjected to Abuse in one form or another. They were placed on a busy bridge in town where many people could see. I grew up in this small town and I NEVER could have imagined that there were this many cases of abuse there. I wasn’t alone either. Many people didn’t realize how badly child abuse was affecting their community. It was a really big eye opener. The pin wheels remained up the entire month of April and were seen by many. IT was a success!

After doing that project I knew that it opened the eyes of many and touched people’s hearts as well. I knew that people would be much more willing to not look the other way and pretend like child abuse wasn’t happening around them. I walked away from the project with a band aid over my pain. Some where deep down it seemed to make things a little bit easier knowing that I was helping another child from ever feeling the pain, another family from going through this, or another potential situation from being ignored.

Shining a light put my emotions, my feelings, and a piece of my heart all out on the line… I shared my story and in doing so I helped others. It felt so awesome in the end to able to help others, but at the same time help myself. The best thing I ever did was take the chance at helping and making a difference.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coping Mechanisms

-Coping mechanisms (Did you ever deal with alcoholism or drug abuse, or another form of harm you put yourself through shortly after?)

After my sons assault, I didn’t deal with any sort of substance abuses like drugs or alcohol. But boy do I love food. Im not sure how much weight I gained, Im know it was a lot during that time frame.

I had the support of my family and friends, and that got me thru. I am a very emotional and sensitive person, I get upset easily and am more of a “the glass is half empty” person. I wallowed in self pity and depression for some time. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to eat… then I wanted to eat everything. I didn’t want to leave the house, I just wanted to pull inward.

I had my son who had survived to take care of, so my focus was on him and being there for him, I guess that was a coping mechanism… I have to cope and function thru this, I have to. I am all he has.

I guess no matter what happens in our lives, we having some form of coping mechanism to get us thru.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Baby Steps to Healing..

After the loss of my daughter there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to live in the same house that she was hurt in. I made one visit back to that place to grab a few things and that was the last time I was ever there. Fortunately, I was able to get on post housing almost immediately after deciding that I was not going to be able to live there anymore. I had an extremely supportive group of people that I worked with. They did everything they could to make sure I was alright. I was given a lot of time to get my mind together and well enough to go back to work. Once I did return to work it was for only a few hours a day and some days as little as an hour just to get me back into the swing of it.

When I did return back to duty my family could not fathom me living 2 hours away from them and having no one there with me. My brother, who at the time was a senior in high school, decided that it only made sense for him to move away and be with me. (Josh ,I will forever be grateful for what you did for me… I know it wasn’t easy)

As I mentioned in a previous blog it took all the energy I had to get to work each day and when I did return home I didn’t want to leave my couch, not even to eat. I did go to the restroom though… My brother swears that if I had a bedside commode I would have NEVER left. I was awful. I was slipping into such a deep depression and it felt as though I was never going to get out of it…Here I was living in this hell hole with cinder block walls that the Army says is adequate housing, trying to just make it through each day. I had NO reason to keep moving on. Other than making sure that my ex husband never got to see another day of his life as a free man. The grief was over taking me in every aspect of my life.

My brother, who was and still is a social butterfly, begged me to just get up and get out of the house at least long enough to go to dinner. I finally decided that I would go. We went to dinner with a few of my friends from work. We knew it would be best if there were others there with us. It was actually nice to get out of there and just live a little bit. It wasn’t easy seeing all the happy little families, but I survived. As time went on, a couple of people I worked with would come over every day to either watch a movie with me or wash my clothes or just sit and cry with me. Going out to dinner started to become a regular event. Even during horrible snow storms… At that point there was a routine of people I could count on being there. They encouraged me and sometimes forced me to breathe in order to take little steps forward just in getting off the couch and out the door. I began to trust these few people. Trust… to this day isn’t something that comes easy for me, but that’s a blog for another day.

I gradually, with the support of these people and my brother, started to venture out a little bit more. Each new activity became a milestone. Going to the grocery store... going to the mall... going to get a pedicure… Every aspect of everything I did turned into a monumental occasion, bringing me hope and comfort that I would be able to survive this. I began looking forward to tackling each new adventure. This became my outlet from the grief. It wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it in the end.

When this horrible tragedy takes place our entire lives are turned upside down. Even little things that we sometimes take for granted, like going out to dinner, become such overwhelming things to do. We just assume not do them sometimes, but if we don’t face these challenges head on, we have allowed the pain and the hurt to become who we are. My little steps were facing all of these challenges with all the faith that God would get me through it... Pretty sure that none of them were easy. Then again, no one ever said they would be. They just said that it would be worth it~


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Regrets? Normal?....Yes

So one of the topics we planned on doing was - Do you have regrets or is that a term that should be used for people with “normal” lives?

Shortly after my sons assault I did have a lot of regrets… I guess more guilt. Although I was not home when the assault(s) happen, my son was assaulted on at least two different occasions. He had an older hemorrhage in addition to the acute hemorrhage that almost ended his life. I was at work, there is nothing I could have done. I had no idea the horror he must have went thru. I never saw anything. I never had a clue. I was even impressed that he went to an optional parenting class just for fathers before Kyle was born.

Looking back, I see things now that I “should have” picked up on something as “not normal” Kyle cried a lot when he would hold him. He had never been around babies, and seemed to hold him awkward, and you know babies can sense feelings, like animals, the sense when you are feeling a certain way. I would reassure him and encourage him and then he would feel more comfortable. He would talk to him, play with him everything normal, just like everyone.

Another “should have” …there was one day I had come home and Kyle had been sick, he had been throwing up and not eating (drinking) that day. I came home from work and he projectile vomited. I immediately took him to the doctor, and the doctor told me that he had the flu. He’s the doctor, I figured he had the flu like the doctor said. Looking back now, it makes me wonder. Was he assaulted that day???? Why did I not see it???? And most horribly the regret that tugs at me, even 10 years later… Why wasn’t I there to protect him???? I would lay my life on the line for this little boy. Why????

I was in therapy for months dealing with all the feelings and challenges. It took me a long time to finally convince myself. It was not my fault. If I would have known, I would have taken care of him like he deserved.

I can write that even now, but in my heart I still don’t truly believe it. I will always regret and blame myself.

And days like today, the regret creeps back in. Kyle is a highly functioning survivor. Most people would see him and except for the huge scars on his head, would not know anything was different.

Every school year I have the challenge of a new teacher. I constantly fight with the school, I had lots of fights when we first got to this school. The “special education” teacher actually told our day care provider that there was nothing wrong with Kyle. I was just an overprotective mother and exaggerated things. And that Kyle was just spoiled. I was needless to say PISSED. Excuse me??? Let me tell you what we have been thru. Better yet… I organized a conference call with all of his teachers at the time and the principal ( who missed the call ) with the Neuro-Development Center Doctor from Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. She has had to deal with schools a lot. She was blunt, honest and informed them that this boy sustained a severe head injury and that he almost died from these injuries. He has issues, challenges and he does have brain damage.

So frustrating! So now its another school year. And although I'm sure there is a file with information at school, like last year, I bet the teacher doesn’t know much about Shaken Baby Syndrome (Abusive Head Trauma). So I will do like I do every year. Provide the new teacher with all the information about SBS and the particular challenges. He has been at school for 3 days. I usually give the teacher a few days and then WHAM here you go.
The doctors say that every year we will see more challenges as the gap between Kyle’s age and his neuro developmental age.

It is frustrating the challenges he has, the struggles he has, the social exile he faces from people. Kids can be very cruel, and he is so sensitive, his feelings get hurt so easy, and we talk about it and I reassure him.

“ Mom, I am so stupid, mom the kids make fun of me, mom I cant do it, mom I’m not like the other kids, mom I have no friends.”

“Mom, sometimes I just want to die”

“No honey you are not stupid, you are a very smart boy, we just has to try harder sometimes, everyone is different in their own way honey, and that is what makes us all special. Not everyone is alike, but we always treat people with respect and love. If someone is being mean to us, or says something mean to us, we move away from them and find someone nice to play with. Friends are like treasures, and its not about the number of friends you have, its having real friends that are nice that count honey and most important is that mommy would be lost without you, your family and true friends love you and need you. Life is very precious and we should always hold on to that”

Am I doing it right??? I don’t know. We do the best we can, and we work towards another day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My "Normal" Life...


It is amazing what has become "normal" to me. ...

Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetary for Christmas,Valentine's day, and Easter.

Normal is seeing that choclate Easter bunny sitting on the shelf in Wal-Mart trying not to cry when I realize that my baby girl will never get to experience that delightful taste of chocolate.

Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how I feel with people who have also lost a child.

Normal is feeling like I know how to act and am more comfortable with a funeral and being at the cemetery. Yet, feeling a stab of pain in my heart when I smell the flowers, see the casket, and all the crying people.

Normal is feeling like I can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming cause I just don't like to sit through church anymore. And yet feeling like I have more faith and belief in God than I ever have had before.

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when I realize my little girl is missing from all the important events in my families' life.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand 'what if's' and 'why didn't I's' go through my head constantly.

Normal is having the TV on the minute I wake up and the last thing on before I go to sleep at night, because I have the need for noise because the silence is deafening.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of my babies death as if it were an everyday common place activity and then gasping in horror at how awful it sounds.

And yet realizing it has become part of my normal.
Normal is trying to go out to the movies to get my mind off of what is now my normal and having to turn right back around and go home, because I realize that every movie has some sort of violence in it and I just don’t have the strength to deal with it.

Normal is being impatient with everybody, but someone who has be stricken with grief over the loss of their child.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother.
Normal is being too tired to care if I paid the bills, cleaned my house or did my laundry or if there is any food in my house.

And last of all normal is hiding all the things that have become normal for me to feel, so that everyone around me will think that I am "normal".

When I first read this, I felt as though I had written it about my life. It was a turning point for me. I realized I didn’t want the grief to become who I was. If any of you have ever felt this way, and I am certain many of you have experienced some of these feelings (if not all of them), I want you to know that it is “Normal”.

In my next blog, I will tell of the baby steps I had to take which were monumental in my healing process to not allow the grief to become who I am.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Smiling... Its not that easy...

Knowing the pain never seized to affect everyday life after the tragedy of Shaken Baby Syndrome took Madilyne’s life, it also affected other aspects as a single mother, whose only child’s life was horrifically ended. One of the many struggles and battles I deal with even today is just a simple smile…

The root of a smile is taken. The guilt comes to the surface of all the should’ve, would’ve, and could’ves. I never thought I could ever give a genuine smile… So many things run through your mind when you realize your mouth is smiling, and your insides are dying.. Its ripping your heart out, antagonizing you because your child has passed, and everyone wants you to move on, take a step forward, and yet you are stuck in this whirlwind wondering if the pain, the guilt, and the hurt felt in your heart will ever ease itself.

Having a belief of Heaven, God, and all things surrounded in it, you believe your child would not want you to falter in life, they would want you to smile, and be joyful.. But it’s the guilt you have for everything you could’ve done had you known that takes the smile away..

My thoughts on smiling were, my daughter is dead, in a BOX in the ground, and I’m here smiling… HOW AWFUL! Everything changed for me when I started attending Parents of Murdered Children.. I was able to speak with all of them concerning the grief and anger issues I was having. It is normal to feel this way, it is “normal” to learn to have to smile again and be joyful.. but it is a very long process and you have to be willing to work towards it…

I will never forget the day I stood in the bathroom at our home in Florida.. I stood looking into the mirror, stricken with anxiety of the months and days to come building up to April of that year.. I had just had acrylic finger nails put on at the local nail salon… and I just hated the pain, hated the anxiety, tired of all the feelings of being so hopeless and there was nothing, NOTHING, that could possibly begin to ease the pain.. I was tired of looking at the grieving mother in the mirror.. Tired of always wanting to yell and scream at all those I love, and tired and drained from all the worry and longing in my heart just to have 2 more minutes if not more with Madilyne..

I stood there emotionless in front of the mirror.. Took my acrylic nails and dug them as hard as I could into my face starting at my forehead, and dragging them to my chin as hard and as slow as I could.. I just hurt that bad.. This was a turning point for me because I knew my inside feelings and behavior was beginning to show on the outside.. The shock from the incident was subsiding and I had to figure out a way to deal with all of this turmoil…

Today, it is very hard to speak of these times.. the anger, the rage, and the fake smiles flashed to so many… But today my heart is joyful, knowing that just telling my story might, just might help someone else.. and that I am surrounded by so much love, so much faith, and so much hope that I too just might have some what of a life again, even if I am 26 and I felt my life ended when Madilyne died…
God is my healer. He reached out his hand for me, comforted me, and walked me through the storm with me.. and today I am able to push through my hardships to see the beauty given to me each and everyday as a gift. Push through, hold on, and if you fall, fall so you can get up bigger, and better, and stronger. Your NEVER alone in this…


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Finding Friendship Through Hardship

When my son was assaulted 10 years ago, as many of you know, I had not really heard of Shaken Baby Syndrome. After hearing my son was assaulted and suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome, then I remember hearing about Matty Eappean that had been shaken and murdered by the British nanny. I remember watching it on television and thinking how horrible, how vicious.

It never crossed my mind that the man I was married to would do such a thing. This was a very hard time for me. After my son was released from the hospital and we moved in with my parents, I was suffering horribly from depression and really wanted to talk to others that knew what I was going thru. But there was no one I knew that had been thru what we had. I looked around our area, but nothing. I talked with the District Attorney Victim Advocate , they referred me to some local domestic violence resources, but it just was not the same.

So I took my search to the internet. I was lucky to find a group of family members that had children that were victims. Both angels and survivors. It was a email support list, and it really was very helpful for me. I was able to talk with people that had been where I was, had lived thru this horrible crime, and those who suffered terribly with the loss of a child.
I reached out to family members, and they reached back. I cant say thank you enough to all the family members of SBS victims out there for providing support and lending an ear, and for helping others.

As we neared the trial, everyone was very supportive, and they all celebrated with me when there was a guilty verdict. For sentencing, many members of my extended SBS family actual wrote on behalf of Kyle to the Judge who was sentencing the child abuser. The stories that these families provided, the letters of support for an exceptional sentence, I believe were vital in getting an exceptional sentence for my sons abuser.

In the years since, I have continued to try and raise awareness like so many of you, and have tried to turn our sadness into some good for others.

Although I have not “met” in person most of the SBS family I have made, I do feel that they are my friends, they are my extended family. I love and value each one. I am so thankful for all of you. Thank you for sharing with me. Thank you for being happy for me that my son survived. Sometimes I feel so guilty that I am one of the lucky ones that not only has a survivor, but a highly functioning survivor. And so many families lost their babies, or have survivors who have many more challenges then we face. I will try not to feel guilty in the future, and I hope I never hurt anyone while talking about Kyle, his survival and the challenges we face. I am very thankful to still have him.

Thank you all for your support. I hope to be of support for others here. I look forward to making more friendships and to hopefully be able to go to the vigil this year to meet you all. I wasn’t able to attend last year, going to try my hardest for next year.

Thank you for the friendship we have, or yet to have as we travel this road together!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Shaken Baby Syndrome???

Shaken Baby Syndrome.. Prior to the tragic events that took my daughters life if someone where to mention Shaken Baby Syndrome I would have looked at them and said “What is that?? Who would ever Shake a Baby?? How could that thought ever cross someone’s mind??” I know that I am not the only parent that was caught off guard when we found out this happened to our child. Sadly I along with many others never heard of this horrible act until it happened to our children.
In the weeks following the loss of my daughter I decided that I wanted to look for others that have been affected by this. At the hospital I was told of Several different cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome.. Of course they never told me names though.. I knew that there were others out there that understood what I was going through. I knew that it was important for me to find someone that understood..
I have since come in contact with so many families that have also so sadly been affected by SBS. Angel families and Survivors and their families.. It has helped me in so many ways just being able to talk to others that have dealt with this. Sometimes knowing that I am not alone is all it took to bring just a little bit of comfort to my life. I am not going to lie and say that it was easy hearing about and meeting others whose children have been through this though. Every time I heard and continue to hear of these stories my heart breaks. I know that I need these people in my life though, and I know that its important to have the support. I have met people who were afraid to talk to me about what has happened in fear of causing more pain. I have learned that sharing my feelings to others about this experience has helped on more than one level of healing.
As the mother of a SBS Angel I have dealt with several different emotions when I have contact with survivors and their families. I am SO happy that these children have been able to defy the odds and continue along the road that life has planned for them. The smile I have is sincere, but the pain I have in my heart is never far behind. I cant help but look at these children and be happy for them and their families. I don’t wish the pain of losing a child on anyone. I just want to give them great big hugs.. Even though I am feeling this awful pain I know that their path is not an easy one either.
When I meet another family of an SBS angel I share their pain. I know that part of their heart is gone forever and there is nothing in this world that any of us can do or say that will ever get that back. Our lives have been changed Forever.. But we are forced carry on. Then I realize so have the lives of survivors and their families.
We are all on this journey together. We have all felt the pain that SBS causes. I understand that each of us have a different situation, but yet we all are intertwined. Together we can help one another… Angel families and survivors and their families a like. We are all in this together!!


We will never forget.

We would like to take today to reflect on the lives lost, the families left behind, and to thank those fighting for our freedom on a daily basis with such a tragedy that took place 9/11/01. Our Nation was changed forever 9/11/01, as we continue to show our American Flag raised high, and our hands clasped together. We are a Nation many long to live in, a Nation whom stands strong and together. God Bless all those whom lost their lives 9/11/01, the soldiers on the front line fighting for our freedom, and the surviving families of those who have passed.

From all of us
Shaken Baby Syndrome Support Network

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Breathing, even when your air supply is minimal

My life had been turned upside down. Not only had my son barely survived, it was my ex husband that tried to kill my son. He was arrested the second day Kyle was in the hospital. After the shock wore off, in ways I wish I would have seen him. I wish I could have hurt him, hurt him like he did Kyle. The first week while Kyle was in a coma, was really when I was at my lowest and at my point of “not functioning”. My mom and dad took off of work, and stayed with me the whole time. I’m still not sure how I made it thru that first week. Mom and Dad pretty much helped me thru that first week. Insisting I try and drink fluid, and try to get at least some sort of food down, and to get some rest. God bless my parents, I don’t know what I would have done without them.

My mother is a very strong women. Very strong on the outside, but deep inside gooey. But when it comes to having to take care of things, she just does. This is one of many things I got from her. I had the first week where I was just a basket case, and then the day before Kyle was released, I was doing much better, and my mom broke down. I just “switched gears” into the caretaker role. And that is what you do as a mom. You just do!
Its hard to explain I suppose. I knew that when Kyle was ready to come home… I was it. I was his only parent now in my mind. The child abuser, would never NEVER get near him again.

Before Kyle was released from the hospital, I asked my parents to go back to my home, and pack everything we would need for me and Kyle for a few days. I couldn’t go back into that house, not yet. I didn’t ever want to go in there again. This was where Kyle was assaulted and nearly killed.

Kyle and I stayed with my parents after that for awhile. Without the love and support of my mother and father, I don’t know how well we would have been. It was 2 weeks before Kyle’s first Christmas that we came home. It was very very hard. I did cry a lot, I had nightmares every night. It was a couple of weeks before I could really keep good down and get sleep. I had to take medication to try and get some sleep from the doctor for awhile, the nightmares were horrible. I leaned on some friends and my family, and just did what I had to do to function.

My focus was on my son, and him getting better. We had lots of therapy, occupational, physical, and multiple therapy sessions at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.
I just had to tell myself… you cant break down, you have to stay strong for your little man, cause I am all he has. And I will love and protect him until the day I die. I was a loving, cuddling, kissy mommy… and I became 100% more from then on.

Even today… when times are tough, I tell myself that I have to stay strong for him. And Im still that loving, cuddling, kissy mommy, and he is 10 :)


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Addicted? Do I, or dont I? Coasting through the pain-

Somebody told me that the first bad habit I picked up would be the hardest to quit- I guess it was always in the back of my mind...
Fortunately I never dealt with substance abuse such as drugs and alcohol or most types of destructive behavior. Part of this was because I was still a soldier and was subject to random drug testing, but mostly because it took all the energy I had to drag myself to work everyday. Once I finally got home it took an act of Congress to drag me off my couch.
I know everyone deals with their grief differently. Possibly my military training and my strong support network helped me avoid some fo the most dangerous abuses.
My addiction was smoking cigarettes.. That was my comfort.. That's what eased the pain. I smoked prior to becoming pregnant with Nicolette but quit the day I learned I was pregnant. During those first days while Nicolette was at Children's Hospital I craved a cigarette and my addiction began..
Oh how I loved to smoke my cigarettes..They got me through the day and it would take at least a pack. Sometimes 2 get me through those sad times.
Thankfully when I got pregnant with my son I was able to kick this habit.. I had a reason to move past that. It's not always easy. In fact just a few weeks ago, as Nicolette's birthday neared, I craved cigarettes. I was able to resist,but the craving was there-tempting me with its ability to ease my pain.
I do feel blessed that I never experienced the major destructive behaviors after my loss. I totally understand how easy it would have been to numb my pain with drugs or alcohol or any other behaviors. I could never say somebody is wrong for any activity they participate in to ease their pain. I must say though that I do believe that With faith in God you can overcome Anything!! If God takes you to it, He'll get you through it..


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Surviving the Odds, Composing the Pain

I don’t really remember much, those first few hours after my son was rushed to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. I rushed home from work, he was already in the ambulance. I drove like a maniac to the hospital.

Everything was a blur going on around me except for me wanted to be with my son. There was medical mumbo jumbo that I didn’t really understand, they were not giving me much information really. Everything the doctors said really was in one ear and out the other. I didn’t notice anyone in the room. Not the doctors, the ex, the detectives… nothing…. But my precious little boy with all these machines and wraps, and bandages. I didn’t know what all that meant. I kept go back to what they initially told me, he might have a concussion…. I’m still in this fog of “my god, a concussion?”

Here was my sweet little baby. In a huge hospital bed. He was covered head to toe. He was bandaged around his head with tons of tubes and wires coming out of his body. He had emergency brain surgery. Everything was really a blur. I could barely walk. I stumbled to my sons side, and all I could see where his closed little eyes. I was in a total state of shock. Looking back now, I don’t know how I was able to function.

When the ICU doctor told me that the ophthalmologist had just examined Kyle and confirmed he had retinal hemorrhaging.. And some other blah blah blah medical stuff. I had no clue what this meant. The head of the ICU, the doctor there then turned to me and said, someone intentionally did this to this boy. She lifted her hands up and motioned as she talked. Someone intentionally shook this baby ( as she had her hands like she was holding a baby and thrusted her arms back and forth violently ) I shrieked and covered up my mouth because I was going to throw up.. I got up and ran out of the room, into the waiting room and collapsed on the floor in hysterics.

I guess it was at this point that the doctors and nurses knew I had no involvement. My mom was holding me and the doctor came back out, very calm this time, apologetic and calmly told me about Shaken Baby Syndrome, the injuries that my son sustained, and that finding the retinal hemorrhages as well as the other injuries confirmed that my son was violently shaken.

I don’t remember much of that night.

I went into my sons room in the chair leaning over his bed. I watched constantly the ICP monitor that was inside of my sons brain, watching the number. It was vital that the numbers stayed under 100. The pressure in the brain would determine if he lived or died. I stared at that monitor almost all night. I wondered if I would ever look into my little boys little blue eyes. I wanted him to just open his eyes. I prayed over and over to God please let him live. I fell asleep in the chair next to my son leaning on his bed.

The next day after learning it was my then husband that did this… I was numb. I was in shock. I felt nothing…. Nothing. I was all alone at the hospital. Then the anger hit. It was just like a switch of a light. Anger. Rage. Disbelief. Sorrow. The social worker was there with me, and just grab hold of me in a tight hug. I began balling, screaming… why… why… why… I was cussing, screaming, crying, dry vomiting.

My son remained in a coma. I did not want to leave his side. I refused to go to my parents house 20 minutes from the hospital. I would not be away from him. If he opened his eyes, I would be there. The social worker made arrangements for my parents and I to stay in some housing right across the street from the ICU, they gave me a choice… either go home or go across the street with the guarantee that they would call us in the apartment if there were any changes. Reluctantly I went. I had not been able to really sleep or eat all week. I could barely keep anything down.

About a week after we were there, the ICP was lower and they said he seemed to be improving. I finally got to hold my son. They said he was stable enough for me to hold him. I had not been able to hold my son for a week.

I sat in the chair next to my son, and the nurse picked him up between all the cords and bandages. I was so happy. My son was in my arms. I could rub my finger over his little cheek. My dad was standing there with me. I held him for a few minutes and whispered to him. How much I loved him and wanted him to come back to me. I suddenly whispered to my dad who was standing next to me… Dad… something is not right. Dad.. Go get someone.. Dad… and then it started. My baby started seizing in my arms. My dad was still standing there. I started yelling and then the room was full with doctors and nurses and they took him from me and had us go in the hall. I started crying and hitting melt down. The ICU doctor came out a few minutes later. He reassured me that he was ok. It was very common with brain injury to have seizures. They had given him some medication to help control the seizures. But that he was ok… really he was ok.

After a week of being in a coma. My baby boy came back to me. I asked him to come back to me, and he did. I did not know it at the time, but I was one of the lucky ones that are blessed to have a child that lives through Shaken Baby Syndrome.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Fathom the moments after tragedy strike..

Happy Labor Day to all! Hope your weekend has been safe and happy! Today marks the first day of blogging for us as Mandy is going to take the seat. I would like to say that in all of our blogs, it is sharing of our own experiences to help others. Thank you for your support!


Fathoming the moments after tragedy strike...

I distinctly remember when I found out that something was seriously wrong with Nicolette. After an awful afternoon of Nicolette not feeling well and not wanting to eat I took our little girl to the hospital. They immediately began doing blood work and did a CAT scan. I remember sitting back in the CAT scan room all alone with my little girl. We were at a small town hospital so there weren’t many people there. They left Nicolette and me alone for what seemed like forever while they completed the diagnostics on the CAT scan. When I saw my step-dad and the police in the emergency room waiting area I knew something was terribly wrong. My mom worked at this hospital and I knew all the nurses and the E.R. doctor on call that night and no one would tell me what was happening. Then finally the charge nurse came in and broke the news to me and told me about the bleeding in Nicolette’s brain and that they were transporting my baby to Children’s Hospital in Denver. The world began spinning in all directions … how, how could this have happened? I remember asking the E.R. doctor if she would be okay and he tried to reassure me but, he didn’t say she would be okay.

The next thing I knew the woman from the Department of Human Services began questioning me. Like all this wasn’t enough, here was this woman asking me if I hurt my baby. That’s when I realized that my ex-husband had done something – but I didn’t know what. I knew the police had him in another room questioning him … and I knew in my heart he was denying everything. I also knew I needed to remain calm with him, especially now, because I didn’t want him to run before we got to the bottom of this.

Nicolette was flown by flight for life to Children’s Hospital while we had to drive. I really don’t remember much of that drive, but I was later told that I was really losing it. I was apparently in shock and my family had to snap me back into reality by telling me I had to be strong for Nikki because she was going to need me once we got to the hospital.

After many horrifying hours of wondering how my baby girl was, what was going on with her, what caused this, as well as dealing with police investigators, I finally was able to see my baby girl. She was on life support and a lot of other machines. I didn’t cry … I was numb … but I went right to her side and held her helpless little hand. My entire focus was on her … I just wanted to be near her. I remember at one point my ex-husband was in the room and telling him if he did this to my baby he better go tell the investigators … that was the last thing I ever said to him. He left the room and confessed shortly after.

Nearly 24 hours after taking Nicolette to the ER, a detective sat me down alone and told me what my ex husband confessed to them. I just know that my heart stopped beating then. All I could do was cry while she just continued to go on and on telling me the all the horrible things he did to my little girl. That monster tortured my baby. I just wanted to kill him and I honestly think that if I was given the opportunity at that time to do it I would have. I asked the detective to ask my family to come in and tell my family what he did, because I couldn’t move. After she told them I remember asking my step dad to find him and kill him. Unfortunately the police escorted him out of the hospital while the detective was talking to us. I cried and cried and just could not believe what was happening. My family sat there with me in tears. Finally my mom said okay now we know let’s get back to Nikki.

My focus immediately became just making sure my little girl wasn’t in pain and that the hospital staff was doing everything they could to help her. I didn’t want to think about what this monster did to my little girl. All I cared about was getting her better. Even though it wasn’t easy to not think about it especially when I would see the news on and have to hear about it over and over. The media ate the story alive because he was an Iraq War Veteran.

I was on an emotional roller coaster. Every emotion that exists I felt …Hope, fear, faith, love, anger, hate, hurt, pain, comfort. My world just kept spinning out of control and I didnt have the power to stop it.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Meet Our Bloggers!

Welcome to the Official Blog of the Shaken Baby Syndrome Support Network! Here you will find an array of information including spotlights of SBS Organizations around the World, coping and healing mechanisms, Family Stories of their struggles walking through the tragedy of SBS, but most importantly a daily blog that we hope can help those suffering in their time of need.

The Shaken Baby Syndrome Support Network derives "For the families, By the families." We are a large groups of families hoping to better the lives of those whom have witness SBS. We welcome all of you to join us in this journey, and take part to ensure the much needed support is provided to those in need.

I would like to introduce our bloggers to you! There are currently 4 of us working to provide you with up to date information, and to befriend you!


Hey there everybody~ I hope that this finds you all well. I am so excited to be able to begin writing this blog. I am also saddened by the circumstances that have brought us all here. I want to extend a Great Big Hug to each of you that have been affected in anyway by this horrible 100% preventable act. No child should ever have to go through this nor should any family have to either.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. So to begin my name is Mandy. I am a 23 year old mother of 2 beautiful children Nicolette Jo and Amden Nicholas. The wife of a good ole’ southern man named Dennis. I have the world’s best family and friends If I must say so myself. I love them with all of my heart. I am truly blessed to have such great people in my life. I have strong Christian beliefs and feel that if God brings us to it he will see us through it. God will never give us a cross heavier than we can carry. I realize that the cross may be dented and broken into a million pieces though. Currently I live in Georgia although I am originally from Colorado. Boy do I miss the snow. No one could have prepared me for that for that climate change. It seems as though whenever I do things in life I like to do it drastically and make them big. Another example of that would be when I traded in my pom poms for combat boots when I joined the Army after high school graduation. What an experience that was to say the least. I am a very big girlie girl and I like things my way. I am sure you can imagine how that worked out. I was a cook and that is something that I love to do so it really wasn’t that bad I guess. Plus the lessons I learned only made me a better and stronger person and the friends I made turned into family!!!

While I was in the Army my life changed in more ways than one. It was during this time that I was married to another soldier the man whom I thought was the man of my dreams (never could have imagined that he would be the monster in my nightmares.) Shortly after getting married I became pregnant and on August 23, 2006 I became the mother of a beautiful baby girl Nicolette Jo. There is no greater joy in life than looking into your child’s eyes and feeling that unconditional love. My life felt so complete.

That all changed on Friday October 13, 2006 when my now ex-husband hurt our little girl. Nicolette became an angel on October 17, 2006 when she was only 7 weeks old. I will never understand how someone can hurt a child much less take their life. My daughter is a Shaken Baby Syndrome Angel. There isn’t a day that goes by that my life isn’t affected by this horrible tragedy. Through time and healing I have taken positive steps in my life that have allowed me to move forward. I will never forget my little girl and I will always be thankful for our 7 beautiful weeks we had together. I will also never be able to forget what has happened.

I know that I would not be where I am at today if it wasn’t for the support from not only my family and friends but also from the SBS families. That’s why I am so excited that we now have this network. I look forward to sharing my story with you all, getting to know you, and growing as a family. It is my hopes that through doing this we can reach as many people as possible! The sky is the limit!!!

My name is Tara. I am 37, I was born and raised in Washington State. I am married with one son, one step-son and one step daughter. I work fulltime, and spend time with friends, family, and many hobbies and working to spread awareness of the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

My son Kyle is a survivor of Shaken Baby Syndrome. He was assaulted in 1999 at the age of 6 months old. The child abuser was convicted of two counts of assault, one count of felony assault and one count of misdemeaner assault in 2000. Kyle nearly died Dec 1, 1999, but luckily the wonderful doctors at Mary Bridge Childrens' Hospital in Tacoma Washington saved his life. Kyle had brain surgery to relieve the bleeding and pressure inside his skull. If Kyle would not have had brain surgery when he did, the surgeon said that he would have died within two hours.

Kyle is considered a "highly functioning survivor". He functions physically like other children. Kyle’s challenges he faces are developmental in nature. He is developmentally delayed in all areas. He is developmentally approximately 1-2 years behind in his development. We are hopeful for a full recovery. We may not know for years the long term affect this will cause him. He is a very bright young man, very good hearted and happy, even though he continues to face challenges, and struggles with social acceptance due to his differences.

I am very excited to be involved with the Shaken Baby Syndrome Support Network for many reasons. My desire to spread the word about SBS of course, but to also reach out and hopefully be of help and support to other families who unfortunately are on this journey with me. I truly believe that regardless of how hard anyone may try, no one can truly understand what you live thru on the SBS journey unless they are on the journey themselves. I had never heard of Shaken Baby Syndrome 10 years ago, until my son was assaulted. I had my wonderful family to help and support, as well as the law enforcement, however I had no one that “knew” what I was going thru and what my future held. I was a basket case, and some days barely functioned. I hope to bring some comfort and support to others, as well as lean on those as well when I need support.

A support network…. For families… By families!

Hello! Rachel here! I am the mother of Madilyne, I work full time, and enjoy the company of great family and friends.

The Shaken Baby Syndrome Support Network derives from the healing associated with meeting other families whom have suffered situations comparable to my own.

My daughter Madilyne became a victim of homicide (as stated on her death certificate) due to Shaken Baby Syndrome. The grief brought forth due to this tragedy is unspeakable. In 2006 I began speaking with other families with comparable situations and felt secure talking with them about the "real" feelings I was having, that society disregards often times.

I have a longing desire to make Madilyne's story be known to others, as well as all of the other stories of our surviving heroes and the victims whom have passed. As a mother to a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome, it has formed my life, but not negatively. I seek to dwell on this Earth bringing positive energy to the forefront, and to focus on the blessings here today.

Each year I have worked to create the Annual SBS Candlelight Vigil. The organizing efforts have been overwhelming and the public support is amazing. It is a time for families to gather together, and truly open up about what we have gone through without judgment and hesitation. Each year it gets bigger and better, and it brings joy into my heart being able to raise enough funds to offer an airline ticket to a family member of a victim/survivor so they too can attend.

An aspiring photographer at heart, my journey with photography is to capture the memories for others that my heart knows I would have had with my own child. When a loved one passes it appears we can never have enough pictures of them, and my goal is to ensure others do not have to feel that way.

Looking forward to the future to see who we can help in their time of need, and the beautiful things to come!

Hi! My name is Angela, I am married, a full time nursing student, and a mother of 3 beautiful children! I enjoy photography and graphic design in my own time, but most importantly watching my children grow each and everyday.

3 years ago I started an awareness and education page for my cousin Michael, whom survived but later passed due to Shaken Baby Syndrome. It is a desire in my heart to go forth reaching out to families going through this tragedy, and working with families whom have survivors to help better their lives on a daily basis.

I have enjoyed making the banners for the children affected by SBS, making them for their families to display proudly, knowing that we are in this together, and never alone. I had the opportunity to attend the 3rd Annual Shaken Baby Syndrome Candlelight Vigil in Florida 2009 and it was an experience I will never forget. Meeting other families not only helped me personally with my understanding, but to better understand the emotions and feelings my Aunt has felt all these years. I do not want Micheal to be forgotten, and with the help of my Aunt, and this organization, we can work together to ensure all families get the help they need and seek.

Starting next Monday, we will have daily blog posts! So we hope to see you back here soon!

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