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 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.



Jaime Kern said...


I'm sitting here at work in tears! I knew that you had experienced this only because you have always posted things about SBS on Facebook. I HAD NO idea what you experienced, however, was this bad and I assumed that is happened at a daycare! Wow, words cannot express how awful this is for someone, a Dad, to do to their own child! I am so sorry that you had to go through this with your little boy! Has he had any negative impact from this as an older child? My heart goes out to you and any family that goes through this! Thank God he survived and came back to his Mommy!

xoxoox, Jaime

Nicole said...

The stories that I read on here have me in tears. I cannot imagine what you have gone through. I can't imagine having to see my son like that. I am so happy to hear that your son is a survivor. God truly listened to your prayers and it is great to hear stories of survival like this.

I work for Social Services in NY state and I see this happen all the time. It is horrific and so hard to believe that a person can do something like this to an innocent baby.

I wish you many days of happiness with your son. I commend you for being such a strong mother!!