Mom to Naima Kali
Birth Date: March 25, 2011
Angel Day: August 3, 2011
Bay Area, California
Naima was my firstborn and only child (so far) and the light of my life. I had a normal and easy pregnancy with her, which as an older mom (I was 38 when I got pregnant) made me feel so blessed and happy. My husband, Henry, and I had waited a long time to get pregnant but I had wanted a child for many many years, so I was so happy to finally have a baby to look forward to. Naima was born on her due date (a rare occurrence I was told) after about twelve hours of active, natural labor. She cried as soon as she was born, and even lifted her head to look me straight in the eyes after they placed her on my chest! I knew from even the time she was in my belly that she was a gentle, wise and special soul.
She was a normal, healthy baby. She only cried when she was hungry or wanted to be held, but after the first month or so of life, she setted down and was so easy to care for. People would remark on how calm, alert, observant and happy she was. Whenever her daddy or I brought her somewhere, she would bring smiles to people’s faces. I even brought her to a few work meetings where she calmly sat in my lap facing the rest of the room and my colleagues, and totally acted like she was listening to what we were saying! My husband and I were so proud of her. Our family finally felt complete, and I had never been happier in my life.
I wished I didn’t have to, but unfortunately when Naima was a little over two months old, I had to start working again two days a week. I found a daycare for her that was only a mile or so away from our house, and where one of my friends had her baby going for three years. Naima seemed to settle in to the daycare quickly, though she didn’t nap as well there as she did at home, as there was so much to see and so many other little ones to play with! She loved watching other little kids and especially the other baby at the daycare. The daycare provider also told us that Naima had just started laughing at the other children in the week or so before she passed away. I hated having to leave her but I was confident that the daycare was a good place for her, as she seemed to have fun there and even started ‘talking’ a lot (making little baby sentences) after her first day. Little did I know that this place was where my baby girl would draw her last breath.
It started off as a normal day, except that fortunately my husband and I were able to bring Naima to daycare together (usually I was the one who dropped her off). She was happy and content on the way over, but seemed sad when we were dropping her off, although she didn’t cry. A few hours later, after I got out of a work meeting, I got the panicked call from the daycare that she had stopped breathing in her sleep. I screamed and rushed over there, and by the time I arrived a few minutes later, there were paramedics working on her and police and firefighters all over the place. It was the most horrible sight in the world–my baby being given CPR by these strangers–and feeling like I could do nothing but wait and watch.
The daycare provider was hysterical, and I did my best to stay calm, but my world was falling apart. I called my husband at work and told him what was going on, and then told him to meet us at Children’s Hospital a few miles away where the paramedics were taking Naima. Even though I begged them, they wouldn’t let me ride in the ambulance with her. I just wanted to be near my daughter. I was convinced somehow that if she just knew that her mommy was there, that she would wake up and everything would be OK. The firefighters drove me to the hospital. Less than half an hour later, with my husband at the hospital, we were informed that our precious baby girl, whom we had just held and kissed before dropping her off at daycare a few hours earlier, had died. Right away they told us they suspected it was SIDS, and later the autopsy confirmed this. At the time of her death, my daughter Naima was four months and nine days old.
When the doctor came out of that room and told us she was gone, I screamed like I’d never screamed before. It’s been such a hard road since that awful day, and I miss my baby girl everyday and love her and think about her all the time. Although my sadness and grief over the loss of my precious girl, my firstborn, will never go away, I also feel blessed and so happy to have had those beautiful few months with her, to be able to say that I am Naima’s Mommy, and that I always will be.