When the detective called to meet with us, I had a lot of conflicting emotions. On one hand, I wanted to know why his death was ruled positional asphyxia. I wanted to know the events of that day and what lead to my son’s final moments. At the same time, I was horrified to see pictures of the room he was in. Pictures of the pack-n-play he may have died in while taking what would be his final nap. Just picturing it in my mind made me sick to my stomach. I knew that no matter how hard these details were going to be to hear, it was nothing in comparison to what Nash went through. I felt I owed it to him to hear the details. To know what he went through. I had asked the detective on the phone before we met with him if we could get his diaper bag and belongings that were taken from the scene. He said, “One second, let me see what we have.” He said very casually, “Yes. We have a diaper bag and it looks like a pair of sunglasses.” You will be able to get those items while you are here.” My heart sank. I pictured the sunglasses Nash’s cousin Lexie had gotten him. How cute he looked in them. How many oohs and ah’s he got when wearing them. Now they were at the police station marked as evidence. When we got to the police station, we sat and waited for the detective for a couple of minutes before he took us to an interview room. I had seen these rooms on TV. It’s where they get criminals to confess to their crimes. Never did I think in a million years that I would one day be in a room like this, discussing the details of my son’s death. Luckily, the detective said that he wasn’t going to show us the pictures. He didn’t think it would be helpful to us, and he thought it would be painful. I was relieved. He did say that if at some point we wanted to see them we could.
This is where I get angry. Angry about what I heard. The pure stupidity of things that happened that day. Things the sitter did that I would never dream of doing. Anger that I can’t share the details with all of you. It helps me to get this stuff out, and I know every parent would be angry at the details I heard that day. I’m also angry at the way a baby’s death is viewed. Almost like a pet died. Yes, everyone involved was sad for us. Everyone was emotional about a baby’s death…but there is almost an attitude like this was not intentional; therefore, it’s not criminal. I have been the bigger person for long enough. I have had compassion for the sitter, even defended her to people. I’m sure she is feeling horrible and did not intend for my son to die that day. He did though. If choices were made by her that attributed to his death, then she should be held accountable. I compare it to texting and driving. I unfortunately have done this a few times, just like I’m sure this sitter has laid other children down the same way as Nash many times. I have never killed anyone doing it, and she hadn’t up to that that point either. The moment I cross that center line while texting and kill someone though,that’s on me. Are people going to have compassion for me? Yes. Am I a good person? Yes. Did I intentionally kill someone? No. Should I be held accountable for that persons death? Yes! I made a choice, a stupid choice. One I didn’t think would cause anyone’s death. Unfortunately, it did and now a family has to live with the poor choices I made for the rest of their lives. Choices that took a member of someone’s family away from them. There is no difference in my opinion with what the sitter did. Can you have compassion and feel some sort of sadness for what she is going through? Absolutely, but my son is dead because of those actions and in my opinion she should be held accountable. Things were done that day that in my opinion were absolutely neglectful. Did she think he would die? No. Does that make it ok? Hell no! I have to live with the choices she made for the rest of my life. People mistake my anger though. Close family members have said she murdered your son. Family members have seen her out and say they can’t even look at her. I don’t want that. I wouldn’t want anyone to be mean to her. It angers me actually. She is a human being living her own nightmare. She doesn’t need people scowling at her or thinking horrible things about her. She is a very sweet lady who loves children. I wouldn’t have taken Nash there if she wasn’t. It’s very complicated. Yes my son is dead and I think in part to choices she made. On the other hand, she is not a murderer and is not an evil person. She made poor choices and should be held accountable. That is all. I got the impression from the detective that this was one of those things where a baby died and unfortunately we don’t have answers. That this is something that has happened for hundreds of years and it has stumped the police forever. That these strange baby deaths have been a mystery that is almost unsolvable. I was stewing sitting in the chair across from the detective. Trying to take this all in. Then Todd said, “Well has every baby that died these strange deaths been up stairs, down a hall, through a bedroom and in a pack-n- play, in a storage room, for almost four hours? Only checked on from anywhere between an hour and half to 45 minutes? All while the sitter is downstairs with nine other children, without even so much as a baby monitor in the room??!! Huh……I think I could solve this mystery right now.” I was shocked. I felt somewhat bad for the detective. I would not have wanted to be on the other end of that. The detective took in all of our concerns. I could see in his face how much this hurt him. How passionate he is for his job and how much he wanted to give us answers. He said he will never give up trying to find out what happened to Nash. U could tell he was being honest. On the other hand, I think it’ s almost programmed for these detectives to look at these baby deaths as normal, a mystery that has been unsolvable for years and years. I truly like the detective and could tell he was emotionally connected to this case. He is a father as well and I could tell he was connecting with our concerns and feelings of that day. Todd was angry and he brought up a lot of good points. Things I hadn’t even known he had thought of. All of his thoughts and concerns came across very clearly and I could tell he had put a lot of thought into them. On our way out, we grabbed Nash’s diaper bag. It had an evidence tag with a number on it. It also had an envelope marked with a number, inside was his pacifier. I cried. I thought this is someone else’s life. Not mine. I shouldn’t be picking up a diaper bag at a police station. As we walked out of the police station with the diaper bag their was a young couple with a little boy in a stroller that had just walked in. The mom was smiling at him and talking to him. They had no idea what we were there for. Did they notice we were walking out with a diaper bag that had a tag on it but no baby. If Todd or I died at someone’s house while “taking a nap”, it would be very thoroughly investigated. With a baby it’s looked at as almost common. This way of thinking needs to stop. People need to take these babies’ deaths seriously. Treat them like you or me. My question is why isn’t there a task force for these unusual deaths. If 5000 babies die like this every year, why isn’t someone coming to my house and asking me about my baby and what’s normal for him? If 5000 adults died every year under the same circumstances, we would have an epidemic on our hands. It would be on the news. It would be frightening. There would be a state of panic. It would be taken seriously. Nash wasn’t just a baby. He IS our son! He was a human being! If no one else will fight for him, we will!
I am not sharing this to make the sitter look bad, or to make people angry. I worry that the sitter may even read this and be hurt. That is the last thing I would want. I’m sharing this for other parents and other day care providers. To tell them what to look for. What to do differently. To the daycare providers I will say this – don’t ever get to comfortable. Don’t think to yourself, “I have done this a hundred times and the babies have all been fine.” You will have to live with yourself for the rest of your life if something happens to a baby in your care. All babies are different and should be treated that way. Don’t assume they are all the same. Don’t look at a baby and think he is strong, he can roll over, and leave them alone for long periods of time. Remember this baby is someone’s whole world. I use to be so afraid of being that overbearing, hypersensitive mom. Now I have a whole new respect for these moms. First, make sure you stress to your daycare provider that your baby needs to be on their back. Make sure you tell them that your baby should be within hearing and viewing distance from them at all times. DO NOT just assume they know this. Also make sure they have a baby monitor if, for some reason, they can not see the baby. Make sure you know the number of children they will have at their house at any given time while your baby is there. Lastly…the best advice I can give to anyone, advice that I know will save a baby’s life if taken. Don’t be afraid to be stern and forward about what you want from your sitter. This is your child, who cares how crazy or overbearing you look. Would you rather come across relaxed and nice or have your child safe. When put that way, it doesn’t seem like much of a choice, does it? I know, though, that there are other mothers like me. First time mothers. Mothers who don’t want to look stupid or silly that they are asking the sitter to do things that the sitter may think are ridiculous. Remember, no one will speak up for your baby if you don’t. You are their voice. If you need an example, use Nash. Tell them the story of our baby. Claim him as your nephew, cousin, whatever. Tell them he died and it makes you concerned. Say it made you hypersensitive and over protective. It will put the fear of God in them and at the same time give you the voice that you may be too timid to have.