The American Academy of Pediatrics released new sleep guidelines this week to help prevent SIDS, but the underlying cause of the sudden death of so many babies is still largely a mystery.
One grieving mother is sharing her story of loss to encourage the search for a cure. Inside the pages of the carefully prepared baby book, were supposed to be all the dreams Jackie Cooper-Dunaway had for her little girl.
"At birth, it was amazing, amazing,” remembered Cooper-Dunaway. Little Emerald, “Emmie”, came into the world one February day in 1986. "I just knew she was going to be someone special."
The mother and daughter spent their days filled with sunsets and snuggles until at seven weeks it was time for Cooper-Dunaway to go back to work.
"I'd gone to feed her in the morning. Everything was fine. And when I went back midday to feed her, is when I found her,” she said. “She was cold. So, I turned her over and started CPR immediately. I hollered for the babysitter who was a pediatric nurse.”
Emmie was rushed to the hospital, her heart restarted, but from there the news was all bad.
"On the fourth day they left me with a very haunting, hard decision,” said Cooper-Dunaway. “To remove her from life support."
Reading the SIDS diagnosis, Cooper-Dunaway prayed for one thing.
"If God was going to take her, then to grant me the courage to live without her,” she said. “And to continue my life to honor hers."
And so she has by sharing Emmie's story in libraries, with aspiring nurses, and in Facebook groups.
"There's still a great need for research and funding for the research," said Cooper-Dunaway.
There's not a day that goes by that Cooper-Dunaway doesn't think of Emmie. Instead of filling the book with memories, she stares at the blank pages and wonders who Emmie could have or should have been. It's what drives Cooper-Dunaway and her quest for answers.
"How can something be so big that it takes a baby's life, but so small they can't find it? And that's my question," she said.
Cooper-Dunaway just hopes the research conducted on Emmie's death and the funding for research decades later will help solve this medical mystery.
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