By His Mother, Erin
On December 22, 2009, we were given a Christmas blessing when we learned of our 1st pregnancy. Christmas is such a beautiful time of year, and to receive this gift of life, warmed our hearts and filled us with incredible joy and love for our unborn child. It was just 4 months prior to the day, August 22, that we, Adam and Erin, got married. We had begun our journey together, as anticipation of the arrival of our baby.
So much excitement was present in our families with the coming birth of our parent’s first grandchild. When my sister also announced her pregnancy in February of 2010, we were elated! Both of us were expecting boys, and the visions of them growing up together, being little soul mates and buddies, warmed all of our hearts and brought us to a new level of what family love is truly about. My sister Abbie and I were travelling the same road, hand in hand, heart to heart, we were experiencing the magic, the wonder and the awe of our son’s pending births.
During the pregnancy, medical concerns arose that indicated our baby boy had bilateral cysts in his brain, as well as echogenic foci in his heart (a bright spot that shows up on a valve). Though no long term effects, both are a soft mark for downs syndrome. After a level 2 ultraound, we were relieved to learn that everything was fine. On August 30th, 2010 I was induced due to a large hernia that developed during my pregnancy. It seemed like forever, but my water finally broke on August 31st at 9:00pm. Ray Gregory Labat was born on September 1st, 2010 at 3:09 pm. Our lives now changed, forever. The two of us had become the three of us. We were a family.
On January 11th, 2011, I had woken up Ray and taken him into the living room to get dressed for the day. He was trying so hard to rollover to join in play with our dog Roscoe. Adam walked by and Ray immediately turned to look at him, stare at him, until this huge beautiful smile covered our baby’s face at the sight of his Daddy. We had never seen his smile this huge! I took Ray to Day Care and recall telling the Provider that I was sorry Ray was having a bad hair day. I gave Ray a kiss goodbye when I left. At 9:30am, a sheriff and pastor came to my work. They took me into a conference room and told me that Ray was found at Day Care not breathing. They said it didn’t look good. I ran out of the clinic and called Adam and had to tell him that Ray, our son was not breathing. Adam had a 45 minute drive from Walker to Bemidji, not knowing if his son would be alive when he got there. When we arrived in the ER Ray was laying on a cot, wrapped in a blanket, motionless. His was gone. I picked him up and started crying. SIDS took Ray from us, quickly, harshly and with no good byes, only memories, a lock of his hair, the scent from his blanket and clothes, photos and molds of his hands and feet.
It has been over 3 months. Every day it hurts, every day Adam and I wake up and wonder, hope that maybe we had a bad dream. But it is very real that Ray is gone, it is very real that SIDS viciously took our son. SIDS snuck up on us, with no warning. Our baby was healthy, happy and had his whole life ahead of him. No one likes to talk about SIDS, parent’s walk around with broken hearts, many with broken marriages. Adam and I have the opportunity to increase the awareness of SIDS. This is why we will host our 1st Annual Ray’s Run on June 18, 2011. Run, jog, or walk for all parents who have lost their child to SIDS.
Please help us build awareness of this awful disease, and join us. Please help us heal, help all our hearts heal that were affected and crushed by SIDS. We can make a difference, we can do this for Ray and for all the babies lost to SIDS.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Erin and Adam Labat