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Falsely Accused Shaken Baby Syndrome - Families Bonded Through Similar Experiences - BESS
While I have been sitting here at home watching the madness unfold in the aftermath of the Casey Anthony trial I can not help but think what could have happened to my family a few years ago.
I will start out by letting you know that my son was diagnosed with Benign Enlargement of the Subarachnoid Space in June of 2009. BESS is caused when an infants head grows rapidly during the months after birth. As the head grows rapidly it causes extra space to develop inside the head between the brain and the skull. The veins located in this area become stretched placing the child at risk for subdural hematomas. A subdural hematoma is bleeding within the head. This bleeding can be caused with little or no trauma, meaning a bleed can happen out of the blue or a child can bump their head and have a bleed. Many children with BESS go undiagnosed because there are no major occurrences that need them to be checked medically and it is a condition in which the child will grow out of. It is not a lifelong condition, it is usually resolved by age three. For those of us who have had an accident that required medical attention it is a whole different terrorizing story.
Indicative to Shaken Baby Syndrome
I cringe every time I hear the words "Strongly indicative to Shaken Baby Syndrome", because for a few months that is all we were told. At ten months of age my son fell and banged his head on our carpeted living room floor and suffered a seizure. We called 911 and were transported by ambulance to a local hospital. A CT Scan was done and it show a bleed in his head. We were then transported by ambulance to a Children's Hospital about one hour away.
Upon our arrival at the Children's Hospital we were met by doctors and we were questioned over and over again. The began running numerous test on our son. They x-rayed his entire body, checked his eyes, and did another CT Scan. Through all this no one could answer our questions if he would be alright. We were just questioned and then left on our own. No information was given to us, his parents. It wasn't until the next day when he was admitted to the Children's floor of the hospital that we were bombed with their findings. I will never forget the doctors words "Your son has a subdural hematoma and he also has existing hematomas of different ages. He also has retinal bleeding. Your son has been being abused since he was about three months old. These injuries were caused by NON-accidental trauma and are strongly indicative to Shaken Baby Syndrome." I almost died with the sound of his words echoing past my ears. He had it all wrong, but how do you argue with the hospitals head "Child Abuse Expert"?
Child Protective Services were called and I hoped for them to help us. After all it is their job to determine if abuse is present inside the home. I was completely wrong. Even though there were no signs of abuse it didn't make any difference, if the doctor said it was abuse, then it was in fact abuse.
So there we stood suspected child abusers. It is a terrifying feeling and it is also hard when you are terrified for your child and what the doctors are missing because you know there was never any abuse!
Town Rumor Mills
As if the stress of our situation wasn't enough, we also had to deal with the rumors and glares thrown at us from others. Rumors grow like weeds, everyone and anyone had their stories and opinions of what kind of horrible people we must be. Some stories were so off the wall that I couldn't believe how another person could keep passing it them on. I just wanted to attack every person who was making us into these monsters when a lot of them didn't even know us. I hated to feel so angry but it is only human nature and I am human. It was very hard to compose myself when passing some of these individuals.
This went on for months and quite honestly we still get glares from people who honestly believe in their hearts that we abused our child. My anger towards them has mostly diminished and now I just feel sorry for them. It must take so much energy to constantly judge us.
What Could Have Been
If my son was not correctly diagnosed months later someone would be sitting behind bars right now. The case would have went to court and most likely ended in a Child Abuse conviction. An innocent person would have been sentenced to sit behind bars because a head "Child Abuse Expert" got it all wrong. How many innocent people are sitting behind bars for allegedly shaking their child? It makes me sick to wonder how many actually are.
The experience we endured made us better parents and stronger individuals. I am neither glad, nor sad to have gone through this experience. However, I am glad and thankful we survived and made it through. I learned a major lesson and it is not to be judgemental of others and to have faith in what you believe. Everything in life is not always what it may appear to be. It is not our job to pass judgements on others, nor is it any other person's personal mission in life.
I know longer believe in the "so-called experts" because in my opinion experts no longer exist. You may feel differently but if you were to walk in my shoes you may change your mind.
Friendships Form Through Tough Experiences
I first wrote about our experience in August last year, 2010. I wrote the hub with the hope of helping others facing our same experience. Almost one year later it happened. I received an email from a mother a few states away. As I sat in my chair reading her emotionally filled words all I could do was cry with her. I knew every emotion and every fear she had just by reading and feeling her words. After a few emails back and forth we began speaking on the phone. I felt as though me and her were the same person because everything she said was so similar to what I had said at that time. She to was being told her son was a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome because of the same injuries. Like our son her son also had larger than normal head size. A doctor mentioned the possibility of BESS to her and she began her research. My hub appeared as her first search result and I became the person to help her through the journey. I am happy to say her nightmare ended quicker than mine and she is now spending every joyous minute with her family.
It is scary to know that others are facing this same situation. How many others are being falsely accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Letter To My Friend
I just wanted to say that I am glad our paths have crossed. I never doubted your family. I knew from the first email how genuine and caring you are, and the first phone conversation confirmed my thoughts. I could feel your sadness and your fears. All I wanted to do was take those feeling away for you because I know first hand how crippling they can be. We made it!! As our lives appear to be normal again we both know that they are not. We struggle with more emotions than we ever knew could be possible. The joy of our families being back to "normal", the sadness that built up along with the fear, the anger for having to go through it all, and just the overwhelming feeling of all the emotions at once.
The days will get better as time passes but emotions are sneaky. They tend to lie quietly and appear again when we are least expecting them. But we are stronger from this experience in many ways. For myself I learned to not worry about what other people think of me and I learned to not judge others. I appreciate every day I have with my children and family and I am glad to have them in my life.
You and I were connected for a reason. You needed me, and in turn, I needed you. You helped me come to terms with some of my unresolved emotions, as I helped you through your current emotions. I am thankful to now know you. We were bonded together through our boys and it is a bond between two mothers that can not be broken!! I will always be just a phone call away!!