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Life story

Daniel Alexander Perez, was born Thursday, May 31, 2007 and passed away during his nap on Thursday, October 4, 2007.  He was a perfectly healthy, strong, and happy 4 month old boy. I was blessed to have been able to stay home to care for him just as I did with our first born. We thought we had completed our family. We wanted our children to be close in age and indeed shortly after our little girl turned 1 year old, I became pregnant with Daniel. It was perfect, they were just 21 months apart, and they would be able to play together since they have no cousins anywhere near their age. We had best of both worlds, a girl and a boy. I took Daniel for his 4 month check-up which included his vaccinations on Monday afternoon October 1st, 2007, just 3 days before he passed away. Daniel was in perfect health and never even got a cold. He was a really strong baby; in fact, he was practically sitting up on his own already. He was weighing 16 pounds and 6 ounces and was 25 ¼ inches long.
I was taking Daniel and my 2 year old daughter to my parents’ house on Thursdays. This was my childhood home; the one I was raised in from the time I was born. For his naps, I would place Daniel on my mother’s orthopedic bed, which is pretty firm. I never covered him during naps. My mother’s room was always at a comfortable temperature. That Thursday, October 4th, 2007 at my parents’ house, my daughter had almost all of my mother’s attention; therefore, I held Daniel a lot and sat him on the sofa next to me. I fed him his bottle some time before noon, and he drank his usual 8 ounces of milk. He finished his bottle about an hour later and was still wide awake. Soon after that, he got a little cranky, and we realized he wanted a nap. My mother then, as always, loved to take over and rock him to sleep. I then carried him off from her and he woke up as I took him to her bed, I laid him down and pat him to sleep again not knowing I would never see him awake ever again. My father was relaxing in the room next to his. I went back to my mother and daughter in the living room and after some time passed I went to check up on him, but not too close so that I would not disturb him. He looked like he was still sleeping. I returned to the living room and sat back down with my mother and daughter. I got up again a short while later to check on him again, he seemed to still be asleep, and I was about to go back to the living room again when an inner voice told me to check to see if he was breathing. So I turned around and headed back towards him, and this time I checked him up close to see if he was breathing. I saw no movement at all. He stayed in the same position I placed him in, but he was blue. I screamed in horror as I carried him out of the room and both of my parents rushed to help. I quickly handed Daniel to my mother and tried to perform CPR on him myself as I called 911.  The police arrived at the house almost immediately, and the 911 operator had to explain to him how to perform infant CPR. The paramedics arrived shortly after, and after some time of performing CPR they rushed him to the hospital. Police stopped traffic in our path to the hospital, yet I felt in my heart that it was too late. I could not believe it was happening in our family. I tried calling my husband at work on my cell phone several times, but I was too nervous and could not dial the number. Finally, I got in touch with him, and I told him the terriable news about Daniel. At the hospital, the doctor told us that it looked hopeless, and he also informed us that we had the option to airlift Daniel to a children’s hospital and we both agreed to try that. At the children's hospital, it was not long before they told us they could not do anything else to save our little Daniel. We spent time with him alone, and I felt his peace within my heart as I looked at him. We had a funeral and a burial for him that weekend. I feel like there is a hole in my heart that will never mend completely. We all miss him tremendously and would give everything to get our beautiful baby Daniel back.

March 1, 2008

Daniel's autopsy results:

We had thought that Daniel passed away due to SIDS, since he passed so suddenly and unexpectedly during his nap.  They classified Daniel’s case as a natural death.  The cause of death is Anoxic/Hypoxic Encephalopathy and Bronchopneumonia due to Infantile Reflux and Aspiration While Sleeping.  He aspirated regurgitated gastric contents. In other words, they concluded that Daniel choked on his vomit and noticed that some of it went into his lungs since they found pneumonia (in bacteria form) that caused the inflammation in his lungs. The fact that I had seen liquid come out of his mouth during CPR was also an indication that Daniel had choked. The M.E. said that she thinks that the pneumonia was not present for a long time, and must've happened shortly before death, because the bacteria was supposedly localized and not widespread throughout the lungs as this also explains why Daniel was not sick before he passed away.