Monday, February 14, 2011

In Memory of Alicyia Maryah

© Brandy Allen

"It is hard to believe that today (February 11th, 2011) would have been my daughter's 15th birthday. It's also hard to believe that it was 15 years ago that her tiny life and her short precious time here on Earth touched me in ways I could never imagine. I have wanted to share my journey about Alicyia, but I have been torn in the direction to go until now.

Her name was Alicyia Marayh and she was born at 7:50am on Sunday, February 11th, 1996. She weighed in at 5 lbs 2 oz 18 inches long (she arrived a few weeks early). From the moment she was born she was very easy going and seemed to just mold perfectly into our family. I was 21 years old and the mama of 3 precious little girls, a 3 year old (going through chemo for leukemia), a 9 month old, and a little newborn. Life was busy and hard but it was precious and my girls made me smile no matter what was happening.

On June 24th, 1996 I awoke to bright sunshine. I sat up for a minute and was surprised that I had slept so long. I glanced at the clock and saw it was after 9am. I never slept that long and usually was awake by 6am. Then something grabbed at my heart. I jumped up and ran to Alicyia's crib and picked her up as I realized that she was too still. I screamed downstairs for someone to call 911. I was certified in infant CPR and furiously began going through the steps in my head and performing them on my baby girl. I don't remember hearing sirens but before long firefighters were in my living room. I gave them my baby and watched as they tore her clothes off and continued the CPR that I had began administrating.

They asked me questions but I can't remember what they were as my eyes were focused solely on my baby. I kept asking them if she was going to be ok, but in my heart I knew the answer, knew that it had been too long for her without a breath. They didn't declare her dead and said they were taking her to the hospital. They would not let me ride in the ambulance. I called my mom who quickly arrived to take me to the hospital while my sister stayed with the other 2 girls. I remember as I was hurrying out the door I picked up her clothes that lay on the floor as well as a blanket. My mom tried to reassure me but my heart already knew.

When we arrived at the hospital, we were told that she did not make it and that it was looking like SIDS as they could see no other signs, and would declare it a official SIDS death after the autopsy was performed. A nurse then asked me if I would like to see my baby. She left me alone with her and I held her close, tears blurring my vision as I told her I loved her so much and I was so sorry that this had happened.

 I remember praying to God to give me the strength to deal with this because I did not feel like I could go on, I didn't feel like I could ever set my baby down and walk away from her. Then I felt what could only be referred to as an out of body experience. I felt myself walking with Alicyia down a brightly lit hallway. I could not see anything; it was as if I could only feel things. I was feeling warmth, love, and safety. I felt like I handed over my baby to Jesus and I had an overwhelming instinct telling me loud and clear: “Your baby is here safe in Heaven. It’s going to be ok.”

After that experience, I looked at her still body and I knew her spirit was resting in Heaven. I had no doubt no matter how sad I felt that she was safe, that there was a Heaven and a God. Of course my pain was not gone, but somehow knowing that she was resting in Heaven made the pain I felt and still feel to this day bearable. I am a human living here on Earth, far from my baby. Sometimes out of the blue the pain will strike me so deep that I gasp for air, but I know that God has a plan for each and everyone of us, even if it is difficult for us to understand. I was blessed to have her life touch mine, and I know that my faith and myself as a person have grown as a result.

Please keep in mind SIDS is not suffocation or strangulation. A death is only ruled as SIDS when no other cause can be determined.

There are many theories on how to prevent SIDS, but they are not a guarantee. A SIDS death can still occur even if your baby is sleeping on her back and in her crib (that is where Alicyia was when she passed away).

Breastfeeding and cosleeping do help to reduce the risk of SIDS! Co-sleeping is not the evil that many pediatricians make it out to be. Compare infant mortality rates for other countries that practice cosleeping. I wish I had known what I know now.

Vaccines makers put SIDS as a possible side effect in many of their warnings for vaccines since SIDS deaths do occur during trials, whether related or not. I was never informed of that. Alicyia was vaccinated on schedule. She died 3 weeks after her 4-month vaccines. My children are no longer vaccinated as the research that I have done has shown me there are too many unanswered questions in regards to SIDS and vaccines. And in general there are too many risks that outweigh the supposed benefits. Please do your own research; educate yourself, the answers are out there.

If you know someone who has lost a child never ever try to minimize it. The biggest gift you can give is to remember that child and let the parent know you remember. You will not be making the parent remember because believe me, there was never a moment when she forgot.

The best advice someone gave me after my youngest was born is just keep that baby close to you, to nurse him, to sleep with him, to wear him. God gave him to you perfectly and all you have to do is keep him close to you.

I lift my eyes to the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2"

~Brandy Allen

Additional Resources:

The science behind co-sleeping:

Breastfeeding and co-sleeping:

Breastfeeding reduces SIDS cases:

Cited information about the importance of breastfeeding:

One of the best authoritative articles on co-sleeping by Dr. McKenna:

A basic, simple list to start researching vaccines:


  1. What a wonderful, and beautifully written post. My heart goes out to you, Brandy. Sharing that took such tremendous courage.

    One aspect of this story troubles me: when you say you wish you'd known then what you know now. It's natural for any parent to second guess themselves after a loved one dies; we wonder, is there anything I could have done? It's especially damaging to discover information that, it seems, really could've made a difference.

    And yet, truthfully, whenever someone is called to Heaven, there's nothing we could've done. "Gone too soon" means "gone from earth too soon"--not "gone to Heaven too soon". God calls each of us Home on His time, and according to His plan. I say this, not to minimize your grief, but to remind you that you were, and are, a perfect mama. It's your cross to bear that God chose to take your baby from you so soon, but please always remember, there's nothing you could've done.

    You're in my prayers.

  2. I can't imagine the pain this mother has experienced. My cousin lost her little girl to SIDS in 1997 and I know she still grieves for her. She died at two months old and though I have never and will never ask my cousin about it, I sometimes wonder if her little girl had just reveived her two month vaccines.
    Thank you for sharing XO

  3. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing.

    p.s. That verse has gotten me through a lot of hard times.