“How many brothers and sisters do you have?”

November 20, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Grief, twins | 9 Comments
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I have previously written about being asked “How many children do you have?”  Over the years, I have different responses to this question.  It may always be a tricky question for me to answer or maybe one day I will come up with the perfect response.  I will let you know.

“How many brothers and sisters do you have?” is the bereaved sibling’s version of this question.  They are both such common and polite questions but the answers for some of us are so complicated.

The other day on the playground a classmate asked one of the twins, “Do you have any brothers and sisters?”

She answered, “Yes, I have a twin brother and my 2 other brothers, Jake and Sawyer, passed away. “

The second grade little boy answered, “Jake and Sawyer probably passed away to get away from you.”

Our little girl walked away.  She is not perfect, she has and will say mean things at times too.  I wish I could protect all of my children all the time.  Jake and Sawyer have taught me that I cannot.  As much as I hate it, there are things beyond my control.  I am going to do my best to teach kindness to the 2 who are physically with us.

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Five

November 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Grief, Love | 9 Comments
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Dear Sawyer,
Tomorrow would/should be your 5th birthday. Five years ago tonight we were all anxiously waiting to meet you. Your Nanny and Pop came to take care of your big brother and sister while your daddy and I went to the hospital.

I still cannot believe that you are not here with us.  Some mornings I wake up and hope that it all has just been a horrific nightmare.  However, you are gone and this is our reality.  You are forever frozen at 6 weeks old. There are no new pictures to post. I know that I am so lucky to have the ones that we did take.  I just wish there were more.

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I miss you so much.  Happy birthday sweet Sawyer!  As always, I will look for you in my dreams.

 

Faith?

November 10, 2014 at 11:40 pm | Posted in Grief, life | 7 Comments
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After Sawyer died a rabbi spoke to me and Evan.  Evan told him that he was very angry.  The rabbi told Evan to go ahead and be angry at G-d, ” because if anyone can handle it, He can.” This made sense to me.

The rabbi went on to tell us a story that did not make too much sense to me at the time.  He told us about a rabbi and his wife who were walking back from their son’s funeral.  The wife asked her husband, “what now, what do we live for?” The husband answered that we live for our living children and to carry on the memory of our son.  Tragically, the next child of this couple dies.  And once again, walking back from the funeral the wife asks her husband, “what now, what do we live for?” The husband gives the same answer, “we live for our living children and to carry on the memories of our sons.”

The story goes on until the couple has walked back from the funerals of all their children. The wife once more asks, “what now, what do we live for?”  The husband says we are to carry on the memories of our children and we are reminders to everyone else in the village to be thankful for what they have.

My initial response to this story was, “why us?  Why do Evan and I have to be the reminders?  Why can’t we just have Sawyer back?”   Over the years my thoughts about this story have changed.  I know that we cannot have Sawyer back.  I know that we will always carry on Jake and Sawyer’s memory.  Evan and I did not choose this journey but here we are – and I may never truly understand why.  I do know Jake and Sawyer do remind us to hug the twins a little tighter and to appreciate what we do have.

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” Mother Teresa

 

Pathology is No Place for Politics: Update

November 6, 2014 at 11:14 pm | Posted in Grief, life | Leave a comment
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In the spring I wrote a post about a Mississippi woman who was accused of murdering  her stillborn baby.  Rennie Gibbs was 16 years old and 36 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to an area emergency room.  Her baby was diagnosed with “fetal demise” – the  umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck.  Doctors induced labor and Gibbs delivered a stillborn daughter she named Samiya.

Gibbs’ case is part of a wave of “fetal harm” cases in which women are prosecuted when their babies are stillborn or otherwise die and traces of drugs are found in their system.   In this case,  medical facts establish the cord as the cause of death.  Medical professionals, including Sawyer’s pathologist, determined that it is impossible to conclude that drug use on the part of the mother caused stillbirth.

The charges have been dropped against Rennie.  Thank you to Chris for commenting on my past post with the update.  Every mom feels guilt when their child dies – even without being charged with murder.  I am so glad that the judge in Mississippi dismissed the charges.  He ruled that the “law was unclear in Mississippi as to the appropriate charge, if any, to be levied when a pregnant woman allegedly consumed illegal drugs and allegedly caused the death of her unborn child.”

Sunday Smiles

November 2, 2014 at 11:44 pm | Posted in Grief | 5 Comments
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Here are a few of the things that made me smile this week:

  • My friend Kelcey made a very funny video about 5 ways to recycle kid’s artwork.  If you are in need of a smile (and tips to recycle artwork) click here .
  • We met Dr. Irving the monkey doctor this weekend.  Dr. Irving and his trainer provide assisted therapy for children with special needs.  They also travel with a bird.

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  • This is my second post in a row that is not in the “grief” category.

Goats

October 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Posted in Love, twins | 6 Comments
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I was trying to write this for a fun Friday post but I seemed to have missed it by a few days.  I wanted to share a few of the things that have been making me smile recently.  Please meet Darth Vadar:

"Luke, I am your GOAT. Adopt me and together we will rule the galaxy."

“Luke, I am your GOAT. Adopt me and together we will rule the galaxy.”

And, Sable:

"What is a fine goat like me doing in a herd like this you might ask? I might ask that too – my coat is more beautiful than the finest sable in the world, bar none."

“What is a fine goat like me doing in a herd like this you might ask? I might ask that too – my coat is more beautiful than the finest sable in the world, bar none.”

These are just 2 of the goats who have been clearing the land for a new park near our house.  When driving or walking through the neighborhood it has been fun watching these goats.

Evan and one of the twins even got interviewed about the park by the local NPR station.  Click here if you would like to listen to the interview.  (They did not get our names entirely correct but it is us.)

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should you switch ob/gyns after your baby dies?

October 20, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Posted in Jake, life, Sawyer | 2 Comments
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After Jake died we did switch ob/gyns but not initially.  Evan and I decided that so few people knew Jake and our ob/gyn at the time was one of those few.  It also seemed daunting to start all over with a new doctor.  We saw her throughout the pregnancy with the twins however, we switched right after.  I will explain that story in another post.

I still go to the ob/gyn group that we saw during my pregnancy with Sawyer.  I love the doctor who delivered Sawyer but I decided to switch doctors within the group for my annual check ups.  Just like after Jake died it seemed like starting over with a new doctor was too daunting.  By staying in the practice I have not had to start over from the beginning with all the forms.

I (most likely along with a majority of the female population) do not love going for my annual check ups.  I wonder if the waiting room is so upsetting for everyone.  How does it feel to look at all the happy baby pictures on the walls when you have not buried 2 babies?  I do not think that there ob/gyns who specialize in bereaved mothers but maybe they are out there.   Would you switch ob/gyns if your baby died?

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

October 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Grief | 1 Comment
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“When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”   – Author Unknown (borrowed from the Atlanta Walk to Remember 2010 program)

Tomorrow is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  As part of the day, everyone is invited to light a candle at 7 pm in all time zones, all over the world.  The idea is that if everyone lights a candle at 7 pm and keeps it burning for at least 1 hour, there will be a continuous wave of light.

The candles that we will light were given out at the Atlanta Walk to Remember 2014.   We will be lighting our candles at 7 pm hope you can join us.

October – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month

October 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Grief, traditions | 4 Comments
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October, in addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness month, is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.  In 1988, President Ronald Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation making it a national event.  This year the Governor of Georgia also wrote an official proclamation making October Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.

Across the world there are many walks to remember.   Families and friends walk to remember their little loved ones.  The walk also symbolically joins people who are working towards raising awareness of perinatal loss and care.

The year before Jake died, 10 years ago, three bereaved mothers in Atlanta started the Atlanta Walk to Remember.  Last weekend we walked for the 9th time.  Originally, Evan and I walked to remember Jake.  In 2007, we were lucky enough to walk while pushing the twins in their stroller.  Starting in 2010, the 4 of us have walked together every year to remember Jake and Sawyer.   The walk this year had the  biggest turn out yet.  It was in a new location and it was a very special day.

This was also the first year that one of the twins had an activity conflicting with the walk.  One of the twins had a flag football game.  Evan and I decided to talk to him about it and give him a choice.  I was a bit surprised, but maybe I should not have been -  he decided to go to the walk.  He said “I can play in the game next week.”

Each week in his 2nd grade class they write the “Weekend News.”  Here is his from last week:

weekend news

In case you cannot read this, it says “My dad’s a[u]nt came over.  I went to the walk to rem[em]ber. With my spicey monky.  I went [to] the walk to rem[em]ber bec[a]use two of my brothers died.  I had a good walk.”  And so did we.

 

September

October 6, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Posted in after death?, silver lining | 7 Comments
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September is childhood cancer awareness month.  I know that it is now October but I had ordered these Spicy Monkey Spirithoods last month.  These amazing hats were inspired by Maya Thompson’s son Ronan.  He wore a spirithood after he had lost his hair during chemotherapy.  At the age of 3 Ronan lost his battle to cancer.  Before he died, Maya promised him she would keep on fighting.  And, she has been waging war on childhood cancer ever since.

The company Spirithoods is donating 100% of profit from the SpicyMonkey to the The Ronan Thompson foundation to help in their fight against childhood cancer.  The spirithoods  have places to keep hands warm (so it is a hat and mittens!). There are also super secret pockets to hide things in.

I was not the only one in our house who was so excited when the box of Spirithoods finally arrived. . .

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