August, Already?

August 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, Love, Sawyer | 5 Comments
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It is August again.  This month is filled with happy days and harder days.   Lots of family birthdays and anniversaries are in August as well as Jake’s birth and death days.  This year there will be one less happy day.  I had always looked forward to my grandfather‘s birthday at the end of the month.  I knew he would not live forever but I still miss him.

I will take August like I do every day – day by day.  I have made it through many Augusts without Jake and I will make it through this one as well.

“You don’t get over it, you just get through it. You don’t get by it, because you can’t get around it. It doesn’t ‘get better’; it just gets different. Everyday… Grief puts on a new face….”

― Wendy Feireisen

This year is also filled with getting ready to go back to school.  The twins start 1st grade this week!   We already had the Open House to meet their teachers.  I did not even (outwardly) flinch when another parent asked if we had already been to the upper campus with our older child.  I did not choke back tears when she said, “Oh, that is right you do not have older children.”   I bit my lip and did not say a thing although she is one of the few parents at the twins’ elementary school who know that Jake (and Sawyer) ever existed.

“They’d crossed over to that continent where grieving parents lived. It looked the same as the rest of the world, but wasn’t. Colors bled pale. Music was just notes. Books no longer transported or comforted, not fully. Never again. Food was nutrition, little more. Breaths were sighs. And they knew something the rest didn’t. They knew how lucky the rest of the world was.”

― Louise Penny

I know that I am lucky too.  I am lucky to be Jake, the twins and Sawyer’s mom.

August Again

August 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Anniversaries, Death, Grief, why I write | 10 Comments
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No matter how far the distance you have traveled nor the failures that have gathered, hope would still meet you anywhere.  – Dodinsky

August comes every year.  Right after July.  I have lived through these anniversaries of deaths and births before.  There are happy days this month too. 

Unlike the first year after Jake died not all the days are dark.   I will try my best to take care of the twins, keep busy and smile.  I will not always succeed. 

I have learned that part of my journey since Jake and Sawyer died is that grief at times sneaks up and knocks the wind right out of me.  Grief does not take me by surprise in August.  I know that it is there and I will brace myself for it.

August & Awkward Appointments (part 2)

August 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Posted in Grief, mourning, pregnancy, silver lining, twins | 7 Comments
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As I wrote about previously in this post, doctor’s appointments can at times be awkward.  I am not a big fan of the forms that you have to fill out about your medical history.  I understand why they are necessary but I truly dislike listing the birth and death dates of Jake and Sawyer.  The OB forms do not even have enough lines for me to write all of the complications before and after pregnancy that we have had.  I am sure one day these forms will not bother me but today they do.

The twins had their 4-year-old check up today.  A new nurse came to get us from the waiting room.  As she brought us into the room she asked me, “Are you expecting company?”  I looked at the twins and Evan and thought to myself, “how many more people can we fit in this tiny exam room?”  And, who else would I be expecting?  Then the nurse looked at my stomach and repeated the question.  My quizzical look turned to horror.  Really, is she really asking me if I am pregnant?   Yes, she did.

That question is emotion-packed.   The times when I answered yes to that question – thoughts of being pregnant with Jake, the twins and Sawyer.  The realization that my stomach apparently still has a pregnancy pouch.  Or, maybe I just made an unfortunate outfit choice.

The nurse was reading over our medical charts as my mind was still racing.  I could see in her eyes that she had just read about Sawyer, Jake or maybe both.  She looked at me and apologizes.

Overall the day was a success.  One outfit for Good Will.  Two healthy twins.  Three weeks down in AugustFour beautiful children.

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August Attire?

August 12, 2011 at 11:48 am | Posted in Grief, mourning, silver lining, twins | 6 Comments
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It might say August on the rest of the world’s calendars but here in our house we are getting ready for the end of October.  Halloween to be specific.  The Princess and her puppy would like their own calendar so that they can cross off the days until the big event.


The Power Ranger (who is really wearing an evil Spiderman costume – but please do not share that information with him) does not want his picture taken.  Additionally, he does not want to change out of his costume until after Halloween – despite the fact that Halloween is approximately 2 1/2 months from now and it is currently averaging 100 degrees outside.

It looks like I will be having wardrobe battles with Spiderman for the next few months.  I have to go print out some calendars for the Princess now.

 “One joy shatters a hundred griefs.”
– – Chinese Proverb

August 27th

August 27, 2010 at 9:14 am | Posted in NICU | 12 Comments
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When we got to the NICU I knew that there was not going to be a miracle for Jake.   The ventilator and the medications were no longer helping.   Jake had made the decision for us.   We did not have to be the ones to decide to take him off the ventilator.  This was just one of the many gifts Jake gave to us.

Bridget, the NICU nurse, said that I could hold him.   I had never held him before.   I knew this would be my first and last day to hold Jake.

Holding Jake

Evan was also able to hold him.

Evan Holding Jake

At 6:14 am Jake’s heroic struggle ended. Jake gave it everything he had, and we were and still are so proud of him. Sometimes the challenges you face in life are simply too much.

The NICU nurses helped us to give him a bath and to dress him.  He had never been outside and they suggested we spend some time with him on the terrace outside the NICU.

Family picture

We were very lucky to have been chosen by Jake to be his parents.

I miss Jake today and every day.   Some days are just tougher.

August 14

August 14, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Posted in hydrops, pregnancy | 7 Comments

Five years ago today, Dr. K2 came to speak with me and my husband about the plan for our baby.  As I mentioned in this post, Dr. K2 was the doctor who mistakenly revealed that the last chromosome (the gender chromosome) of our baby’s DNA was XY.  Dr. K2 is also one of the leading neonatologists in the city.   He told us that the ultrasounds showed that the fluid was still increasing and putting our baby into distress.  Our baby could not survive inside of me any longer.  Our baby’s best chance was to be delivered so that the doctors could remove the fluid. 

I was scheduled for a c-section that afternoon.  Our baby would not have lived through the birth canal so a c-section was the only option.  We were also advised that it might be a vertical as well as horizontal incision depending on the position of our baby.  None of this mattered.  We just asked Dr. K to do whatever was in the best interest of our baby. 

Dr. K (I’ll just call him Dr. K from now on – we never saw Dr. K1 again after the cvs) gave us all the odds.  A baby born 14 weeks premature has a 60% chance of surviving.   A baby born 14 weeks early with hydrops has a 30% chance of surviving.  In my mind I began to rationalize once again that our baby could be in the 30%.  After all,  we were already the 1 out of the 5 to have trisomy 21.  Maybe it was our chance to beat the odds.

The delivery room was very crowded.  There were at least 20 people in the room besides me and my husband.    Everyone was moving quickly (or maybe it just seemed that way because I was so still).  There were a lot of things happening most of which were being done to me (but luckily for me I could not feel a thing because I had been given a epidural). 

At 3:26 our baby was born – alive!  And, if you don’t remember from your 8th grade biology, you can read my post about the road to raising a down’s baby . Or, I will just tell you – XY means that we had a baby boy.   He weighed only 2 lbs., 14 ounces, measured 14 1/4 inches, and arrived 14 weeks early.

After he was born it was not at all like I had imagined (or like anything I have ever seen on TV or movies).  The doctor did not smile and bring me my baby so that I could look at him and hold him.   Instead, another doctor whisked our baby away before I could even see him.  I did get a glimpse of him all bundled up with a hat on his head.  His right eye was shut and his left eye was open  – almost as if he was winking at me.  

I knew that it we still had a long, long road ahead of us but he was alive and we were still on the road. 

Happy, happy birthday to our sweet baby Jake!  We love you more than I can express in words.  Your dad and I wish that we were going to be driving you to your birthday party today.  Instead, we will drive to visit you at the cemetery. 

August 12, 2005

August 12, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Posted in hydrops, pregnancy | 5 Comments

I woke up that morning, took care of Hailey, baked cookies for her to give to her mom and drove to the hospital to drop her off.  

Here is Hailey at the hospital

The plan that day was after dropping Hailey off I was going to work and then I had an appointment with the perinatologist later that afternoon.  I didn’t feel quite right so I decided not to go to work and just hang out at the hospital.  I went to Willys for lunch with my good friend Tina.

I sat in the waiting room of the perinatologist with my husband.   Our average wait time at that office was at least an hour.   I could not sit still.  I kept getting up and pacing.  We were supposed to be going on a trip to visit my family later that night.  My grandmother was sick and our nephew was having his first birthday party.

Finally, we were called back to a room.  The usual drill – get undressed, put on a white cloth skirt and sit on the table.  The nurse began to examine me.  She did not make her usual casual conversation.  Suddenly, she was calling other people into the room.  I heard people frantically talking.  All I could make out was something about not being able to find my cervix.

I was then shuttled into another room and given a shot.  The room started to spin and my heart began to race so fast I am sure it was going to leap out of my chest.   I was whisked away and my husband was told to go to admissions. 

I was wheeled to a room right next to the operating room and hooked up to a machine that measured my contractions – which were 3 minutes apart.  I had apparently been in labor for days.  I thought to myself – how could I have missed that?   I had heard of braxton hicks but I did not think it was possible to be in real labor at 26 weeks. This was not supposed to be happening.

The fluid in our baby’s abdomen did not go away.  It increased, putting pressure on his heart and he went into distress which caused me to go into labor.  The doctors now explained to us that our baby had hydrops. Basically, his body could not process fluid. This would be the first of many medical terms I did not know existed until my children were diagnosed with them.

The plan was now to hope and pray that the fluid would decrease.  If it did not decrease our baby would be delivered that weekend.    If it did decrease I would stay in the hospital until my contractions were under control.  I was given the shot to help our baby’s lungs in case he was delivered.

Shortly after the trisomy 21 diagnosis we started singing and reading from a book of psalms to our baby.  So, we sang and read.  We cried, prayed and waited.

Harriett R. Taylor

August 18, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Posted in Death, Love | 3 Comments
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In my family, August is pretty packed with birthdays, anniversaries and deathiversaries.  Today along with being Evan’s dad and stepmother’s wedding anniversary it is also the date when my Aunt Harriett died (21 years ago).

Although it has been over 2 decades, I can still feel the pit in my stomach that formed when I was told that she had pancreatic cancer.  I remember my parents were on vacation and I needed to call them to let them know this awful news.  I remember my hands shaking as I held the phone.

I was very lucky to have known Harriett Taylor, let alone to be her niece.  She inspired and helped me in ways that I wish I had been able to tell her during her lifetime.  I decided to go to law school during her judicial swearing-in ceremony.  I started volunteering at soup kitchens and food banks because she set the example of helping the poor and homeless.  She taught me the importance of sending thank you notes.

I remember my aunt’s mother pleading at her hospice bedside to switch places with her.  I learned that it is not possible, no matter how much you bargain, to trade your life for your child’s life.

My Aunt Harriett also taught me a lot about life, love and death.  Her oldest child’s (my cousin) birthday is on August 16 and her youngest child’s birthday is on August 20.  My aunt did not want to die on either of her children’s birthdays and she did not.  I truly believe that she willed herself to die on August 18.

The world is a better place because she was a part of it.


August 27, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Grief | 9 Comments
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“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” Rose Kennedy

Dear Jake,
I started to write to you on your birthday.  I wanted to tell you how much we love and miss you but I just could not write.  This year your birthday and your yahrzeit were on the same date.  The happiest and the saddest day all in one.  Today is the English date that you died.  Twelve years ago.  I miss you today and every day, even when I can not write to you.  I will look for you in my dreams.  Love you sweet boy.

dreams & denial

September 12, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Posted in after death?, Death, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love | 8 Comments
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August, as I have written about in the past, is filled with happy as well as hard days.  This year August started out with our dog, Buddy, dying.  I wrote about how I was in denial about his death and wondered how long I could stay there.

On and off throughout the month I was haunted by a dream where I could not find Jake.  I would try to go back to sleep in hopes that I could go back to the dream and find him.  One weekend I slept as much as possible determined to search for and find Jake in my dreams.  It did not work.  If I had the dream about Jake I always awoke without finding him.

Last night I finally found Jake in my dreams – he was with Buddy.  So, to answer my own question about “how long can I stay in denial?” it seems like the answer is about a month.  I sure do miss them both.

“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


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