what to do when reality bites

May 4, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Posted in Grief, silver lining | 4 Comments
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Here is my reality – I will never be able to bring Sawyer and Jake back to life.  I will never hold Sawyer again.

I will never hold Jake again.

I cannot change my reality but I can help others.   I will do anything and everything I can to prevent other children from dying too soon.  I do not want any other families to have to live in a world without their child/children.

This weekend what I will do to try to help is walk. Thank you to all those who supported our March of Dimes, March for Babies team this year and in past years. Thank you also to the hospital for matching funds.  We appreciate all of your kindness and generosity.   If you would like to support Jake’s Journey & Sawyer’s Strides please click this link.

 

 

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Wave of Light

October 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 4 Comments
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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.

Today and every day I miss Jake and Sawyer but tomorrow at 7 pm we will light candles.  This year I will once again hope that the light from all the candles will make the darkness of the unknown a little brighter.

Atlanta Walk to Remember 2016

September 28, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, Love, Sawyer | 5 Comments
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Atlanta Walk to Remember 2015

Losing a child is one of the most devastating and lonely events which can happen to a human being.   I wish that none of us lived in a world without our child/children.  However, the reality is that parents from every religion, class and country have outlived their children.

Every year since Jake (and then Sawyer) died we have walked in the Atlanta Walk to Remember.   It is an event to connect parents and families together to express grief and remember our babies, and to raise awareness.  It is not a fundraiser.

It is just a time to remember our lost children together.

The 12th Annual Atlanta Walk to Remember is the first Sunday of October.  For more information about the walk in Atlanta click here.  For information about walks and events in other locations click here.

Research & Rainbows

July 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, Sawyer, silver lining | 2 Comments
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Evan and I have spent the past few days at the March of Dimes national conference. We met amazing people and other family teams from all over the country committed to the cause of healthy babies.  We heard doctors speak about the research that is being done to lower the alarming rate of infant mortality.

Every year 23,000 babies in the United States of America do not live to celebrate their first birthday due to prematurity alone (this number does not include still born babies or babies who die due to known or still unknown birth defects and genetic conditions).

Jake and Sawyer will forever be a statistic of infant mortality from the years 2005 and 2009. I cannot change those facts.

I can commit to doing whatever I can to help reduce those 23,000 deaths of babies born too soon. I do not want any other families to stand by/watch their child/children take their last breath.

In one discussion at the conference, the topic of “Rainbow Babies” – babies born to families after the prior death or stillborn birth of a child – came up. I am so thankful to the March of Dimes’ doctors, researchers and volunteers.  Without all of their hard work ours and many other families’ rainbow babies may not be here.

As I have written about before, the twins and I are always searching for rainbows.  We have not had a rainbow baby after Sawyer (he was a rainbow himself, of course), but perhaps our rainbow is a part of lots of other little babies we are helping through the March of Dimes.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.  – Dolly Parton

A “rainbow baby” is a baby born following the death of your child.  Urban Dictionary defines a rainbow baby as the following:

“In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.

The storm (pregnancy/child loss) has already happened and nothing can change that experience. Storm clouds might still be overhead as the family continues to cope with the loss, but something colorful and bright has emerged from the darkness and misery.”

After Jake died Evan and I both knew that we wanted to try to become parents again.  I mistakenly thought that after your child dies you should get some sort of “get a baby free pass”.  There was no pass for us.  When we did start trying again we found ourselves on the roller coaster of infertility.  We started with cycles of injectables.  We moved onto 6 rounds of IUI’s (think turkey baster if you are not familiar with this term).  Finally after 2 IVF cycles we were so very lucky to have our own rainbow babies in July of 2007.

In the fall of 2009 we once again had a rainbow baby.

Who knew another storm would come so soon?  I am trying to learn from the twins how to look for rainbows everywhere.  Some days it is harder than others to find any light through the darkness.  The twins are pretty good teachers because the other day I looked out of the office building where I was working and this is what I saw. . .

After a hurricane comes a rainbow – Katy Perry

 

 

Jake’s Journey and Sawyer’s Strides – #7 March of Dimes Family Team in the Nation!

May 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Posted in Grief | 4 Comments
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Very exciting news that Jake’s Journey and Sawyer’s Strides is the #7 March of Dimes Family Team in the nation!

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I would be lying to you if I did not admit that I wish I was writing about something cute or funny that Jake and Sawyer had done.  I will never be able to write about Jake and Sawyer’s adventures that they would have had in this world.  Despite the fact that they are dead,  they have taught me and continue to teach me so much about life and love.  I am proud and lucky to be their mom.

Thank you, thank you to all who have supported and to continue to support our family (our March of Dimes team and otherwise).  I am hopeful that there will be more teams in honor (as opposed to in memory) of children because of Jake and Sawyer.  Thank you all so very much!

Mother’s Day Marketing

May 12, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Posted in Grief, Jake, life after loss, Sawyer | 6 Comments
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As I have done every year since Jake died, I went to the cemetery on Mother’s Day .  It is a very busy day at the cemetery, possibly the busiest day all year.  I understand that the marketing people want to make the most of the day.  There is always a little table set up.  Last year they gave out gift bags.  The year before there was a Mother’s Day cookout (along with free t-shirts).  This year they opted to give out a survey and a rose.

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I do not have any better ideas for their marketing team but I do appreciate their effort.  Death is a part of life that is difficult to talk about.  I appreciate their efforts to help grieving family and friends.   I think I will write on the survey that a flower and a survey are better than a cookout at the cemetery but I do wonder what they will come up with for next year.

 

Marching for Hope

March 30, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love | 2 Comments
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I do not like it but I have accepted the fact that Jake and Sawyer have died.  However, I refuse to give up hope that other babies can live.  I do not know how to save these lives but the March of Dimes does.  Please if you are in Atlanta consider walking with us on April 30, 2016.  Click this link to join Jake’s Journey and Sawyer’s Strides.  If that is not in the cards, consider whether you can support us in our fundraising efforts by clicking this link.

Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick — just like Jake was almost 11 years ago. Likewise, thousands of babies are born with birth defects or unknown medical problems that cause great hardships or unexpected deaths — just like what happened to Sawyer more than 6 years ago. We will be walking in March for Babies again this year because we NEED to do something about this, so that no family has to go through what we dealt with when Jake was born at 26 weeks, and no family kisses their child goodnight and never gets to kiss them good morning the next day like what happened with Sawyer. And we need your help. Please support our walk and fundraising efforts. Every dollar makes a difference. And in our case, every $1 = $2 due to a generous match by Northside Hospital. The March of Dimes uses the funds on key research, education and outreach programs. But we need your support. Nothing can be more important than all of us having healthy babies. Making a secure donation is easy: just click here. Thank you for helping us give all babies a healthy start! And thank you for helping us honor and remember Jake and Sawyer’s far-too-short lives.

 

 

 

thank you so much and a bit of happy

March 1, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Jake, Love, Sawyer | 3 Comments
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Last week I went to the cemetery and someone left flowers for Jake and Sawyer!  I have not been able to figure out who left them but I want to thank you so much for being so thoughtful and for remembering Jake and Sawyer.

A bit of hope

February 26, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss, Love, Sawyer | 5 Comments
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Sawyer’s pathologist emailed in 2011 that “none of the genetic-DNA mutations that are known to be associated with/responsible for abnormal heart rhythms has been identified in Sawyer.”  No one knows what caused Sawyer’s death.  I try not to think about this fact often but about once a year Evan or I email Sawyer’s pathologist to touch base.  The response is always kind but does not have any new information.  However, this year the doctor wrote back that in 2010 they had “sequenced a limited number of genes and nothing was found.  We could go back and do whole exome sequencing” again (with 2016 medical advances). 

This email gives me a bit hope for so many reasons.  One, the doctors have not forgotten about Sawyer.  Two, there is the slightest chance that one day we might know what caused Sawyer’s death.  This will not bring him back but maybe it will prevent another family from losing their child. 

February 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Posted in Grief, hospital, life after loss | 8 Comments
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On President’s Day I took the twins to a go-kart, bowling, ninja warrior play place.  Everyone had a fantastic time until one of the twins decided that he was a much bigger ninja warrior than he actually is.  He hurt his ankle and I took him and his sister home.

The next day he was still limping and still on winter break.  I decided I should take him to the doctor while he was home and preempt the call I might get from school about his limp.  After seeing the doctor she decided we should go get an x-ray.

At this point in the day it was close to rush hour in Atlanta.  The closest place to have the x-ray is the children’s hospital across the street from our pediatrician’s office.  I drive past the hospital where Sawyer died all the time.  I know that revisiting certain places (like the place where Sawyer was pronounced dead) should be avoided.   I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after Jake died and then again after Sawyer died.

I decided PTSD or no PTSD we were going for the x-ray.  And so we did.  One twin went into the x-ray room by himself while I stood with his sister in the hall.  I tried with every ounce of my being to shut out the thoughts of standing in this hospital hall staring at the closed door to the room where Sawyer was taken.

A few minutes later the door opened.  I held onto a hand of each of the twins and left the hospital.

ninja Fletcher

Little boy with just a sprained ankle and a mom who would like to wrap him and his sister in bubble wrap.

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