Possibilities and Playing Pokémon

March 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Grief, life after loss | 5 Comments
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Yesterday turned into an unexpected mix of spending time with all 4 of my children.

The day started out with Evan and I dropping off the twins at Sunday school and then going over to the cemetery to visit Jake and Sawyer.

The twins (and I) play Pokémon Go.  The cemetery happens to have a crazy amount of Pokémon stops – which is where the balls to catch Pokémon are collected.  Below is a picture of the cemetery.  The blue squares are all Pokémon stops.

The odd thing to me is that apparently some people come to the cemetery just to play Pokémon.   What might be even more odd is that I like the fact that where Jake and Sawyer are buried is right near a particular Pokémon stop (see below).  I like to think in some cosmic way that Jake and Sawyer are playing the same game that the twins and I are playing.

In addition to playing Pokémon Go, the twins decided that yesterday would be a great day for a Lemonade Stand to remember their brothers.  They set one up at the end of our driveway and raised money and awareness for the March of Dimes.

Would you like to join us in our efforts?  You can just click on this link and then click the “Walk with Me” button to join our Walk Team.  If that is not in the cards (which we know for most of you it is not), consider whether you can support us in our fundraising efforts.  Every dollar counts, and every dollar is matched by the hospital where our kids were born, so $1 donated = $2 to the March of Dimes.  Click on this link and click the “Donate Now” button.  Thanks for your support and any donation you can make!

 

 

 

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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!

march of dimes 2016

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 (& may the 4th be with you all)

May 4, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, mother, mourning, Sawyer | 12 Comments
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There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of Jake and Sawyer, but some days are harder than others.  Mother’s Day is one of those days.  Logically it is just another day.  They are both gone every. single. day.  It is not like the first days, weeks and months after they died when the tears so often streamed down my face without me even realizing.  Now most of the time my tears are tucked farther away.   The sadness and the joy of loving Jake and Sawyer is a part of me.

I know I am not alone.  There are so many other mothers in this club with me.  There are mothers who this is their first Mother’s Day without their child (or maybe it is the 2nd or 22nd since their child died).

There are also mothers who have died leaving behind their children.  This is perhaps their children’s first Mother’s Day without their mother (or maybe it is the 2nd or 22nd since their mother died).

There are motherless mothers and motherless fathers. 

There are spouse’s who are filling the role of both parents on Mother’s Day.

Death is part of life.  And no matter how hard some days can be life goes on.

As I have already written, Mother’s Day is not my favorite day.  I try to focus on the 4 positive pregnancy tests and the 4 live births.  I also try not dwell on the 2 emergency C-sections, the NICU, the miscarriage and the 2 deaths.  The truth is that all of these events have made me a mother.

I know that this day is hard for so many.  There are the other mothers in the club whose arms will also ache to hold their children.  There are others who are missing their mothers, grandmothers or partners.  I send hope and hugs to you all.

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Saturday

April 28, 2016 at 10:38 pm | Posted in Grief | 5 Comments
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Early one Saturday in August of 2005 was the first and last time that Evan and I held Jake.

Late afternoon one rainy Saturday in July of 2007 Evan and I met the twins for the first time.

Another Saturday, in December of 2009 Evan and I were told that Sawyer was dead.

This Saturday we will walk in the March of Dimes, March for Babies with 2 of our children and in memory of our other 2.  There should be something good that comes from Jake and Sawyer’s lives.  There is nothing that will bring them back but this Saturday we will hope for the bright futures of other babies.  Thank you to all who are walking with us and supporting us.

the best bad news ever

March 14, 2016 at 11:49 pm | Posted in life after loss, life lessons, silver lining | 5 Comments
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About a month ago, we had a sewage problem at our house.  I will spare you the gross details but the result was that our downstairs bathroom needed to be ripped out.

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It was determined that the problem was a pipe in our street.  The City of Atlanta workers came to repair the pipe.   It took a few days.  At the end of the first day I received a call from one of the workers.  He told me he had good news and bad news for me.  The good news was that they could fix the pipe!  I braced myself for the bad news. . .

He told me that when they were trying to determine the problem that one of the city trucks hit our mailbox.  I waited a moment.  Then I asked,  “Is there more bad news?” He said no, it was just the mailbox.  I smiled and happily thanked him for the best bad news ever!  My standards of what qualifies as bad news has greatly changed since 2005. While a ripped up bathroom and a broken mailbox are not ideal, if that is the worst news I will gladly take it.

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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quote - caterpillar

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. 

Hope is a 4 letter word

January 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Grief, life lessons, Love | 12 Comments
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quote - love - mlk

In 2015 we had a failed adoption.

Evan and I thought about adoption since we started talking about trying to have more children after Jake died.  We started infertility at that time too.   We were so lucky, fortunate and blessed to have had the twins and Sawyer with the help of lots of medical professionals.

In 2013 we revisited and moved forward with the adoption process.  There were a lot of rejections along the way but in August 2014 we were picked by a birth mother.  She was young, homeless and stated that the birth father’s whereabouts were unknown.  Evan and I met with her once for lunch.  On a separate occasion I was able to go to a doctor’s appointment with her.

On New Year’s Eve day we got a call that she was in labor.  Evan came home from work.  We told the twins and started to pack the car.  I took our dogs to be boarded with the vet. By the time I got home we had gotten another call telling us not to leave quite yet.   The birth mother started to have second thoughts and a potential father had entered the picture.

The baby was born on 12/31/2014.  Evan and I spent the next few days on a horrible roller coaster waiting for the birth mother’s decision.  A few days into 2015 we were told that she had decided to parent the baby.

Over the last year I have gone from sadness to anger (with lots of emotions I cannot identify in between).  I have rationalized that we helped this baby and his mother but he is not ours.  He is being raised by his mother, who, with help from us, is no longer homeless.  Hoping 2016 brings good things for everyone.

 

holidays and hope

December 30, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Posted in Anniversaries, Grief, life after loss, Sawyer | 7 Comments
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The anniversary of Sawyer’s death (the Jewish yahrzeit and the English date) were both this past week.  I know that these anniversaries can be tough for me so I try to keep extra busy.   I have been volunteering for an organization called Second Helpings.  Restaurants, grocery stores, corporate dining halls, farmers markets and schools with a surplus of food are connected with shelters and food pantries.   I signed up as a substitute driver for a few shifts over the holidays.  The twins are on vacation from school so they helped too.

It is just basically driving and loading/unloading the food.   The twins sat in the car listening to their books on CD while I navigated from the store to the shelter.  All was going fine until I realized that the drop off location was around the corner from the Atlanta Medical Examiners Office.  After the emergency room this is the building where Sawyer’s body was taken.  Evan and I went there to meet with one of the pathologists a few weeks after the autopsy.  All my attempts to distract myself failed as soon as I saw that building.

I miss Sawyer on the anniversary of his death, on holidays and every day.  I know that this season can be hard for a lot of people.  I wish I could make things easier for everyone but since I can not I send you all hope and hugs.

The only outfit I bought for Sawyer

 

 

unplugged

December 18, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Grief | 7 Comments
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unplug

So, I have been trying to unplug Evan.  He spent part of the other week in the hospital due to pneumonia and breathing complications.   His doctor admitted him from the office but Evan waited 8 hours for a room at the hospital.  Hour 7 when a guy started smoking an e-cigarette in the waiting room I started to think I would just take Evan home.  Finally, they called Evan’s name and an orderly wheeled him towards his room.  When we started going through the maternity ward Evan asked the guy if there was any other way to get to his room.   The guy responded “no” and I was not sure if I was going to start crying or laughing.

Evan spent a few days in the hospital and I did not take any babies while passing through the maternity ward to visit him.  Evan is better and back to work.  Evan and the twins have gotten sick before – I know that sickness (and hopefully getting better) is part of life.  I am just not as good at handling it – maybe if Jake and Sawyer had not died I would be better with these situations.   I will never know.

what i have learned in the 10 years since Jake died

August 31, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, Jake, life after loss, Love, why I write | 11 Comments
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Dear Jake,
Another August has come and gone – the 10th August since you left this world.  I honestly was not sure that I would make it – 10 years seems like an eternity at times but I still find it so hard to believe that it has been that long since your dad and I last held you.

The first thing that I learned is that I will make it through the days, months and years without you.  I do not like it and it is excruciatingly hard.  But, your dad and I were not given a choice.  We are still alive.

I started writing this blog when you were gone for 5 years.  Five years also seemed impossible.  You would have started kindergarten and your brother Sawyer had died so unexpectedly 8 months earlier.   A therapist and a few friends suggested I try writing.  I thought why not – maybe I can help myself and possibly help others.

I think I had visions that one day I would change the name of the blog to something other than a mourning mom.  It turns out 5 years later I am still a mourning mom.  I have not found a cure for hydrops or premature birth.  In fact, we still do not even know what caused Sawyer’s death.  I have not started a non-profit or a race.  And, I still have days when I cannot stop crying because I miss you and your brother so much.

I wanted to write what I have learned in these 10 years living in this world without you.  I thought I could write one post to sum it all up but it is not quite that easy.  So, this my sweet Jake will just be part 1.   I will write to hopefully help others through their own journey.  And, even if I cannot help others I know that in another 5 years I will look back on these posts to help myself figure out how to survive the 10 year deathiversary of your baby brother.

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