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.

 

 

Possibilities and Playing Pokémon

March 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Grief, life | 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!

 

 

 

Families take ‘walk to remember’ to honor children they’ve lost

October 4, 2016 at 11:32 am | Posted in life, Love | 4 Comments
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Walk in Fulton County honors children lost.

Source: Families take ‘walk to remember’ to honor children they’ve lost

Click on the picture above to see the local news coverage of the Atlanta Walk to Remember. Jake’s name is read in the first sentence of the story.

The mention of my child’s name may bring tears to my eyes, but it never fails to bring music to my ears.   If you are really my friend, let me hear the beautiful music of his name.  It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul.  — Author Unknown

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

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!

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!

Marching for Hope

March 30, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Posted in life, 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.

 

 

 

Walking to Remember – Together

September 30, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Posted in Grief, life | 4 Comments
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One of the difficult and important lessons that I learned after Jake’s death is that I cannot do this alone.  After Jake died, Evan and I were told about support groups.  At the time, I could barely come to terms with the fact that Jake was dead and I was not.  The thought of going to a group where everyone told their own tragic story of their child’s death seemed unimaginable to me.

Then one excruciatingly dark day in January of 2006, I realized that I needed to know how other parents got up every morning and live in a world without their child/children.  Evan and I decided that it was time to go to a support group.

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 babies together.

This year the walk will be held on October 4th.  For more information and/or to register for the walk click here:

Atlanta Walk to Remember

Birthday Benches

August 20, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Grief, hydrops, Jake, life, Love, NICU | 9 Comments
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Jake never left the hospital.  His short life was spent entirely in the NICU.  The only other places Evan and I went with him were the consult room and a small outdoor balcony off of the NICU.

The three of us

While helping with the special project of updating the consult room I heard that the balcony might need some new benches.  It seemed to make sense to me that for Jake’s 10th birthday we should get the benches for the balcony.  So that is what we did.  We miss you Jake.

quote - roses - Lincoln

a special project

July 22, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, hospital, life, Love, NICU | 12 Comments
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The “consult room” – every hospital has one or several.  The “consult room” is where Evan and I held Jake for the last time. It is where we were when the ER doctor told us that Sawyer was dead. They were different “consult rooms,” in different hospitals but they looked the same. Standard issue plastic couch and chair. Generic flowery art. Striped carpet.

No one wishes to be in these rooms.  The hospital where all 4 of our children were born has a Perinatal Bereavement Office where I volunteer at times.  The extraordinary people who work at the office decided that they were going to renovate the consult room in the Special Care Nursery of the NICU.   I was lucky enough to help with this special project.

One of Evan’s mother’s paintings is now on a wall of the newly decorated consult room.  On another wall there is painting by an artist who is the great-aunt of other parents who also used the room when their little girl, Lily, died.  Her parents helped with this special project too.

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This is still a room that I hope none of you have to enter.  I know that realistically there are people who will be in that room holding their precious baby for perhaps the first and last time.  I wish that one day all babies will go home with their parents but until that day I am glad that there is now a warm comforting room where families can spend whatever time they have together.

Evan and I are truly honored by the dedication of this room and that this will be part of Jake and Sawyer’s legacy.

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