Sunday, September 26, 2010


**We had a perfect little baby shower celebrating Trey. I will post pics and give details later. :) I'm so thankful he's loved and that so many people were rooting for us, and still are. We are blessed to have community, wouldn't know how to survive without it.

**I really REALLY want to post pics of all the ultrasounds I got that showed Trey with the cord around his neck, just so others can see and hopefully pay more attention to their own babies' photos. It's ridiculous how easy it is to spot even from the layman's eye, and on the other hand how hard it was to convince the doctors/US Techs of this.

**Did I ever write about how the night after I had Trey I had a dream where Blue and I were laughing deeply from our belly's? It was so poignant to me because since Jackson died two years ago I pretty much have nightmares every night. Every night, whether he or his precious little sis have been on my mind or not. It was SOO nice to dream happily, to feel such joy on a subconscious level.
     Unfortunately, even with my love and happiness expanding each hour I spend with baby Trey, the bad dreams have returned. It's more normal to have bad dreams than good ones, or none at all. Most times I wake up with the bad feelings still churning inside, but the dream content is hazy or at least nonsense.
     A few nights ago, I awoke upset, the storyline of my dream bright before me. I was nursing Trey in the dream. He was each time filled and each day growing. Completely normal. But then, flashes of his brother would pop into my mind, another tiny baby. It was not clearly Jackson-just a little boy baby. I would look frantically around the room for him but not see him. I needed to feed him! How could I have forgotten to nurse him this feeding...and oh my gosh! the last feeding too. He must be starving somewhere. Where was he? Then a friend would appear and chastise me for forgetting to nurse my baby girl. Yes, that's right, I had a girl too. She was even younger than the boy baby. She would agree that I was doing a good job with Trey, but what of his little brother and even smaller sister? Feed them!!! Take care of them!!! Stop forgetting about them!!! She told me she was feeding the girl for me but could not do this forever so I better get my head on straight and stop forgetting my babies. But every time I tried to find them in the house I failed. Then I would forget about it and nurse Trey peacefully as usual. Right at the end of the feeding I would remember I had two other babies; a small boy and smaller girl. No! I forgot to feed them again! And on and on it cycled until I awoke in the morning quite upset.
     Isn't that crazy? It all makes sense. It's so simple. I'm just surprised at the feelings of a failed mother so deep inside, and the worry for my babies. I feel obligated to care for them, to nurture them and some part of me still frets that I am not doing it. It's so weird to me. During the day I know they are okay and I think of them constantly. Never forgetting. And I am thrilled to care for Trey. But at night it's all a mess. I see how the heart beneath is still in shambles. Unlike most deep wounds, which heal from the inside out, I think baby losses heal from the outside in.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trey's 2 Months Old Today

Here we are. I'm thrilled that I've had my boy for 2 months, and elated that it feels like a week. It's all still new and fresh, maybe because while he's doubled in size, yet he's a teeny lil' thing, or maybe because I have craved a baby for so many years that I revel in each moment with him.
I love it all. Don't mind that I am fat and mushy. Don't mind that I can't seem to get my house completely cleaned in a day anymore, that laundry's out of control, that coveted crafts are getting dusty, that I am a 24/7 milk machine that must thrive on three hour increments of sleep. I love it! I wish you all the joy I feel all roll through me each and every day!

Trey's over 8 lbs now, I'm sure. I get his weight Friday...

He is a miracle. That he has grown so well and so quickly with just me and my unrestrained diet is a marvel. He had no chance, with the cord tightly wrapped around his neck 6 times and multiple times around his body on top of that. But look at him now! Each day that passes with health and calm I am grateful for. Yeah for Trey!

Jackson's Birthday- Updated

We got flowers! All the way from a friend in Japan! I feel like Jackson is loved around the world.

Who can top my husband's post on Jackson's birthday? I loved it. I loved that he posted when he did, because I was avoiding doing it. It's one of those instances when being part of a couple really helps out! Thanks, babe!
The day wasn't nearly as sad as it was last year, no doubt because of his brother's presence. It's still really hard to remember the day we delivered him. It was so shocking and painful, so essentially wrong. This year I was able not to think on that as much as on doing things that would make Jackson happy or proud. Now that I have made some distance from that important, even sacred day, here's a breakdown of what we did to honor him:

The balloon release! This was the saddest part of the day for me---letting go of the balloon and saying,"I love you," to my son made me feel that he's not here with me, that we must try to communicate with him, to reach out to him because he's living some place else. Tears welled up as I watched the pretty balloons with our personal messages float away.
My daughter made sure Trey got a message off too - it said, "Happy Birthday, Jackson! Love, Trey" I thought that was thoughtful of her.

My mom and step dad also released balloons from a park by their house, at the same time as we did; sunset. My mom saw, as they were releasing the balloons, a little boy playing on a slide who looked about the same size Jackson would be.

As Blue said, we made Jackson a cake... My fridge broke a few days before and so we lost all our eggs and butter. Of course, since it's my way to avoid planning for these birthday memorials, I didn't make sure I had all the ingredients necessary, nor did I bake the cake ahead of time so that I would have lots of time to the cake was a bit of a mess! We used Smart Butter in the frosting and it ended up tasting like popcorn! Seriously. Good thing my kids are young enough not to notice flavor as much as color! 

Some day Jackson will get an amazing cake worthy of a Cake Boss episode, but until I can feel good enough about losing him to plan ahead, he gets the sloppy popcorn flavored cakes!

Something that was really important to me; talking with Trey's doctor about his case and giving him research on repetitive cord "accidents." I really like Trey's doctor. He's a good blend of intellectual and caring. But even his high risk practice doesn't think cord accidents are repetitive or preventable.
I thought it would greatly honor Jackson if I gave the doctor an 80 page modern report on cord deaths and how to prevent them. The appointment was set for Jack's birthday, after all.
Our family gets there and instead of  the man who saved Trey's life walking in, the NP that gave me a needless scare about Trey having anemia when I was 5 mths along did! The doctor wasn't even there that day. We were so disappointed. The NP spent my appt trying to get me to get an IUD on the spot (she loves to put them in, she said), showing me the little plastic model of inserting one... Another disappointment on his birthday.
But I managed to keep with my plan by giving the report to the doctor's wife, who was there working that day. I asked that she give it to him. That way, while I didn't get to speak to him, still he got the report on Jackson's birthday. It makes me feel so good to spread the word! I really think our history will go a long way in convincing professionals that cord problems may be genetic and can be monitored closely to save a healthy baby from a needless death.

We spent the money we would have spent on Jackson's birthday gift were he here on someone else: A friend who is having a hard time financially right now. It's neat because when Jackson died she was really attentive and thoughtful. She looked out for us. Now, he's looking out for her. A perfect circle.

I also called the hospital I delivered Jackson and Claire in and left a message for the infant loss bereavement coordinator. I told her about my idea to make pillows for families. I haven't heard back yet, but hopefully we will get that going soon.

Other service done on his birthday, making his life tangibly meaningful:

HOW could I forget to mention, when I first wrote this, that my amazing friend Heather has done service for the last three months in honor of Jackson. She has a new baby girl and has been pumping extra milk and storing it so that she can donate it to a Mother's Milk Bank and help preemie/sick babies live. Go girl! I am amazed at her selflessness and daily dedication to others. She is SUCH an example to me. Thank you Heather! And thank you for letting Jackson's life and even the pain surrounding it sink into your heart and change you. I will never forget you.

My good friend Jeni made and donated blankets to a hospital:

Website about donating small blankets to hospitals:

Jackson's aunt Laura and uncle Dallas in Tucson made cookies for a neighbor who lost a baby at 23wks and for a neighbor who's husband's in Afghanistan.

My friend Lisa in PA sent this email:
We shall be donating non-perishables to the following:

Trenton is a terribly poverty stricken/crime infested city. I cannot imagine what it is like to be a child there, let alone be hungry.
Here's to Jackson! Happy 2nd little dude! I love the new tradition :)

My friend Dawn bought breakfast/coffee for the person in line behind her at the Starbucks drive thru.

Another of Jackson's aunts, Natasha, gave up a particular type of gossiping! She decided to start making the world a better place with herself first. Beautiful.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Jackson's birthday meaningful. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Baby Shower

Hello everyone! This is a friend of Kelly and her sweet family and I just wanted to post information about a baby shower that will be taking place in San Tan Valley on Saturday the 18th of September.

I know that a lot of you have gone through this journey with Kelly and Blue and may want to come show your love and support for them and their precious little baby boy. Some of you maybe even want to meet Kelly for the first time. :)

Please email me if you are interested in directions or have any other questions. Thank you so much!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Jackson! (by Blue)

My heart aches tonight. Kelly just made a cake for Jackson's birthday and it wasn't until we sang "happy birthday" that it started hurting. We did a balloon release with notes attached. We did a little service in his name. We all looked at pictures of him. Some of the pictures the kids had never seen. All this was heart warming and boosted my spirits, but singing to him broke my heart. It took me back to 2 years ago and the wound is still fresh. I force myself on occasion to read my journal entries from Jackson and Claire's death. I have made it my own personal tradition to read the entries on their birthday. I just finished reading Jackson's and it really made me think and evaluate my life. I made him a promise as I held his still-warm body that day. It's very personal, but as these deaths have taught me, some things should be shared; to help others cope, to help others understand, to help others know they're not alone, to help others know they're normal, and probably, mostly to help me. The following is an excerpt from my journal that details the hours leading up to and immediately following his birth. I am also including a picture that I know is hard for some to look at. We had an anonymous friend do a beautiful touch of job of it and have used it many times to show others our sweet son. But, as my emotions are raw I wish to show him as he was when we first saw him. There are certainly imperfections in his appearance, but they were hard to notice that day.

Sept. 18, 2008 - I was terribly excited on the drive to the hospital. I kept thinking, ‘this is it’. We reminisced as we pulled into the all too familiar Scottsdale Shea hospital parking lot. We shared memories of the first two births and I remember feeling so much more in control of this situation, my parenting in general, of being in a hospital, EVERYTHING. I was excited to tell the front desk that the contractions were painful, and about three minutes apart and lasting about a minute each. They took us to a triage room where the nurse had Kelly put on a robe and get into bed, preparatory for listening to the fetal heart tones. The nurse came in and began to move the transducer over Kelly’s stomach. After about 20 seconds of moving it around and not hearing anything I began to be very nervous. At one point it picked up a slow pulse, but the nurse quickly announced that it was “mom’s” and I knew she had gone over the femoral artery. This is when I began to panic inside. I didn’t quite allow my mind to take the thought much further than ‘this is scary.' They called in the hospitalist to do an ultrasound. I was extremely worried now and knew that this would reveal something immediately and I think I started preparing myself for the worst. I have seen enough ultrasounds to know generally what I’m looking at. I remember seeing his little hand almost in a fist, but not moving. But it wasn’t until I followed the monitor’s view to the heart that I knew the worst had indeed happened. I remember seeing the heart, and one of the chambers appeared to be very subtly quivering, but not pumping. The other three were not moving at all. The hospitalist didn’t need to say it, but he said solemnly, “there’s no heart beat.” In disbelief Kelly asked what that meant and he simply repeated the statement. I don’t know if I can adequately describe what I felt at that moment. I was surely in shock. I kept thinking in my head, ‘oh my gosh, he’s dead’ over and over. But the meaning of it had not settled in at all. I expected tears to pour, but they didn’t come. My thought’s turned to Kelly who looked and seemed like she had just seen something otherworldly and was unable to process it. Her face was blank, emotionless. Susan (Kelly's mom) asked what was going on and was also in disbelief when I told her. Unexpectedly no one wept. I held Kelly’s hand and hugged her for what was probably 10 minutes. We didn’t speak. We didn’t cry. We simply processed and allowed for the complex emotions to work their way into our minds. The doctor arrived and Kelly demanded that he give her a C-section. He said he would do whatever she wanted, but advised against it for our sake monetarily and for health reasons. Kelly reluctantly agreed to deliver the baby. I don’t know how much time we spent in that room, but at some point I began to cry. It was when Susan left the room and I allowed myself to succumb to my emotions. The feelings were earth shattering, life-altering. My body lurched and quivered. Kelly still sat looking forward. I honestly don’t remember when she cried, but I’m sure she did. Once in the room, they induced her and everything seemed to progress ironically like the previous two births. I lay in bed with Kelly and Susan read a distracting book. I dozed off several times, overcome by emotion and stress. I felt so guilty every time I woke up. The doctor broke the water and commented that he expected it to have meconium and not be clear. He said this meant the baby didn’t have stress when it passed. A few hours after the epidural Kelly was ready to deliver. During this entire time I was nearly positive that I didn’t want to see the baby in fear that he would look dead or traumatized or scary or something. I didn’t want my only view and memory of my son to be a disturbing and haunting one. Until the moment of delivery I wasn’t sure I wanted to see him. I remember thinking how amazing Kelly is for going through with this. I had always been amazed at how she handled labor and this was no exception.

I remember seeing the head and his dark hair, although the darkness of his hair didn’t at that time register. It was evident by the doctor’s struggle to get out the body that he was a big baby. As soon as the baby was delivered the doctor announced, “I know what happened.” He then described a rubberband being wound from one end and at those words I saw the twisted umbilical chord. It resembled a phone cord and I knew then what he was about to say. He didn’t really need to say it. I could tell that it could not sustain life, that it was kinked, and there was no way for nutrients and oxygen to get through. I also noticed that his body was peeling and at first I thought this had something to do with his demise, but the doctor simply stated that the peeling indicated that the baby had passed one or two days prior. I must point out that the most poignant thing for me during the delivery was the peaceful silence and stillness that accompanied the moment. There was an almost celestial room-like ambiance. Later I paused to reflect on the word ‘stillborn’ and whether it was the stillness of the occasion centuries ago that caused that term to go into existence. Surely it fits. Every fear and concern I had for seeing my son was swept away and I anxiously awaited holding him and seeing him. I think several minutes went by. Then he was presented to us. HE WAS BEAUTIFUL. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! He looked like at any moment he would start crying. I almost expected his chest to rise and fall. He was warm and healthy looking. He actually looked strong. His hands were big. His hair was black and curly, so rare for this family. I remember several things distinctly – his red lips, his mother’s nose, his grumpy eyes, his ever so slightly sunken anterior fontanel, his peeling skin that was healthy and pink underneath, his purple nail beds. I remember his mouth would fall open when I moved him in certain positions and I would close it. Angels and God himself would have to describe the sound his tiny mouth made when I did that, for it is certainly too precious for mortal words. I kissed him repeatedly. I kissed his head, his cheeks, his lips and I remember how incredibly soft his lips felt. They felt alive. I wept. I wept a happy, but longing cry. I think at this moment I began to miss him. I didn’t want to let him go. Just as with Caidgen and Amie, I had certain distinct feelings about him. I felt, albeit cliché, that he was indeed strong. I felt he was valiant and brave. I even at one point felt he came to save me. I began to evaluate my life. I thought of his new life in heaven and realized that I had to see him again, and not just see him, but embrace him, love him, learn about him, and converse forever with him. So I took his hand in mind and with tears streaming down my face I promised him that I would live a better life, and that I would overcome my weaknesses, and would be a good person for him. It was the most solemn of promises. I have not made one like unto it in this life, though I wish I could say I have. It is in this sense that I felt he was there to save me. I have since wondered if this is entirely accurate. I don’t know if he had to die or was purposed to die only to help me, but I chose to honor his death with life. I must make this tragedy into something great and wonderful. I chose his death to be a saving grace for my soul. When at last I had decided that I couldn’t endure holding him any longer and not wanting to prolong the inevitable, I whispered in his ear, “I love you, Daddy will always love you.”

Tonight, I recommit myself to that promise. As a father, the thought that his death didn't have a purpose is immeasurably hard to bear. I believe it did have a purpose. I believe it was more than just nature running its course. If anything, it has served to make me a better person, but my wish is that it will help to make anyone who knows of him to be a better person. If his life and death have touched you in anyway, I hope you too will feel the desire to live better.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Porter Jackson, 7lbs, 6oz

Trey Samuel, 7lbs, 6oz
Trey after a nice long feeding

I noticed something amiss on Trey's man parts today when I changed his diaper. Off to the Doctor we went, where when placed upon the scale, the weight 7lbs 6oz came up. The numbers popped at me. I went into the room to wait for the doc and held Trey close as I cried and cried. This was a moment I had hoped for anxiously. Turns out there is nothing wrong with his man parts, but I am so grateful to have had the scare that took me in to the doc today of all days. This is likely the only day Trey will weigh the same as his brother did at birth. I really wanted to know when he weighed the same so I could hold Jackson one more I could look on a frame that was similar to his. They aren't built exactly the same, though they have the same hands and feet and mouth and possibly eyes. But their weights as I held them in my arms, exactly the same.
It took me back, as I rocked Trey in the office, to delivery day. This time his little body did not grow colder as I held him. This time his chest fluttered to it's own unique rhythms. I'm so thankful for this time, and I'm yearning for two years ago again. One more day with Jackson...Actually, I want a lifetime with him, but I would take one day as a close second. Man, I miss him. I shake my head and hope to God that He'll give me Jack as a baby again, that one day, I guess when "day" may not even mean what it does now, that I'll get to raise my baby. I have to trust that He will make it all right.
I'm so grateful for my little Trey. And I am thankful for today, catching the 7lbs, 6oz in time.
any ideas what we should do Tuesday, Jackson's 2-yr birthday memorial? I CAN'T believe we've made it two years. Go us!
We will do some sort of service in addition to anything else. If anyone wants to remember him, please feel free to do some service in his honor. :) What a way to make him live through you.