Twice. Lighting struck me twice. In November 2011, I was unsure whether I had been feeling my daughter Olivia move and then one morning I didn’t feel right, not knowing that I was going into labor. When we got to the hospital we were told those terrible words no parent wants to ever hear “Your baby no longer has a heartbeat.” Early the next morning, Olivia was born sleeping, my future with her disappeared. Every hope and dream gone.
Two months later there was new hope, new dreams as I learned I was pregnant with my son Asher. Everything seemed to be going well until we learned he had a very critical congenital heart defect (CHD) 26 weeks into the pregnancy, right around the time we lost his sister. After going through a fetal intervention, the future seemed brighter, there was hope. Asher was born in September 2012 and was doing great overcoming his CHD obstacles but that was until he developed blood clots. We ended up losing our second child to these blood clots, 11 months from the day we lost our first.
At first I focused on starting a foundation to spread awareness in children’s blood clots. This kept me busy for several months after the loss but once it was established and we had our first event, I had some downtime and that is when my World came crashing down. I hadn’t grieved the loss of my daughter and now I needed to grieve the loss of my son. All I could think was that I was a mother who lost both of her babies and how was the World going to understand that. So I made sure they understood. I made it my mission to help others understand baby loss, grief and remembering babies lost. I was going to remember my babies in every way possible and I didn’t care what others thought. I also decided that I could still have a relationship with my babies even if they weren’t here. I know they are here with me in a different way so I talk to them and make them part of my life.
I got involved in the support group for CHD, Mended Little Hearts and continued to build my own foundation, Asher James Foundation. I became the bereavement coordinator for Mended Little Hearts and this completely changed me and helped me heal. I was able to meet with other moms who have had a loss to CHD and help them through their grief. I took on other projects to promote a mother’s grief too (Grief: A Mother’s Journey).
I decided that I could either become depressed and let the loss of them destroy me or I could live for them. My life became a love letter to them. I decided that any opportunity I was given I would not pass it up, I would face fears and do things in memory of them to help others and I would help educate others to help understand this World that so many have been so silent about.
I have learned on this journey to do what makes me happy, what is best for me, not care what others think and to remember my children however it feels right to me.
It has been 3 ½ years since the loss of my son and I am now expecting my rainbow, a daughter due in August. It is completely terrifying knowing that I could very well lose her too but I also know that she has two little angels looking over her and protecting her. That brings a whole lot of comfort.