Saturday, June 28, 2008


Children tend to ooze honesty. They say what is exactly on their mind and, although at times that can be frustrating or embarrassing for a parent, it is somewhat admirable. I took Sean on a field trip yesterday and early in the morning as we were waiting for the bus outside of his school there was a little girl who said to Sean - "Sean let's go see the stone for your dead baby". I wanted to cry but I didn't because what she said was true - Daniel is our baby and yes he is dead.

The school got a small little bench in honor of Daniel and it is made out of stone. They put the bench right under a big tree that sits in front of the entrance to the school. On the bench there is the date of Daniel's birth and his name along with a poem. It is beautiful and I am so grateful for it because each day I pick Sean up from school I see it. I am not one for cemeteries - although I do, every now and then, visit Daniel - so the bench is my way of visiting Daniel each day.

The children, including Sean, went over to the bench and looked at it. I didn't quite hear what they were talking about, but they all squeezed onto the bench and just sat there. I did hear Sean say repeatedly that it was not a stone but a bench. After the children got up, the grandfather of one of the little boys in Sean's class came to look at the bench. As he was reading it Sean walked up to him and said "That bench is for my brother". The man smiled and walked away. I don't know if he really understood Sean or believed him, but at that moment I was so proud of my son. He is literally my superman. I still have a hard time talking about the baby, but Sean made sure that man knew Daniel was his brother. Acknowledgement is scarce when a baby dies. People don't want to talk about it - I don't blame them it sucks. People don't know what to say - I don't know what to say myself sometimes. It's funny how small children can easily discuss something like the death of a baby when most adults have a hard time even acknowledging it at all. I guess we could all learn a little something from our children.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wanting to Write But Not Knowing What to Say

The road we are on now is less bumpy - far less ups and downs but there are still hills. Life is normal most times - we have things to look forward to but every now and then my heart aches with pain. This loss is so hard - its the loneliest, most empty feeling in the world. It is suffocating - at times the pain is so intense I struggle to breath. I am particularly sad this evening - not really sure why. Talking about things is good but I think it drudges up little bits of grief that I never fully let go of. I imagine it will be like that for a long time. Here is a poem my cousin sent me. I cried when I read it because it's just so sad, but I think I cried also because sometimes I just need to cry.

A Baby's Secret

I am just a little fellow
Who didn't quite make it there,
I went straight to be with Jesus
But I am waiting for you here.

Don't you fret about me, mommy,
I am of all God's lambs most blessed.
I'd have love to stay there with you
But the Shepherd knows what's best.

Many dwelling here where I live
Waited years to enter in.
Struggling through a world of sorrow
and their lives were marred with sin.

So sweet mommy, don't you sorrow,
Wipe those tears and chase the gloom.
I went straight to Jesus' bosom
From my lovely mother's womb.

Thank you for the life you gave me.
I'd have loved to bring it fame.
I have all of heaven's glory
suffered none of earthling's pain.

Daddy gave me something for you.
It's our secret, mommy dear;
He pressed it tight against my forehead
Whispered in my tiny ear.

I'll be waiting for you mommy,
you and daddy, brother and sis,
I'll be with you then forever
Then I'll give you daddy's kiss.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day

Tommorrow is Father's Day and I know that this will be hard for John. He is such a wonderful father to each of his children and for the brief time he spent with Daniel he was no less than perfect. If I could take all the pain away for him - I would. Although John carried the burden of this tremendous loss on his shoulders resiliently - he is hurting even more so than I. I at least had the chance to get to know Daniel while he was in my belly. I held him there each day and night and got to know him well. John was only able to hold Daniel after he was already gone. I am so sorry that this Father's Day couldn't be happier for him - that it couldn't be filled with the joy of a new baby being brought home. I hope each Father's Day doesn't carry with it the loss of his son, but rather thankfulness for the children he has both in life and in death.

June 14, 2008

Today is the day Daniel should have been born. It has been such a hard week for both John and I. Just when you think you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, grief sucks you back into the darkness.

We know now that Daniel was perfect. There was nothing wrong with him - as there was nothing wrong with me. There are three vessels in an umbilical cord and some time between the 2nd and 3rd trimester one of of those vessels shut down. There was only 5 mm of the third vessel still intact and that was at the placenta. Essentially Daniel wasn't getting enough blood and nutrients through the two vessels in order to continue to grow and that is what caused him to die.

My son is gone and today should have been a very happy day for us, but it is now another day in our lives that we add to the list of days where we sit back and remember someone special in our lives that we have lost.

I want to take a moment to just say how tremendously incredible my son Daniel is. He never even took one breath of life but he has had such a powerful impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. Here is what he has accomplished in his very short lifetime:

  • Daniel has taught Sean about life and death in only a matter of a few days. Some people may never know the joy of an impending birth - at least not until adulthood. It takes some people years to ever have to deal with the loss of a sibling if they are lucky enough to have one. Sean had no choice but to face two of the most significant experiences in life that can forever change a person - life and death. Losing Daniel will make Sean a stronger person and he will learn from it all that any of life's challenges can be overcome - it just takes time and hope.
  • Daniel has taught John and I that life is not yielding. Life around us continues no matter what a person encounters and no matter how horrible things are. Knowing this - has made us realize that we must seize every moment of it the best we can. You can't get time back so you must use every minute of it wisely.
  • Daniel has made other people realize what a precious gift from God children really are. Women have miscarriages, babies are stillborn, and infants die. Life can be lost instantaneously - along with the hopes and dreams parents have for their children and their lives with their children. I think some people now understand what a miracle it is to give birth to a child and I hope they keep Daniel in mind when their own children may seem overwhelmed.
  • Daniel has taught us about perseverence, strength, and hope. A broken heart is so hard to heal, but it can get better over time - you can't let grief consume you. We have tried so hard to crawl out of this hole and continue to live and appreciate life. Even Sean, as little as he is, has made his journey through this. The other day Sean said to me "but they got to keep their baby" - he was referring to a friend whose mother recently gave birth to a baby. He continued to tell me about what a little boy at school told him. The boy said "Maybe if you have another baby you can keep that one." I think that gave Sean hope. Thank you little boy. Amazing how someone so small can understand the concept of hope.
  • Most importantly, Daniel has reminded us about love and compassion. So many people have shown compassion towards us - people we don't even know. We have learned to accept compassion from others and been able to find compassion for others. Love - the love between myself, my husband, and my son - has been what has kept us together. Love will help pick you up when you are down and it will continue to hold you up until you can hold your own. Love will help you to find happiness during time of grief. Love is understanding and patient. Love listens and love communicates. Daniel has made us realize how much we love each other.

Thank you Daniel for making us realize so much. We miss you so and how we wish today could have been the day we brought you into this world. We may not have you but we have your memory and all the things you have taught us about life. We love you little buddy.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Perhaps, instead, our penalty for outliving our children is the task of seeking happiness in the midst of an imperfect world, reinventing ourselves in the midst of our child's ghost, rebirthing in the midst of suffering, or finding a way to love despite the pain. Love, Livingstone says, is the ultimate risk. When we cannot change the parts we wish were different, the unfairness and cruelty of life, we've only one choice. To live or die. Yet, to surrender our existence would be to abandon all that is beautiful about our children who died. Indeed, he says, living after a child's death is both an act of will and an act of surrender. He speaks from very personal experience.

Livingstone is a bereaved parent twice. His eldest son succeeded at suicide, and his youngest, only 13, died of leukemia. How does one exist in a world where children die? I think, perhaps, through that for which we are willing to risk everything- love.

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore


Before you even read any further - no there are no answers - or at least not yet. I went to the doctor on Thursday hoping to have the results back from the gazillion tests done to find out why Daniel died, but of course not everything was complete. My doctor did tell me that I am completely healthy - there is nothing wrong with me. Approximately 50% of the time parents will not find out the reason for the stillbirth of their child. I know our chances aren't that good right now.

The visit to the doctor's office brought back that wave of grief that has been coming in and out of our lives lately. I should still be pregnant - the visit to the doctor's office should have been in anticipation of my son's birth - not to discuss his death. Instead I was the patient with "post fetal death" annotated next to her name on the patient list sitting on my doctor's desk (HIPAA violation I might add).

I am so tired of feeling sad - I don't want it to take away from the time we have with Sean. They grow up fast. Parents spend their lives just getting through each day only to wake up the next day and do the same thing. It is so important to try to enjoy every moment you have with your child because you'll never get that back and should something happen the memories are all you will have. I don't have an answer as to what is right, but I do know that life can pass you by instantaneously and then one day you find yourself looking back saying - what happened - where did it all go?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I write less but I also cry less. My heart still has that crushing feeling that makes it hard to breath at times - I suppose its a broken heart. I haven't visited Daniel in almost 2 weeks, but today I decided to drive by after I picked Sean up from school. I stopped going because I really couldn't stand visiting an empty patch of grass surrounded by the graves of other babies sent to heaven. Today was different though - I decided at the last minute to turn into the cemetery with the hope that Daniel's marker would be there. Well the marker was there - they must have just put it in today because all the dirt around it was still loose. Sean was with me so I had to be strong. I thought it would be very emotional and in some ways it was, but it also made me feel good. Almost like it was proof to the world of Daniel's existence.

Even more difficult than seeing the marker was explaining to Sean where we were. I told him that the cemetery is where we can go to talk to Daniel. I tried to explain to Sean that sometimes God takes some babies to heaven - a fact that is made apparent by the grave stones of babies decorated with angels and teddy bears that surrounded us.

I want to be honest with Sean and talk openly about things. He is grieving too. Tonight after I put him to bed I heard him crying, but he didn't call for me. I went into his room and asked him what was wrong. He said "Mommy I don't feel good". I asked him what was bothering him and he said "I miss my Daniel". On top of feeling like I disappointed my husband who I only want to make happy, I feel like such a crappy mother for talking about the baby to Sean for 8 months only to disappoint him.

Daniel has his stone now - he is surrounded by other babies. One thing I notice is that the stones that have been there longer aren't kept up as well. Does this mean that the parents of these babies have forgotten? Does it symbolize the fact that over time you forget? It truly hurts me to visit my baby in the cemetery - I never was one for visiting graves. There are so many other things I would rather do to remember Daniel than visit his grave - but I will because I love him and I always will. He will always be my second born son.