Remembering With Love: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day 2016

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them 
because you think you might make them sad 
by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them.
They didn’t forget they died.
What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, 
and…that is a great gift.”
~Elizabeth Edwards~

Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In 2006, after years of pushing for it, the day was recognized by the House of Representatives. In 1988, President Reagan had declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. But in my opinion, celebrating this day for ONE day is much easier for a parent who has lost a child than for the whole month.

The International Wave of Light is the simultaneous lighting of candles in memory of these babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss at 7pm in your local time zone tonight. The result is a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a 24 hour period. Just think about that for a minute. How beautiful!

So tonight at 7pm, wherever you are, light a candle or say a prayer (or do what you do) in memory of all the baby angels that are watching over us and in honor of all the parents left behind to grieve the loss of dreams and bright futures for their children. Take a minute to say their names out loud. Remember them. Realize they were here and real and loved and are still loved…

These are our special Angels and members of The Club I will be lighting a candle for tonight:

  • Our first baby: Junebug – miscarriage at 13 weeks, June 19, 2002
  • Our second baby: Charles “Charlie” Fleetwood Anthoine – died at 24 days old from late-onset Group B Strep, born May 21, 2003 and died June 14, 2003 – his story here
  • The daughter of Pam Doherty, Hannah Noelle MacDonald was born still on February 3, 2003 from Group B Strep sepsis. Her father is John MacDonald.
  • Oliver Nelson Wright, son of Chris and Danna Wright, born and died October 2, 2010.
  • Leighton Sophie Taylor – daughter of Amy and Chris, twin sister to Jaxon – born May 26, 2011 and died June 17, 2011 from Group B Strep
  • Stephanie and Anna Causley – daughters of Paul and Robyn Causley – miscarriages at 12 and 6 weeks, respectively in 2003.
  • Sara Kay – born still September 7, 2009
  • Susan and Matt’s baby – miscarriage at 12 weeks – December 25, 1999
  • Emma Jade – Kat’s sweet baby – miscarriage at 9 weeks in 2001
  • Cara Jennifer – daughter of Carrie-Ann – born and died on August 17, 2010 – lived 12 minutes
  • Jill and Kyle Clay’s babies – Baby Clay, miscarriage October 2004 and Baby Clay, miscarriage October 2005 – both around 10 weeks
  • Cora Mae McCormick – November 30, 2009 to December 6, 2009
  • Skye, Dakota and Martina – Nanna Chris and Mommy Staci and Little Sister Joclynn’s triplets – July 7th, 2007
  • Drew and Amanda’s Baby – miscarriage October 6, 2010
  • Brianna Elizabeth Franzen – Daughter of my friend, Julie. Born January 29, 1998 and died March 7, 1998 from a heart defect.
  • Cecily’s Sons – Nicholas and Zachary, October 27, 2004
  • Shauna’s Babies – one at 16 weeks, one tubal pregnancy
  • Erin’s Babies – Baby 1, September 2006, miscarriage; Baby 2, January 2007, miscarriage; Baby Girl 1, December 2008, late miscarriage; Baby Girl 2, born still on August 17, 2009 at 18 weeks.
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Baby – Baby Childs, miscarried June 12, 2006
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Friend’s Son – Jonah Oliver, delivered and died on Thanksgiving Day 1997 at 18 weeks gestation.
  • Becca’s friend’s daughter – Chandler Rivers, born 13 weeks early and died a week before her due date.
  • Jessica and Mark’s Daughter: Hadley Jane, born October 9, 2007 and died October 11, 2007.
  • Trish’s baby “Peanut”
  • Michael and Robin’s babies – miscarriage at 5 weeks in April 2009, and miscarriage at 10 weeks in September 2012
  • Olivia Grace – daughter of my friend Barbara. She was born January 8, 2004 and died August 23, 2004 from bacterial meningitis.
  • Sunday’s babies – Tomorrow Dawn- December 1993, miscarried at 8 weeks and Samuel- January 2002, miscarried at 11 weeks (named our first son Samuel in his honor and memory)
  • Lindsay’s baby – little one lost to miscarriage at 10 weeks in May 2003
  • Lynn’s 8 babies – 5 lost at 14 weeks and 3 lost early at 8-10 weeks
  • Ms. Marie’s baby – miscarriage October 1977
  • Isabella Pearl De Leon – Stillborn one week before scheduled delivery. March 5, 2011. Paul & Nicole De Leon
  • Nora Henke –  Born still December 30, 2012
  • Mike & Lauren’s babies: miscarriage at 6 wks in 1999; miscarriage at 7 wks in 2000; miscarriage at 10 wks in 2001
  • Carter Austin – March 18, 2006
  • Tucker Harris Neu and Fletcher Thomas Neu
  • Fiona Jane Tully was stillborn on May 8, 2011, and her sister, Brigid Eileen Tully, lived from May 8, 2011 to June 23, 2011 – daughters of Eileen Tully
  • Leah Brook Tomlin – daughter of Bevin and Adam, sister of Taylor. Born January 7, 2013 and died January 13, 2013 from Prenatal-Onset GBS
  • Carl Martin Kerr – passed away in utero at 6 months. Born on January 25, 2013. Baby Kerr – miscarried at 6 weeks on August 25, 2013. Both children of Solanke and Cincia and siblings to Isabella.
  • Jacob, born at 20 weeks in 2006. Lived for 52 minutes. Son of Nick and Melissa Tabbert.
  • Isabella-Rose Elizabeth, born still October 12, 2009, daughter of Tia.
  • Bailey Winter Dumitru, son of Tori and Kevin, born at rest December 8, 2007.
  • Renee’s daughter, Lucielle Diane, born and died July 15, 2013
  • Caleb Andrew Franklin, beloved Son of Julie and Andy. Born at 24 weeks on August 17, 2004 and died August 25, 2004.
  • James Chadwick “Chad” son of Jimmy and Debbie and brother to Kristen and Brandi, born and died November 16, 1980 due to a placental abruption.
  • Asher Vinsant, son of Kylie Vinsant, born January 4, 2012 and died January 12, 2012 due to Early Onset Group B Strep.
  • Eve, daughter of Wade & Kacey Dixon, born October 21, 2010 and died November 4, 2010 from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
  • Amelia, daughter of Bob and Catherine, born May 4th, 2014 and died June 1st, 2014 from Late Onset Group B Strep.
  • Angel Wills, baby of Michael and Jamie, August 2010.
  • Henry, son of Sara and Brian, born May 29, 2007 and died December 17, 2007.
  • Andrea and Jay’s baby. Miscarriage in November 2010.
  • Heather’s daughter, Clara Edith Webb, who was stillborn on July 1, 2012 at 42 weeks 3 days gestation.
  • William Benjamin Redland, born April 10, 2014 and died April 28, 2014 due to Group B Strep.
  • Beckie’s baby. Miscarriage, March 1999 at 9 weeks.
  • Jo’s babies: John Sebastian – Potters Syndrome, full term, born still November 12, 1999; Damian Paige – late term miscarriage August 20, 2005; Willow Soleil – November 18, 2013 miscarriage.
  • Alisha’s son, Mason Daniel Pablo. Born still at 26 weeks on July 23, 2015.
  • Kelli and Michael’s son, Grady Michael, born and died June 12, 2015 from Potter’s Syndrome. Little brother to Slater and Mykelyn.
  • William Barsi, son of Jennifer and James Barsi, big brother and fierce protector. Arrived at at 24 weeks, 1 day on January 29, 2013, and in doing so saved his twin brother and his mother’s lives. He died on Valentine’s Day 2013.
  • Baby Girl K and Baby EE, babies of T.
  • Chloe, daughter of Leesa, ectopic pregnancy in 2001.
  • Angela Talo’s baby, miscarriage February 26, 2006.
  • Skylar Natasha Maine Milner, daughter, younger and older sibling to John, Joanna, Haylie, and Aria. Born June 18 2013 died June 17 2013 at 28weeks.

Older “babies” we choose to remember today, too.

  • Laura Kaye Anthoine – October 20, 1969-April 3, 1981 – Daughter of Kaye and Roy, Sister of my husband Jason
  • Allison Reid – daughter of Robin and Sean Reid – though she was not an infant when she died, she contracted the same bacteria that Charlie did and suffered long-term challenges. Allison was born on March 1, 2002 and died on January 25, 2008. I had the honor of meeting Allison and she was a fabulous fighter.
  • Cason Heard Adams- January 27, 1989-December 4, 2001 , was called home to live with the angels. He was a bright light to all that knew him and is greatly missed everyday by his family and friends.
  • Chrissi’s Son: Tyler, born March 22, 1997 and died September 15, 2003

** I will add babies if you email me at janasthinkingplace@me.com to tell me you want me to add your angel. I know there are so many more, but I don’t want to publish without your permission. These are from the previous six years and I’ve added new ones. I have also decided to add a few older children because really, they’re all our babies.**

Goals. And Reaching Them.

Goals. And Reaching Them.

It’s not a secret, if you’ve been around here for a bit, that I have a love/hate relationship with running. I had never been a runner until one random morning in June 2012 when I decided, “Hey, I should run.” Yes, just like Forrest Gump.

Short version of the story: I started Couch to 5k and a few days later was talked into signing up for the Princess Half Marathon, which would be run a short 8 months after I got my ass off my couch. It was with the team from the Ronald McDonald House in Macon.

I’ve been a part of the RMHC in Macon since before it even opened its doors to families. Since then, I’ve served as a monthly meal maker, a weekend manager, a weekly shift volunteer, as a member of the Board of Directors, and now as a three-time member of TeamRMHC. While we don’t live in Macon anymore, a piece of our heart is in The House.

You see, when Charlie died, we asked for donations to be made to The House. If I remember right, over $10,000 was donated in his memory… thus, the playroom was named for him.

CFA Playroom

 

So in 2013, as my fundraising goal, I wanted to raise $2500 in honor of Charlie’s 10th Birthday. That year, we raised $5045. I ran hard and finished with my dear friend singing “Jesus Loves Me” in my ear, just like my Aunt sang as Charlie was baptised an hour before his death.

2014 brought the Glass Slipper Challenge. 19.3 miles of insanity. My goal was $2000, because I couldn’t imagine people would donate like they did the year before. We hit $2567 last year. I was floored. And honored.

This year, being the competitive person I am (with myself), I decided that if we could raise $7612, why couldn’t we make it an even $10,000? I mean, can’t hurt to try, right?

So with all of you behind me, I laced up and trained. And I asked you to donate. And once again, you came through. So many of you. Some with $5, some with more… all with love in your hearts.

This morning, I was in Waffle House with the family and got an email ding. It was a donation for $70. I knew my math. I knew that was the amount I needed. Shaking, I went to my page and saw this:

10k

In my head, the reporter asked me, “You’ve reached your goal… what are you going to do now?”

To which I answered emphatically, “I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!”

We did it, y’all! We did it! 

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! 

The Photographs

The Photographs

We had been talking about getting a fancy digital camera.

In 2003, there weren’t a million choices like there are now, and the choices that were out there were either expensive or Capital E Expensive. We’d done our homework and knew which one we were going to get.

But we had time.

After all, the baby wasn’t due until June.

Until it was time.

As I moaned and groaned in the L&D room, my husband gave his work-wife instructions on EXACTLY which camera it was. The lens size. The case he wanted. The extra memory card he would need so he could fill it with memories of this day. And to hurry. Instructions to take his credit card and hurry.

She came back with our camera.

Lucky for the camera, labor took for-freaking-ever so the battery had time to charge and Jason had time to read the instructions.

A couple hundred pictures were taken with that camera over the next few days and weeks. We had enough memory in the card and computer to hold many more days and weeks and months and years of memories.

Little did we know…

Yesterday morning I woke up to a notification that a photo had been shared on my wall. I figured it was a meme of some sort that I was tagged in so I could share with my favorite people so I wouldn’t have bad luck.

But no. It was a photo. A real photo. Of Charlie.

Well, I take that back. You couldn’t really see him because he was in a front carrier and it was from a distance. But it was a photo of him. And us. The three of us. A family. Because something that’s even more rare than photos of him are photos of all three of us together (there are now two).

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 4.14.37 PM

My friend’s mother in law had snapped the photo at Relay for Life and it’s spent the last 11 years in an album in her home. Now it’s headed my way and will be added to the handful of tangible memories we have.

And now I have to wonder if there are more pictures out there… maybe there are. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to see them one day.

Until then, when the photos in my head start getting blurry, I have one extra one to pull out to remind me that he was once here with us.

Eleven. 11. XI.

Eleven. 11. XI.

CharlieBlue

Two days old, May 23, 2003

Eleven years ago today, you graced us with your presence. You caught us off guard by coming a little bit early and taking forever to be delivered.

You caught us off guard by being so aware, so beautiful, so wise. From the moment you arrived, your eyes told your story.

They were wide and bright, inquisitive and alert. They knew too much.

They knew you had a short time.

When I look back at your pictures, so very few of them, your eyes are always open. I see wisdom and love and know that you lived the life you were meant to live.

It wasn’t to be a long life, but it was to be long enough to touch hundreds and thousands of hearts. It was long enough to leave your mark.

But no matter how many hearts and lives you touched, I would trade it all to have you back.

Happy 11th birthday in Heaven, baby boy. Every breath I take is for you.

**************************

For more information:

Late Onset Group B Strep

Charlie’s Story

 

 

 

A Mother’s Heart

A Mother’s Heart

On April 26, 2014, at the very first
Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta, I read these words.
I should tell you to bring tissues.
photo: From The Hip

photo: From The Hip

It had been a rough week around here between me and the 9 year old.

My husband had been traveling a lot and work had been stressful.

Henry and I had butted heads, talked back to each other, and raised our voices way too many times.

It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

I’m ashamed to say, I had yelled more than I should.

I’m sad that Henry had said “I hate you” more than he ever should. I know he didn’t mean it, but he said it.

He had already gone a few days without riding his bike to school as punishment for previous transgressions and at that moment, I may or may not have threatened to make him wash all of his clothes, cook his own food and pay his own rent for the rest of his life if he didn’t shape up.

Maybe I meant it. Maybe I didn’t??

Jason had to be made out to be the bad guy, the one I threatened to call so he could “handle it” and he’s the one who actually got to handle it when he got home.

I don’t like that I had to stoop to that because my GOSH I hated it when my mom used to threaten to tell my Daddy when he got home what I had done wrong.

So imagine my surprise when I was doing JUST THAT?

Finally, I had to make good on an earlier threat and put Henry to bed early — and without supper! I mean, it was like 6:30 early. But it had to be done or I was just a pushover.

I sat with him and we talked about a magazine he had been reading and school and how he was going to respect me more. We were both mad and frustrated and insanely tired.

Then he started crying a little and asked me to stay while he tried to go to sleep. He rolled over and guided my hand over his heart — covered it with  his own small hand — and he pressed it to his chest as hard as he could.

His other hand held on to his beloved Muffins like his life depended on it.

I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed with love. There’s a pretty good reason why that’s my Henry’s middle name.

I laid there for 45 minutes with his heart beating perfectly in my hand. t felt like I could just reach in and grab it if I wanted to.

My brain told me this was one of those “Mom moments” I needed to hold on to.

So I stayed there, watching him doze off into dreamland, eyes twitching and mouth moving slightly — in awe that I was chosen to be his mom.

As I held his heart in my hand, I also realized how much like his brother he seems, and how much alike I think they would be if Charlie was alive.

But comparing a 9 year old to a baby who should be 11 but will always be 24 days old?? That’s ridiculous.

When Henry sleeps, though, even at 9 years old, it’s so clear to me that they have the same skin and eyes and that funny droop on one side of their mouth.

It’s very rare these days that I stop and think, “What would life be like if Charlie and Henry were growing up together?”

I think I don’t allow myself to think these things because honestly, it hurts to imagine it.

But then there are moments like these.

Moments when I am reminded how much they look alike and how I’m sure their personalities WOULD BE not necessarily the same, but complimentary to each others.

There are these moments, as a mother, that take my breath away.

It’s moments like these when I really remember that I have two sons and am forever mothering two sons.

One is here and one isn’t.

One has a heartbeat I can feel and one whose last heartbeat I felt in my arms.

One says things that break my heart and the other I carry in my heart.

One can wrap his small hand around mine, hold it to his heart, and make me realize that my life is complete because I am the mother of two.

 

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