Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sawyer's treat

Sawyer gave us a treat when we went to visit him today. His headstone was finally placed. Happy Halloween to my little pumpkin - we miss you.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Heaven's Sky

Erik took Sadie to the park this morning.

She asked him if she could go on the swings and while he was pushing her Sadie said, "I want to go high in the sky like my baby brother."

Erik gently explained to her that she can't do that because her baby brother is in heaven. Sawyer was very sick and he had a broken heart.

Erik started to cry and Sadie said, "Don't be sad Daddy."

She always says that when we cry.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christmas wish

Erik brought Sadie into our bed before he left for work this morning. When she woke up she asked "Mama, can Santa bring me my baby brother for Christmas?"

Oh Mammers :'(

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Walk To Remember 2010

Today was moving, powerful and beautiful.

Over 150 people came out to support our first annual "A Walk To Remember" in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.

The idea to start a walk sprouted up just two months ago when we learned there were no events locally to remember our babies. Erik came home from work that night and I told him, "I want to do this. I want to do it for Sawyer and I want to do it for every other parent who has lost a baby."

Less than 24 hours later, we booked a site for the walk and the next two months we poured our blood, sweat and LOTS of tears into making this day a success.

By our early calculations, we have raised well over $3,000 for Angels of Hope - NFP, Inc. This local non-profit organization supports bereaved families, assists parents who can't afford burial costs for their children and provides funding toward families who are in need of IVF treatment but cannot afford the cost. We are so happy to say that our goal of raising $1,000 was met and exceeded beyond our expectations!

This morning as we began to load our vehicles, Erik and I were standing in the driveway when a giant red-tailed hawk swooped down so low you could see his face. He gracefully soared right through our front yard, over our heads and then down the street. I never in my life have seen a hawk fly so low to the ground like that. There is no doubt in my mind that it was Sawyer's way of saying hello to us and he continued to visit us throughout the day.

We had such amazing success with our silent auction and raffle. T-shirt sales were through the roof and the kids loved painting pumpkins, hopping around in the inflatable jumper, face painting and LOTS of cupcakes.

The weather was breezy, warm and beautiful. As we neared the end of our walk the sun began to dip lower in the sky - warm, bright rays shooting out from behind the clouds. It was breathtaking.

We had a remembrance table upon the top of a hill, decorated with little pumpkins and gourds - where each family placed a flower when their baby's name was called. After the walk was over, Erik and I took all of the flowers, gently placing them in the river behind the pavillion and watched them slowly drift away with the current.

I am so thankful to our many friends and family who came out today to help - sisters, cousins, friends, family and neighbors. To our walk committee who has been working so hard to get this walk accomplished in such a short amount of time - We thank you so graciously.

To my friend Carrie - without you I couldn't have done any of this. She was my never-ending support and friend during the entire planning process. I always say she was the last one to hug our "lil Sawyer" when we were rushing off to the hospital at 4 a.m. the day he was born. Again Carrie, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

To my husband, Erik. I never could have accomplished this without your support and constant love.

To all of you - the mothers and fathers of our angels and their sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends - Thank you for making today so beautiful.

And to my Sawyer - we love you so much and your short, beautiful life has touched so many. Today we were able to share in our grief and grow from the love you have shown us. Your spirit keeps us going. We miss you. We love you.

Today is for you.

Today is "A Walk To Remember" and this undoubtedly goes without saying but if it wasn't for my beautiful baby with his perfect, broken heart - none of this would be happening today.

Sawyer - It's been four months. Four months.

I don't know how we made it to here and every day, your father and I question where "here" is and whether or not we will ever find that place.

I carry you in my heart with each sunrise and each sunset. Each glimpse of a rainbow or the morning dew. As each leaf turns its brilliant color and falls to the ground.

Today, is for you.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Last night we were in bed, remembering.

When I was pregnant we used to play this little game with each other. I'd rub my belly, trying to find where he was hiding those little feet of his. They were always in a different spot, he moved around so much. Breech one day, head down the next. When I'd find him, I'd give my tummy a poke - and in an instant, he'd poke back. It was our special way of saying hi to each other.

One night, right before he was born, I couldn't fall asleep at all because of how uncomfortable things were getting with my growing stomach. I always slept on my side, with a pillow between my legs. But that night, my back was aching and all I wanted was to lay on my stomach. Somehow, I managed to lay halfway onto my tummy and quickly started to fall asleep. Sawyer, however, had other plans and was not happy being squished. He kicked. I didn't budge. He started to squirm. He got my attention. And eventually, he pushed and kicked so hard that he literally rolled me over himself. I sat up in bed, and laughed. Sawyer.

Whenever I would lay down in bed for a nap or at night, I always held Sawyer. Gently stroking my stomach, he would slow down his kicks and fall asleep with me.

The time we had with Sawyer was so agonizingly short. Through the tears and in the dark, we talked about our only wish - to hold him in our arms again.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ewan's purpose

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose" - Robert Byrne

The death of baby Ewan has hit so many in the congenital heart defect community very hard.

Like Sawyer, he was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, had Pulmonary Atresia and no visible PDA.

A grim diagnosis no mother should ever have to hear.

I remember the moment when Sawyer's neonatologist came into our hospital room while I was pumping for the first time after his birth. It was June 2. A beautiful late-spring afternoon in Chicago.

As she began to speak, I sat there in my hospital chair giving her my full attention as the quiet hum of the breastpump did its work. I don't remember much about that conversation except for the very last thing she quietly told us before leaving the room and giving my hand a tender squeeze.

"Full-term babies with this type of heart defect have a very poor prognosis. I'm sorry."

My heart sank, but we never gave up hope. Just as Ewan's mother, Kirsten, had done. She never gave up on that beautiful hope. Ewan inspired us all - on the days he made a stride and on the days he had a setback. We cried with Kirsten, we prayed with her. And now, we grieve with her.

This beast known as "congenital heart defects" continues to ravage families all over the world, every single day. There is no known cure, only quick-fixes - and it is the number one birth defect and leading cause of infant death in the United States. These numbers are more than startling, they're horrifying.

It's easy to make a pledge to change these statistics.

What's not easy, is getting out there and sharing the most personal details of your story with a total stranger. All in an effort to hold on to the hope.

I want to thank Kirsten for sharing Ewan with all of us. I want to hug her and cry with her. But most of all, I want her to know that I'm not giving up on hope.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ewan Eliezer Petermann

Beautiful Baby Ewan died, in his mother's arms last night.

Fly high sweet angel.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sawyer's purpose

Today, the Compassionate Friends posted this quote:

"Grief with purpose is an awesome force."

For weeks, other bereaved parents have asked me "how I can plan an event so big, so soon after Sawyer's death?"

And that quote is the answer I've finally found, but have never been able to put so perfectly into words.

During our garage sale today to raise more funds for our walk, I came inside to take a moment for myself. I walked over to the beautiful display case Erik built, with all of Sawyer's pictures and keepsakes neatly tucked inside - and I cried.

Through the tears, I told Sawyer about everything we've been doing. And that we're doing it for him and for all the other babyloss mothers and fathers out there who had their hearts - filled with so much hope and love - shattered, and broken.

I want to hold him. At night, I lay in bed thinking about the bassinet that should be next to me. He would be four months old now. Sweet and beautiful.

But he's not here.

And that's where the purpose comes from.