It is so hard to believe that it has been three years since we lost Logan. These three years have flown by with painful speed, but also healing waves. I’m not going to lie and say that its been easier than I imagined, some days, sure it has, but others I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mac truck. I can say though that at year three the mac truck days are less than they were at year two. I feel like I’ve settled in on my new reality. That having a stillborn son is part of who I am, its intertwined in the fabric of my being. I don’t feel like I’m bitter or hateful because of it, I feel like I’ve been enriched with experience and love. I don’t know how or when I got to this point, but I can say without a doubt that I have been blessed with amazing people in my life who have helped me get here. I have family and friends who don’t bat an eye when I mention Logan’s name, they know he is a part of my story; he is a part of my day to day life. These are the same people who send me emails, texts and FB messages saying that they are thinking of me and my family today as we remember Logan, amazingly and incredibly blessed am I.
As I was getting ready for work this morning I began to think about those parents whose children have died when they are still babies, maybe even toddlers, but those children have lived. I have often wondered what it would have been like if we had lost Logan after he was here for a while… is that pain more intense? Does it make it easier having those memories? I have always had that question… is it better to have no living recollection of our babies or does having those memories lessen that pain? Is it better to not have a memory of the first time they rolled over or is it easier to have that vivid memory and the happiness you felt? I know that neither one of these situations is easy and I only have experience with one, but if you ever wanted to know the randomness of a mothers grief, this is a prime example.
I submitted my story to be included in the book Return to Zero, unfortunately it did not get chosen to be published in the book. BUT, they have teamed up with http://reconceivingloss.com to have the stories that were not chosen for the book to still be published. As a way to remember Logan today, I submitted a shortened version of our story. I took days one, two and three and cut them down to 1500 words. Hopefully our story can help someone else realize they are not alone in this journey, even when they feel they are.
Here is my submission.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 was a day that changed my life forever. It was the day I started my journey of living with a child in Heaven, a piece of my heart permanently missing. Logan hadn’t been moving much and so I called my doctor’s office. I was told he had probably turned around, so I couldn’t feel him kick. I was told to lie down and focus on movement. I was at work, I concentrated as hard as I could and tried to make him move... nothing.
As soon as we get to the doctors office we are taken to a room for a non-stress test. For 15 heartbreaking minutes the nurse would find a heartbeat then dismiss it as mine. Finally, a midwife came in and after 5 minutes with nothing, its decided we need a sonogram. Johnny and I already knew. We walked into the sono room only to find the tech who told us Logan was a boy. She squeezed the jelly on my stomach, moved the wand into position and there he was, motionless. I saw out of the corner of my eye the tech look at the midwife and shake her head. The midwife came over, touched my leg and said, ‘I’m sorry there is no heartbeat, He’s gone.’
Gone? Why? Where do I go from here?
Heartbroken, we are sent back to a room. Our doctor came in to explain our options; induce labor now, tomorrow or wait for nature to take its course. We chose to induce labor the next day.
That night was a blur, I remember sitting on the living room floor talking and crying with my parents. My dad said that if he could have taken Logan’s place, he would. I fell asleep crying, asking God to please have Logan be alive…
December 1st, we arrived at the hospital for our 7A.M. check in time. 14 months before we were here in labor with our daughter; same hospital, same floor, same nurses, but this time was different, very different. Amy, The first nurse I talked to instantly knew who I was and walked us to our room. Tears streamed down my face as I stood in the delivery room; feeling lost and scared. Amy cried alongside with me; she was the nurse that would deliver Logan. Amy hooked up the monitors and left for the day. Shortly after my parents and our dear friend Jen arrived, having dropped everything to be at our side. Around 8:30 Dr Langaker came in and explained what was to happen. I was paralyzed with fear, and in a room full of loved ones I felt so alone.
Dr Langaker tried to explain everything in the gentlest of terms but also very honestly. I asked her how long I would be waiting for Logan to be delivered; she said that it would depend on how my body reacted to being induced. At 24 hours we could reevaluate ‘other options’. Thankfully we didn’t have to go down that road.
7 P.M. Nurses Amy and Heather came back at shift change. They were so great, they loved on me like they had known me for years and allowed me to grieve however I needed to.
By 8 P.M. I was not progressing, I was thankful as this meant that Logan was with me a little longer. They decided to increase the medication to start labor, and at 8:30 P.M. the contractions started. I was offered an epidural and several times I refused. My heart felt conflicted, “Why should I have relief if it hurt Logan when he died?” I still hope that Logan died peacefully and I didn’t cause him to die. I eventually took the epidural and cried myself to sleep. I know what is coming, my baby is going to be born, but he will not cry, he will not move, he has died.
At 1A.M. I woke abruptly as I knew something was happening. I called out to Johnny asleep in the chair saying I need a nurse. We found the call button. Amy came in, checked, and said that I was fully dilated and ready to push. It was time to call the doctor. I asked Johnny to go get mom from the waiting room.
Mom and Johnny came in just as they wheeled in the bassinet; another scene that is burned into my mind. I remember being joyful when I saw Lexi in her bassinet, but this bassinet brought tears and the reminder that Logan had already died.
With Johnny and Mom by my side, Amy delivered Logan. The doctor didn’t get there in time. He blessed this earth on December 2nd at 1:10 AM. He weighed 2 lbs. 6.8 ounces and was 15 inches long. Logan Joseph Clear was born without a breath, without a cry, but he was here.
One thing that I didn’t think about was what would happen after Logan was delivered. How it would feel to hold him and love on him knowing that he wasn’t alive. The nurses were great. They cleaned him up and gave him to me as soon as he was born. I will never forget that moment, I was afraid to hold him, fearing I would break his already fragile body. Mom also held Logan; Johnny and Dad chose not to, and that is a decision one has to make for themselves.
Mom and I took turns holding and loving him. We talked to him and told him how much we loved him. They took Logan from the room and took measurements and made plaster imprints of his hands and feet. When they brought him back he was dressed in a blue gown that had footballs sewn as buttons, a blue and white knit cap and a matching blanket. He was dressed as if he was a living child, that meant to world to me. They also brought a camera for us to take pictures. I don’t remember how long he was with us in the room, but they allowed us as much time as we needed. When they finally took Logan I told him that I would see him later, fully intending to see him before we left. I never did, it was just too hard. A decision I regret.
They transferred me to a different floor to shield me from the other live births. Once settled Johnny and I fell asleep, curled up in each other’s arms, trying to find some comfort.
At shift change, Amy and Heather brought us several scrapbook pages with Logan’s name and foot and hand prints, they brought the foot imprints, and even printed off and burned a c.d. of all the pictures we had taken. We exchanged hugs and I tried to express my thanks to them. I couldn’t have asked for a more caring, compassionate pair of nurses.
Next, we had to make arrangements for Logan. What to do with his body? Where to have his body sent? We decided on cremation, so if we ever moved we could take him with us. As I came back into the room I saw Johnny on the phone with the funeral home making arrangements for our son. I listened as he explained that our son had died, he was stillborn, and we needed to make arrangements for cremation. It was something that Johnny felt he needed to do, he wanted to handle this part of our journey, being a husband and dad. In that moment my admiration and respect for Johnny was unparalleled, and through our journey he continues to amaze me.
That afternoon, the doctor came and brought discharge papers. I was ready to get out of the hospital, ready to see my daughter, but this meant that I would be leaving the hospital without Logan. I was leaving him there, in the basement morgue waiting to be picked up by the funeral home. If I left it meant that I could never see him again. Everyday happy couples leave the hospital with their newborn babies, but not us, not today; we were leaving with empty arms and heavy hearts.
Since then we’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions. It’s been hard trying to be the support system for each other when we’re using all our own energy just to get through each day. We’ve been impatient with Lexi, maybe a little too often. We’ve let friendships slip away that we shouldn’t have. We have had to find a new normal. Trying to rebuild our marriage and family out of the ashes of what was to be. It’s been difficult, at times unbearable, but we’ve learned that Logan allowed us to see the world in a different light. We need to cherish the things that we hold most dear. We need to live life a little more. We realize bad things happen, but if we hold on tight and ride the storm we may just see the rainbow.
I also just want to say thank you to everyone who has held our hands, given us hugs and thought of us during our journey. It helps knowing we are supported, it helps knowing that we aren’t being looked at as fragile. We love you all so much and can’t even express our gratitude… words simply aren’t enough.