Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ethan


Today is your birthday. I have struggled desperately with how we should, or even if we should, celebrate it. I feel that it is important that your special day is recognized. It means a lot to your brothers and to Mommy and Daddy that it is. But how should we celebrate, how can I celebrate, when you are not here with me. I celebrate more than your birth; I celebrate YOU. The fact that you were; that you existed. That although I will never understand why God took you I can take joy in knowing he created you and he let me have you for a while. I miss you with everything that is me, with everything that is in me. You are our precious third boy, our baby. Or as your Aunt Andi would say, "Our precious darling angel child." Mommy and Daddy love you and we can't wait to hold you again one day. Happy Birthday, Baby Boy.


Monday, August 18, 2008


Today is the day I found out that Ethan was no longer alive. Andy bought me a pedicure for our anniversary and I had scheduled it for today. I went and got a really bright, gaudy pink; something that I could concentrate on while I was in labor. Andy and his parents took the boys to Jacksonville. I was so excited to just have a day where I could relax, read a book, do whatever I wanted. I realized around lunch that I hadn't felt him move. I went and ate some food that normally had him up and jumping. When he still didn't move, I called and went to labor and delivery. The entire way there I kept telling myself they were just going to send me home while being filled with such a feeling of trepidation. The shock and immediate black hole that I fell into when the doctor told me she was sorry I cannot even begin to describe. How did this happen? This still happens? I just kept repeating that in my head over and over. I kept praying that the doctor was an idiot who just didn't know how to read the machine. This year has been difficult, with many struggles. Why did God allow this to happen? I don't know. But I do know that He had the final say and I trust in Him. There will be a day when I will hold my baby again, but this time he'll be smiling and laughing. I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Husband - Happy Anniversary!

It has been 9 years tomorrow. Happy Anniversary to us! There are so many reasons that I love Andy. I think back to that day when I fell headlong in love. For me, it was not love at first sight. In fact, I don't even remember meeting Andy that first time. Our first date...well, there's not much to say other than it was the worst date either of us has ever been on. It even beat the blind date I went on with Julie when I was 15 where the guy took his shoe off and tried to play footsie with me with his smelly, sweaty feet. I don't know why Andy decided to ask me on a second one. I said yes because I felt so guilty about the first date, but regardless of why he asked or why I agreed, I am so glad that it happened. I went from the (truthfully) worst date ever to the best in the space of 7 days. After we had dated for a while, I was angry about something and when he asked me what was wrong and I told him, instead of getting angry right back he sat down calmly and said, "Well, let's talk about it." I couldn't tell you what day of the week or what month that was, but that was the second I fell in love with him. This time last year, I could have told you I loved him because he is such an amazing father. I would have said that as a husband, he is uplifting, supportive and never leaves me doubting his love. That was last year. This year, after the year that we have, I know the depths of his love go further than I could ever have begun to imagine. After Ethan's death, when I could not lift myself up off the floor, this man carried me, carried our entire family and never faltered a step. I would have never made it without him. People have spoken to me of strength. This is what I know. Any strength that I have comes directly from God. But right after Ethan's death, when just breathing seemed more than I could do, God filled Andy with the strength for both of us. I am forever grateful that he took on that burden without so much as a single complaint. This man is amazing. And I am forever blessed to have him as my husband. I love you, Andy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ethan's Birthday

Well, this year has been the longest and shortest of my life. Isn't that a funny paradox? Ethan's one year birthday is coming up on August 19. I have been dreading it for so long, dreading the feelings that will be associated with it. And now, it seems to have just crept up on me. I am both peaceful and absolutely manic about it, about the way that I feel. I want to do something really special to honor him at the same time that I want to bury my head in the sand and just sleep the entire day, pretend it doesn't exist. I have had several people ask me what we want to do because they want to honor him and celebrate him with us as well. I've heard many wonderful suggestions, from balloon releases to buying a star in his name. We have thought about it and we want to do something that will not only honor him, but help other families who are going through a pregnancy or infant loss. Which is why we chose Share Atlanta. There is actually a link on the side to their website. Share Atlanta does many things for parents in our situation. They donate blankets, booties, teddy bears, etc to area hospitals so that anyone who enters a hospital pregnant does not leave empty handed. Granted, leaving with a memory box or a teddy bear in no way compensates having to leave your child behind. However, I can tell you from experience how much I treasure our memory box and how often I have cradled Ethan's bear, especially in the beginning when my arms were so empty they ached. They also have seminars where they work with health care providers going over the needs of mothers who are delivering a baby that they know will be stillborn. This is so important...the little things can so often be overlooked. For instance, I spent two hours alone in a labor room after learning that Ethan had died surrounded by walls filled with pictures of mother's holding newborns. Not fun. Another reason we chose Share Atlanta is because Marcia, the founder, was one of the co-authors of the No Heartbeat Act. That bill is so important for us moms of stillborns, and in helping to get it passed she became someone I call a friend. It is so difficult to put yourself out there, exposing all of your own emotions just to help others after going through this loss. The fact that she has done so much, created an organization that has done so much....I just find it courageous and amazing and want to support her efforts in any way that I can.

So, if you are someone who would have bought Ethan a birthday present had he lived or if you would just like to honor him with us, be it with five dollars or 15 dollars, first of all, thank you. I can't tell you how much it means. Here is how you can donate to Share Atlanta.

You can send the donation directly to the following address and make the check out
to: SHARE Atlanta, Inc. It is tax-deductible.

SHARE Atlanta's Treasurer
Pam Slayback
577 Greenwood Ave.NE
Atlanta, Ga 30308