More on Connor and Colby!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

8 Months

The past few months have felt like a series of milestones...

Friday marked 8 months since the boys' birth. 8 months since our world was rocked by the two little tiny bundles. 8 months since one of the best days- and scariest- of my life.

As always happens- and will forever happen- this big month milestone for the boys is quickly followed by the worst milestone of all-- another month that we have been without our precious Connor.

I had planned a post for yesterday. We were walking around a lake in a nearby town enjoying the beautiful weather and I was scripting my words in my head. A post about the 20th, the "in between," the one day of Connor's life... but it was a hard day. It always is. I found myself worn, tired, saddened. The 20th of every month seems to mark my one day with Connor. And, though I've always been one to say that I don't have regrets because each moment, each mistake, each lesson has gotten me where I am, the 20th of July is one day for which I truly hold regrets.

I regret that I didn't spend more time in the NICU with the boys.
I regret that I didn't take pictures of the boys- Connor in particular.
I regret that I didn't take videos of the boys.
I regret that I didn't truly understand the seriousness of the boy' conditions.
I regret that I felt like I had forever and took that one precious, miraculous day for granted.

And those memories and thoughts pile up and wear me down.

My one true day with my baby boy, and I blew it.

And so, I'm here instead on the anniversary of his death. The anniversary of the day that I went from Mommy of 2 boys here on Earth to a Mommy of an angel in heaven and a miracle on Earth.

Lately Colby has been waking up earlier and earlier. 5:30am some days, 6am others. Today was no different. We came downstairs to allow Daddy to sleep... we played quietly with all distractions off. I wasn't completely awake and neither was Colby, so we relaxed in the peacefulness of one another's company. And as we relaxed, I happened to glance at the clock.

It was near 7am.

And I was transferred back to the NICU on the 21st of July, 8 short and long months ago.

We entered the boys' NICU room to find it filled with nurses and doctors fighting to save our baby's life. One nurse was bagging him to help him breathe. He was being transfused. But he was awake. He was watching. He was helpless. As his numbers fluctuated, hope would fill the air momentarily. He was tried back on the ventilator- but he couldn't handle it. He was taken off and another transfusion was forced into him. Again, his numbers slowly rose and the ventilator was tried again. But another fail brought yet another transfusion. Three transfusions later and the doctor looked at us and told us that she had done everything she could.

Our baby was going to die.

I often wonder... wish... daydream... what life would have been like if one of the ventilator tries had worked. What if they had saved our baby? What if Connor had pulled through? What if it was all just a horrible, horrible scare?

But it wasn't. Wires were disconnected and our baby was placed into our arms. He watched us for a moment, gripping my finger, holding on. But it was too much. In our arms, surrounded by our love, our precious baby took his last breath and we said goodbye. At 7:08am the doctor listened to his chest and sadly shook her head. Less than 48 hours after his terrifying entrance into the world, our precious Connor was gone.

8 months later, half-asleep playing on the floor with Colby, it still feels like a terrible nightmare that I can't wake up from. Sometimes I manage to convince myself it didn't happen, that life is still perfect and happy. That my pain is unnecessary.

In the 8 months the pain has remained, changed a little perhaps, but it's still there. I've learned to pretend I'm okay. I've learned to put on a brave face, to function, to confront strangers, to share our story... but really, I'm not okay. I'm not sure you ever really can be after seeing your baby die. After saying goodbye to your child in this life.

I try every day for Colby, but even 8 months later it still hurts so much.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I like to comment-jump from blog to blog. I start with a blog I read regularly, comment on the recent post, and then click over to a new blog from another commenter. I do this and bop around to blogs that I've never come across before. Sometimes I find blogs that really intrigue me and other times I just keep on jumping.

Lately I've been jumping around blogs of other baby loss mommas looking for comfort. It breaks my heart that there are so many mommy's missing their babies. I've started commenting on some of the newer blogs- many of which are blogs dedicated to the loss of both twins.

One such blog I found is in memory of Jill's twins Emma and Chase. Emma and Chase were born just under a month after Connor and Colby. Unfortunately Jill lost both her babies shortly after birth. Last night while reading I posted a comment relating the loss of her precious twins to the loss of Connor, but my words echoed in my head last night and again this morning. I eventually deleted the comment.

Because I felt like a fraud.

Here I was, commenting on a blog of a mommy heartbroken over the loss of, not one baby, but two.

I don't know the pain.

I know some of the pain. But, really, I don't know the pain of losing two babies. I don't know the pain of having all my dreams ripped away. Every day I count myself lucky that I had two days with Connor. I got to take Colby home. I didn't leave the hospital empty handed. I have a baby sleeping in his room upstairs. I have a baby to feed in the middle of the night and I have a baby to greet me with a gummy smile in the morning. Yes, I have felt pain, but I am so lucky.

When we were trying to get pregnant I had people who would make the "Oh, don't worry, we had a hard time too- it took us 5 months!" comments and while in the NICU we had the people who would console me with "My baby was born at 36 weeks!" Those comments didn't help. They didn't comfort. They caused me pain.

And it was only with my comment to Emma and Chase's mom that I realized that, even though my pain, I could be causing pain. And I don't want to do that.

I am one of the lucky ones.

Yes, I've seen pain. I've felt pain. I've cried. I've lost. And I miss Connor with more intensity every day. There is a hole in my heart that won't ever go away.

But I am still functioning. I still have a reason to function. I get days with Colby. And having Colby helps me remember that life can go on and in his own way he even helps me to remember his brother. And my heart just breaks for those who haven't been as lucky.

My point isn't to pretend that losing Connor was no big deal, that I have no reason to hurt, that I have moved on. Instead, I am thankful for what I have- I've found some peace. The peace is fleeting at times, but I know that I can function for Colby. I have a reason for moving forward. And I only hope that everyone can feel the same way.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Oh well, I'll get to Matt later... I've been a little lazy. (Coincidently enough, Matt is downstairs playing with a whiny Colby while I lay here on my bed typing this. Lazy. Lazy. And he's a good brother...)

Anyways... it's getting down to the wire for March of Dimes... we have two months so every one on our team has begun posting on Facebook to solicit donations. This is what my mother-in-law posted. I don't like it... tell me if I'm ridiculous...

Last summer my twin grandsons, Connor and Colby, were born at 27 weeks gestation. Connor died two days after his birth from complications of the premature birth. Colby was hospitalized in the NICU for over three months. Because of those events, I’m walking in the March of Dimes/March for Babies on May 8, 2010 to raise donations and I’m asking for your support.

First, I hate the word "died". Actually I hate any word relating to the death of my child, but died has to be the worst. I'd prefer "lost" or "passed away". Anything but died.

Secondly, does it have to say from complications of the premature birth? Obviously a baby born at 27 weeks who passes away 2 days later will have suffered complications. Reading it feels like a slap in the face. Like, he didn't just pass away, but it was because his mom couldn't stay pregnant long enough to keep him safe. I know that's not really the subtext there, but it's what I hear when I read it.

So I nicely asked her to change it a few days ago... no response yet. Fingers crossed. And, am I crazy?

Monday, March 8, 2010


My Parents: I am the 3rd out of 4th kid in my family.  The only girl.  You better believe that my mom was excited when she learned that we were pregnant...

We took about a year and a half to tell my parents about what we were going through with the fertility clinic and such.  As soon as we did they were supportive.  My mom followed my procedures, I sobbed on the phone to my mom when we miscarried, and then my parents visited the day of our egg retrieval so that my mom could teach Johnny how to do the PIO injections.  My mom followed my pregnancy with the twins like a hawk.  We talked every day and she grilled me about my protein intake and my sleep.  

On June 22nd my mom and dad accompanied us to the doctors for an ultrasound.  They were in the room to see the babies moving around, but they waited in the lobby while we were given the shocking news that the pregnancy was in danger and that I was on immediate bed rest.  I walked out of the room in a daze and collapsed next to them telling them what had happened.  Though they live aways away and both had to work the next AM (it was a late appointment) they followed us home to make sure that we had everything that we needed to keep me comfortable and in bed.  They went food shopping for us, grabbed us dinner, and tucked me into bed before leaving for home late that night.  The daily phone calls continued and the night I was finally admitted into the hospital my parents drove up to Boston to see me for my first night in the hospital (first night EVER).  I was stuck in triage way longer than planned and my parents patiently waited for 5 hours outside the hospital until I was in a room and they could visit.  

Throughout the month I was in the hospital, my parents who rarely drove in to the city (we're small-town folks :oP) visited twice a week every week to keep my spirits up.  They brought me dinner, my mom painted my toes, and they just hung around.  Still my mom continued to follow the pregnancy religiously.  

The morning I went into labor Johnny called them and my mom immediately started crying, but they drove those 60 miles to the hospital in record time and were there before the C-Section began.  (Though I didn't see them, but Johnny saw them out the window before he came to be with me.)  They waited in the main lobby for hours- they were there around 11am and they didn't get to come up and see me until 4 or 5pm.  They spent the day with me and the boys and they returned the next day with photos of the boys for us to hang in the room.  

The next day, Tuesday, they were at work already when Johnny made the call that they needed to come now.  Johnny didn't want to tell them over the phone that Connor had passed away, so he just left a message saying that I needed them.  They both rushed out of work and again sped to the hospital.  They didn't know where to find us so they went to my room and when they didn't see me there they rushed up to the NICU.  It was there that I collapsed into their arms and sobbed.  

After we said good bye to Connor and left him with the nurses, they came up to my room but then everyone left me and Johnny for a few minutes.  It turned into a long time and Johnny left to talk with them.  Awhile later my mom came back to visit me in the dark and she was such a comfort.  It meant a lot to me to know that, even though she was heartbroken about Connor, she was still worried about me.  I had a feeling at the time that other people were only sad about Connor (understandable), but it was important to know that my mom and dad knew that losing Connor would profoundly change me in ways others didn't seem to think about.

That night my parents and Johnny's parents stepped up to talk responsibility for Connor's funeral- in planning and paying.  Looking back I'm not sure it was the right decision for us to let them take the responsibility because it wasn't really fair but I will forever be grateful that they did.  They met with the funeral directors and made the big plans and paid for everything.  Johnny and I were able to personalize the arrangements as we saw fit, but we didn't have to sit down and make the plans.  I am so thankful for that and for them.  

The day of the funeral my parents were right there by my side.  Looking back I really think they were worried about how I would handle everything and how it would change me, but knowing I had their support meant the world.  I knew they were there, not only for the fact that they lost a grandson, but also for us- and that came first.  They put us ahead of themselves and what we needed came first.  

My parents bought me a necklace to honor the twins and it was just what I needed.  I've worn it every day since and I have felt not only the twins presence with the necklace, but also the love of my parents.  

Their support has been unwavering ever since and I have constantly felt their support in everything.  They visited Colby 2 times a week in the hospital.  One of the smallest things that happened in the hospital that meant so much came from my dad.  One day a nurse casually asked if Colby was his first grandchild.  My dad froze and choked up.  I saw the redness in his eyes and he quickly blurted "No, second".  It was left at that, but it meant so much because it helped me realize just how much my dad was touched by the loss of Connor.  

To this day I still have their support in every way imaginable-- my mom still calls every day and they still manage to find ways to remember Connor just when it matters most.  My mom still posts on the online Guest Book for Connor, we were given Connor ornaments for Christmas, I was given an angel necklace for my angel baby, Connor was honored in subtle ways at the shower, and they donated to the hospital in Connor's name for Christmas.  All this has meant the world to me because it is so important to me that Connor not be forgotten.  I know it's easy for some people to forget about him because we have Colby to fill some of the gaps, but I can't bear the thought that he be forgotten.  

And through everything my parents have managed to support us, be amazing grandparents to Colby, and remember their first grandson in subtle and touching ways.

Next up, my brother Matt.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


During the past almost-8 months (insert gasp here) I've spent more than my fair share complaining about the friends and family who weren't there for us when the boys were born and when Connor passed away.  

I think it's time to move forward and think positively about all the amazing people who were there for us (me) in those days.  

Johnny: I'll start with the obvious, right?  My amazing husband.  

We met about 6 years ago and have been inseparable ever since (well, except for those 3 months I spent in Australia).  We got married in August of 2006 and have lived pretty happily ever after.  We drive each other nuts, but we are nuts about each other too.  I can't think of anyone else I would rather spend my time with or who I would rather have as the Daddy of my babies.  

From the moment that we were pregnant he became a star (well, really he was before, but that's not what we're talking about).  Yes, he still did those little things that annoyed me sometimes (:oP) but he was always there.  It was no different when I went on bed rest.  Though he still had to work, he drove into Boston to visit me every night and stayed with me every weekend.  He made sure he was there for my weekly ultrasounds, got to know the nurses, and helped me out in every way that he could.

The day the boys were born was terrifying for obvious reason, but also amazing.  In those hours before the boys came into this world and in the nail-biting hours after, Johnny was my rock.  He held my hand, encouraged me, and immediately became a loving and protective dad.  While I was waiting for feeling to return while laying in the recovery room, he was torn.  He wanted nothing more than to be with me, to comfort me, but he also was anxious to get up to see our tiny miracles in the NICU.  He covered both roles flawlessly.  He was a supporting, wonderful husband and a worrying, doting dad.  He continued to run on adrenaline over the next 2 days to make sure that I was healing and taken care of, while spending as much time with the boys, learning about their condition and doing the best for them.  He was immediately so proud to be the daddy of our miracles.

The day we lost Connor was hard, but Johnny was once again a rock.  Though crushed beyond belief, he reminded me over and over that we would get through it.  I remember him squeezing me as we said goodbye to Connor and whispering that somehow Colby, he and I would get through as a family.  We were strong enough together to handle the heartbreak- and he was and is right. 

Though now he doesn't always wash the bottles when I want and has yet to wash Colby's clothes (:0P) I know that when I need him, when it really counts, he will be there 100%.  And really?  That's all I need.

Monday, March 1, 2010


How is it that I can still be jealous and saddened by people having babies when I have my own precious little bundle sleeping next to me and my other little bundle nestled sweetly in my memories and heart??

It's not that I'm not happy for people getting pregnant, but I am still just so jealous.  This jealousy doesn't apply to people I know going through IF or people who have dealt with babyloss.  It only seems to apply to people that I assume had an "easy" time getting pregnant.  I know this isn't a fair assumption because how do I know what they have gone through to get pregnant?  And who am I to decide that they've had it "too easy"?  And besides- I would never wish problems or loss on anyone.  But still... jealous.

Like... randomly reading Facebook and I notice that someone I did Girl Scouts with almost 20 years ago is expecting a baby in the end of March.  I haven't talked to her in years and still?  I'm jealous and can't bear to look at the ultrasound pictures.  What is wrong with me??  Seriously... I need to get over myself.  Obviously people my age are going to be having babies and I can't live my life jealous of every single one... especially when I have my own miracles!  I know a large part of it is still that I'm trying to deal with being sad that I didn't have a full term pregnancy or control in keeping the babies safe or saving Connor, but if I can't deal with it I'm going to have a hard time over the next few years!  My pain shouldn't influence how I am able to share in other peoples joy.

It's something I'm working on.  

And like I said, for some reason this jealously doesn't include people who have gone through IF or babyloss... I'm assuming because I know how it is to so badly want your miracle... but I'm am SO HAPPY that Kate is getting her miracle after losing her precious little girl last year.  :)  Send her some love!!