I have waited a very long time, almost a year to be exact, to put into words how I feel when I look at this picture. Every time I do, the emotions become uncontrollable. Thus I have avoided sitting long enough to begin.
First off, I can never thank our photographer (T. Marie Photography) enough for the precious gift of her pictures. She captured moments we will never get again. She captured moments I cannot remember. My worst fear, aside from Logan dying of course, was not remembering Logan because of the medications. These photos are bittersweet for me; as I look back I realize how much I don’t remember, but I will forever be thankful that I have them documented and I look forward to Josh telling me about them well into our old age. Tiffany captured moments, like this one, that are so powerful.
When I watch our birth video, which Tiffany also created, I break down every time we get to this moment. After Logan was taken from my womb, everyone kept telling me he wasn’t breathing right. The expectation was that he might die in the OR. It wasn’t until Logan was dying in my arms that I understood how powerful this moment, so perfectly captured, was.
There is this technical term called agonal breathing. When you go through the dying process, your breathing changes in many different ways. In Logan’s time home he would stop breathing. He would gasp for air. But the agonal breathing at that moment was oddly comforting for me. Without counting the emotional, mental and physical roller coaster of my pregnancy, those 14 days of Logan’s life were the most exhausting time I have ever and will ever go through. If you have ever been through the process with someone dying, you know the on edge tension you have at every single moment waiting for them to die. I spent 14 days like this. That’s another story though.
Agonal breathing – for Logan he would breath in and sort of coo his exhale and then he wouldn’t breathe again for several seconds or minutes, we weren’t counting because we knew this was it, what we had been waiting for. But his coo was the sweetest noise we had ever heard him make. And it was peaceful.
We waited until the funeral to watch our birth video, probably not the best idea. When we got to the scene from the OR where they were giving him oxygen, his breathing mimicked the agonal breathing. I flashed back to the day he died. I realized just how close we came to losing him in the OR. He was exhibiting the dying breathe. But you know what followed that moment? This beautiful picture! They placed Logan on my chest so I could have time with him before he died. But instead that little booger felt mom, smelt mom and decided to live! His change in breathing over the next 2-3 days amazed the doctor. They believe Logan lived so long because I kept him on my chest, skin to skin for 98% of his life.
How powerful of a mom moment to realize that he wanted to stay when he came close to his mother. It is truly a hard thing to watch. Not because it’s sad, but because it brings me so much happiness and well I guess it does bring me sadness. Sadness because he’s not here. Sadness because 14 days was all I got. But happiness because not only did my body sustain him for 9 months, but I got to sustain him for 14 more days. Happiness because he got to spend time with his family. He got to hear us talk to him, read to him, play with him. He got to spend time with his brother and his grandparents. Happiness because my warmth and my instinct as a mother gave him love. Happiness because I am proud to be his mother. Happiness because he wanted me.
I can no longer remember what it feels like to hold him. I can’t feel his weight. I can’t feel his warmth. I can’t remember his smell. He is 1 year old today, and yet I can’t imagine a 1 year old running around this house.
In honor of Logan’s first birthday, we have chosen to have a celebration by having a birthday party. No limitations were placed. We will have lots of foods and too many sweets. While Logan can’t be there, Logan Bear will be representing him well, in his fancy new outfit I bought for the party. We will have a photo booth set up for everyone to take pictures with the Birthday Boy (Logan Bear). We will have a station for everyone to paint a rock varying shades of blue; these will later be placed around our bush we planted for Logan last year. We will also have a station for people to write letters to Logan and/or the family. My hope with the letters is I get to hear how Logan touched their lives. These are my favorite stories to hear. His slideshow will play and his birth video too. And at the end, we will show the world how much Logan is loved by sending balloons his way.
I have spent the last couple of weeks buying and creating things. Yesterday I began preparing for the party, and I was hit with deja vu. When I began preparing for Logan’s arrival, I returned the majority of the baby items I had purchased and exchanged them for any memorable item the stores carried. I mean I bought everything they had. I remember filling the storage tub full of his stuff for the hospital. Packing our bags. Loading the car. Which I repeated yesterday; as I bought all the food from the store, I carried them it, I organized all the party stuff, I loaded the same storage tub full of his stuff for the party and I loaded my car.
I remember the day after Logan died. I felt this pressure and this duty to make sure his funeral was perfect. What else could I do for my son? I wasn’t going to get a lifetime of spoiling him and doing things for him, so I wanted this last thing that I COULD do, to be absolutely perfect. Most people will tell you his funeral was beautifully perfect. Knowing me, I’m sure you can assume that I disagree. And you’d be correct. I can name a few things I wish would’ve been done differently, but when in the moment you miss details. And that’s okay. Yesterday as I was organizing all the party stuff, I felt the same pressure and duty arise. I was ‘talking’ on the phone with Josh. And by talking I mean, I had a bluetooth headset in and he listening while I frantically babbled, stressed and a few times lost my mind while pacing back and forth through the house trying to get things together.
There has been this pressure building for the past few weeks. A bubble I’ve been pushing back down. You know when you go to the pool in the summer, and you play with a noodle? You sit on it, perhaps do fancy tricks to keep it under the water? Then all of a sudden you lose control and it starts to come to the surface and you know you’re going down, slight panic arises as you know you’re about to be overtaken by the water? That is my bubble. It took me down last week at work. My noodle would not remain under the water. It would not hold my weight, no matter how many times I pushed it back down, it would coil back up. Thankfully by the time I had to be present with a patient I had that baby superglued to my butt.
“Our relationship to our loved one influences how we grieve. When you lose a parent you lose your past; when you lose a spouse you lose your present; when you lose a child you lose your future.”
I didn’t think today would be hard. But I’ve already cried once this morning, and Josh a few more times. Looking forward to this day over the last year I thought it would be a happy day, a day to celebrate his birth, but now that it’s here, it feels more sad than anything. A day in which we would celebrate his arrival into this world and his growth each year, has now turned into a day in which we no longer can celebrate his growth each year. While he may grow in numbers, he won’t grow. We won’t be able to celebrate everything he’s accomplished each year. I had not expected this.
“Laugh as we always laughed. Play, smile, think of me. Let my name be ever the household word that is always was.”
My hope is tomorrow will be the celebration we need. To celebrate the life he did have. The accomplishments he did this year. Because he did accomplish a lot. He survived in my womb until birth, when we first were told he may not make it to term. He survived the first 48 hours, when they thought his breathing would take him. He survived 14 days. I always humor myself that my children like me best. Logan wanted mom, whenever he was away from my chest, his breathing and demeanor would change. But when he was with mom, he was peaceful. And Wyatt is a momma’s boy hands down. My mom jokes about how he will live in my basement until he’s 30 because he loves me so much. But my point is, while Logan won’t have any accomplishments next year, or the year after that, and so on, this year, he survived. This year he told everyone he would go when it was his time. This year he changed our lives. This year he helped us become better people. This year we have much to celebrate because this little boy is loved and known by so many because in 14 days he was this incredible testimony.
“Only we who have been washed in the blood of the lamb can both weep and laugh at the same time, and with hearts that are breaking in pieces scattered all over the floor, say with sincerity and honesty that it is well with my soul.”- Gary J. Oliver
So Happy Birthday little buddy, we love you infinite and back 💙