Documenting Memories, Grief Resources, Personal Journey

Happy 4th Heavenly Birthday Sawyer!

Happy 4th Heavenly Birthday Sawyer!

Child loss is not easy, but today I am choosing to focus on joy through remembering Sawyer’s birthday.

happy 4th heavenly birthday Sawyer

If you have been following me for any length of time then you know my husband and I lost our first son, Sawyer when he was just 18 days old. If you have not heard, I would love for you to check out Sawyer’s story. It’s pretty hard to “celebrate” on his birthday because he isn’t here, but we do our best. Each year I have made a “cake” for Sawyer’s grave and tried to do something special to celebrate and remember him. This year is no different. I have made a cake out of pots and am taking the kids to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I am also taking them to do something fun as a memory of their brother – probably the park or something.

I want to share some of my favorite memories from Sawyer’s life. It was short but we soaked in each and every moment. I can only imagine what his life would be like if he were still here.

Our maternity pictures with Sawyer are some of my absolute favorite. I love how perfect each picture captured our anticipation of his arrival. We found out about his condition at 20 weeks but each week that went by had us more and more excited to meet him.

My mom made this onsie for Sawyer as soon as we found out about his heart condition. I was excited for him to wear it once we brought him home from the hospital. It makes me sad to think about the fact that he did not come home with us but we have this special onsie tucked away in a box with all of our memories of Sawyer.

If I tried to tell you I was not anxious during this pregnancy I would be lying. I knew that each day with Sawyer was a gift because they just could not really tell us much about his condition. I love this picture that captures the joy we were still able to find in each other through it all. JD is such a goob when it comes to photo shoots so this was out of his comfort zone but it captured our relationship.

Sawyer spent longer in my womb than he did outside my womb. Looking back I wish I would have documented more of that time but regrets do nothing other than tearing a person down. I remember JD feeling him kick for the first time and the first little flutters I felt. Everything was so magical. This picture is a dream that I wish we were still living.

After having Sawyer, I was sent to the c-section recovery room and he was whisked away to the NICU. I was not able to see my baby and it was KILLER. JD snuck off to see him and snapped this picture of him. OH MY AT THOSE ADORABLE CHEEKS. After my time in the recovery room I was wheeled in my hospital bed to his bed in the NICU.

Our first family picture was thanks to the NICU team wheeling him in to my hospital room on the way to the ambulance for CHOA. C-sections usually require a minimum 48 hour stay and I just really had no idea when I would be reunited with my baby. This was about 12 hours after birth.

My beautiful bright eyed boy.

Our second family picture was next to his bed. He laid on his belly a lot because it took the pressure off of his lungs and was able to breath slightly better. He was also on a lot of oxygen support.

This was right before he was wheeled away to surgery and the last time I would hold him this side of Heaven. Well, I held him as he passed away in my arms but I just can’t put that in my “times I held my baby” count – it doesn’t seem fair. I kissed his face and held him close, as close as I could. They almost didn’t let me hold him but I told them I’d be damned if they didn’t let me hold my baby before he was taken away for a surgery with an unknown outcome.

A dear friend had this sketch made for me after Sawyer passed away and it is one of my most favorite possessions. I was not able to ever see Sawyer without all of the tubes while he was alive and this was just such a blessing. I feel like Rhett looks so much like him. They would have probably been the best of buds.

Losing a child is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. My heart goes out to you if you have lost a child. I know it is hard to even say the words “happy birthday” because it just isn’t happy. I try to find as much joy through the pain but the truth is that it just sucks. It hurts and that is okay. Everyone grieves differently but I can tell you that no one things that grief is a fun or joyous experience.

Hug your babies tight, friends. I would give anything to look Sawyer in the eyes and tell him I love him just one more time.

Happy Heavenly Birthday Sawyer – Mommy loves you forever and always.

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