Love and Legacy

Shared by Ali Gordon

My whole life, I have wanted to be a mother. Never for even a moment have I wavered from the conviction that I was meant to be a mother. I did, however, want to be sure that I was in a good place in life to welcome a child. Thus, I waited until I had met the perfect man, developed our relationship, and built a strong career as a nurse before deciding to start a family. 

My pregnancy went by with the normal nausea, aches, and pains, but at no time was my pregnancy threatened. My baby moved constantly, was growing just as he should be, and our ultrasounds were normal. The only problem was that our genetic tests were conducted incorrectly, and we found out late in my second trimester that, while we had been told all of our genetic tests were normal, the results were inaccurate because of this error. At the time, we chose not to pursue expensive and potentially dangerous genetic testing, when all signs pointed to a completely normal pregnancy. 

The day of Logan’s birth came, and after acupuncture to get my labor going, my son came flying into the world after only three hours of labor. He was ready to meet us! I believe now that I was being granted a beautiful and relatively easy birth because of the incredible pain and hardship I was about to endure. 

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A Prescient Dream

While I was pregnant, I had only one vivid dream about my son. He was born with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot and he crawled away from me immediately. I awoke disturbed by the dream, but wrote it off as just one of those crazy pregnancy dreams we have all heard about… Imagine my surprise, when I was holding my newly born son on my stomach and looked down to see that he had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot! At first, I was amused by this discovery; but that amusement quickly turned to fear when we realized that he was also unable to open his eyes.

Within 30 minutes of his birth, we were in an ambulance from the birth center to the hospital. I spent the entire time snuggling my son to my chest and whispering to him how much we loved him and how we were so happy to have him in our life. He was the angel we had been waiting for, and we couldn’t wait to share our love with him for the rest of his life.

Upon arrival at the hospital, my worst fears were realized… Our son had Trisomy 13, a chromosomal condition that is most often fatal. As a nurse, I found that I retreated behind my clinical mask while my husband cried. My son was not even two hours old when I signed his Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. I felt numb. 

No More Brave Face

How could I go from the greatest joy I had ever felt to the greatest sorrow in just moments? We had conceived our son in love, I had grown him within and from my own body for nine months, and now I was going to have to watch him die. We snuggled up in the family bed provided by the NICU with our son, and after everyone else was asleep, I finally let myself cry. Until that moment. I was worried that my years of being a nurse and having to keep a brave face for grieving people had broken me… but I was finally able to let myself be Logan’s mother that night and to allow my devastation to come out. 

It was our goal that Logan was always held or at least touched by someone who loved him; we never wanted him to feel alone. Our family came from all over the country to meet him and be there to support us; every moment of his life he knew love. We were able to bring our sweet, beautiful boy home when he was just shy of two days old, under the care and support of Hospice. 

We had settled into our home under the belief that we would have a few weeks to spend with our beautiful baby. Until we arrived home, I had been afraid of sleeping because I didn’t want to miss a second, and I was also afraid of waking to find my son dead… Finally, three days without sleep caught up to me, and I allowed myself to sleep for three hours. Had I known, I wouldn’t have slept a second.

Please Don’t Leave

I awoke from my nap and began to pump so I would have some milk to feed him. When I finished, my husband said my name in a way I will never forget. I turned to look, and my son’s face was the worst shade of purple I had ever seen. I reacted. I quickly grabbed my son, ripped off his blanket, and began to give him rescue breaths. I remember saying things in between each breath like, “Breathe for Mommy, Logan.” “Mommy isn’t ready for you to leave yet, Logan,” and, “Please don’t leave Mommy!” He became limp in my arms, and I let out a sound that could be likened to a wounded animal. My baby was gone.

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My husband and I were able to keep his body for 24 hours (the maximum time allowed by Colorado Law). Having his body to hold, snuggle, kiss, and love was more comforting than I can express in words. We talked to Logan, shared our love and sorrow, and held onto our son as long as we could.

During this time, each day set a new bar for the hardest thing I had ever done. Labor, birth, learning about Logan’s diagnosis, signing my son’s DNR order, holding him in my arms as he died, and then, handing my son’s body over to a complete stranger and watching them drive away. I stood at the bottom of our driveway watching the van pull away, and as they rounded the corner I couldn’t stand anymore. I fell to my knees in the rain, sobbing harder than ever before in my life. 

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Logan’s Legacy

It has been five months since my son died. Some days are harder than others and there is no way of knowing which will be which. My husband and I have been taking our “Logi Bear” (a stuffed bear that is the exact weight and length that Logan was) with us on adventures as a tribute to our son and a visual representation of what we are missing in our hearts. He has helped to fill our arms and soothe some of our aches. 

Logan’s legacy is of love. He showed us our infinite capacity for love, and continues to teach us each and every day. I promised Logan that I would make him proud of me, and each day I work to keep that promise. One of my great challenges after Logan’s death has been learning to take care of myself, and each day I am stretching my comfort zone and growing more and more confident in my own worth. I miss my son every millisecond, but I cannot bring him back. His life has already had an incredible impact on others, and I will ensure that it will continue to do so as long as I live; to do so keeps him alive.  

Learn more about Ali and her journey on her blog at lovelossliving.com

 
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