Saturday, December 22, 2012



On December 20, 2011, I received a phone call from my daughter. She sounded happy, as happy as she could be under the circumstances. She was on her way to a doctor appointment, the appointment wherein the inducement date for her unborn child would be scheduled so that we could all plan to be there. We were all desirous to meet her precious son, Jerad.

We knew even then it would be a short greeting. We hoped for five minutes.

Not too much to ask for, right?

Let me backtrack.

I promised myself I would write a blog post on the anniversary of losing our precious Jerad. I asked my daughter for permission to share her story. She agreed, knowing it would be therapeutic. Not sure why, but I've felt hesitant to write this. The memories are painful--and yet precious all at the same time.

Here it goes . . .

My daughter and her husband joyfully received the news that they were expecting a baby. Only one short month later, they received the news that their baby had a condition known as Trisomy 18. I'd never heard of it before. The 18th chromosome triples upon conception. The resulting birth defects are described as "incompatible with life."  Trisomy 18 babies rarely survive birth--and if they do, they don't live for very long. Yet, by some sort of twisted fate, they tend to thrive inside the womb.


My daughter was told the pregnancy would proceed somewhat normally but, more than likely, the baby would not survive birth.

I can't imagine a more heart-breaking scenario.

My daughter decided to see the pregnancy through. What if the doctors were wrong? It's been known to happen. Maybe the baby would be fine and if there was any chance whatsoever to have her precious son, she would do it. I told her I was very proud of her for her decision. She said, "There was never another option, Mom."

That's why I was proud of her.

It wasn't easy, though. Weekly ultrasound appointments revealed a thriving, active--albeit small--baby boy. Clearly, he had some developmental issues--and some severe heart defects. Still, our hopes soared.

When adversity strikes in our lives, our perspective often changes. Ours did. We hoped for five minutes with Jerad. Just a few moments to look into his eyes and tell him we loved him. Just a few moments to see his spirit shining out through his eyes, a moment to say goodbye.

It wasn't meant to be.

Our little Jerad lost his fight to live at eight months gestation.

On December 20, 2011 I received a second phone call from my daughter. This time she was crying. Sobbing. The weekly ultrasound had revealed that Jerad no longer had a heartbeat. It was one of those moments where you remember exactly what you were doing at the time. I was making Christmas cookies, the cookie cutter kind. Christmas music was playing. The presents were wrapped. The cards had been sent out. It was finally time to relax and enjoy Christmas.

Everything changed in that moment.

My daughter would be induced to deliver the baby. In the meantime, she was told to go home and rest.

Her baby had passed inside of her and they wanted her to rest? She had to go through  labor and delivery? Somehow everything seemed so incredibly unfair.

We knew all along she could lose the baby at any time. And it didn't matter one iota. We never gave up hope that Jerad would be a miracle and defy medical science.

We dropped everything and rushed to my daughter's house. She lives seven hours away. Due to travel constraints, we left all of the presents under the tree. They'd still be there when we returned home.

On December 22, 2011, one year ago today, Jerad was born. In spite of everything, he was beautiful. I was able to hold him in my arms and it was truly one of the most precious moments of my life. Only three months earlier I'd held my first grandson in my arms. (my oldest daughter's son) The difference was marked. Jerad was lifeless in my arms.

The amazing picture up above is Jerad's hand, his mother and father's wedding rings within his grasp. We have the Now I Lay me Down to Sleep foundation to thank for the picture. These guys are amazing. They are a group of photographers that donate their services to families who have or will lose a baby. They rush to the hospital and thoughtfully embark upon a photo session. The families are allowed to do what they will with the photos, free of charge.

I spent Christmas at my daughter's side, helping her through the recovery process. My parents traveled from a great distance to join us. There were no presents and none of the usual trappings. At the time, I missed the Christmas celebration desperately and I thought it was a horrible Christmas. Our only happiness was in being together.

But then, isn't that all that really matters?

Now as we embark upon another Christmas, the memories of last Christmas are so very strong. And it's only now that I realize just how tender and humble a Christmas it really was. This year we will have the presents, the cookies, the music, the laughter. Yet, I'll never forget last Christmas and taking care of my daughter who had unselfishly done all that she could to give life to a precious child.

So, these are my thoughts on this day, December 22, 2012 as I remember my grandson, Jerad.

It was a few months later that I was able to put my raw emotions onto paper. I couldn't do it at the time. It was just too much. Here it is:

Precious little one, you were loved from the moment of conception.
By your parents, by your grandparents, by great grandparents, by aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.
We’re here, Jerad, and we want you, we love you.
We rejoiced in the news of your creation, of a new life, a new member of our family.
We loved you, we looked forward to meeting you.
We’re here, Jerad, and we want you, we love you.
But sometimes things go wrong from the very beginning.
And when the doctors told us the dreaded words, Trisomy 18, we said, what?
Who knew such a thing existed? Who knew you could carry a baby inside of you, a thriving baby, a beautiful baby, only to lose him upon birth? What kind of cruel act of fate was this?
We’re here, Jerad, and we want you, we love you.
Life is tender, life is precious, life is sacred.
And you were alive, little Jerad.
You lived, you fought for life.
Your mother and father refused to give up on you. They loved you, they wanted you.
Even if they only saw you for five minutes. Even two minutes with you would’ve been the fulfillment of a dream.
We waited, we hoped, we prayed.
We’re here, Jerad, and we want you, we love you.
You lived, you flourished, you wiggled, you kicked.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
Your short life was lived inside the safety of your mother’s womb, cosseted and sheltered in her love.
We’re here, Jerad, and we want you, we love you.
Eight months of precious life. Your earth life. All the life you needed.
A  spirit so special, so righteous, so valiant—the perils of this life were not for you.
An heir to the kingdom of God, having proven yourself long ago.
This is our comfort, this is our peace.
But, we’re still here, Jerad. Why aren’t you?

There is an AMAZING song dedicated to the families of Trisomy 18 and 13 babies. It is BEAUTIFUL. Be prepared, it's a tear jerker.  To view it, click here.

I love you, Jerad. I miss you.

1 comment:

  1. Taylor, that was so beautiful and so so sad. I have tears pouring down my face and trying to type. Not an easy thing to do. I am so very sorry for such a heartbreaking loss. I hope that your daughter is doing better even though I know that none of you will ever forget such an Angel baby. I had never heard of this awful thing until reading what you wrote and my heart breaks for you. I listened to the song and it made me cry even harder. It is such a horrible thing to lose a child at anytime, but to lose one so loved and so wanted right there at Christmas somehow seems even worse.
    I know that organization that takes the pictures. When my niece's little one was in the hospital and they were told she would not make it they came and took the most beautiful pictures of her and my niece. Macy was older and had severe Cerebral Palsy. They had her for a few yrs but she is now with God too and she was our whole families little Angel. It was wonderful of them to take the pictures that they took and when I look at them it breaks my heart to see such a beautiful child and her mommy knowing she is losing her baby. They are on my facebook page I think.
    I am just heartbroken for you and your daughter. I hope and pray that you all are healing from this sad loss. I know it will never ever go away but he is with God and is a happy healthy little boy now that is perfect in every way. One day you all will be reunited with him and that is the thing to try and hold onto.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful, yet very sad story with us. I don't think I will ever forget this as long as I live.
    You are such a dear friend and I do hate that you had to go through this and it is wonderful that you are the type of mother that was there for your daughter during such a heart wrenching time in both your lives. The hardest job in the world is being a real mother. Your friend always and forever. Linda