My family and I are still in the very raw stages of our tragic story–it has been six months without my youngest son, Logan. And although some days I still think I can, I do know that I cannot bring him back. What I can do is make sure the world knows Logan and does not forget he was here. Logan was here for the most amazing, beautiful, and loving 11 months and two weeks of my life. This is his story.
In July 2014 our dreams of growing a family began to come true–we learned that I was pregnant with our son Grayson through our first IVF cycle. At the same time, eight more embryos were tucked away until we were ready. When Grayson was two, we decided we were ready to go from a family of three to a family of four, and on May 14, 2018, the next embryo would become our second child, Logan.
Unlike his brother, Logan gave me zero complications during pregnancy and arrived on his due date via scheduled cesarean. We were in heaven, a state of sheer bliss and thankfulness. Two healthy, handsome, and sweet boys. We looked pretty damned near perfect.
I found Katie and Balanced Breastfeeding when I had issues with latching, thrush, and slow weight gain with Grayson. I thought for sure no baby could be worse nurser than Grayson. Enter Logan…
It was far from easy, but after a lip tie revision, weeks of pumping to recover from thrush and heal my damaged nipples, and a session with Katie to help with latching without pain, we were smooth sailing.
Just like his brother, Logan would only sleep if he fell asleep nursing, which was perfectly fine with me. For eleven months and two weeks, every night I nursed Logan in my bed until he fell asleep.
When he was finished, I would sit there and snuggle him while I watched Gilmore Girls reruns until I could not keep my eyes open and would finally lay him down. Sometimes it would be 30 minutes, sometimes an hour, sometimes more that I would hold onto him and watch him sleep. I am so thankful for those hours.
I stayed home with Logan until he was seven and a half months old. When I went back to teaching kindergarten, my husband stayed home with the kids for the next four month. We were seriously the envy of all of my friends who had kids.
On May 1, 2019, I nursed a sleepy Logan before getting ready for work. I got him dressed, passed him to his dad, and got myself ready for work while the boys watched cartoons downstairs. It was Grayson and Logan’s sixth day at daycare. I brought them inside, joking about how I had no voice from this cold I was battling and saying, “It’s going to be a long day!” I kissed Grayson and Logan goodbye, both happy to be getting their day started. And then I left and drove the seven minutes to work, not imagining in a million years that would be the last time I would see my baby smile.
At 10:15 AM, my students were cleaning up their snack when my phone rang. I saw it was daycare, so I answered. “Get here now … not responding … lethargic … 911 … not sure if he is breathing.” I can only imagine what my coworkers saw as I sprinted down the hallway past classrooms. I remember thinking “I am never leaving him again.” In the next half hour, I found I would not have that privilege.
During the five minute drive I called my husband and I told him, “I don’t think he is alive.” He tried to reassure me Logan would be okay. But I just knew. When I pulled onto the street and it was lined with emergency vehicles, that feeling of knowing got stronger. Even stronger when I was rushed into the front seat of an ambulance without being able to see him. Sitting in the front seat I was so, so close to Logan, but at the same time, I knew.
Once we got to the hospital it was not long before they doctor came and told us there was nothing they could do, and simply asked if we wanted to see him. Then, when we went back to see Logan, we were not allowed to hold him until the coroner arrived for the initial exam. It still makes me so angry that everyone else was telling me that I could not pick up my baby.
We were finally able to hold him before he was transported; the hospital room took me back to when he was born. The chairs were the same style furniture. He was wrapped up in a blanket and my husband and I sat side-by-side, talking to him and staring at his long eyelashes. We cried and cried, but not the happy tears from almost a year earlier. We told him we loved him, and we told him we were sorry–sorry we were not there, sorry we could not save him. This was it, the last time we would hold Logan.
This all happening over the course of only a few hours and my phone was filled with text messages. I ignored all of them and texted a friend who was working to become a lactation consultant: “Help me dry up my milk supply.”
The same time we were told Logan was gone, I should of been sitting at my desk pumping. But there is no “off” button for milk production when your baby dies.
I spent the next three weeks drinking peppermint tea, rubbing peppermint oil on my boobs, taking Sudafed and eventually giving the frozen cabbage leaves a shot, and weaning using the pump. Each time, I dumped the milk down the sink. As hard as it was to pump for no baby, making Logan’s milk was an actual physical connection to him. So I continued pumping for a few weeks, until I was ready to let go. It was another month after that before I was able to let go of the hundreds of ounces of frozen milk in the freezer.
I vividly remember the last time I nursed my oldest, Grayson. He was 15 months old, and I just was not making milk much anymore. I was down to nursing him only at night, and one night made the decision it would be the last time. I cherished that night, I watched him and smiled at him. I sang our bedtime songs and when he was done, rocked him to sleep. I cried because that chapter was over.
But when I woke up in the morning, I still had Grayson. I had no idea when I nursed my sleepy baby on May 1 before running out for the day that it would be our last time. I did not stare at him or sing songs. I watched the clock because we were on a tight schedule. There was no snuggling after he was done. We got him dressed, and we were out the door.
It recently occurred to me that other than close family and friends, not many people know what happened to Logan. The truth is, we do not know what happened. Logan was a perfectly healthy boy. He was put down for a nap, and when he was checked on 45 minutes later he was not breathing. He never woke up. The autopsy report gave us no answers, nor did additional genetic testing we had done to rule out certain genetic heart conditions. Logan was–and still is–perfect.
Although nobody ever officially used the term “SIDS” with us, that is what we are left with. I cannot say that having an answer would make losing a child easier, because I truly do not believe that the words child loss and easy should ever be in the same sentence.
November 1 will mark six months since losing Logan. There are moments when it seems like it was just this morning that we lost him. In the weeks after losing Logan I frantically searched for moms like me on Instagram. Sadly, I came across many women who had lost children. Many of these women bravely share their stories. The stories of their babies, their loss and their life after loss. There is a whole community of parents who have lost children. I am now a part of that community.
While I do not necessarily feel qualified to give advice to anyone at this point in my journey, I do know what has helped me. Surround yourself with people who love you, who will listen and will ask how you are doing, people who will use your child’s name. Find a good therapist, go to group therapy, find someone to follow on Instagram. You might not feel so alone after all.
Know your limits and set boundaries. Do not feel bad about cancelling plans, ignoring text messages, or forgetting to wish someone a happy birthday. Do not feel bad about crying in front of someone or making someone feel uncomfortable because of what you are going through (I’m still working on this one!).
Rather than running and hiding from my grief, I am choosing to share Logan’s story. I will share his story every day for the rest of my life. I will share his story to anyone who will listen. I will share his story because I find comfort in reading other grieving mothers write about their babies and their lives after loss. I will share his story to protect his memory.