Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Art of Making Lemonade: $5 for Jordyn's 5th Birthday

Dear Jordy-Bug,

Here it is, three days before your 5th birthday. What a surreal place to be. Five is a milestone and such an exciting time for kiddos because it means kindergarten in the fall. Well, for most people it does. For us, it probably means avoiding Facebook "First day of Kindergarten!" posts and elementary schools in general. You're not going to kindergarten. You're not getting your graduation picture taken in preschool this year or walking in a ceremony with a construction paper diploma tied in a neat little bow. This fall we're not walking you to your classroom to meet your new teacher or unpack your new purple backpack stuffed with freshly purchased supplies in the cubby labeled "Jordyn." No backpack. No supplies. No cubby. NO. KINDERGARTEN.

For the most part, I think we do a pretty good job of avoiding the wallowing that comes with losing a child, but sometimes...sometimes it's too much. 

Kindergarten is too much. 

When the weight of losing you gets this heavy, I think about a line from the pilot of a TV show we watch called This Is Us. An elderly doctor counsels a newly bereaved young father and says, "I like to think that one day you'll be an old man like me talkin' a young man's ear off explainin' to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade." And I remember that I want to be the one making sweet lemonade, not licking my wounds that are drenched in the stinging, acidic juice of the lemons.

As you may know, Mommy started a ministry at Rooftop Church in 2014 with a couple of other struggling mamas. We call it Missing Pieces. It's a safe, comfortable place for women who feel like they're missing pieces of their family due to infant loss, pregnancy loss, and/or infertility to come for hope and encouragement. Daddy and I also help raise money for Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support and for Mercy Heartprints, two organizations that helped us when we were in the excruciatingly painful early stages of our journey without you on earth. Last year on your birthday, we began giving a classroom gift to the teacher(s) who likely would have had you in their classes. We plan to continue this throughout elementary school and possibly beyond. These are some of the first small steps we've taken toward making something resembling lemonade from our loss.

An additional step that Mommy and her friends Elizabeth, Jane, and Erica are taking involves teaming up with a ministry from Kansas City to provide another avenue of encouragement and hope to women in similar situations. The nonprofit group is called Lullaby of Hope. Its mission is very similar to that of Missing Pieces, but it accomplishes it through a tangible gift box for each struggling mom that is tailored to her specific situation and needs. There is a Hope Gift Box
for women journeying through infertility, a Peace Gift Box for pregnancy loss, and a Butterfly Gift Box for pregnancy loss. Each box contains an uplifting book, a key chain for the Daddy, a bracelet for the Mommy, some treats, and a handwritten note from me or one of the other women in the ministry letting the recipient know that she is loved, she is going to survive this pain, and she is not alone. Each box is completely free of cost to the recipient and the person requesting it, but it costs us $25 to create and ship. LOH relies on fundraising to cover our expenses. So, here is my plea for your birthday, sweet girl...

 Please help us make lemonade this March and donate $5 (or more) HERE. Also, if you know of anyone in need of such a gift box, please feel free to request a box using the links provided above. 
These are our birthday gifts to you, Jordyn. Pray that family and friends are willing and able to help. You deserve it...and so do the parents who are about to journey through the most gut wrenching time of their lives.

Have the happiest birthday yet, big 5-year-old! We love you!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Kisses and Bandages

Dear Jordy-Bug,

Whenever your baby sister Joslyn hurts herself or if someone else in the family says "Ow!," she responds with, "It's okay; it will heal. Kiss it and get a bandage!" Easy as that. A kiss and a bandage. Thankfully, in her short little life she hasn't yet experienced a hurt that can't be fixed so easily.

Unfortunately, Mommy and Daddy have.

On the surface, I look like I've healed quite a bit since your death. I get up, get dressed, get your siblings ready, go to work, interact with colleagues, make dinner, enjoy time with Daddy, clean the house, go to the park, sing and dance with Joss and Tyse, go out on occasion with friends, eat ice cream, smile, laugh, yadda, yadda, yadda. Normal events of a normal life on any given day. But I'm not normal. My life isn't normal. And I'm not healed. I don't cry every day like I did the year you died, but I'm definitely not healed.

Carrying and delivering three babies in my forties has taken a toll on me physically and mentally; your death has magnified every issue a hundredfold. On top of fibromyalgia and migraines, I still have a lot of pain in my hips and back, my plantar fasciitis has gotten worse, and I've developed some cardiac issues related to the stress of pregnancy/childbirth, intense weight gain/loss in a short amount of time, and extreme grief. When I first get up in the morning, I walk like an 80 year old woman; I'm a physical mess. A mix of pregnancy, mom, and grief brain has me in a fog more times than I care to admit. Emotionally, I can't begin to tell you how many times I've overreacted to situations because my resilience just isn't there any more. I am exhausted.

About a month ago, Daddy and I started talking about what next school year would look like for us. There were some major changes on the horizon in both his job and in mine. It was a pretty daunting shift for me. After being out of the classroom as an Instructional Coach for nine years, I was asked to teach two middle school classes along with fulfilling my coaching responsibilities. I've never taught middle school before, but after thorough consideration we decided to accept the challenge and do the best we could while trying to be good parents to three children under four years old. Then the chest pains started. I was having CHEST PAINS just thinking about the new responsibilities before me. I'm 44 years old. Chest pains. I already feel like I'm barely keeping it together some days. Chest. Pains. If I'm going to be a good Mommy to Joslyn and Tysen here on earth, I need to be here on earth. Seriously, chest pains? As much as I long to hold you in my arms in heaven, I'm not ready to let this life go just yet. I still have a lot to take care of here...particularly Daddy, Joss, and Tyse. So, Daddy and I made a bold decision for me to step away from working outside the home for a year, and asked my school district to grant me a one-year sabbatical. They graciously did just that. It's an opportunity for me to spend precious time with your brother and sister and to figure out how to really heal in all aspects of the word: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I don't expect to be 100% back to my old self in twelve months, but I expect to be healthier and stronger. I need this for my family and my career. I need to refocus and re-energize, so I can return with renewed purpose. I need to work on true healing.

There have only been a couple people who haven't seemed incredibly supportive of our decision and that's unfortunate, but those people aren't the ones I come home to every day and they're not the ones who have to live with my insufferable self. So...for Daddy, for Joslyn, for Tysen, for you, and for me, I'm "just" going to be a Mommy for a while. Throw me a kiss and grab a bandage, because it's about to get real down here.

I love you, sweet girl!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Children of 2012

Dear Jordy-Bug,

It's that time of year again; mid winter. It marks the beginning of the last several weeks that you spent in my belly before the fateful day of your birth in March, 2012. It also marks the beginning of several other 2012 births. These children are growing up with us here on earth, showing me how tall you might be, how well you might communicate, and what other talents you might have developed by now. To be totally honest, it's often very difficult for me to look at those 4-year-olds and soon-to-be 4-year-olds, especially the girls. It's painful to be reminded of what we are missing with you.

Two weeks ago in church, two of those little girls frolicked in the aisles. One proudly wore her princess "4" shirt, because it was her birthday. At first I smiled at their fun-loving exchange. Then it hit me that you should be in the thick of their merriment. That you would be four in a matter of weeks. But you weren't. You aren't. You never will be. I looked away and tried not to cry.

Two days ago, one of those same little girls stood with Joslyn during the worship songs. She put her arm around her in a sweet, comforting way that made me smile...until it occurred to me that that's her big sister's job. Joss won't ever feel your protective arms around her like that. Not physically anyway. I teared up again.

Yesterday, a little boy who isn't usually with Joslyn at the sitter's house came for a visit. She followed him around like a puppy dog, copying everything he did, and showing off for him. It didn't take me but half a second to focus my attention on what she is missing by not having you around to serve in that role. I choked back tears yet again.

I used to grieve for me and for Daddy. Now I have two other earthly blessings for whom I weep as well. I weep because Joss and Tyse never laid eyes on your perfect little self. I weep because they never hugged or kissed you. I weep because they'll grow up knowing they have a sister in heaven, but never fully realizing what that means in terms of the bond that could have been.

You are the one they should play with. You are the one they should look up to. You are the one who should give reassuring hugs. You are the one they should be learning from and copying. You are their big sister. They'll never know you like they know each other, or even like they'll know the other kiddos who come in and out of their lives at church, at the sitter's house, at school, at relatives' houses, or even at the grocery store. That crushes me. Sometimes swallowing me whole.

I have to remember to be grateful for these other little humans in our babies' lives. They are doing things for them that only children can do, by interacting with them on a level that no adult can replicate. Their genuine love and innocence is priceless. I just wish you were one of the "Children of 2012" with whom Joslyn and Tysen could share their time, love, and innocence as well.

I love and miss you more and more every day, baby girl. Your sister and brother may not realize it yet, but they do too.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

NICU Remembrance Day

Dear Jordy-Bug,

Last week I had a dream about you. This is only the second time it's happened since you died. Your sister, your brother, and you were playing on Mommy and Daddy's bed. As the big sister, you were making sure they didn't get too rowdy or fall off. You were exactly as I have pictured you in my mind: sweet, loving, protective, and kind, with beautiful bright blue eyes. The only thing that wasn't as I had imagined was your hair color. It had lightened up some, so you looked even more like your siblings than you did as a baby (and less like your Momma.) Despite the change in hairdo, it was absolutely wonderful to see you. Somehow, though, I woke up with tears on my cheeks. You would have been 3 1/2 years old on that day. I was wrecked for the rest of it.

I trudged through the day, crying at the drop of a hat. Later in the afternoon I discovered through my fog that Neonatal Intensive Care Remembrance Day is not only a thing, but it's this month. I've been a bereaved mother for 3 years, 5 months, and 26 days. Yet somehow I had no idea about it. Maybe it's because nearly all of the bereaved parents I talk to have had a miscarriage, a stillborn birth, or knew their baby would die within hours of birth, so they didn't spend any time in the NICU. On the other hand, most of the people we know who have children who did spend time in the NICU brought their babies home to grow and thrive. Our experience is rather unique, at least among people we know.

In all honesty, I've been struggling a lot lately...even before the dream. Daddy is very busy with work and football, and I spend a lot of time alone with your siblings. I absolutely cherish that time, but let's be honest, there's not a lot of high level conversation going on between a 2-year old, a 7-month old, and an old lady like me. So, it gives me too much time alone in my head; that's always a dangerous thing. I obsess about issues and people in my being the most important person of all. There's the guilt of not mothering you as much as I mother our living babies. There's the sorrow of not being able to experience new things with you. There's the mixed emotions that come with looking at your sweet photos and knowing there will never be any new ones. And there's the tears. Tears that I haven't allowed myself to cry for months and months. Those tears are flowing pretty easily these days. Although I hate to cry, I feel like it's necessary. I've been holding back on my grief since I found out I was pregnant with Joslyn. I had new hope (which is awesome), and I think it cushioned the pain of losing you for a while. Then Tyse came along and I found myself busy, busy, busy raising two little earthly crazies, which obscured the grief even more. However, going back to work in August after maternity leave opened the flood gate. You should have started preschool. I should have been posting photos of you in pigtails with your lunch box and backpack. Instead, I watched all of the other moms post first day photos of their 3-year olds and I cried. I feel like I haven't stopped crying since.

On Saturday I'll remember you, just as I do every other day...hour...minute...second of my life. I pray that you remember me too.

NICU: March 28, 2012; One of your very last cuddles with Daddy.
I love you, Bug.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Two Little Girls, Two Little Birthdays

Dear Jordy-Bug,

Tomorrow your sweet, rambunctious, precocious little sister will be two years old. TWO! I have a feeling you are two very different girls. Joslyn is all about action: singing, dancing, swimming, coloring, chattering, and socializing. I imagine you as a bit quieter, a tad more contemplative, a smidge on the cerebral side. Still, I think you would be the best of friends.  I imagine her coaxing you out of your shell, while you keep her grounded (and maybe even out of trouble.)

For Joss's 2nd birthday, we're going to Rooftop Church's summer party for some mini golf, bouncing, bubbles, music, and ice cream. Then we're coming back home for a dinner of pizza, salad, and a special cake created by one of Mommy's former students. It's a pretty basic celebration for a two year old. I notice as I plan things for her, though, there's always something niggling at me...almost holding me back. For instance, last year we bought her one small gift (a little basketball) and visited Grant's Farm. Even with that very simple day, I felt guilty. Why? Because no one gets YOU anything for YOUR birthday. We usually release some balloons and have cake (we completely dropped the ball on those this year because of the arrival of your new brother), but there aren't any packages with your name on them. There aren't many cards that come in the mail (a couple thoughtful friends still send them.) Don't misunderstand me, I don't want gifts showing up at the house...I don't want anything for me, except to know that you're loved and remembered. So, as a belated birthday present to you, I'm asking our friends and family to honor you at the Share Walk for Remembrance and Hope. That can come in the form of registering to walk with us, registering as an Angel in the Crowd (for those unable to attend, but who want to receive a t-shirt and program in the mail), or by sponsoring the walk through a monetary donation (below.)


My hope is that you are showered with love through their generosity, and the Share organization is blessed by being able to support other bereaved families. 

We love you, Bug. Keep watching over your sister and brother...and make sure you sing "Happy Birthday" extra loudly tomorrow so she can hear you.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Right to Bare Arms

Dear Jordy-Bug,

I hate heat. I hate to sweat. St. Louis is a hot, humid city in the summer. Today it was in the upper 80s. Yuck. Despite the uncomfortable climate, I haven't worn a sleeveless shirt in public since my mid-twenties, when I got down to my high school weight. (I should note that in high school I thought I was HUGE...and compared to my size 2 friends, my size 12 frame was, indeed, seemingly immense.) Every summer since then, I've thrown on my t-shirt and shorts and hunkered down in the air conditioned house. When I had to be somewhere public, I didn't dare show more skin than was absolutely necessary.

Enter your sweet little sister and brother. When I asked Joss what she wanted to do today, she said, "ammals!" She wanted to go see some animals. Animals are outside. In the heat. Oy. I had two choices: play it emotionally safe and cover up my bulk with a frumpy t-shirt but be miserable when the sweat started to flow, or suck it up, bear my flabby arms, and feel more physically comfortable. Decisions, decisions.

Today I'm 50 pounds heavier than I was in high school, and I went to the park with Daddy, Joslyn, and Tysen in a tank top. I. Wore. A. Tank. Top. In. Public.

This is huge! (No pun intended.)

Of course, there was quite a bit of internal dialogue that led up to this decision. What would I be saying to Joslyn and Tysen if I didn't want to participate or I was crabby when engaging with them because I dislike my appearance? How do I set aside my insecurities and model self-confidence so I can contribute to raising a strong, healthy daughter, and a son who respects a woman for who she is instead of basing that decision on the size of her jeans? I want to enjoy your siblings to the fullest, not just watch from the sidelines as they laugh, run, and play with Daddy. I want to expose them to different experiences, not limit them to activities we can do in the 70° house away from judging eyes. So, that means I need to get outside and look at the "ammals" with them in good spirits...and a comfortable outfit.

Make no mistake. You also had a large role in my decision. I'm missing every single thing with you. Everything. I can't miss out with them, too. So I want to thank you, Bug, for my new found bravery. Because of you, I'm going to stop focusing on what I look like to me and start working on what I look like to Joss and Tyse.

Tank top? Check.
"Ooooooooh," look at the birds!
Swimsuit? Well, I'll work on that one. ;)

You make me a better person every day. I love you, sweetie!

Friday, May 29, 2015

"Notes of Hope"

Dear Jordy-Bug,

Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support is creating a "Notes of Hope" campaign that encourages bereaved parents, grandparents, siblings, family/friends and professionals to write a love note or poem to our children that will be published in a digital keepsake journal in October during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I'll admit that it took me a long time to sit down and write the letter. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's because I'm consumed with Joslyn and Tysen. Maybe it's because I wanted to find the exact right words to say to you. Maybe it's because I miss you so freaking much that no letter is going to do justice to those feelings. I don't know the exact reason, but I finally sat down and wrote it tonight after tucking your brother and sister into bed.
Here's the final product:

In memory of Jordyn Tyse-Dallas Sander ~ 3.14.2012 - 3.28.2012

Dear Jordy-Bug,

Three years. Wow. It seems like an eternity since we last held you in our arms. A lot has happened since you came into our world on March 14, 2012 and left so soon after. We said good bye for now to Grandpa Nockerts in July 2013, and two weeks later on August 1st we welcomed your little sister Joslyn. Your younger brother Tysen was born eighteen months after that in February 2015. Needless to say, it’s been a busy few years. Although we love your "rainbow" siblings with all of our being, we sure do miss our little Bug.

Your sister and brother are too young to understand your story, but Joslyn recognizes you in your photos and calls you "Sissy." When she sees a ladybug, she says "Bug!" and then "Sissy!" Often she stands in front of your curio cabinet, staring at your urn and trinkets. It warms our hearts that she’s getting to know her big sister; it's really remarkable how she has taken to you and your things.

Parenting a child in heaven and two on earth is an emotional balancing act. It breaks our hearts when we think about everything we're missing in your life, while we celebrate all the milestones in your siblings’ lives. We pray that what we miss with you will be made up when we finally join you in your heavenly home. Until then, we hope we do you proud while raising Joss and Tyse. Our promise to you is that they will continue to learn about you, grow to love you, and help us keep your memory alive.

Please give Grandpa lots of hugs and kisses, and know that we love and miss you more than anyone can imagine.

All our love,

Daddy (Dennis), Mommy (Kelly), Joslyn, & Tysen

It's been so long since I've written anything, I'm not even sure if it's coherent. Or worthy of you. But I did the best I could considering my procrastination (it's due tomorrow, by the way.) I try to honor God in all I do...and I strive to make you proud, too. I hope you like it, Bug.

All my love, 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Beware the Ides of March

Dear Jordy-Bug,

You know what's frustrating about grief? Pretty much everything. But you know what's REALLY frustrating? Not knowing when it's festering until it's too late.

Yesterday was your 3rd birthday. We didn't do much. In fact, with your new baby brother Tysen in the mix and me still recuperating from c-section surgery, we didn't plan anything special. We didn't get a cake. We didn't release balloons. We didn't light and release the lantern that has been sitting in the garage for months. We didn't even have a special dinner. We spent the day at home together as a family, tired from three weeks of sleep deprivation and a little sad. My lingering migraine didn't add to the fun. Although the day was entirely uneventful, we did sing Happy Birthday to you last night...three times (because Joslyn kept saying "Again!" whenever we finished.) But that's about it. All in all, it was a birthday fail.

By rights, today should have been better emotionally. We went to church with Grandma Nockerts, had a nice brunch, and then came home to relax and watch the Wisconsin Badger basketball game. I still couldn't shake the migraine and was a little cranky, but I thought that's all it was. After the overtime Badger B1G Championship victory, Grandma and I started to prepare dinner. That's when it all started to unravel. The child safety lock on the cabinet door wouldn't open. I cursed. I couldn't find a pan that fit the ribs just right. I grumbled at Grandma. The faucet wasn't spraying water with enough force. I snapped at Daddy. The sink didn't hold water as I was doing some of the dishes. I started to cry a little. The oven didn't seem to heat the ribs all the way through. I about threw them on the floor. There it was. My boiling point. I dished up Joslyn's and Daddy's plates, waited for Grandma to sit at the table with Joss, and I headed for the bedroom, where I grabbed your Jordyn Bear and erupted in tears.

How could I be such a terrible parent and not do something special for you yesterday? Why did I let my tiredness and attention to your siblings eclipse your special day? I knew that the balance of parenting a child in heaven and children on earth was going to be tenuous. I just didn't know that I'd let you down so soon. I'm trying to give myself some grace, but the Mommy guilt is overwhelming.

After my brief cry (I only got to melt down for about ten minutes before Tysen screamed for a feeding), I contemplated the situation and started to think a bit more clearly. The conclusion I came to was this: whether we celebrate your birthday with a month-long party surrounded by friends and family or sit on the couch just hanging out with each other, we love you more than life itself. That will never ever change. Ever.

We love and miss our big 3 year old! Here's hoping your celebration in heaven was a little more festive. Happy Birthday, Bug!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Anxious Anticipation

Dear Jordy-Bug,

On the eve of your little brother's birth, I feel like I should have something profound to say. Mostly, though, I miss you intensely and I'm anxious. Anxious that the delivery will be as traumatic as yours...or even your sister's, which put me out of commission for 14 hours after her birth. Anxious that he won't be completely healthy. Anxious that we'll leave the hospital with empty arms again.

So, I'm not going to try to be profound. I'm going to try to breathe. And relax. And pray. And enjoy the last several hours of this tiny little life inside of me. Stay close, Bug, because I have a feeling we'll be talking often between now and tomorrow morning.

I love you, sweet girl.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Phil 4:6-7


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Baby's First (and hopefully only) "Sext" Ever

Dear Jordy-Bug,

Yesterday, Daddy and I went to the 20-week ultrasound (anatomy scan) for your littlest sibling. Among other things, we found out the gender. I figured I should try to do the gender reveal in a clever, yet non-nauseating way. While I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that I had actually gotten to the point where I was excited about sharing the gender news with friends and family. This was a breakthrough for me.

You might ask, "Why wouldn't you be excited, Mommy?" For people who haven't lost a child, their natural inclination is to look forward to finding out the gender (mine definitely was when we went to the scan for you.) However, for us now it's a whole different bucket of emotions and obsessions. Sunday afternoon I felt the knot in my stomach. By the evening, I was pretty spaced out and not really focusing on the things going on around me. Monday morning, I was even more anxious, a bit testy, and short with both Daddy and Joss. I was probably even more nervous about this ultrasound than I was with your sister. I'm another year older; another year increases the chances of genetic problems with the baby. Along with that, every physical anomaly I had ever heard about in our support groups blinded me as it flashed into my brain. Every diagnosis that was "incompatible with life" played itself out as a cacophonous tune in my head. I was overwhelmed. Normal people don't think like this. They think "I can't wait to find out if the baby is a boy or girl!" They might also spend a few minutes on "I hope s/he is healthy," but not to the extent that people who have lived through the death of a child and the subsequent sharing of hundreds of awful, awful stories that no one should have to tell or hear do. When we say, "We don't care what the gender is, we just hope the baby is healthy," we mean it with our whole hearts.

So, bright and early Monday morning, we anxiously made our way to the perinatal center, where we expected to see a different ultrasound technician than our favorite tech who knew our family's story and did all of Joslyn's scans. When we scheduled our appointment, we were told that she was not in on Mondays. Much to my great surprise, Ana popped her head into the waiting room and said "How are you guys? You're pregnant again? How wonderful!" My anxiety eased just a tad as I said a little prayer of thanks for putting her on the schedule that day. Before we started the hour-long test, Ana asked how my anxiety level was with this pregnancy. I told her I was mostly okay except for the last 24 hours. Then the tears came. She handed me tissues and said everything is going to be great with this one. As she patiently and painstakingly walked us through every anatomical structure and measurement, explaining what they meant, she reassured us that the baby was beautiful and everything was looking good. Another breath and release of tension. The perinatal specialist then came in to go over a few of the same things and also talked to us about the risk of Down Syndrome. Panic. She reassured us that at this juncture, everything is pointing to a healthy baby and that we're not going to talk about potential problems any more. Breathe. "We're going to do the same routine that we did with Joslyn, OK?" I nodded in the affirmative. This means lots of ultrasounds, non-stress tests, blood tests, and doctor visits. I'm okay with that, because clearly I need the reassurance that these tests bring, even though the time leading up to each one is stressful.

After we left the appointment and my anxiety level started to return to an acceptable level, I starting processing everything. I thought to myself, "For now, this baby is healthy. I'm going to rejoice in that bit of news and go from here." I thanked God for giving us the gift of another baby when I wasn't sure I would even have one to hold in my arms. I also thanked him for the staff at Holy Tony's Perinatal Center and their compassion, as well as the good news we got from the scan. Then I pictured you and Joslyn chatting about whether you wanted a brother or sister. [I'm sure she's communicating with you when she stands in front of your curio cabinet and stares, or when she holds on to your Jordyn-Bear with all her strength.] Did the conversation go something like this?

Joslyn: "Mommy's having a baby."
Jordyn: "Yes, and I already have a little sister, so I want a brother."
Joslyn: "What's a brother?"
Jordyn: "It's a boy that is related to you."
Joslyn: "Oh, then I want something else. What's it called when it's a girl related to you?"
Jordyn: "A sister. I'm your sister."
Joslyn: "Oh, I already have one, then. OK, I'll take a brother."
Jordyn: "I'll tell God."

And so it was done. Baby Sander #3 is, indeed, a little boy.

His first (and hopefully only) "sext."
Clever, huh? ;)

Thanks for helping God decide how to round out our family, baby girl. I love you!

On March 14, 2012, I gave birth to Jordyn, the most beautiful baby girl ever. During delivery, however, she was deprived of oxygen. We lived with her in the NICU for two weeks, loving her, holding her, reading to her, singing to her, bathing her, changing her diapers, styling her full head of dark brown hair, praying over her, and sharing her with friends and family, until she went home to Jesus on March 28, 2012. These are my love letters to Jordyn Tyse-Dallas "TD" Sander; our little Jordy-Bug.