When Intuition Fails

Zane Brodie Hampton

8/17/2002 – 8/19/2002 

This originally ran in 2012, the year we started TMR, on Zane’s 10th birthday.  August goes easier for me these days, but people still tell me that they get something out of reading his story, so I guess it will be an annual thing. Happy Birthday, Zane. I’m so glad you entered my life, even if you had to leave it far too soon. 

Ten years ago today I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy: Zane Brodie Hampton. He was 10 lbs, 10 oz, 23” long, five days late, and, oddly, still covered in vernix. He didn’t breathe right away, but it wasn’t long before he pinked up properly, receiving pretty decent Apgar scores. This is his story.

Zane’s grave, where he is buried with his Uncle Charlie

My older brother Tom, the designated “guardian” for our children should anything happen to both myself and my ex-husband, called shortly after Zane’s birth to “share our joy.” Only, as I talked to him, I realized I didn’t actually feel joy.  I didn’t even feel the profound sense of relief I thought I would feel at this point.

You see, in the weeks leading up to Zane’s birth I was a basket case. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something awful was going to happen – something that I could not prepare for. I had a home birth planned, but couldn’t imagine how I was going to manage my demanding three-year-old daughter while in labor. Every evening as my husband got home, I hoped and prayed I would go into labor while he was there so I wouldn’t have to worry about him getting home or being on my own. My friend Jennifer, who was to be my doula, was having a birthday. Her husband planned a surprise party, and I obsessed about her ability to be at my birth and her birthday party until her husband told me it was canceled.  (Turned out she got wind of the party and made him cancel it.)

The week before his birth, in the wee hours of August 10th, I briefly thought that my water had broken.  I called my midwife, Miriam, and she told me to “sit on a towel for ten minutes” then call her. I did. The towel was bone dry. If there was a leak, it had sealed up freakishly fast, which should be a good sign, right? Then why did I feel so damned anxious?  I sat on that towel in the middle of the night for two hours with contractions six minutes apart, willing them to escalate into real labor. Part of me was convinced that that was my window.  If I didn’t go into labor then, something awful was going to happen. I sobbed when I realized the contractions were slowing. Finally, I admitted defeat and went back to bed.

A whole – incredibly anxiety-filled – week went by before a great deal of discomfort kicked me out of bed on Saturday morning, August 17th. I took a bath to see if that would help. When I got out of the tub, water gushed all over the floor. This time it was obvious. My water had broken. This baby was finally going to come.

I threw up for the first two contractions, which were about 20 minutes apart. Then Jennifer arrived and fixed me a drink to cut the nausea. Whew! No more throwing up. The contractions sped up rapidly. Within two hours, they were two minutes apart. I was shaking like a leaf as I got into the birth pool, which felt too hot. I had back labor with my daughter, which was as painful as they say, but the pain was alleviated by pressing on a certain part of my back. Nothing alleviated the pain of Zane’s birth. It was grueling. I had about five hours of hard, dry contractions approximately two minutes apart, broken up by an hour or so of less frequent contractions, which I expect was my transition period.

I go through transition wicked fast. When my daughter’s midwife announced that I was six centimeters, I thought I was a goner. I just didn’t have hours and hours left in me.  Fortunately, she was born an hour and a half later. With Zane a bit of cervix was stuck in the way slowing down the transition a bit, and Miriam had to physically manipulate it out of the way so I could push. OUCH!!! Finally, I could go back to the birth pool to have him.

He was born at 3:21 p.m. on August 17th, and, yes, it was indeed Jennifer’s birthday.  If her husband had had the party, she would have had to send her back-up (whose last name, coincidentally, happened to be Brodie) or miss her own party.

Zane’s birth was hard. There was no doubt that I could not have handled any part of it alone with my daughter. So my intuition seemed on target about that, but the difficulty of his birth didn’t seem to justify the extreme anxiety I had around it. Nor did the fact that he didn’t breathe right away.

He seemed aware, he pooped, he nursed. He was big and healthy. All was well. So the professionals left us alone with him as I waved good-bye with a spoonful of lemon sorbet in my mouth, the first thing I had eaten all day.

Zane and the happiest big sister in the world

Later that evening, when he was nursing, I noticed that he was a little blue. I called to my husband and told him I wasn’t sure he was breathing. He whisked him up and tried to get him to wake up. I had enough time to get the midwife, and then 911, on the phone before he got him awake. He seemed okay, so we canceled the ambulance. Then Miriam told us that sometimes big babies get hypoglycemic after birth and pass out so to try and make sure he eats frequently. Well, he didn’t. After that first latch on, he showed no interest in nursing. We actually broke out the free case of formula that we’d been mocking when it arrived.

As you might imagine, I was a wreck. I don’t know how I survived that night. I don’t think I got any sleep. The next morning, Miriam came over to check him and said that he seemed fine. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was working too hard to breathe. I’ve had asthma since I was 13, and I know what it’s like to have to use all your energy just to breathe. She said if I was still worried I should have him checked by his pediatrician. Only it was Sunday, the pediatrician’s office was closed, and the emergency number for the pediatrician was a cell phone that was out of range.

I called my cousin Jeanine, who is a lactation consultant, and asked for some advice.  She gave me some tips that resulted in success later that evening. He nursed beautifully for about a half hour, one of the most magical interludes of my life, and I’ll always treasure it.  The love in his eyes as he stared into mine was palpable.  I could feel it melting the anxiety I’d been carrying for weeks.  I thought he must be getting better, but I had resolved to take him into the doctor in the morning anyway.

Later that night, I got worried again and woke up my husband, and the two of us were watching him when he stopped breathing. It was obvious this time. My husband did CPR, and I called 911. Police came quickly and took him down to the ambulance. We waited in the police car barefoot and in night-clothes as they worked on him. Finally, they drove us to the hospital and stashed us in the waiting room.

A long time later, Dr. Sunshine (yes, that was his real name. Have I mentioned that irony is a hallmark of my life?) came out to tell us that they had gotten a heartbeat, but he was on oxygen and was quite blue. He was going to die. They were going to send him up to the NICU where we could wait. We went with him in the elevator, while the nurse accompanying him pumped him with oxygen.  She noticed our bare feet and went off to find slippers for us. That random kindness touched us deeply and will never be forgotten. While we waited, we called my sister who got my mother out of bed and drove the hour and a half or so to the hospital from her house. Before they got there, someone arrived to tell us that he had died, and we could come and hold him. There he was surrounded by all those preemies: Zane, the giant of the NICU. Someone got me a chair (another person whose kindness will never be forgotten), and I sat with tears streaming down my cheeks as I held the little boy that I’d known for such a short time and told him that I loved him so, so much and I was so, so sorry that I didn’t keep him safe. Could he ever forgive me?

Because that’s our job as parents, isn’t it?  Above all, we’re supposed to keep our children safe. And our intuition is supposed to help us with that. But what happens when intuition fails? When we don’t get all the information – or the right information – and something awful happens as a result?

After Zane died, I ran into a mother I knew and told her what happened. She then told me her daughter’s story.  She had planned a home birth with the same midwife, and was getting close to her due date when she woke up from a dream one afternoon. A little girl had been calling, “I’m sick and I’m tired, Mommy!” This woman had two boys, so she knew the child calling was the girl she was waiting for. She called Miriam and told her about the dream. Miriam told her to go to the ER. She went, feeling silly, but they told her they had to do an emergency C-section. She said, “No, you don’t understand.  I’m having a home birth.” They said, “No, you’re having this baby right now, or she will die.” Despite her rocky beginnings, her daughter soon recovered full health.

Where was my dream? Why didn’t Zane tell me what to do to keep him safe?

I was strep B positive when I went into labor with Zane, but Miriam said that antibiotics are overused and I didn’t have any of the high-risk signs: more than three weeks early, fever in mother, or labor that goes on for 18 hours or more after membrane rupture. My labor had lasted a whopping eight and a half hours, start to finish, and Zane was five days late. There was no reason for antibiotics. But I had a distinct twinge of discomfort with that decision. I was sure we were going to find out that Zane had died of a strep B infection.

I spent the next twelve weeks berating myself for every decision I had made around his birth. I thought of a good six ways we could have saved his life – until we got the final results from the medical examiner.  According to her, Zane died of a strep A infection, and antibiotics within five days of death would not have done any good. You’ll recall that he was only about 39 hours old when he died. How could this be? My husband told the medical examiner about the incident the week before his birth, when I thought my water had broken, and she said it was likely that that was when he got the infection. He was so sick by the time he was born that death was inevitable. All the ways I had thought of to “save his life” would have done nothing of the sort. They would merely have extended the time he’d spent in the hospital or, worse, meant we didn’t get any time with him to ourselves.

For a while I was obsessed with playing Mah Jongg online. There was a version where you could replay a game you had lost. (You can see why this might appeal to me.) I replayed a lot of games, and I found that, for some games, no matter how many times I replayed them, I still lost. Sometimes you’re just dealt a losing hand.

I have come to believe that what seemed like a failure of intuition was not really a failure at all. I received messages; they just weren’t messages I could act upon. And I think that’s because there wasn’t anything I could do about what was to come. This is my own personal belief, but I think there are certain challenges that are determined ahead of time. Whether we ourselves determine them, or God, or fate, or Providence, or whatever you want to call it, there are some things where the outcome is already determined and, no matter what you do to try to change them, they will still happen.

The true test of a parent is how you handle these challenges. Make no mistake: they can break you if you let them. Or you can accept what has happened, pick yourself up, and look for ways you can change the future. I’m not going to kid you; it could be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.  But it could also be the most important.

My deepest wish for you all is the serenity, courage and wisdom you need to accomplish miracles.

~ Professor

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91 Responses to When Intuition Fails

  1. LW says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I too lost a son in 2002, stillborn 11 weeks early, right size for gestational age, cause undetermined (I declined an autopsy, but swabs & x-rays were taken). No broken membranes & I was induced after he died. The swabs taken from him tested positive for GBS, mine were negative. I tore myself apart with the whys, the self-blame.

    In the weeks before he died – or months, I don’t remember now – I saw him in a dream. I was viewing myself from above, along with partner & family, walking down a hospital corridor, carrying a small bundle in blue. His smallness and the silence of the dream bothered me, but I had the relentless optimism of a young first time mother. Two weeks before he died, my midwife said at my appointment, “If he was born now, he’d survive. He’d be small but okay”. What a strange thing to say. Those words haunted me for a long time afterwards, as I wished I could go back in time and request a 27 week induction that would never have been approved. It all played out as it had in my dream, a small grim group carrying a tiny bundle in blue down a hospital corridor, only, after he died the full meaning of the dream had sunk in.

    I went on to have three more healthy & uneventful pregnancies, two ending in unassisted water births. I saw those children before & during my pregnancies too, only this time in the dreams they were older, with faces, features, personalities. It’s not something I usually talk about, but the older I get, the more I can accept not knowing or understanding everything that is. Looking back, perhaps I was just being prepared to accept what was to come.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      It sounds SO similar! I don’t think I mentioned in in this piece, but I once had a dream that Zane brought his “little brother” to meet me. Zane was of course much older than he ever got to in life, but I knew who he was and was SO happy to meet his “little brother.”

      • LW says:

        I remember reading about Zane’s introduction to your younger son, perhaps on another post. What a beautiful experience.

        I don’t often share mine for fear of ridicule – I’m an open-minded atheist, I have no idea what comes after and no need of firm belief either way.

        A few months after my son died, I had a waking vision while going to sleep. It was of a blonde, curly-haired child of two or three giggling & running beside his grave on a sunny day, chasing a butterfly. It was comforting but confusing, as the age didn’t match up to him or anyone I could think of.

        I became pregnant again with a daughter six months after the stillbirth. Fast forward a few years and I was sitting beside his grave, on a sunny day, when that curly-haired, blonde daughter giggled and yelled ‘butterfly’ when she saw a stained glass butterfly ornament we’d left on his grave. It was her, she was the child I’d seen. No one else in the family had curly hair.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Yes! I had one of THOSE too! One day at the acupuncturist I fell asleep on the table. When the acupuncturist came back in, I realized I had been dreaming, and in the dream I was holding a baby boy of about 10 months. The baby was MINE, but he was so much bigger than Zane ever got. When my son was about 8 months old I was holding him one day and realized THAT was exactly what I had felt in the dream. I had been holding him.

      • LW says:

        That’s so cool! I haven’t talked to anyone else who’s experienced the same thing – especially another bereaved non <3

      • LW says:

        *mom, thx autocorrect.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I talk a lot, so I’ve talked to a few over the years (it’s been nearly 15 now since Zane came and went). 😉

  2. Shola says:

    I just came across this today in my Facebook feed, I want to say I’m so sorry you had this happen to you. Your story sounds much like mine. I had a happy healthy birth. 6 days later my child had a heart attack and passed away 17 days after that. Just like you… He caught a virus I had while giving birth to him, that in turn attacked his heart. Thank you for sharing your story! This only happened a couple months ago, and I hope I can/will have the strength you have. Much love to you.

    • Shola says:

      And to that tina troll… I had a hospital birth as well as 24 hours antibiotics and 6 hours of observation at the hospital for my child(at day 3 cause I wasn’t happy with his breathing and it cleared up by the time we got to the hospital)… All came back normal.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      *sigh* Shola, I suspect you’ve got a long and difficult road ahead of you. Try to keep open to the possibility of good. There will be times when it is very hard, but it is crucial for healing. Take help from every quarter you can find it, and find people who want to hear about your child. That goes a long way toward healing. We need to talk about the children we lose as much as the children we get to keep.

  3. Lily says:

    Tina is a troll. My heart goes out to you professor.

    My mother at a tender age of 15 had a little boy in a small town. She had no hospital next to her. She embraced her baby and took care of him the best he could. He started having fever from the jaundice. She new nothing back then you could imagine. She got on the bus and took her baby to a hospital. She then came back with him in a box. I hate when people judge. Please.

    My mother has never been the same. My son has autism and sometimes I tell her you don’t underatand. She tells me oh yes I do.

    She is strong…..she is independent….nothing stops her. I love her she’s my hero

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      So very sweet.

      I don’t tend to call people trolls, even though I know that people like Craig Egan exist who see themselves as trolls, because most people think they are “doing the right thing.” I just try to point out where they may have blindspots. For instance, in this case Tina has clearly not read my piece, or if she did her reading comprehension is severely impaired. If that is so obviously the case for this piece, it is likely that her reading comprehension with respect to RoundUp is equally impaired.

  4. Tina says:

    You should have gone to the hospital. That would have saved his life. You “would have had less time with him”???? How about he could still be alive!

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      You didn’t read this, did you? You missed the twelve weeks of soul searching, looking for anything we could have done that might have saved his life until the medical examiner told us that he was fatally ill WHEN HE WAS BORN. According to her, there was nothing we could have done that would have meant he would still be alive. In that case, the only thing that matters is that his short life was as good — and meaningful — as possible. Generally, that doesn’t mean spending as much of it as possible in a NICU wired up to equipment which keeps you away from the one human being you have spent the last nine months bonding with and the others that you should have had a lifetime to get to know.

      But thanks for rushing to judgment there, bizarrely assuming that I wouldn’t choose to have my son alive if I could have.

      • Erin Sheridan says:

        I am SO sorry that you are dealing with such disgusting judgement. I am completely broken reading your story, and I pray for strength and peace as you struggle through the loss of your precious son. NO ONE has any idea how they would handle any situation that they have never been in. You did everything that any other Mother would do. We all feel fear that something will go wrong, and we are all told that it is just our imaginations. Thankfully, most people’s fears do not come to be true. I am so, so sorry that yours did.
        Love and prayers.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Thank you, Erin. I have long since realized that no one does know how they will handle such a situation, and many will make “mistakes,” sometimes costly ones. Those mistakes (or not, because hindsight isn’t 20/20), however, could happen to anyone at any time and, more importantly, are not our measure as parents. Perhaps it took my other children growing up a great deal for me to REALLY get that message. My daughter at 17 now is always telling me how much she appreciates having me for a mom because she hears how it goes with her friends and their parents. One of the reasons why I can be so present with her is the compassion and perspective I received from my experience as Zane’s mom.

    • Sheila says:

      Tina, you are a sick human being and woman to even say something like that. That is beyond even a God complex because God would never speak that much hate and judgment and cruelty. I doubt my comment will change your callous personality, but you should look within and try to figure out where your anger comes from and where your heart lies. Inhumane and ignorant.

    • Valerie says:

      The beauty of sharing this story is that it might save future babies. Not to point out that you should have known what to do. No one would have known what to do. Even going to the hospital may not have done anything. I am done having babies, tubes are tied, but for my daughter and future daughters-in-law, I will keep a premature rupture/leak in mind as a possible time for infection. Thank you for sharing your story every year. This is the year I read it. I have a son who is 14, was born in 2002 with autism. This could have been me.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I feel two ways about this. I try not to use it as a “cautionary tale” because pregnant women tend to be told all the many ways things can go wrong to the point where they feel more afraid than empowered, and I don’t see that as a good thing. In addition, the specific facts of Zane’s case are extremely rare. Usually when the membranes rupture early, the leak continues, and/or the mother goes into labor. It is a good idea to be aware of the possibility of premature rupture of membranes, certainly, but it seems to be related in most cases to of some kind of infection. The best defense against that is excellent health going into the pregnancy. I would suggest detox prior to pregnancy and excellent, organic food during pregnancy.

        I feel a kinship with all the mamas who had boys in 2002. For a long time I would seek them out, especially if they had blonde hair like my other children. <3

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I appreciate the support and kinship that many of you feel for me, and of course I disagree heartily with Tina’s impression of the situation, but I hope you understand if I don’t approve comments that attack her. I don’t find it the best way to deal with critical comments.

  5. Aww… :'( Look up the book, “Matthew, Tell Me About Heaven” by Suzanne Ward. You may find it comforting.

  6. sonali says:

    This struck me to my core! I cannot imagine surviving such an experience.

    I pray to god to bless you and your family. I thank god for the courage and strength he has bestowed on you.

    I love TMR – it has helped me follow my mother’s intuition to stop vaccinating my son (he has 7 of the red flags described on TMR site). We are still trying to recover from a severely impacted immune and damaged gut. But I pray god is healing us all…

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Thank you, Sonali. I’m so glad we’ve been able to help you and your son. If you keep listening to your intuition, you will be led to the next step in healing. Sometimes they don’t look anything like you suspect, especially when the message is “take care of YOURSELF.” 😉 I wish you all the luck and grace the universe has to offer.

  7. Caitlin says:

    Thank you for your story. Today would have been my sons 11th birthday. He passed away at 13 days so I understand your pain and loss. It never goes away. He died from a virus his little body couldn’t beat. I think of him daily and speak about him to his 2 little sisters often. The oldest has ASD and I know her big brother is watching over them.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I am at the point now, where I can remember pain, but it isn’t what I’m actually feeling. My younger son is nearly nine now (his due date was a mere 12 days after Zane’s. You can imagine how difficult that last month of his pregnancy was) and he is very attached to his big brother Zane. I didn’t make a big deal of it to him, so I can’t help but think that he knows Zane himself on a level that others may not understand. When I was “trying to conceive” I dreamt that Zane brought his little brother to meet me. So, yes, I think it’s like that their older siblings are watching over them. <3

  8. Bill says:

    I’m glad you posted it again. It helps me each year I see it.

  9. Becky says:

    Wow. I too cried at reading this. I know how precious our baby’s lives are… I lost two babies, probably due to a combination of Roundup effect, other chemicals I was coming into regular contact with, Gluten illness (and yes, the link, way back to immunisations, grrrrrrr!) and leaky gut and skin development… I was just s relieved t get to the end of your story and see what you had written in conclusion – I feel the same way! I feel my two babies showed me so many things, I have learnt so much… and that there were signs but their loss was inevitable and a necessary part of my life and their lives. They were little Céleste and Thomas, still born in 2006 and 2007. 🙂 I have actually never suffered as much depression since their loss as I had in life previous to thier loss – bizarre, I know, but they got me back onto the right path in life and reconnected me to my spiritual, inner life.
    ‘Universe’ (or whtever you call it) bless Zane, your whole family and anyone who lives a similar ordeal. May they find the strength within them 🙂 Thank you for sharing the story!

    • Professor says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Becky. I like that our experiences can help others who go through similar things.

    • I am so distraught reading this. I have experienced loss as well. But seeing that some people know about Roundup gives me hope. Roundup is an endocrine disruptor and has been directly correlate with miscarriages, birth defects and loss of young in pigs, the same percentage as we are experiencing in USA, 30% loss. 1 out of 3 babies. We have 50% more babies that die on day one than all the industrialized world combined. IT IS A CRIME TO HUMANITY! Roundup is also a chelator, meaning it holds or makes unavailable the vital nutrients of any living thing. You can imagine the devastation to developing babies. It is also a patented antibiotic, meaning it destroys gut bacteria, where 70% of the immune system lies. I wonder if her baby had a healthy immune system? You may think Roundup is only in gardens right? No, it’s in our water, air, food and breast milk too. It s allowed on 160 of our non organic foods by the EPA at levels thousands of times higher than has been shown to cause harm. IT IS AN ATTACK ON OUR CHILDREN. Eat Organic, don’t allow the contamination of our children and pollution of our planet. Call the EPA and tell them to STOP allowing Roundup in our food!

      • Tina says:

        This is not true at all! Roundup is not anything you say it is.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Well, there you go, Tina. Clearly, yours is the definitive word on RoundUp. Zen will now STOP feeding her children the organic food that essentially saved their lives, ignore the tremendous amount of research she has done on the subject, and will just pretend that a recent spraying in their neighborhood didn’t send her entire family to the hospital, because YOU have proclaimed that it isn’t anything she says it is.

      • Elo says:

        Oh roundup isn’t dangerous? Why don’t you do some research before trying to persuade us? Do you work for Monsanto or something? Gimme a break! This is called THINKING moms revolution, which you clearly don’t do.

      • Denise says:

        Tina, you need to crawl back under the rock you came out of! You are obviously a troll because no human being could possibly be so insensitive, cruel and judgmental as you! And do your research on ROUNDUP before you open your mouth again.

  10. Jessica says:

    praying for you today

  11. Jennifer says:

    You have no idea how your story has touched me deeply. I might be able to finally sleep tonight. Thank you.

  12. Amanda H says:

    I cried as I read this and I think you are right that sometimes intuition isn’t enough. Sometimes we just can’t prevent tragedy. Even when it’s our own children. I’ve beaten myself up for my sons autism and decisions I made regarding his care and even in pregnancy. The thing is, I can’t have a redo. I sure would like one but all any if us can do is move forward. Hugs to you. Thank you do much for sharing your story.

    • Professor says:

      Exactly. None of us get a redo no matter how much we want one. Forward is the answer. Even if you KNOW you are responsible for a particular situation, wallowing in guilt is just not useful, especially when you have children to take care of. Best of luck to you, Amanda.

  13. I am so sorry for the loss of your little angel Zane. I admire your courage and your ability to survive such a tragedy and to go on to help others through your smart writing here. I always look forward to your posts.

  14. Karen says:

    I love the beautiful tribute you wrote for your son Zane. Thank-you so much for sharing his life with us.
    I also lost a baby. Lauren was 6 months, 13 days old. She had Hypoplastic Left Heart
    Syndrome (HLHS). Basically, she only had one-half of a fully-developed, functioning heart. She’d had two open-heart surgeries by the time she was 4 months old. One evening at home, she went into cardiac arrest after having a simple crying spell that all babies experience. She died in my arms.
    Lauren was a triplet. Her surviving siblings are my two miracles here on Earth. They are seven years old, now. Her brother Ryan has moderate-severe autism. I like to think that he has one sister to watch over him from heaven, and one here, Elena, to keep an eye on him, too. 🙂

    • Professor says:

      Oh, Karen. Thank YOU for telling your story. I truly believe that your son’s sister is watching over him. Zane came to me in a dream when I was still trying to conceive another child and he introduced me to his little brother. That helped give me the courage to keep trying when the odds were running way against me. Now I can’t imagine life without his little brother.

  15. Ironmuffin says:

    I have no words so I will concentrate on sending you much love. xoxoxoxox

  16. Pingback: Forgiveness and Stuff | The Thinking Moms' Revolution

  17. Melissa Vega says:

    Happy birthday to your precious Zane. Thank you for sharing your story. I truly believe that we go through what go through to help others go through it as well. With your strength, love and compassion, you are helping other families. Peace and prayers for your family.

  18. Jeannene says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss of your precious baby Zane. My prayers are with you.

  19. Elizabeth S says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have a sweet 10 year old boy with autism who was also born 8/17/2002.

  20. Sharon Burdock Block says:

    This was a heartbreaking yet beautifully written tribute to Zane. I don’t think I will ever forget it. Peace…

  21. BB says:

    Your grace and beauty comes from your ability to love unconditionally and forgive the deepest of insults. Much love and many blessings to you and your family.
    Barbara Biegaj in Chicago

  22. Jo Ashline says:

    beautiful.
    heart wrenching.
    vulnerable.

    so grateful for your willingness to share it.
    thank you.

    blessings.

  23. Maggie Mae says:

    I avoided reading this all day…I knew it would tear me apart. (I was right). My heart breaks at the thought of this happening to anyone, much less someone I hold dear to me. I am holding you close in my heart all day today…you and Zane….xo

  24. Lynn Mulder says:

    I don’t even know what to say…..but had to say something. Know that I am thinking of you today, and that precious baby of yours, Zane.

  25. Cat Jameson says:

    Sending peaceful prayers to you and yours today.

  26. Diana Gonzales says:

    Happy Birthday to your angel, and thank you for reminding us that even though it’s hard, it could’ve been worse. It’s so easy to get caught up in their sickness and shoula, woulda, couldas. Xoxoxo

    • Professor says:

      I almost used the phrase, “shoulda, coulda, wouldas” in the piece. That’s exactly what I called it when it was happening. It IS so hard NOT to get caught up in them, isn’t it? Thanks, Diana. <3

  27. Alison MacNeil says:

    Tears because I know you and love you and have a profound respect for your wisdom. I will hold the visceral and sacred image of Zane reaching and connecting deep into your soul as he nursed and gazed up at you. Alison

  28. B.K. says:

    I am getting so much from this, Professor. Taking away a lesson for myself, yes. But also gaining so much more love, respect, and admiration for you as well. Thank you for sharing this part of your life so that many others like myself can learn from it. xo

  29. Tammie says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your courage in the face of such heartache is a testament to the power of the mind, heart connection.

  30. Sugah says:

    Love you Prof. <3

  31. Robyn says:

    Thank you for sharing, it can’t be easy to open up like that about something so heart breaking.

    • Professor says:

      Thank you, Robyn. It’s not as hard as you might think. One of the things that got me through was going to a support group for parents who had been through the same thing. You find yourself telling your story a lot, and it’s amazing how soon you want to help the people who are so new they’re still in shock. Plus, I like to share him with people. 🙂 It helps me feel that his life has purpose and that his spirit lives on.

  32. Zoe Thompson says:

    Hello

    I’m so sorry for your loss. That is a deeply moving account of your son’s short life and of your struggle to come to terms with his death.

    I love your last paragraph about the real test of a parent being how you handle challenges.

    Therein lies a lesson for all of us as we try to deal with the hand that is dealt us on our journey through life. Thank you for sharing – what you have written is an inspiration for all of us to step up to the plate in times of adversity.

    • Professor says:

      Thank you so much, Zoe. As I’ve told my friends, “What’s the sense in having an experience if you can’t use it to help others?” I’m so glad you think that it will. <3

  33. Amy Nemeczky says:

    I am deeply saddened for you and your loss. I pray that you will find comfort and peace through our Lord. I pray that you will not blame yourself. It was not your fault.

    May God bless you and your family.

    • Professor says:

      Thank you, Amy. I appreciate the sentiment, but the blog is essentially about how I stopped blaming myself a long time ago. I don’t think guilt is a particularly useful emotion. <3

  34. Mom says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Happy Birthday Zane.

    I tend to believe that our challenges are determined ahead of time too. Be good to yourself today. God Bless you.

  35. Lauren says:

    We are not always the guardian angels of our children, but sometimes they are sent to be our angels instead — to guide us into new strengths and love.
    I lost my little boy about two months ago. He was not quite seven months old.
    He died after he and his dad fell into a river.
    I weep for you, and I weep for myself. May we strengthen each other and comfort those whose paths cross our own.

    • B.K. says:

      Oh, Lauren. I am so sorry for your loss. xoxo

    • Professor says:

      Amen, Lauren. Amen. I think of Zane as a protective force for all of us in the family. He visited me in a dream once where he brought his younger brother to visit. That dream was instrumental in me keeping going — against all odds — to have my younger son. I am so sorry for your loss. If you are on Facebook, please PM me (Professy Tmr) as I would like to keep in touch. <3

  36. yl says:

    Thank you for sharing Zane’s story and your wisdom.

  37. Karina Barley says:

    What a beautiful beautiful story about your much loved son. How blessed he was to have known that, if only for a short time. I’m so touched to have read this. Thank you for your bravery.

    Karina

  38. Marco says:

    Intuition is not a science. And science is often mistaken. Don’t blame yourself for not having known. The fact that you survied the death of a child makes you superhuman in my book. I would have failed such a test.
    Today is my brother’s birthday. We haven’t actualy spoken in years. I better call him right now!

    • Professor says:

      Thanks, Marco. I’m glad to know that I may have inspired a phone call to your brother. Let me know how it goes!

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