Family First: March of Dimes Gives Mother Hope

Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 --- 10:54 p.m.

When you hear about a family losing a child, it is hard to imagine their pain. But one local mom talks about how the March of Dimes helped save her daughter, and give life to her stillborn son.

Jack Schwartzer would be six years old today. But he never made it to his birthday.

"Because of the loss of the twin, some of the numbers were off and they just attributed that to the loss of a twin," Tammy Schwartzer said.

When Tammy was pregnant, she had twins and didn't know it One twin died in the womb early on in the pregnancy. But the baby she carried for seven months was healthy and the family couldn't wait to meet him. Then, during a routine doctor's visit, she and her husband heard words no parent could ever be prepared for.

"They did a sonogram and the baby was kicking up a storm and she said boy you have a lively one and then just a couple days later during the ultrasound that's when the doctor had come in and said I'm sorry but your baby has died," Tammy explained.

Tammy decided to deliver Jack, after spending a few days trying to understand what was next.

"Very matter of factly told us what we were to expect next from the induction to how to tell our older children that the little brother or sister that they were so excited to meet was never coming home," Tammy said.

Every September 30th since then, the family celebrates Jack's birthday. They eat cake and talk about what he'd be like today.

"When you see the school bus in the morning we think ooh he'd be on the school bus or we'd be dropping him off at hockey practice, or we'd be hanging his artwork on the refrigerator. That stuff that stays with a parent, every day," Tammy explained.

Tammy feels Jack's story is one of hope. A few months after his still birth, she was pregnant with her daughter, Reagan, now five years old.

"Jackson's story is Reagan's story too," Tammy said.

Reagan was born premature and had to spend a few weeks in the neonatal intensive care.

"The look on the parents faces and the children who are struggling just to take a breath is humbling. "

But the experience has given Tammy a new mission.

"I'm not sure why I was chosen to sit by my son's grave site only to sit by my daughter's isolette a year later. But what I do know is that the March of the Dimes was there every step of the way," Tammy said.

From grief materials to the research the Waisman Center does on stillborn babies like her son Tammy hopes her volunteer work and fund raising for March of Dimes can inspire others to help make a difference.

"The autopsy came back inconclusive. They don't know why Jack died. They did a million tests on me and me and obviously a million tests on our son. And my husband and I thought no other parent should ever have this happen to them"

"We know what we're doing isn't going to bring Jackson back, nothing's going to, but if we can make sure it doesn't happen to somebody else then my son's brief little existence made a world of difference."

Tammy will be talking at the upcoming Signature Chefs Auction Fundraiser on November 3.

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