For Love of Karter

"We were blessed to have diapers made and donated to Brandon Regional Hospital in honor of our sweet angel Karter Maverick Dunn. The diapers were made in Lynden, Washington by Carol Rinehart, a grandmother of a fellow TTTS angel also named Carter. A combination of 70 diaper sets plus Angel Outfitters buntings were delivered to our local hospital here in Tampa, Florida. I found Teeny Tears on facebook and was so touched by all of the love the volunteers and this organization was showing other bereaved families. 

Three and a half years of trying to conceive and 9 fertility procedures later, our prayers were answered in the form of an identical twin pregnancy. I first saw my baby boys on an ultrasound at only 6 weeks pregnant. They looked like tiny little beans. We had weekly ultrasounds and were so excited to watch them grow and develop. We already had their names picked out and as soon as we found out they were boys we started calling them by name. 

I was then diagnosed borderline stage 1 twin to twin transfusion syndrome at 18 weeks. The boys now had another thing tagged onto their names, Baby A Karter now also being called the donor and Baby B Kolton the recipient. Our TTTS progressed so slowly we thought for sure we’d make it past the critical point. By week 24 everything changed drastically and we were diagnosed stage 3. Our only option at that time was to fly to Cincinnati, Ohio to potentially have laser ablation surgery to try and save Karter, who’s heart was quickly giving out. 

The day before we were to undergo the laser surgery, we saw on an ultrasound that it was too late; Karter’s heart had given out. Our angel Karter lost his fight to TTTS on July 2nd 2012. We were in shock and heartbroken over his passing. Three weeks later at 28 weeks pregnant, I gave birth to our miracles, Karter already in heaven and Kolton rushed to the NICU continuing the fight for his life. Our hospital's bereavement team was so kind and caring! They helped to give me some peace during the scariest time of my life. They documented the boys birth with photos and a beautiful memory box for us to take home. They took footprints and handprints of the boys side by side as well as photos of Karter swaddled in a beautiful gown and blanket next to Kolton in his incubator. These are the most precious things we own that help us to remember our boys together besides our ultrasound pictures. 

As the boys' first birthday was quickly approaching, I thought it would be the best way to honor Karter by having diapers made to donate to our hospitals'  bereavement team. I know these diapers are so precious and will be a special thing for other bereaved families to have. Karter was such a little fighter! We know in our hearts that he gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life in exchange for his brother's. For this we are forever grateful! Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Karter and feel a huge empty hole in my heart. I miss him so much it hurts, but I know he’s up in heaven smiling down on all of us and that gives me peace. 

My husband and I vowed to not let Karter’s passing be for nothing. I speak regularly to my now 15-month old Kolton about his guardian angel brother and will continue to tell him how much of a bond they share. We will always be a mommy and daddy of twin boys and I was so blessed to have gotten to feel his little life inside me! Thank you so much to Teeny Tears and the volunteers in helping us honor our sweet baby on what would have been his first birthday. We are setting up a team to continue sewing diapers to donate yearly to our local hospital. We are so excited to be a part of such an amazing blessing that the Teeny Tears organization is to other families like ourselves!" ~Danielle, mother to TTTS survivor Kolton and angel baby Karter
Below is a poem I wrote for Karter on the one year anniversary of his passing. It really helped to bring some much needed healing to write this for him.

Karter Maverick Dunn- Forever in my heart
A year ago today, you had to go away to be with our dear Lord.
Even though you were gone, I had to be strong for the brother you left behind.
You were so tiny and brave for your life you gave so selflessly to save another.
For this I’ll thank you forever and ever.
Up above I hope you feel my love with every tear I shed.
For a mother's love doesn’t go away.
I take comfort knowing we’ll be together again someday.
So as these tears fall from my eyes, I’m sending you kisses into the sky.
Your brothers growing so big so strong and through his life you will live on.
For now I have to say goodbye to my precious angel way up high.
Although now we’re far apart, you’ll always live close inside my heart.
For the families of Brandon Regional Hospital in Brandon, Florida

And buntings