Don’t Give Up Hope

Last week I was at my sister Emilie’s house, she opened up a file on her computer and slid her laptop over to me saying, “This is Alex’s essay for his English class. He said I could share it with you.”

A little while later Alex came home from school. I asked him if I could share his essay with all of you.

I share a lot of what goes on behind the Signing Time scenes and in our day-to-day lives, but as much as I wanted to share our loss over the past three years, it wasn’t mine to share.
Are you shocked… you don’t know everything? 😉

So… since Alex gave his permission… today my Guest Blogger is my nephew, Alex Brown.
(Kei Malone grab a tissue. You have been warned!)

Don’t Give Up Hope
~Alex Brown

When I was four years old, I was on my way back to my house. I got out of my grandparents’ car. I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me. MY MOM HAD A BABY! I was so excited I managed to push all the midwives out of the way and smacked the doorframe at top speed. I got back up and ran. I didn’t care. I was a big brother! I came in and my new little brother, who still wouldn’t be named for weeks to come, was laying asleep on the same blanket that to this day is still his favorite blanket. I am not kidding, he was literally a square. He was short and fat. He was sleeping right next to my mom, who was almost sleeping.

Now when Zach (that’s what we named my little brother after a couple of weeks) was four years old, my parents tried having another baby. Everything was going well. The baby (which later turned out to be a she) was moving and was healthy. Then we got into the second trimester. Everything was going well. Then at her twenty week ultrasound, there was no heartbeat. Somewhere around sixteen weeks, its heart stopped beating. It was a tragedy. My whole family was crying for weeks. We couldn’t believe it. Two babies and nothing went wrong, now one died. The doctors could not find a solution. It was as if the baby just up and died. A couple of weeks later, we decided to get on with our lives. We had fun, but no one could stop thinking about the baby.

Two years went by. We still couldn’t stop thinking about the baby that died. Finally, my mom was pregnant again. We were all excited. Everything was fine. The heart was beating, it was healthy, and nothing was wrong. Finally, we made it into the second trimester. Again the heart was beating, it was healthy, and nothing was wrong. We passed sixteen weeks. We were all a little paranoid. My mom went for her eighteen week checkup and it happened again. Its heart had stopped beating. Again, no reason for it, it just up and died. We cried for a few months this time. The doctors could find no explanation. We had to get on with our lives for real this time.

Nine months later my mom surprised us all. She was pregnant again! Everyone was amazed. Then we all thought, “Third time’s a charm.”
We made it into the second trimester. Everything was the same. She was healthy, she was moving, and nothing seemed wrong. As my mom went in for her checkup, every one was holding their breath thinking “third time’s a charm. . . third time’s a charm. . . third time’s a charm. . .” She called. When she shared the news we all gasped, only this time in excitement. The baby was alive!

Everything was fine. The heart was beating, it was healthy, and soon my mom could feel her kicking. Lucy, my ten-year-old cousin with spina bifida, said “can I feel?” she wanted to feel her kick. Doubtingly, my mom put Lucy’s hand on her stomach. Almost at once, the baby donkey-kicked her hand! They both screamed, startled and excitedly at the same time.

Later my mom was diagnosed with gestational diabetes; a disease that women sometimes develop during pregnancy. She had to be careful of her blood sugar. We were in the third trimester. We could actually feel her kicking now, and not just soft taps, they were to the point where they were donkey-kicks every time!

I finally started seventh grade. I now have to get up at six thirty every morning just to make it to jazz band. On September twentieth, my mom was having contractions. She went to the hospital while I went to sleep. I got a call at 6:15 in the morning from my mom. We had a baby girl! The baby is now about two weeks old. She happens to be crying next to me right now as I finish this essay.

So, in the end, I learned never to give up hope. If we had, I wouldn’t have his adorable little sister. Also, I learned that sometimes things don’t go the way you planned, but they turn out right in the end. Last I learned that good things come in small packages. Wait, I smell something. WOAH! I guess not all small packages have good things. . . take this dirty diaper for example. Now excuse me while I grab some baby wipes.

This entry was posted in Crazy Little Thing Called Life and tagged , , , by Rachel Coleman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

53 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up Hope

  1. Beautifully written; brought tears to my eyes. We lost our baby one month ago. At our 12 week sonogram there was no heartbeat. HEARTBREAKING! We have a 2 year old daugher who LOVES Signing Time and Baby Signing Time. It hurts whenever she says or signs “baby” or “big sister”. Not sure if she understands. Hoping she’ll forget. Not sure I can go thru this again. But your story is so inspiring. Even the title “Don’t Give Up Hope” is so powerful. And that picture of Alex and his little brother and baby sister, precious! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this with us Alex. It made me cry. I know exactly how your family feels I had 2 miscarriages and then a rocky succesful birth and then again another miscarriage but I haven’t tried again afraid too besides I am getting too old to try anymore. But this was very inspirational. Thing is I didn’t try again for like 5 yrs after my first miscarriage and was scared and again had another one then it was closer together for the next try I still had some problems but my baby made it and I am so grateful and blessed to have my now 5 yo son with me now. I wanted him to have a sibling and tried again but failed to carry thur. It really makes a woman feel inadequate to go thru those experiences. We are now happy just having our son and being blessed with his life. I may try again later but I doubt it at this point. I shouldn’t have given up hope and I should’ve tried much sooner on all of my pregnancies but I was just afraid too. If I would have had a story like this to inspire me I would have tried more and sooner. Thanks Alex!

  3. A little late to this party, but so glad I came across this. What an inspiration you all are! Alex, thank you for sharing your perspective as a sibling. I now understand a little better how my 3 children must have felt (still feel) when their sister died at 36 weeks. And we too have had another little girl since her death.
    I wanted to share a book, Someone Came Before You by Pat Schwiebert that I bet your family would enjoy.
    Again, thank you all for sharing your story and shedding some light on such a taboo subject!

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