About our blogger: Brittanie
Brittanie was married to Matt in June of 2005, and shortly thereafter became pregnant with their first child. Unfortunately Cora Rei was stillborn on May 2, 2006 (38w1d) due to a cord accident. Brittanie has since had two "rainbow babies" (so called because rainbows bring color back in to the world after a storm): Erin Rielle was born June 7, 2007 and Patrick Reese was born February 25, 2009. She is currently a stay-at-home mom, enjoying every moment she has, and trying to see every day as the miracle that it is.
When he was 19, my husband served a mission for my church for 2 years. While on his mission he got compared with other young men as a “companionship.” This would change every 6 weeks to a few months, depending. As you can imagine, he developed some lasting friendships and is still in contact with several of his old companions.
Today he found out that the wife of one of them just lost twins (I don’t know what gestation). I told him to tell David to let his wife know I’m here if she needs someone to talk to. And there are some things that I definitely want to say.
~It’s okay to be devastated. It doesn’t matter when it happens, having a baby or babies die is one of the most horrible things that can happen to a woman. It shatters your very sense of self. It doesn’t matter when it happens, either. The moment you know you are pregnant you start having hopes and dreams and plans for that child. And having those stolen from you hurts, whether it’s the day after your positive test, or years after the child is born.
~It’s okay to Read the rest of this entry »
I recently discovered this blog series. It’s over this week, so I’ll be playing catch-up.
January 7, 2013 ~ Introduction and Where are You Now?
Tell us a little about yourself, your baby, and how you’ve come to this walk. Also, where are you now in your grief and healing? Are you new to this, still in the depths of fresh grief? Have you been walking this path awhile?
I’m Brittanie. I’ll be turning 30 this year, and am the mother of one sweet angel girl, and 3 rainbows. Cora Rei was my first baby, and I was so excited to be pregnant. Unfortunately I have suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum with every one of my of my four pregnancies, pretty much from conception, all the way until delivery. With my first pregnancy, since it was unexpected, it got pretty severe before I started getting treatment for it. So my pregnancy with Cora was quite difficult, but I was still so very grateful. I was due May 14, 2006, which that year happened to be Mother’s Day. On May 1st (38 weeks and 1 day), I woke up and when I took my shower, Cora didn’t move. Read the rest of this entry »
January 14, 2013 ~ Clinging in the Pit
If you are not new to loss, talk a bit about early grief. What was it like, clinging for hope in the pits of despair? What did you cling to for hope? How did you survive the early days? What helped? What do you wish you could share with someone new to this walk, clinging in the pit? If you’re in the pit, currently, share your struggles. What can others do to encourage you?
First of all, I really want to reiterate how sudden it was for us. Cora was perfectly healthy. Everything at the ultrasounds looked great, and we always had really great prenatal appointments. I had worried about miscarriage at the beginning, but after having such a great mid-pregnancy ultrasound (and I asked a LOT of questions and made the tech show me everything), I figured we were in the clear. I didn’t know stillbirths still happened as often as they do. So when I woke up that morning and couldn’t get her to respond, even though I knew in my heart what the answer must be, I had convinced myself it couldn’t happen. It took a while for me to be able to get into my doctor and a while longer waiting for them to Read the rest of this entry »
Over the years, people who have known me and known Cora’s story have in various ways complimented my “strength.”
I used to hate it. Mostly because at first I was hanging on by my fingernails and felt a hair’s breadth away from utterly falling apart. It was my faith that got me through that. My faith in a Savior who was holding me up so I wouldn’t fall. His strength was the reason I was standing.
That’s still mostly true. But, I’ve regained my equilibrium so to speak. I can go about my day, dealing with things as they come without really needing supplication from the higher power. I guess I have become stronger, in a way. My hope has become stronger.
It is a belief in my church that parents will be reunited with children lost, from the state that they left and we will be able to finish raising them. So I can’t help but picture getting this bitty baby back, and experiencing all that I missed out on.
I hope for that. A hope so strong it keeps breath in my lungs and my heart beating.
I cannot wait until that day. It’ll be glorious beyond belief.
Sandy Hook. I know I don’t need to explain. I’ve had a roller coaster of emotions, really. Unlike most people, I didn’t react with more worry sending Erin to school. I didn’t hug my children any closer than normal. Because really, I have already done that every day from the moment they were each born. I have already had the realization that life is short, and that you should appreciate every moment, and your child can be taken in a moment. I can’t be any more worried than I already am.
What’s been hard for me, though, is the parents. I’ve actively avoided reading any statements or seeing pictures of the parents. Because when I think about them, I think about the moment I was told my daughter had died. Thankfully, her death was peaceful. Thankfully, she did not die full of fear, or in pain.
But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt me.
I’ve gotten good at ignoring my pain over the past 6 1/2 years. It’s not all encompassing. I’ve learned out to let my joy stand side-by-side and, most of the time, shine brighter. But there are still moments when I feel it. When I really feel it. And then Read the rest of this entry »
I joined JustMommies forums (specifically the pregnancy loss/stillbirth section) 2 months after Cora died. So it’s been just about 6 1/2 years now. And in those years I have met hundreds of women who have gone through the same thing as me. It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time I have made so many wonderful friends through this shared experience.
One of them is Calypso’s mom. ((I refer to her as Calypso’s mom instead of by name, because really, we babyloss moms don’t often get to be identified as the mothers of our babies who aren’t with us, so it’s nice to hear sometimes))
Anyway one of my favorite things about having babyloss friends is that Cora gets remembered, (just as I remember their babies). It’s good to have people do things for her. And Calypso’s mom has a little tree for Calypso, decorated with ornaments in memory of Calypso’s friends. And she did one for Cora.
I love that it’s simply her name, because really, her name is perfect.
So, Calypso’s mommy, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Last year I decided that I should pick a girl Cora’s would-be age and get a gift for her in memory of Cora, so I could feel like I was buying a present for her. Of course, by the time I decided that it was too close to Christmas and the trees weren’t available any more.
And this year, I can’t FIND one. Maybe they’re waiting until December to put them out?
Anyway, our church Christmas party is tomorrow, and they’re doing a toy drive for The Action Center, so I decided I could buy a toy for Cora and donate it there.
Standing in the toy aisle I started to cry. NONE of the toys seemed right, or good enough. After staring at it all, I realized it was because I wanted to buy a toy for Cora, not for someone else in memory of Cora. So I settled on something, left sad because in the end, I was robbed of the chance to buy Christmas gifts for my child. I was left forever wondering what she would want for Christmas. And it hurts.
We put up Christmas yesterday. I’ve posted about Cora’s stocking before, but this time was a little different. Erin was helping me, and she’s a lot more aware about things this year. She asked me what Santa would put in Cora’s stocking, and why there were envelopes in it. So I told her that Santa puts something to the family in the stocking, because she can’t play with her own toys so it doesn’t make sense to put something for her in it, but he doesn’t want Cora to be forgotten. I of course teared up. I always do. And she hugged me as she always does.
I hope that seeing me grieve for her sister not only shows her how deeply I love her sister, and therefore her, but that grief is okay. That you don’t have to cover it up, and that it’s okay to feel. Mostly, though, I hope she never ever has to know what it feels like to grieve for her child.
I just made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with Erin. After everything was all mixed up, she got out a book and stuff and started to pretend to make her own cookies. Gingerbread men. With her cousins…and Cora.
I hate that to play with her sister she has to pretend. I LOVE that she knows her sister, but really? It just hurts that she doesn’t really get to know her. I wasn’t the only one robbed. Erin, Patrick, and Allison were robbed of a sister. And as Erin gets older it’s becoming more and more evident to me. How long until she meets other kids and realizes what a big sister is supposed to be? Will she go crying to me like I did to my dad at not having one? I didn’t know about my stillborn sister at that time, and that’s when my dad told me, but how will it feel for Erin? When she understands what death really is and sees others have what she should?
It just breaks my heart.
I find holidays hard. And I don’t think I’m ever going to get over it. I became pregnant with Erin in October of 2006, about 5 months after Cora died, so I was pregnant through Cora’s would-be first holiday season. But honestly, I found no comfort in it because I knew from experience that pregnancy was no guarantee of a baby, and I was skirting the edge of real terror at any given moment.
But even being pregnant didn’t change the fact that that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas I was supposed to have a baby, not be expecting one.
Holidays change when you have a child, and I knew that from hearing others speak of it (and I just knew that logically, it would be true since having a child changes everything else). But a child’s death also changes holidays, in a way that you can’t really expect.
I feel like I say this every time, but I truly do appreciate having my living children to celebrate with. However I’m missing one. And I always will be missing one.
Yesterday, my daughter’s elementary school had Read the rest of this entry »