Meet Shawn, she is this months inspiring woman!
As I read through Shawn's story I was immediately brought to tears. I have in no way gone through what she has but her words gave me a sense of peace. The trials that I have been going through lately have been so overwhelming. Reading about her strength and testimony opened my eyes and gave me such comfort.
Thank you, Shawn.
Thank you for sharing, for opening up.
This story has helped me and I know it will help so many others.
Here is her story...
It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of a storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.
The greatest storm of my life hit on the 10th of March 2014. My world shattered with the silent birth of my son Jaden John Cosper. Still in shock, that would continue through the months ahead, I took my limp baby boy in my arms and kissed his cold forehead. He was so perfect! How could this be? How could someone so small and perfect, alive just hours before, die and leave such a gaping hole in my life and in my heart? What started as a night filled with the butterflies of eager anticipation had turned into some sort of nightmarish vision, from which there are times, even now, that I try to wake.
We had so excitedly anticipated Jaden’s arrival. We had prepared for months for him to come home with us! I spent countless hours preparing and decorating his room in old fashioned airplanes. Oh, how I love his room! We shopped for all things boy! We had a dresser and closet full of the cutest little outfits you could imagine! We traded pink and bows to blue and planes. I was so nervous for a boy, all I had known was girl, but I was so unbelievably excited for that little boy to come and all the adventures he would bring.
The time finally came on Sunday the 9th. It had been a normal day that started out as any other. I was very pregnant; in fact I was scheduled for an induction early Tuesday morning only two short days away. However, while at my mom’s house for dinner I had started having contractions. I was sitting on her couch watching my stomach do the wave from our little guy doing his never ending summersaults (Jaden loved to move! He hardly had any “quiet” moments, day and night you could watch my stomach wiggle) when the contractions started. They were coming pretty fast and lasting awhile but they weren’t very “strong” (painful) compared to the ones I experienced with my first, so I wasn’t really convinced that it was real labor just yet. My mom, however, persuaded me into going home and putting Brynlee to bed, and getting ready to head to the hospital, so I did. After I got home and put Bryn to bed I hopped in the shower. Contractions were still coming and he was still moving about like crazy. I assumed that they were just Braxton Hicks contractions since he was still so active and they still weren’t hurting at all. So when my water broke in the shower it was a HUGE surprise!
Sam ran around getting the bags in the car and trying to make sure we had everything we needed while we waited for my mom to get to our house to stay with Brynlee who was 18 months old at the time. Brynlee had woken up out of her sleep (which was not normal) and started calling for me. I went into her room to put her back to bed and tell her that we loved her. As I picked her up she wrapped her arms around me and started sobbing. She hugged me like she never had before and wouldn’t let go. We weren’t sure what was wrong so Sam gave her a blessing to calm her nerves and then we left her with grandma to put her back to bed.
We left for the hospital excited, nervous, and anxious to become parents again. When we got to the hospital we checked in as normal and were taken to the room I was going to be delivering in. I changed into the hospital gown and settled in the bed as they asked all the routine questions and hooked me up to the monitors. The nurse searched for his little heartbeat with the monitor but was unable to find it. This was not usual for Jaden he was normally pretty easy to find, but Brynlee was always a stinker and would hide from us and if we were lucky to find her right off she would immediately move and we would have to search again, so him “hiding” didn’t raise any concern for us. The nurse didn’t act concerned at all either and said that they were just having a night that all the babies were hiding so she was going to get an ultrasound machine to pinpoint exactly where he was. When she came back into our room with the ultrasound she told us that this particular machine didn’t always work super well and that she “sucked” at using it, but it warmed up the fastest and was the quickest to use. That didn’t help us put too much confidence in her so when she still couldn’t find a heartbeat we still didn’t feel worried.
The nurse called for an ultrasound technician to come with the big machine and check. I started to feel a little panicked with an ultrasound tech coming, but Sam reassured me that everything would be alright. The technician was taking a long time getting there and as we waited the panicky feeling kept getting stronger. I texted my mom and to tell her what was happening and that she should come to the hospital. My mom had my little sister come stay with Brynlee and she headed to be with us. My sister called my dad to have him come to the hospital as well. Both my parents showed up before the ultrasound tech that didn’t come for almost 45 minutes. In that time I started pouring my heart out in prayer for everything to be ok. I pleaded with God to let this be ok, let our baby be ok. I remember specifically telling Him that I could not do this, that we could not do this! Sam and I would not make it through losing a child. I begged and pleaded, but the peace did not come, not in the way I was wanting. I had an overwhelming feeling as I said that I didn’t think we could do this, that everything would be ok, that WE would be ok! But I knew in that moment that this wasn’t ok. I knew something was wrong, but I hadn’t lost all hope. I refused to believe anything until I heard it straight from them. When the technician came she set up the ultrasound and turned the monitor away from me so all I could see was the soft glow of the light on her face as she rubbed the wand across my stomach. All I had to go off was her face and my dad and Sam’s as they watched the screen for some sort of hope. She was silent as she kept moving the wand around and my dad just kept shaking his head so I looked only at her waiting for her to say, “There it is, there he is”, she was my last glimpse of hope. But she just continued to gaze at the screen in silence as she pulled the wand away from my belly and then looked at me with tears in her eyes and whispered, “I’m sorry” with a lump in her throat. In that moment my worst nightmare came to life, my heart and my world were shattered. All I wanted was to wake up and for everything to be normal, but there was no waking from this nightmare. What followed was a period of the most intense grief I have ever experienced. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t want to breathe! Our hopes, our dreams, and our future were gone, just like that. I was lost. How could this happen to me? He was perfect! He was perfect the whole pregnancy, there had never been anything wrong, there was never any concern. How could he be gone now? He was just moving. I watched him. I felt him. How was I supposed to go on now? What would I do with all his things? What would I tell people? How would I live? I had so many thoughts running through my head all in a moment. Then I just went numb. The shock set in and I don’t really remember much after that except looking into Sam’s blue eyes filled with pain as he hugged me and just held me as I cried. I couldn’t breathe. The only word I could get out was “no”. I said it over and over as I gasped for air through my sobs. I cried harder than I ever have before. My mom ran to both of us and just held us as Sam held me and my dad just stood there and cried.
The shock came over me pretty hard. I had stopped crying and was in a daze. My mind had just shut down. I couldn’t think or focus. It was almost like an out of body experience. I just was. There was no emotion anymore. I was in this dazed state when I realized my doctor was standing next to me. He hadn’t said anything. He stood there with is hands on our shoulders and cried with us. I kind of snapped back in that moment and broke down again. He was such a wonderful doctor! He felt so much with us. He just stood and cried with us until we were ready to talk. After some time he explained that I would still have to deliver the baby as normal. They would come in and give me the epidural and give me Pitocin to try and speed the process along and make me as comfortable as possible until it was time for me to deliver. The doctor then told us after I delivered we could hold him and keep him with us as long as we needed.
At that point I remember thinking; I don’t want to do that! I can’t do that. Just get it out of me and let me go home! I didn’t want to deal with birth or the after birth effects. I couldn’t see him as my baby in that moment. I still feel guilt over it now, but in my utter and complete shock, I thought of him as a tumor almost that just needed to come out. I didn’t want to hold him, or see him. They needed to get him out and let me go home. I just wanted to go home. I wanted to hold my daughter, the child I still had. I needed to hold her. I needed the comfort of my home, my bed, and my things. I needed to be out of this nightmare! I think I felt that if I could go home to my own bed I would wake up and this would all have just been a horrible dream. But this wasn’t a dream, this was life, my life, and I wanted nothing to do with it! After the doctor left I must have voiced some of that out loud because I distinctly remember my mom’s sweet, comforting voice saying, “Oh honey I know this is so hard and this hurts so much! But you will want to. He is still your son and you will want to hold him and see him and memorize every perfect little thing.” I had been so emotionless and numb from the shock of it all, but the tenderness of my mom’s voice sunk in. I felt again. This was my baby. He was mine. He IS mine! I started crying again.
Shortly after anger set in. I was angry with God. Why did He not listen? I knew I couldn’t do this, I told Him that. Then I was angry at myself. I felt like I failed our son. I could not bring him life outside my womb. It was my job to love and protect him and I didn’t. I failed him. I failed my husband in giving him a son, my daughter in bring her brother home, my parents in their first grandson, a nephew, a friend… whatever he would be I failed everyone! Just a few short hours before I felt him moving and now he was gone. How could this happen? How could my body fail us all so horribly? The questions all started rushing through my head again. At all those awful thoughts I became physically ill. Sam held me while my body started to uncontrollably shake and he was able to help calm me down and settle my body some. My contractions started coming really hard about this same time, another reminder that this wasn’t a dream, this was real. I cried harder.
The anesthesiologist came in around this time. Because of all my shaking we struggled getting the epidural in. It took almost 20 minute to get it placed, but once it was my body finally relaxed some. And with that relaxation I hit another dazed state, I felt emotionless. I don’t remember much at all of the next hours that passed. I slept some, but mainly I just sat not saying a word. At some point a nurse came in and brought us a packet of information on how to start making “arrangements.” Arrangements? I HAD made arrangements. I had arranged his room, his clothes, I cleaned the house spotlessly. I had arranged everything! Sam and I now had to make THE most impossible arrangements. Where would we bury our son? When would we hold the funeral? We had to pick a casket. Flowers. Songs. Speakers… So many decisions had to be made at such an unbearable time! I couldn’t think about anything, how was I supposed to choose anything in that moment?
My contractions started harder. It was time. I was ready to push. Only I wasn’t ready at all! This was it. That was the last I would have of him. I wasn’t ready. How was I supposed to birth a dead baby? I was so terrified. What was he going to look like when he came out? How was I supposed to deal with the silence? I didn’t want to push. I didn’t want him out. That would be the last of him as part of me. I wasn’t ready. My body started shaking violently again and I just cried.
Our doctor came in and all was ready to go. I didn’t push long, he came really fast and easy. I saw him and immediately fell in love! He was 8lbs 6oz and 21in of perfectness! He had so much hair. The nurse took him to clean him off, Sam followed her to be with him.
While Sam and the nurse where bathing our sweet Jaden, I was with the doctor finishing up all the after birth mess. It wasn’t until then that they found out what caused this to happen. I had way more amniotic fluid than I should have (which never measured high on any ultrasound through the pregnancy.) When my water broke because of all the pressure from the amount of fluid I had it completely shredded my amniotic sack like a water balloon hitting the ground. Pieces of it went everywhere and one slung shot around Jaden’s umbilical cord and wrapped around so tight that it completely cut off all his oxygen supply. The doctor said that he would have been gone within 5 minutes of it happening and even if we would have been at the hospital they likely wouldn’t have been able to get in fast enough to save him.
As I looked over at my baby boy being held by his daddy… it hit me. Brynlee knew! She knew he was gone before we even left the house. She felt it. She knew before us what we would face when we arrived at the hospital. She cried for me, for our family. And she had hugged me like she had never before in that moment. I knew they had such a special bond. We have had so many tender mercies come through our sweet Brynlee and have been able to learn a lot about Jaden through her. I know that Jaden was with her that night, until I delivered him and he was in that room with us! I knew it. I felt him! Sam brought him over to me and put him in my arms. He was so perfect and beautiful! He had a full head of dark wavy hair! His lips were just like Brynlee’s. And he had my chin. He was a solid boy! His hands were as big as his 18 month old sister. He had the chubbiest cheeks and just looked so perfect and healthy in every way!
We hadn’t named him until this time. Sam and I looked at each other and immediately knew his name. Jaden John Cosper. It fit him perfectly. The name Jaden means “Jehovah has heard.” And John means “God is gracious or a gift from God.” Jaden has absolutely been a gift to our family! I knew in that moment he would be one of our greatest gifts! I didn’t want to ever let him go!
We were moved to a room at the very end of the hall where it would be more quiet and peaceful for us to spend time with him. We had visitors throughout the day, mainly family that came to see him and hold him. Sam and I laid in the bed together holding Jaden between us for hours. We napped with him in our arms. We held him and kissed him. We sang to him. And we memorized every little thing about him. His fingers, his toes, his ears, his hair, he was just so beautiful! We had him and held him for 15 short hours that day. Sam and I spent the last few hours with just each other and Jaden. We held him and each other until the mortuary came to pick him up. That moment was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I couldn’t let him go! I just clung to him and sobbed and begged that this still wasn’t really real. Like if I prayed hard enough he would just open his eyes and take a breath and everything would be ok. But he never took a breath. Sam hugged me so tight and took our sweet boy from my arms. He walked with a gentleman down a hall and laid Jaden on a gurney to be taken to the mortuary.
For that short minute I was left alone in the hospital bed unable to move. I felt so empty and it felt like an eternity. Sam came back into the room and we just held each other and cried! We stayed that way until the nurse brought all the discharge paperwork in and my mom got there to pick us up. A sweet nurse that had been with us from the beginning wheeled me out and sat with me while Sam got the car. She hugged me and just cried with me as I sat there with empty arms and an even emptier heart. Leaving the hospital was harder than I could ever explain in words.
Leaving with empty arms and such an empty heart also left me with an empty testimony. I again felt only anger and desolation as we entered our home full of baby items waiting for Jaden. All I could do was cry. We held Brynlee and tried to play with her but we were all feeling the pain. I must have been a hard reminder for her because she didn’t want anything to do with me. She would get mad and hit my stomach and yell, “no baby” which only made me feel more empty. That night was really rough and fitful. None of us slept much. I cried all night and questioned. Why me? Am I not a good mom? What did I do to deserve this? With each question my anger became stronger.
By the time the funeral came 3 days later some of that anger subsided. And that day was the most peaceful day I have ever had. I knew I had not been left alone. I knew not only was Jaden by my side, but my Savior was there comforting me. A day that I would have thought would be so horrific was one of the best. I knew I was not forgotten! He broke through my anger! He was healing my heart.
Life since then has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs with A LOT of downs. My life was forever changed. It was a struggle learning to live again, to navigate through this new life. Nothing would ever be the same again. I was not the same person. I couldn’t be. And I had some friends and family that struggled with that. Death makes people uncomfortable and so they ignore it, and in doing so I was ignored. I lost friends, but I also gained some of my very best friends through this journey. I don’t say this to lose hope for others, but I want to be realistic. Life after loss is HARD! Life will never be the same. People leave, people say dumb things, and it hurts. It is hard. But there is hope!
I struggled as I said with my testimony for a while and that went up and down until one night in my prayers I had such a strong feeling come over me, “I know that your loss has stolen from you the person you thought you’d be. However, it hasn’t stolen from you the person I knew you’d be. You have a purpose. You are still needed.” This changed my perspective and I gained such a deep testimony that I wouldn’t have been able to any other way!
Part of our struggle in this trial was the damage my amniotic sack ripping apart did to my body as well. We were informed that getting pregnant again would be very difficult and may be impossible. I wanted a baby so badly! Our arms were still so empty and we wanted so badly to bring a baby home. I wanted to be pregnant and feel a baby move inside again. Sam and I prayed over what we should do and we felt so strongly that we needed to start the adoption process.
Adoption is something I have always felt so strongly about and wanted to do since I was a little girl myself. Sam and I talked about adopting since we were married but we always thought we would after we were done having kids of our own and more settled in life. So adoption wasn’t a new thought for us. But we were worried that people would think we were just trying to replace the baby we lost. Jaden would never be able to be replaced, just as having him didn’t replace Brynlee. Jaden is our child and always will be! The hole he left in our hearts is his! It will never be filled by anyone else. And so we pursued the adoption route. It was a big process but we pushed through it really fast. We were so eager and so anxious to bring a baby home. Adoption in itself is a rollercoaster! We met with and talked with 3 birth mothers. In February of 2015 we were chosen by a sweet mother. She had a little boy born the first week of February and we went to pick him up and bring him home with us. We had him for only a few hours when she changed her mind and he was taken back. We were heart broken. It was only a month away from Jaden’s first birthday. The hardest part for us was getting all the baby stuff out and ready again and having to pack it all back up so close to his birthday. It brought so much of our pain and grief back to the surface. I again questioned, what am I supposed to do now? Why again?
Sam and I had been trying with no luck in getting pregnant through this entire adoption journey as well. So we were feeling really down and pretty hopeless after this loss. Brynlee was so disappointed! She wanted a baby so bad. I wanted to be able to give her a baby brother or sister more than anything!! Well only 3 days after our Daniel was taken back by his birth mother, we had the most wonderful surprise! I was pregnant! It was a miracle and it couldn’t have been better timed! We were being watched over and our prayers had been heard!
Quickly after the initial excitement of this new little one growing inside ME came sheer terror! Pregnancy after loss is the scariest thing I have ever done! Every day I would wonder if there would be a heartbeat. I almost come to expect there not to be. I know many times I prepared myself for there just not to be one so that I could deal with it if there wasn’t and that I could be pleasantly surprised when there was. Because I was considered high risk I had more appointments than usual, but it still didn’t calm my troubled heart. I still had the same amazing doctor who was with us through Jaden’s whole pregnancy and delivery so he understood my fears and concerns. He worked with me so well through this pregnancy and would squeeze me into his busy schedule any day if I was having a rough time and just needed to hear the heartbeat. I went in almost every 2 or 3 weeks through the whole pregnancy. I was monitored very closely with monthly and sometimes bimonthly ultrasounds to check my fluid levels. We had a few scares and some ups and downs in the pregnancy with my fluid, but overall the pregnancy went very well.
We welcomed our sweet rainbow baby, Jaylee Rae Cosper, to the world on the 6th of this month. She has been such a blessing in our home! Our “Rae” of light! She has strengthened my testimony and has taught me so much in her little life. Rainbows do come! Even in the midst of the storm you can find them. We are never left alone. Brynlee has been our sunshine through all of this! There was always light, but she needed her rainbow to come as well. The storms may howl around us, or we may be left with the horrific aftermath that leaves us questioning, but I promise you, your rainbow will come! The tender mercies will come, pray for them, and watch for them. Our burdens will not be removed, but He will send comfort! In John 14:18 we are promised by our Savior, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Believe in that! Hold on to that! Turn to Him, He is always there! There are bad days, hard days, there is no denying that. But they are just that. Days. And sometimes they come more often than not. But it doesn’t make it a bad life. Life is beautiful and wonderful! As intense as my loss was, I came out on the other side with new friendships, a greater appreciation for family, a better perspective on life, and a deeper testimony of the plan of happiness and the love the Savior has for me. Life is good! Oh so good!
Here are some photos of sweet Jaden...