"There is no foot too small to make an imprint on this earth."
Again, thank you for helping me remember and honor our little girl, Stevie Joy. --Kristin (and Andy too)
To add your story of how Stevie has touched your life, please send me an email (email@example.com), facebook message (see profile link on the right-hand side of my blog), or leave a comment on any of my blog posts.
Stevie's life has impacted me more than I ever thought it could. Your story and blog have been something I have shared with my whole family because it's so touching. We have all suffered losses but I can't say that I have been through anything that comes close to losing a baby. You are such an amazing person and so full of life that to read your stories makes me want to go out and starting living life more fully - to really be happy and make others happy too. Stevie was a precious girl and I am blessed to have known her and her story. Her life is a reminder to me that I need to cherish the short time I have and spend more time with the people I love.
Reading about Stevie made me realize just how lucky I really am! I now take time each night just to lay in bed w/hubby and the two of us feel our daughter kicking. After telling him your story, he now asks me 1000 times a day if I've felt her move. I guess we both appreciate our little blessing a little more now.
I'm so very sorry you had to experience everything that happened, and I think it's wonderful that you are looking to see the positive through everything else! Stevie is a true blessing, and though her life was short lived, she'll always be remembered.From Bryn:
I cried when I heard about what happened. It made me feel like it was totally unfair. I knew from the beginning you would be an awesome mom and I know you still will someday!
I will be doing random acts of kindess in honor of Stevie Joy. I'm sure it will impact the lives of people I come in contact with. Esspecially my family!!
I don't think I ever posted on your posts but I remember reading them and loving your avatar. When I read your precious daughter had passed I was at work. I cried then as I cry now. I called my husband and I told him "we" as in babycenter had lost a baby and I read him your story.
Later that afternoon when I saw him we hugged extra tight, and he cradled our son in my tummy longer than normal and begged him to please stay put for more time. You see, we have lost a baby too, ours was early in the pregnancy but the emotional impact was still huge. We both realized that time in utero means nothing. Tragedy can strike at anytime. He was always such a doting daddy to be but now he is even more so. He spends extra time in the morning and night telling the baby all kinds of things. Just talking "man" talk, lol. We work together so he no longer cares what people think and will come over to kiss my belly and say hi to the baby and tell him how proud he is that he is our son and to keep growing. I myself find that I hug my belly more, spend more time counting kicks and no longer care if I gain weight, or how big he is (he is a large baby) or even about labor. I just want my son in my arms and healthy. Stevie changed my attitude towards the trials and pains of pregnancy. Really, who cares if my back hurts, belly hurts, whatever. What matters is my son and his health. I even find that I do not mind people touching my belly as much as I used to. They are celebrating his life as I am and that is precious. Your daughters presence was brief but she changed me none the less. She reminded how
fragile life is. How quickly things can change. The tattoos you guys got were beyond precious. I love her footsies on her daddies feet. My heart goes out to you. You and your husband are in my thoughts. Your Stevie was beautiful.
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
From Kimberlee (http://babygraime.blogspot.com):
Your story has stuck with me more than any other I've ever read, heard, etc. On BBC and elsewhere you can find heartbreaking stories about mothers who have lost their angels way too soon, but for some reason your story is one I keep coming back to over and over again. I know we've never met in person, but we both have blogs and follow each other, so in some small way I feel like I've gotten to know you and Stevie over these past few months. My heart cries for you and your family every time I see your blog posts, but I am comforted every time I see you've written a new one, no matter what the subject. The way you've documented your entire pregnancy and now your grieving process reminds me that people are fragile, but with some glue, we can be put back together while still showing the cracks from where we were broken in the first place.
You asked how you and Stevie have made an impact on other people's lives. Well for me it has been a modest change, but one that I will now cherish. From day one, I've been anti pregnancy pictures. I love my growing belly, but never once have I wanted to document it in pictures. I love to blog and keeping everyone updated on what's going on, but I've never once taken a belly pic to post. While I will still not post my pics online, I am now taking them as a personal reminder of the journey my family is taking. I can't imagine suffering your incredible loss and having no reminders beyond the words of my blog to remind me of the special time I've been able to share with my baby. So thank you for that.
I know there is little comfort in the words of strangers and there are never the right words to say when someone experiences such a profound loss as yours, but know that I am thinking of you, your husband, your fur baby, and now your angel baby. I hope you are able to find comfort in some of the words I've written as I now find comfort in the pictures you inspired me to take!
Seeing your little angel put things into better perspective for me. I was actually a little upset when I first found out that I was having a girl, since I had my heart set on a boy. Now I treasure every little kick that I feel and am more excited than ever at the thought of getting to hold her in a few short months. I finally understand how people say and truly mean "I just want a healthy baby" and it is because of your story I am able to comprehend that.
I truly believe your tragedy has made us all a lot more aware that we have a miracle inside of us and we can't take that for granted because their is no way to predict what could happen tomorrow and we need to be thankful for what we have now.
So, how have I been touched by Stevie's life? Her short time on earth has been a reminder to me that none of us knows how long we will have our loved ones here with us. Reading about your daughter has made me ask the question, "If God could take your sweet little girl to heaven, could God choose to take my husband? My son? My own little girl? Or me?" And the answer is Yes, though I don't understand why. His ways are not my ways; His thoughts are not my thoughts. There are no answers here on earth about why these things happen. I know that I simply need to trust Him when things go terribly wrong and know that His love hasn't changed, and that He has a plan for each one of us whether we live for 8 hours or 80 years. We have no choice about when or how our life will come to an end, only that we make the most out of every moment. And that is what I intend to do with the time I am given, and will encourage my children to do the same.
I don't know what your beliefs are, but I want you to know that I believe your little one is in heaven right now. My prayer is that you and your husband are able to grieve with the hope that you will see her again one day. If you get the chance, check out these videos from Steven Curtis Chapman. He lost his daughter very unexpectedly a few years ago and his music is so encouraging.
Keeping you in my prayers, and remembering the life of Stevie Joy with you,
You probably don't remember me, but I was an intern at Big Brothers Big Sisters with you the summer of 2007 (I think).
Anyway, I came across your blog through facebook when you found out you were pregnant and I added it to my google reader. I always loved reading your updates and I loved how you were capturing each moment through photographs. I thought the idea of having a blog to be able to share with your child was such a great idea.
I couldn't believe when I found out what happened. It's hard to say your sorry, when you don't really know what it feels like and I am sure you have had heard that numerous times. But I feel compelled to read your blog and read every post you write.
So here I am telling you how Stevie left an impact on my life. Actually, it is more of how you and Stevie have left an impact on my life. My half brother past away last August and I remember feeling a lot of the same feelings you felt when you lost Stevie. They "why me's?" the "what did I do to deserve this?" the "my life will never be the same." After reading your posts after Stevie's passing, a lot of the ways you are finding to cope I have never thought of. Such as making a list of all the good memories.
I guess I just wanted to thank you and Stevie for giving me a different outlook on life. To focus on the positives and not the negatives. And to know that time will help the healing process. You and your husband are unbelievably strong.
I haven't really been able to write you to let you know how much you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers until now. I read your blog constantly and see that you are very active on the miscarriage/loss board. I lost a baby on August 19th of last year, my experience was very traumatic for me and my husband and to this day I can't even tell someone I lost my baby without feeling a lump in my throat and having my eyes start to water. For me, I didn't feel comfortable sharing how I felt with anyone, I wanted to feel like I could claim this baby as my child even though our relationship was over before it ever got a chance to really start, but I just always felt too ashamed to tell people. Now, after experiencing your loss of Stevie and reading your updates and feelings I feel that I can and should be more open with people about my loss. I know it will never stop hurting, but I feel better honoring the short life of my child than being ashamed of his/her passing. I just want you to know that Stevie has brought so many people together in such a beautiful way, she has taught us things about ourselves that we didn't know and your story has managed to touch so many people in so many ways! While life can end, one thing that will go on forever is your love for each other. You will always love your beautiful little girl and you should always carry her love for you in your heart! God Bless you and your family!
Before we had our daughter Marley, who is now 2 years old, we suffered through 3 losses. They said the first was just bad luck, the second was probably more bad luck, and the third probably meant there was something wrong. I was so desensitized by then that I didn't know if it was worth all of the heart ache and bitterness. We eventually figured out why my body refused to carry our babies to full term and fixed the problem, but never does a day go by where I wonder what it would have been like to have felt each of them, carried them to term and watched our other 3 babies grow up and become silly quirky children :) We never got the chance to feel any of our 3 babies kick or squirm, but we felt them through their short presence in our lives.
I came to know you and love our bond not only as both carrying August babies and sharing due dates, but as both being MN mamas :) After hearing of Stevie's passing, I held my one and only miracle baby tight and thanked every higher power in existence that I've been able to have 2 beautiful years with her and pray that Stevie watch over Jude as he grows in my belly. I never know what tomorrow will bring and will never take for granted that Marley and Jude could be taken from me at any time.
Stevie keeps that beauty of life very real for all of us. She reminds us of how precious every last moment is and to never take any of it for granted.
Stevie is a constant reminder of what is important. Its not that the living room is picked up and tidy, it’s that I have a little girl that loves to play and be messy. Stevie’s memory makes a person look at everything differently. Every mess, bed time battle and tantrum becomes a blessing.
If it wasn't for Stevie, we would have probably never crossed paths. She's made me realize how much of a gift this little miracle inside me, and Jake really are. I find myself taking a step back more often when I get frustrated with Jake, stopping and thinking of you. I play with him more, I hug him more, I make sure that I always tell him I love him and kiss him every night before bed - even if he has a super bad case of the terrible three's that day. You and Stevie have made me appreciate all the little things in life. I'm thankful for all I have and I'm so very thankful I can call you my friend, and it's all because of Stevie Joy. ♥
I am not very good at putting my thoughts into words but I wanted to try for you.
First of all, I am so very sorry for your loss. Its shocking and sad and I am so sorry. I strongly believe that while your arms are aching for her God's arms are embracing her.
I have been really touched by your story. I lost our second baby in February. It was an early loss (I was a little over 8 weeks) and while I feel a late loss is so different I have been really inspired by your and Stevie's journey. Thank you so much for your continued celebration of Stevie's life. That is something I have not done for my lost little one. I have tried to stuff the memories of my pregnancy away and since hardly anyone knew I was pregnant in the first place it has been really easy.
Thank you for not making it easy anymore. My little bean deserves better. It's life should be recognized for what it was...A LIFE! I feel like you and your family have really enabled me to talk more about my loss. It has already helped heal wounds that I didn't even know were there. Wounds that needed to heal.
And even though I wish with all my heart that there was no reason for me to write this to you please know that your story has touched a heart in Duluth and that your little Stevie is thought of daily up here. I've been praying for you guys.
Kristin, Your precious Stevie Joy has touched so many lives. Not a day has gone by, since hearing the horrible news, that I dont think about your family. I continue to pray for strength and healing for you and Andy as well as your extended families. The way you wrote to Stevie touched my heart right to my soul. Every stroke of the keyboard that you made was so emotional you could really feel the love you had and will always have for Stevie. With our due dates being very close to each other your story really hit home. Because you were so willing to share your honest and heart breaking story I know that you made more women aware of what was taking place with their bodies and their growing child inside of them. Myself personally, I have cherished each kick, roll, even jab to my ribs, that baby Cooper has given me, even more then before because it became more clear at how quickly it can be taken away. Your beautiful daughter's life was not in vain at all; she has probably touched more peoples hearts and homes then some people do in a life time full of years. Thank you again for sharing your story and I look forward to the day when I see you write that Stevie is going to be a big sister! Amy Womack (BBC Aug 2010 Board)
Kristin, I saw your post on our board and am sending you my piece: I first learned of Stevie Joy when Amanda (eastside) made a status on her Facebook about how she hoped it wasn’t true… I had a bad feeling so I anonymously followed the stats to see if I could get a better understanding of what she was so worried about. As the status continued to change throughout the day, she made one that said “Praying for Stevie Joy, we will know the truth shortly”. My heart instantly dropped because I knew exactly who she was talking about, and I knew how far you were because you are in our board. With such a unique, beautiful name that always made me smile as I would read it – it was devastating, and I don’t even know you. Once I read the final status confirming the loss of little SJ, I felt blank. I wanted to feel sad and mourn for you – but I felt it a little odd since I don’t even know you. Why would the loss of a baby to someone I don’t even know effect me so much, it really confused me. It was then I realized that it could have been me, and it shook me. We take so much for granted and just EXPECT to have normal healthy pregnancies – but the reality of the situation is we don’t all get the happy ending – and it could have easily been me. I cried imagining myself bitching about my back hurting or my heartburn – I felt so selfish but was quickly able to turn it in to something positive. My 2 year old son was sleeping at the time but I cracked open his door to make sure I heard his little snores. I walked down the hall and wondered how you have the strength. I walked out into the garage and look at our little girls crib in pieces in the garage, as we are painting it. I was rushing through it because I so badly wanted to get it done and over with. At that moment I threw on my iPod and starting painting, very slowly, and very carefully. This moment, as miniscule as it seemed, would never come back. I cherished that it was a piece of furniture for my little girl and I appreciated it that much more. “Oasis – Wonderwall) came onto my iPod and I instantly started bawling. Even though I don’t know you, I will NEVER EVER hear that song again and not think of you and your little girl. I truly think that you have made an impact on more people than you know. I have thought about your family a lot since your loss – and I want you to know that I support you and know you will find the strength to carry on for SJ. You did everything you could for her and she was so lucky to have you as a mother.
I do not know you at all, but I am on your bbc birth board. I saw your post today and have tried to write you so many times, but my words always seem insignificant. The way you have shared your excitement throughout your entire pregnancy, and how you stayed so open with everyone, most of us strangers, has really impacted so many people. It's uncommon to come across people like you, and I just want to thank you for making me a little more trusting in people. The fact that you welcomed so many people into your life, including sharing your grief, makes me understand that being guarded isn't always best.
Stevie has had an impact on me because before her, I don't know that I would or could have cared so deeply for someone I have never met. I think about you both every single day and hope that you find peace. When I think of a proper way to honor her, I will let you know what I've done.From Kerri:
Kristin, Without Stevie, I would have never found you as a friend. What a wonderful gift she gave us. I feel very lucky to know you. And I can thank Stevie for that.
I know that you and I don't know each other very well, having only met a few times through a mutual friend. I too would like to thank you from the very bottom of my heart for sharing your precious Stevie with us.
I lost my unborn piece of heaven at 12 weeks just two days before Stevie was born. In my entire 25 years on this earth I have never felt the loss and desperation that I did that day or in many of the days that followed. I have also never felt so completely alone. No one talks about baby loss. Ever.
As I was laying on the couch (this is all I did during that first week) one day I was Facebook stalking and came upon your story on the "Live News Feed" thing on the homepage. I navigated through your Facebook page and eventually clicked on the link to your blog. An act that would forever change me.
I soaked up every detail in every blog entry you had written since its inception. I laughed, I cried, but mostly I just felt that terrible sense of being all alone suddenly lift. Here you were, a mother with a lost baby just like me. I was happy and I was miserable for you. Happy because you had gotten to spend just a few more precious months with her than I with my own. Sad because I knew how much your heart must be hurting.
I must admit that in the days and now weeks that followed I have blog stalked you constantly. I love that you write to Stevie. That you take pictures for her. That you get tattoos to remember her by. Your daughter's story has kept me from being completely consumed by my own broken heart.
Through your blog I've also found others. Other heart breaking stories of lost babies. Stories of their mother's journey through loss and eventual healing.
From K:So thank you Kristin and Stevie for keeping me sane and for keeping me company.
After reading about Stevie I was in shock and indescribably sad for you. I cried at work in front of a class of students. I later told my husband about it and about how you and your husband managed to cling to one another. I was inspired by how the tragedy seemed to draw you two together. My husband and I have been going through some hard financial times that seemed to happen the minute we found out we are expecting. The way that you described the love and compassion you and your husband showed each other during this time of tradegy inspired me to turn to my husband more and show him more love in compassion during out troubling times. You and Stevie have made me better wife, thank you for sharing your story. You are in my thoughts often.From Julie:
While reading your posts I was amazed and thankful to see how brutally honest you were – about everything. I thought to myself “wow, I could of seen myself writing something like this a few years ago..” but the thing is – I didn’t. I’m one of those hurt in silence types, bury the pain, don’t tell them how you feel…it’s not really a productive way to be but I always felt uncomfortable with people knowing my pain. When I read the one post about how you wanted a shirt so people would know about Stevie, I couldn’t of related more. When you lose the most precious person in your life it’s hard to see the world carry on when everything for you just stops. That I know. Between losing a mother, sister, and two unborn babies at around 6 weeks…it’s hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. Just please take it from me…there is. There always is.
Stevie Joy allowed me to see that it’s perfectly okay to acknowledge the pain of losing someone that means so much to you. It’s okay to remind people that they were someone, that their life means something and always will.
It’s hard talking about my sister Karen…she died in such a tragic way and I always feel uncomfortable when people ask me how many siblings I have. I’m scared of making them feel uncomfortable when they find out that I had a sister who died…and you know what? I shouldn’t be. She was my friend, my confidant, why should I act like her life didn’t exist? I should tell people how great my Mother was, how much I miss her…that she molded me into the woman I am today. I should tell people that I’m actually a mother to 3 not 1. That those little tiny babies that died were mine and precious, they weren’t just “dust in the wind”. They were living and I loved them. ….I should say that more often, I realize that now. Your baby girl made me realize that Kristin.
You are a wonderful Mother, and your little girl Stevie Joy means so much to say many.
Stevie has reminded me to not sweat the small stuff with Logan. Stevie has been able to let me remember tell to Logan I love him all the time and laugh at the times when he wants to make me scream. Stevie taught me love the moment and cherish everyday.From H:
Stevie made me realize how delicate and precious life is. She made me love a little more deeply and openly. She made me hug my daughter longer than before.From Beth:
While on BabyCenter, you and I never really communicated personally, but of course I came across many of your posts daily. In that way, I came to ‘know’ you and had clicked on your blog link a couple times and loved it. You’re a wonderful writer and photographer and have done such an amazing job chronicling your pregnancy. I’ve wished that I could find the time to do something like that and found it very inspirational from the very beginning.
A little about me…
I grew up in Staten Island, NY and left to move to Seattle with my husband right after we married. As an only child, it was a really tough move for me because I’m very close with my family – and of course my close friends who are my extended family. The thought of starting anew and creating a life without them was terrifying. The first few years were especially tough, though Seattle is a beautiful city – because we were expecting our first child and I didn’t want to go through that alone. My husband has no family here either, so it was just the two of us left to figure out how to raise a child with no help.
Fast forward to three and a half years later, I’ve finally fallen in love with Seattle and learned how to juggle. I work full time, my husband works full time in the evenings and my son is in daycare and I pick him up on my way home from work. After work I’m in mommy mode and feel even busier than I do at work most days. Now that we’re expecting another child, I don’t really know how we’ll do it all – but we’ll find a way.
So, I often feel like I don’t have enough time. Time to dedicate to things like chronicling the life of my child. The thoughts and photos that you’ve created will be yours, your children’s and family’s to cherish forever. That alone has inspired me to figure out a way to do something similar, so that my kids will know how much they were loved even before we met them.
In reading about you and your husbands anticipation of Stevie Joy, how you chose to name her after you father… seeing your family’s excitement… the photos and story of choosing her nursery furniture and setting up her room – I shared in that excitement with you. As you know, a blog is an interesting window into a person’s world; the reader often feels as if they ‘know’ the writer. It’s a sweet and fascinating perspective into someone’s day to day life. So, Stevie Joy’s impact or your life made mine a little sweeter. There’s nothing more heartwarming than hearing about the love a mother shares for her baby.
When I saw the post about Stevie Joy, I was at work and had logged in because I had a few moments to spare. Of course, my favorite way to spend my time nowadays is immersing myself in anything baby related so I need a fix every now and then. I was completely shocked. Of course, any time you hear about a mom losing her baby it’s devastating and touching. With Stevie Joy, it was as if a friend lost her little girl. I immediately remembered your blog, the ‘belly update’ post you had made just days before, the photos of her nursery, and thought of everything you had been chronicling for her so that she could read it all one day. My heart just sank and I cried. It just was not supposed to happen -not to you, not your husband.. not Stevie Joy. I thought about my baby and wondered if he was okay. Could something be wrong? I thought about how lucky I am – to have my son, and to have the chance to meet this little life inside me in a few months. I also felt guilty. Why do some people get to see their babies grow up when others don’t? It doesn’t seem very fair.
I looked at your blog and cried again reading Stevie’s birth story. The letters you’ve written to her have been so lovely. When you posted her pictures I cried once more.. she looks just like you! She has an adorable little button nose, and is just a beautiful baby girl. Looking at the pictures once again made it seem as though this was ‘our’ Stevie Joy. So many ladies on BabyCenter felt the same way too - whether they knew you well or had just heard about Stevie. .. you have been part of this ‘August’ community and in a way it’s like a family (albeit an enormous, very extended and in some ways dysfunctional family!). Stevie Joy is ‘our’ little girl too in that way.
I still think of you and Andy often (now that I’ve read your blog quite a few times I now know his name too!) and wonder how each day is for you both. I want to say that the tattoos are a beautiful tribute, they are just perfect. I’m so happy that you have so much support and there are so many people reaching out to you to let you know that you’re not alone. I’m glad that you have those trees to remind you of Stevie Joy and to pay tribute to her. I can see that Stevie is part of you forever, part of Andy forever. She has and will continue to shape you and your life every moment from this one forward. I feel that there’s no question that her life and existence has so much meaning – more meaning than you will probably ever really know. Most importantly, she made you a mother.
I’ll continue to read your blog because it has touched me in so many ways. It constantly reminds me how precious life is and how it should never be taken for granted. It’s made me realize that I need to ‘stop and smell the roses’ a bit more – spend more time with my son, hug him more, kiss him more and make sure he always knows how much he’s loved… and I really thank you and Stevie Joy for that. Stevie Joy is very lucky to have a mom like you just as you have been lucky to have her as your daughter. She will never be forgotten, and is part of you and Andy always.
From Jersa (two of two of my best friends):
Stevie's impact is great. Her being created so much. It's emotions that stay with us, so her influence will continue.
From Jaylynn:Stevie helped me remember. Clementine Rose was lost May 21, 2009 at 19.5 weeks, but she is celebrated daily. However, Stevie made me re-embrace my baby girl. We never forget, us moms, and 'it' stays with us very strongly--the pain as much as the love, but it is reminding us to love and reminding us to stop and remember---(because we ALWAYS remember, we just don't always stop--we get so caught up in everything else sometimes) that has been a gift. You see, Stevie helped me stop and remember long and hard the greatest love I have ever known, which was holding my daughter. Holding our children is precious--holding them in our hearts changes lives. Stevie, along with Clementine, will forever be honored and always remembered with fondness and joy. Because making us stop to relish our love (amidst some pain) is a treasure. Thank you.
First of all, when I read your birth story I cried like a baby. It is so emotional and heartfelt. I haven't lost a child, but I am always afraid of it happening. The night I read your story I went down and watched my boys sleep. I probably sat there all night.
I have read a lot of birth stories, but Stevie's just hit me. I read it to my husband and he decided we needed a day with our kids. He called into work and we just spent the day doing whatever the kids wanted. (so you know, my hubby is not an emotional guy. at. all.) So this was really special to me.From Tiffany:
Kristin, I knew you from "our" board ;) You were always the funniest most witty girl on there and I always looked forward to reading anything you had written especially if it regarded your little one, Stevie. You had everything together and were so wonderful and perfect it seemed I always would think "geez what a lucky little girl Stevie is going to be with such an awesome mom." You always sounded like the type of mom I wanted to be to my baby, but constantly felt like I was falling short of because I never seem to have anything but a hectic hair frazzling day lol. You always were so at peace with everything and so calm with everything in your real life and yet fiesty and silly and sarcastic :) I loved reading your blogs, watching all of your plans come together for little Stevie. I soooo wanted to copy your blog idea that you were doing but I had no clue how and Im still struggling with it haha.
The day I found out Stevie died, I literally went into shock. It was just the day before we had been saying no one on our board had lost and how lucky we were. And then you lost her, and I went into tears for you. I couldn't imagine what you were feeling, and I was in so much shock I felt like it couldn't be real, they had to be wrong...
I prayed for you the whole time you were giving birth, almost begging God to let it be a mistake... that she was ok... that you wouldn't lose her. When I found out it was really true, I couldn't stop crying seeing her pictures, her birth story, and seeing how beautiful she was. She literally reminded me of a little angel, and I saw why God took her. She was too perfect for life on earth :)
The week after, every time I would think of you or Stevie, I would go numb and just think about how numb you must feel without her. Over that week and now, everytime I feel my little boy kick I realize how much of a blessing that is, and how much I used to take my little boy inside me for granted, not realizing that at any second, God could take him for no reason at all. My husband Chris and I bonded so much more with our little boy because of Stevie, he had wanted to be involved a lot already but after seeing how quickly life can just come and go, all he can do now is talk to CJ and tell him how much we love him. I even started my own blog finally because of little Stevie. I knew how much all those moments you have recorded of your feelings must mean to you when you look back now, and I know I would not have any of that, so I started just writing everything down.
I pray for you all the time still, and I know Stevie is with my little brother up there, and my little angel baby I never talk about because of how I lost. You are a wonderful mommy Kristin and Stevie knows that.
♥ you kristin, you are amazing and Stevie's and your story is an inspiration to all of us who read it to be better and appreciate life and how much we have.
Kristin, I'm so sorry for your pain and that you have had to go through this. There are not words to adequately express to you how I feel when I hear Stevie's story. You should know that her precious life has made me realize that the day to day challenges of raising my daughters are really not challenges after all... They're blessings. I'm sure you would love to hear Stevie crying at 3 A.M. to eat or pick up that same pile of blocks for the 20Th time. I need to enjoy those moments with my girls because they are not granted to me.From Lindsay:
I just wanted you to know that Stevie's life has definitely had an effect on me and a lot of people I know. When I posted a link to your blog, it had a profound effect on multiple people that don't know you. One girl, specifically, called it a "slap in the face from God" because she has been struggling with trying to get pregnant with her 2nd child. It was kind of a wake up call to her, I guess.
You know I'm a pregnancy and birth and baby nerd. I love that stuff. And pregnancy loss really really affects me. I can't tell you how much I cried for you. After seeing a picture of beautiful Stevie, I could not get her face out of my head. She is just so special and I guess the pictures really made it real to me that yes this terrible thing really did happen. I know that there was a reason for her life and I just hope that I might be able to help others go through what you've been through somehow. It has been really helpful getting a glimpse of the incredible pain through your blog, as I will be working with pregnant women a lot through prenatal yoga (and hopefully doula-ing as well). And helping them to trust in their bodies and surrender to the process. And how hard that must be, especially after suffering a loss like you have. To KNOW that nothing nothing nothing is wrong with you and that Stevie's life was shortened for a special destiny that is so hard for us to understand right now. I will, inevitably, have women in class who have been through what you've been through and are now pregnant again and I hope to be able to reach out to them and meet them where they are at. And help them with their struggles in their subsequent pregnancies, or maybe even the pregnancy where this unimaginable thing happens. So it's through Stevie, and you, that I will be able to help these women. And I thank you both from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to learn through this great tragedy.From Mindy:
I will never forget the day I found out that Stevie had passed away. My sister was in town from Florida for the week. The main reason was to throw her a baby shower and get the chance to enjoy her pregnancy. Andrew (my nephew) was going to be two weeks older than your Stevie. When my sister and I found your blog we wept for days. I couldn’t fathom the heartbreak you were feeling. It was then that I realized how real Andrew’s life was and how like Stevie, he already existed and was forever a part of my family. You made me realize how much I loved him. You also made me comprehend how much I would someday love my own children.
There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t think of her now. Even as I write this I feel a familiar bump in the back of my throat.
I hope you realize how impactful her life was to so many. She taught all of us about love and the importance of not taking those who are most important to us for granted. I only wish that we could’ve all gotten the chance to know that fun-loving spunky girl I knew she would become. Life is not fair.
You and Andy should be so proud of yourselves for the sacrifice and amazing strength you have shown that has inspired us all. Thank you for allowing us into her life. I will never forget the little girl who never took her first breath or step; but changed lives forever.From Lindsay:
I know it's been quite awhile since we've talked but I've been reading about Stevie and been checking up on you (via Facebook) ever since I learned about what happened.
I feel like nothing that I say could adequately describe the pain I feel for you and Andy, but much has been said about your beautiful baby. I called my mom absolutely sobbing the morning I learned about what happened. We cried for all three of you as we tried to imagine the immense sadness of that day and those that follow. Although it's impossible to know what you are going through, a quote I read a few days later shed a little light:
"You won't understand loss until you've loved someone else more than you love yourself."
No question about it, you two were incredible parents to Stevie Joy for the short time she was here. The tremendous amount of love both of you feel for her is so evident, so celebrated. She knows it. One very important thing your beautiful baby girl taught me is something so simple but so crucial: life is precious. It's absolutely precious. No time is worth wasting on hatred or grudges or complaints. Life is all about enjoying time with people you love by living in the moment. Such a lesson is life-changing and I'm forever grateful to the three of you for this. I have nothing but thoughts of peace and hope for you, Andy, and your baby girl. Thank you so much for sharing your story.From Shari (Stevie's Great Aunt):
Stevie Joy's life was a blessing even though it was such a short one. I'm glad to call her my Great Niece and to know what an impact her life has made on others. I will miss her and will remember her as my first just like I did her Mom. I will miss holding her as I did her Mom. I will miss giving her the girlie and animal gifts just like I did for her Mom. Her Mom is strong, brave and oh so courageous to share her inner most feelings. Be strong Andy. You two will make a difference in other's lives. You two are the Blessing. We will see her again in Heaven. That is a promise that is given to us. Thank you Dad (Great Grandpa) for holding her until we get there.From Marissa (one of my two best friends):
What i learned from stevie is the overwhelming love that comes from motherhood. I remember thinking one day "Man, if I love Stevie this much, I can't imagine how much I'm going to love my own kid someday."
I'm going to miss:
-Holding her all night when you and Andy go on your first date night after having her.
-Laughing at her brown curly hair as gets all frizzy in the humidity when she's playing outside.
-Talking to her when she's 16 about boys and friend problems when she feels like her parents just don't understand what she's going through.From Beth:
First of all, I want to tell you how much I admire the strength and wisdom you have shown over the last few weeks. You're living every mother's worst nightmare; I can't even begin to imagine the grief you're experiencing. I don't know how you're surviving...I'm sure some days it doesn't feel like you are, or it feels more like a half-life you're living. Way to go. Way to keep breathing. Way to keep writing and loving and honoring the short, beautiful life of your little Stevie. You are stong.
We haven't talked a whole lot since high-school, and I'm sorry about that. I'm thankful for Facebook, though, which lets me stay somewhat in the loop...I glanced a couple of times at your blog just because it's so fun watching a woman become a mom (which you have done, by the way. Whether your baby is nestled in your arms or the arms of Jesus, you are her mommy.) I just wanted to let you know how much I've been thinking and praying for you, even being brought to tears a few times by what you've written.
Stevie's little life has made me so much more aware of the huge blessing it is to have my own babies. In the past, I've found myself feeling sorry for myself after weeks straight of no sleep, of constantly changing diapers, of never feeling like a person in my own right but always being 'the mom'. Stevie has made me a more thankful mom. I hope a better mom. When I put them to bed at night I take an extra moment to kiss them and whisper a prayer of thanks for them.
Thank you for sharing her story. It must be hard to take such an intensely personal pain and let the world share it; I'm sure you've dealt with some insensitive comments and thoughtless people as a result. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to be there for you in the upcoming weeks and months, and please know that my thoughts and prayers will be with you.From Leslie:
Your story touched my heart in many many ways. My mother lost a set of twins about the same gestational age sweet precious Stevie Joy was. I never really thought of how she felt during the loss until I read your story. See the twins were born before me so I never could grasp the idea of my mom "before me" but I do now. I never take not one single little twitch my little one makes for granted. Every single second she is in there safe and sound is a blessing in itself. Thank you for sharing your story. It has touched more people then you know.From Anonymous:
I'm so sorry this has happened to you and Andy. I cried the entire time I read your blog update when I found out. I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know how Stevie has impacted my life. I have a sister who died within hours after being born. She's five years younger than me, so I remember my Mom going to the hospital while I stayed with my Grandparents who told me I was going to have another sister. The next day I remember my Dad coming over to my Grandparents and taking me into a separate room to tell me the baby had died. That's the only memory I have of my sister. I know my parent's were devastated, but that's the only time I ever remember her name being mentioned. Reading your blog has both helped me to understand some of what my Mom must have gone through, and has also helped me to see a healthier more open way to grieve than my family has taught me.From Sarah:
Stevie made me realize that fragility and strength are not mutually exclusive when it comes to the human spirit; realized that the love between a husband and wife can see them through most anything; and it made me respect and treat everyday for the gift that it truely is.From Danii:
You asked us to write to you and tell you how Stevie has impacted our lives... well for me there isnt one way or thing... im not the best with words and grammar, so im just writing from the heart, the way i would say it to you if you were sitting next to me..
I have shared Stevies story with my whole family, my friends, and my work colleagues... i have given your blog link to my cousin Sarah, who has shown it to her work colleagues .. Stevies story is important to me because i want people to know of my friends beautiful little girl. I have shown her picture to my mum, my friends.... my mum has told my grandma, and her friends... Stevies story didnt stop with me, i feel that more people need to know about Still Births. Its important that women support eachother especially when struck with such tragedy as losing a baby. I have been online and had a look at a few websites and i cannot imagine how you and all those other mothers who have lost their child feel... it makes me so unbelievably sad.
So Stevies impact on me has been about spreading the word on Still Births.. i donated in honour of Stevie to an australian organisation called Bonnie Babies http://www.bonniebabes.org.au/
I feel so helpless being so far away from you guys, i know eben feels the same way..but then i think about what we would be able to do for you if we were there... nothing.. nothing will help you heal but yourself. We just want you both to know that we love you so so much.. if anything we wish we were there to do nothing..just to be, if that makes sense.
Not only has Stevies impact been to make more people aware that this is happening... but on a more personal level it has made me see the beauty in things more often. Trees for example, something that i am surrounded by everyday and have never really 'looked' at ...well now i do...for me that is a special gift, to appreciate all the wonderful nature that surrounds us, the life in the trees and the wind.... Thank You Stevie Joy...From Erin:
About a year and a half ago, I had a miscarriage. It was my first pregnancy, and I had lost our baby. After that, every time I heard the news that one of my friends or family members was pregnant, I struggled with intense jealousy. It’s not that I wished a miscarriage on anyone (I wouldn’t wish that sort of torment on my worst enemy), but I could not understand how or why so many people I knew could have healthy pregnancies, while mine had ended up in miscarriage.
Your blog helped me to heal and move past my jealousy of pregnant women. I have to admit, when I first heard of your pregnancy, I was very jealous. But then I started reading your sweet blog. By sharing your heart so honestly in your blog, I was able to walk with you in your experiences, and my jealousy quickly vaporized. Not only that, but in many ways, it helped me to heal some of the emotional wounds left from my miscarriage. Yours was the first pregnancy I was able to selflessly and sincerely celebrate, and since then, I have not been jealous of the pregnancies of other women. I guess, somehow, your blog allowed me to move past my own pain in order to celebrate with my friends and family members in their pregnancies.
Reading your blog also gave me hope – hope that I will again see a positive sign on a pregnancy test, that I will get to be a momma, that I will get to watch my belly grow. Even now that you have given birth to your angel, I continue to find hope in your blog. I know that you feel that a lot of your blogs have been depressing lately, but, depressing though they may be, they still give me hope. They have shown me the resiliency of the human spirit. Even in your most depressing post, I find hope in the fact that you even wrote a post. You didn’t shut down or give up or hide yourself or your pain from the world. You did the complete opposite! You have already turned your pain into a way to help others heal. I love the way your blog has become both a tribute to Stevie, as well as a source of hope, comfort, and resources for other women (and men) who have had similar experiences. I am so glad that you did not stop writing your letters to Stevie because she is no longer physically present in your life.
From the start, your blog inspired me to make a blog of letters to my baby when God blesses me with another pregnancy. In thinking and planning for this blog (hey, I may not be jealous of pregnant women anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still daydream with anticipation of the next time I will be pregnant!), I have always known that I wanted to write a letter to my baby about his/her older sibling – the child I miscarried. I decided that that would be the day that I would open up about my experience. But your blog made me realize that I don’t need to wait until I’m pregnant again to talk about my miscarriage.
When I first had my miscarriage, almost everyone I told about it in those first days (pretty much just my professors so they would know why I wouldn’t be in class the next week) told me that they had had a similar experience. Almost every single one of them! And, after my miscarriage, my doctor told me that one in three pregnancies end in miscarriage. One in three! That’s a huge percentage! And yet we never talk about it! I remember being so angry and frustrated that I didn’t feel like I could talk about my experience even though so many other people had gone through the same thing. Why should I have to suffer in silence? I remember deciding that I would be very open about my experience…but I didn’t follow through on that. Reading your blog, being a part of Stevie’s life (even from a distance) and your experience of it, and walking with you on your journey has made me decide that enough is enough.
Sharing my story in this way is very important to me. I never got to hear my baby’s heartbeat or see an ultrasound, so the only remains I have to remember her (I really think she was a girl) by is the scar on my arm from the IV at the hospital, my hospital bracelet, my hospital discharge papers (are you sensing a trend here?), and the text messages I received from the few people who knew I was pregnant after they found out about my miscarriage. That is not enough. I want to have my experience documented so that I never forget how I felt or what it was like. I am so glad that your blog inspired me to write down my own experience. While I was writing it, I realized how many little things I had forgotten about that terrible day; I am afraid if I had waited much longer to write it, I wouldn’t have remembered those details.
Finally, your blog has made me realize in a deeper way than before that I am not alone. I realize that your experience was very different than mine, and, having experience the pain and sadness of my miscarriage, I cannot even fathom the pain that you are going through. But you are not defective. I know you feel shame and guilt about the fact that your body was not the safe place for Stevie that it was supposed to be, but it was not your fault. There is nothing wrong with your body. I know that for a fact. You are not defective. And realizing that you are not defective has helped me to realize that I am also probably not defective. It wasn’t my fault either.
So, Kristin, thank you for your honesty and your willingness to allow me to walk alongside you on this journey. Even though I cannot be there for you physically, I think about and pray for you, Andy, and Stevie all the time. You are never far from my mind.
Your Stevie’s life has changed me so deeply. If not for you, Stevie, and your blog, I would not have experienced the healing that I have, and I would not have found the strength and courage to share my own experience.
From Jersa (two of two of my best friends):
When I first heard the news it was early in the 1st tri and I was very excited. I had a hard time not telling anybody yet. Even Adam had a hard time, he told a few people at work and his parents. :) I remember picking out little orange slippers with animal rattles on the toes. They were so perfect. It was fun to count the months and dream about what Stevie would do as a kid and how her mom would overreact. Like I know you would have. I also wanted to be "auntie Jersa" and make a little cousin for Stevie to direct in plays and play house with. Like I'm sure she would have. Kinda like her mom. Because of Stevie I will take each day of my pregnancies with more than saltines and 7up like my mom did. But, with an appreciation I didn't have before for the miracle inside me. I will remember Stevie when I am so dizzy I am sitting on the floor or wearing sweats at the grocery store for lime popsicles. Foremost, I will remember how happy Stevie made my friends, Andy and you. The joy you two shared whenever the baby preparations were mentioned, which was a lot, and I will be even more excited when the next baby receives the gift of you as its parents. -Auntie JersaFrom Christa:
I have really enjoyed reading your blog, Kristin, and keeping up with your pregnancy. I felt that you blogging about Stevie let me get to know you better than I had before, in family gatherings and such where you were a bit guarded. You and Stevie recaptured the joys of a first pregnancy, during a time when my second pregnancy wasn't going that great health-wise and I was staring down the gun of potentially having to deliver a premie to make sure everything turned out OK. Not only did reading your blog distract me from that, but writing you with my limited advice from my first pregnancy also helped.
Stevie herself has had me going in and kissing my little girl more often than necessary, and not complaining so much that my new son won't sleep more than an hour at a time on any given night. There are certain things in life that rarely come along which change your perspective or paradigm. The way you view things. Stevie is one of those rare occurrences. I don't think one person who has read your blog could say that they view life exactly the same now that she's gone. I don't have any sort of good reason or explanation as to why Stevie is no longer here, but I do know that her life meant a lot. Small comfort in light of what you're facing, I know.
From Lisa:Thanks for blogging through the pain too. I've really appreciated the fact that you've continued to blog and for those curious as to how you're doing, they can just log on and check. Not only did you let us all share in the joys of your pregnancy, you're also allowing us to share the deeply private and painful time of parents grieving the loss of a child. All three of you are amazing.
To my lil stevie,
It’s been hard for me to think of what to say to you…I really loved you so much. I’ll never forget the day I had to pinch to stop the pee so I could run out and hear the yelps of the news that WE were having a baby! Yes, that’s right, from the very first day I have claimed you ; ) Your mom was our first bride, she got our first puppies, and then she gave us something even more—you, she became our first mom.
I’ve learned so much in our time together, whether driving with marissa and your mom and listening as they rattle on about all the stuff in preparing for you and I would try to play it off as if I knew anything at all of what they talked about ALL the way to chicago, or watching you grow, or all the knowledge your mom gained preparing for you, everything changed the moment you came. You are our baby. And all our babies will always hear the tales of you and how much we loved you.
When asked what your impact was, the answer is simple. You, you are the result. With your tiny little kicking legs you’ve kicked some major ass in this broken world (and I do mean that in a good way ). I don’t believe that it was ever meant to be this way, but that doesn’t mean that good and wonderful things haven’t come from it. I already know that you are an amazing girl and I am so excited to meet you.
This was my song for you the day I heard the news that you were lil Stevie: Colbie Colliet “Oh Capri” (but I like to change it to “oh stevie!) –right as I read the message from your mom this song began playing, no joke that same exact moment. Your mom did such an amazing job as you grew inside. And you, just as the song sings, you came out so beautifully.From Rachel (Stevie's auntie, and one of my best friends from College):
We never had the opportunity to meet, but I am your Auntie Rachel. I have seen your beautiful face in pictures and you have both touched and broken my heart. I find it so unfair that your life was cut so short, that your mom and dad have to go through so much pain in a time that should be so joyful. It really sucks. They were so excited for you to come! I have never seen your mother so happy. She lit up when she talked about all the things she was doing to prepare for you. She had your nursery planned, clothing bought and a cute little bear hat picked out just for you. You are the first Cook grand baby, and your parents first little “cub” and you will never be forgotten.
I was so looking forward to you coming into this world, so that I could spoil you like all aunties should. I even had fabric picked out to make your first quilt. It was so soft and had bears all over it. I know you would've loved it. It would have kept you warm on those cold Minnesota nights, something to cuddle with as your dad and mom read to you at night, and maybe even turned into your blankie that you would drag all over the place as a toddler. It is not fair that you do not get the chance to grow up and live. It is things like this in the world that really make me question my faith and why things have to be the way they are. I know that God has a greater plan, but to me not having you doesn't seem that great.
I am a nurse, a person who likes to fix things, and make bad things better. I am supposed to know how to deal with death, and know the words to say to the family that is left behind. But somehow I find myself at a loss. It is so much harder when you were to be my niece! I don't have the words to say to you or to your mom and dad to make it better. I simply can't. I can just be there for your mom and dad. Your short life has made me realize that I don't have to have the right things to say, I just have to be available to listen.
I will remember you always,
Love your Auntie RachelJane knitted a hat, to be donated for a preemie at a hospital in Winnipeg, in honor of Stevie. You can see it here.