I am such a proud Auntie. I have a beautiful little niece. Well, I actually have three. You may have seen my happy posts and photos of my third obsession after my own two girls, but what you haven’t seen are the two nieces who are not here with us anymore.
My sister, Cortney, gave birth to Cora Lynn in August 2017 and Lennon Cora just a few weeks ago. They were both born too soon after complications with pregnancy and did not survive.
Because it is pregnancy and infant loss awareness day today and because I find a little bit of healing in writing down my thoughts, I wanted to write a little bit about these nieces and my sister. My sister, Cortney – if you know her, you love her… or you don’t. She wouldn’t even care that I say this, for real, she knows it and will probably laugh at the statement. That is just the kind of person she is. She is totally your cup of tea or she is just a little too spicy for your taste. Some people get so hung up on if people like them or not (I tend to be a people pleaser myself) but refreshingly, Cortney really doesn’t. If she is on your side though, man, you are lucky. She is a wonderful Auntie, loyal friend, loving daycare teacher, and amazing sister.
I am 15 months younger than my sister. Our relationship wasn’t always this way of course (I mean high school, come on!) but we have grown closer and closer through every experience in our lives. Let me tell you, I have more admiration and respect for her than ever before after watching her give birth to her daughter, Lennon. I was too late for the birth of my first niece, Cora, but was right there with my sister (and my Mom) when Lennon was born. I even cut the umbilical cord.
You may think that it couldn’t have been that difficult. I mean, she was only 20 weeks! “Only” is a word that should never be mentioned in this situation. She was 20 weeks pregnant with my niece, her second daughter, and my parents’ granddaughter. She planned for her, she loved her, she was so damn close, but it happened again. Cortney pushed out Lennon 20 weeks before she wanted to, and it was the most excruciating thing I have ever seen. Yes, Lennon was small, but Cortney had to labor through every contraction and push through every push knowing she wasn’t going to be bringing her baby home after it was over. It was emotionally (along with physically) excruciating.
There were tears. Lots of tears. I couldn’t tell if it was from the pain or from the heartache. I assume both. I could feel her heart breaking with every push. My heart broke for her in those moments as well. All she has ever wanted to be is a Mother. Even though she wouldn’t want to hear it, she was a rockstar. She was strong through it all even if it may not have felt like it.
My family and I are doing our best to help my sister through this experience but there just isn’t enough right words or right ways to get through. I like to “fix” things but have tried these last few weeks to adopt the saying Cortney’s nurse kept saying, “It is OK not to be OK.” At least for now or for however long it takes. I know a part of her will never be ok and that hurts my heart but I have accepted that. She is strong. She is surrounded by love and support. We will get her through. I have made that my mission.
If anyone has experienced a loss of a child, I am incredibly sorry. I welcome any words of advice or wisdom. I also would love to hear about your children even if you just want to say their names or have someone else remember them.
Here are some photos from the hospital on Lennon’s birthday. I am only showing a couple where you can actually see a little bit of Lennon (for those that may not want to see, you can stop reading here). I think this is important as I wanted to show the actual little human behind the loss with all her little fingers, toes and cute little nose. She was a precious and innocent little girl. She was loved. She will be remembered.
“There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.”
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