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how are we doing?

How are we REALLY doing? Honestly we don’t feel like we are getting “better”. Somedays it even seems like things are getting harder. I think we are learning how to get through the days and keep it together when we need to. People say that we are doing so good. That they couldn’t handle what we are going through. That we are inspiring. But, most days we just feel like we are surviving. Doing the best we can. Leaning on the Lord to get through each minute. I think we both lay down at night thinking: Phew! We made it through another day.

It seems like just when I think I am doing ok something comes and smacks me in the face again. Not for real, but that is what it feels like. Yesterday was one of those days. I was having a pretty good morning. I was being productive and getting things done (which is a good day). I hadn’t had any major melt downs. It was almost noon and I walked out to the mailbox to get the mail. I can handle that, right? I sifted through the stack and saw an envelope that I thought was probably Cora’s birth certificate.

When Cora was born I completely forgot to send in the form to get her official birth certificate. My new mama brain was foggy and unorganized. We had the pretty one from the hospital, but not the official certificate. Last week we needed a copy for some stuff we have to send in, so I got online and ordered three copies. I thought it would be nice to have a few to keep and put in Cora’s scrapbook.

So, I eagerly opened the letter and I was right. I was thinking what a special document this would be for us to have. Cora’s “birth-day” will always be one of my most favorite memories. I turned the papers over and was horrified to see that all three copies and stamped “INFANT DEATH” in capital letters diagonally across the front. That was the moment when I felt like I had been smacked in the face all over again. I mean, SERIOUSLY?!? This was supposed to be my sweet daughter’s birth certificate and they had to stamp that on it. Like I am not already reminded of her being gone every day. Were they trying to make my heart hurt worse? Did I really pay $36 dollars to have them stamp those horrible words–three times!

Now, I know I shouldn’t have taken it personally. I am sure this is just some legal requirement. But, I LOST it. I couldn’t stop crying. All these thoughts went racing through my head. Is this document in my hands for real? Is this REALLY my life?

Thankfully, Joel called shortly after. I cried and explained everything to him. My poor husband never knows what to expect when he calls home. He is always so understanding and just listens. Then I called my mom and cried some more. She was on her way home and said she would pick up some lunch for me to make me feel better. After all that crying I did feel better, but that was all it took to turn my “ok” day into a horrible day. I don’t think I ever fully recovered.

Each day is different. I never know what to expect. The littlest things bring back memories and make me sad. I can cry at the drop of a hat. But then sometimes I surprise myself and do ok through something that I thought would be really hard.

I am so thankful that God is never surprised. He knows what my day is going to hold before I even wake up. He knows how I am feeling and that my heart feels crushed even before I cry out to Him. He knows just what I need to get through those “smack you in the face” moments. His love and comfort is truly indescribable. I am so thankful that He is in control.


The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:17-18
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  • Lipstick - Wow…what a sobering and poignant post. As always, thank you for sharing, for continuing to write, for allowing us in to your world, for giving us the chance to pray for you. I think of your family and pray for you daily.ReplyCancel

  • Marla Taviano - Crying with you, Jess. I am so, so, so sorry! I’ll pray myself to sleep tonight, asking God to love on you and Joel in a HUGE way.ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl - “the righteous cry out and the Lord hears them”

    what a comfort. well, it should be. when we walk through the unthinkable trials in life – that is when i want the Lord Jesus to come down and physically bring comfort.

    thanks for being real and allowing “strangers” in. praying for you tonight in michigan.ReplyCancel

  • Kristi REDISKE - Well-its hard to know what to say to you-I cannot imagine how you are able to make it each day. I know there are constant reminders of your Cora everywhere you look and always in your thoughts. I know its the Lord getting you through this even though it doesn’t seem like you are getting through this-does that make sense? I am thankful you are honest with all us who read your blog-its good really to know you have struggles and have to lean on Jesus. I do think and pray for your family daily-just don’t know what to say-i will just keep praying.ReplyCancel

  • PAVVU - Even though I donot know u,
    you and ur family are on my mind always from the day I started reading ur blog which I found unknowingly while surfing.

    I feel the pain of urs and really proud of u and Joel to make it through of all that which has happened to u n I pray for u all the time.

    love to u and never gonna forget ur coraReplyCancel

  • Trisha - Jess-

    I know that we don’t know each other but we have SO MUCH in common. I would really love to connect with you personally. I think that it would be good for both of us.

    Trisha
    trisha_larson@yahoo.comReplyCancel

  • vintage at heart - I think of you all of the time and also wonder how you do it and then I remember how strong your Faith is and I too know that He is taking care of all of you. I am so sorry about her birth certificate though, hard. I know that Cora’s Playground will touch so many lives and hearts and so will her story. She is a sweet angel.ReplyCancel

  • The Sieberts - we are still praying for you! I can’t imagine ‘doing better’ for a long time with the loss of a child. I am so inspired though that you keep your faith and hold tightly to Him. what would we do without our wonderful savior? πŸ™‚
    Hugs
    AndreaReplyCancel

  • Amy - Its so hard. I’m sorry. I know what you mean about people thinking you are being so strong…people tell me that all the time and I’m like “I don’t feel strong”. You just do what you have to do, you don’t have any other choice. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!ReplyCancel

  • Jessatsea - My heart hurts for you. We continue to pray nightly for you and although good and bad days can be expected… I think what you went through yesterday would have tested anyone.

    hugs and more hugs,
    JessReplyCancel

  • Gene and Annie - I am shedding tears for you and how you miss your sweet Cora. I am so sorry that you have to go through this and that it has to be so hard. My heart and prayers are with you!ReplyCancel

  • The McBrayer family - This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

  • Kristi - I am so sorry. I wish they had not stamped that on the certificates. That had to be a difficult reminder. I am still praying for you and your husband.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank you for sharing what must have been a difficult post. It makes one think of the underlying pain that you and your husband must be going through. There is so much insensitivity in this world. Your strength comes through each and every post.

    May God richly bless your family.

    Evelyn in VirginiaReplyCancel

  • Christina - This might not be totally appropriate, so, sorry, but it’s the kind of thing that makes you want to go kick someone’s a** on behalf of another person…
    and then there is the love of God that you know will carry you through. This world is full of some strange dichotomies. You are so prayed for, and cared for. Thank you for sharing so honestly your life…it’s what makes people who don’t even know you love you.ReplyCancel

  • kati - what an insensitive society, concerned more with legalities than actual people. i get upset and angry for you just reading your post. but then your hope shines through. you are such a beautiful family. keep on keepin’ on. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - Our stories & circumstances are different, but some of the sadness is the same. I find it harder as time goes by & milestones are passed. There are still times when i think, “Has God realized it was a mistake yet? When is this going to be ‘fixed’?”

    I don’t have any words of wisdom or comfort. I so wish i did! It isn’t something God gives us – the ability to take away someone else’s pain. But i emphasize & continue to pray for you. God’s blessings on you as you navigate this most difficult path.ReplyCancel

  • beyond this moment - I’ve been reading for a while but this is my first post.

    I am so sorry about the birth certificate. That’s truly horrible. Isn’t that what a death certificate is for?

    And it is perfectly natural for you to “still” be falling apart. I lost a baby to stillbirth 10 years ago and I still have those unexpected meltdown moments.

    You don’t have to get over losing your precious daughter… you just have to get through it… and that happens day by day and sometimes minute by minute.

    Cry. Yell. Sing. Laugh. Grieve your daugher. It’s ok to not be ok.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - I gasped and clasped both of my hands instinctively over my mouth when I read what was stamped on your precious daughter’s birth certificate… what an unwelcome shock. I can only imagine. BUT nothing on a piece of paper can ever change the love you have for your daughter, your memories… and you future together. That, in itself, is breathtakingly exciting! What a celebration that day will be when it comes!!!!
    I think you and Joel are amazing people from what I read of your blogs and what others have written about you.
    One day at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time… you can do this. It’s God’s promise that He would not put this on you if you weren’t strong enough… how STRONG you are!!!
    Your friend in Christ,
    Nichole from TulsaReplyCancel

  • Polka Dot Moon - My heart weighs heavy for you and Joel.

    Always in my prayers are the 2 of you and Cora.
    DeniseReplyCancel

  • Aaron and Shannon - Oh Jess that is horrible. What you’ve had to go through is horrible and I’m so sorry that happened. Praying for you daily.ReplyCancel

  • michelle - my heart is breaking for you…I am glad you have eachother for support and so glad to hear you are leaning on the Lord. praying for you all….ReplyCancel

  • Whimsical Creations - Oh no! I would have lost it too! What an insensitive thing to do. It’s a birth certificate, not a death certificate. I am soooo sorry! hugs…ReplyCancel

  • Mum2twopreciousgifts - Dear Jess and Joel

    With prayers, love and hugs from Australia.

    Michelle xReplyCancel

  • PamperingBeki - Oh honey.

    That hurt my heart just to read the words written on your blog. And I have no idea of the pain of living with that “infant death” daily. How awful.

    God knows you, He loves you.

    Thousands of people who’ve never met you, remember Cora’s “infant LIFE” every single day. We are only experiencing a drop of your pain, but all of us would gladly take on more if we could.

    You are so loved. I know you must be hearing it all the time, but if there’s anything I can do please just let me know… (Paperwork handled, house cleaned, a shoulder, just a distraction, whatever.)ReplyCancel

  • Marie - I’m so sorry! I’ll pray that tomorrow is a good day. You’ll get there…take all the time you need. Thanks for sharing your heart with so many.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - are prayers continue for you and joel. i am so sorry you had to experence that dearReplyCancel

  • Melanieshea - My heart is hurting for you right now!!!! Praying for you!!!!
    Hugs coming your way!!!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - I am so sorry you had to go through that. That would be hard even if you were expecting it. I’m still praying for you and your family to have some peace. -MReplyCancel

  • Todd and Courtney - crying with you as I read this post. Thinking and praying for you every single day. We’ve never met but wish we could!ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - I was telling my husband what happens and he told me the reasons why the do that it is because many people try to order birth certificates of babies that had pass away to still they identity, but you may be able to write a letter and request one without that horrible stamp, I hope it can help and we will keep praying for you and Joel. we love you.

    EldaReplyCancel

  • Angela - That is horribly sad. No parent should ever have to endure this. I am so, so sorry.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace - I am so sorry…continuing to pray…ReplyCancel

  • Melody - Those words, stamped across your sweet daughter’s birth certificate, are words no parent should ever ever have to read. I am so so sorry that you had to go through that- I’m sure it seems like everyday there is something new to knock the wind out of you. ((Hugs)) I am praying for you!!ReplyCancel

  • wicker0407 - I am so sorry. It’d hard for me to even find the right words to say. I have never been in your shoes and to even place myself there is unthinkable. My heart hurts so much for you and Joel. I found your blog through Kayleigh Anne Freeman when Cora had first gotten sick. She had the most beautiful eyes and she drew me right in. I prayed so hard for her and I still pray everyday for your family. Cora is without pain and in the arms of our heavenly father I am sure she is playing with Kayleigh and having a wonderful time that is the only thoguht I can go to after your sweet baby girl and Kayleigh grew wings. I just wanted to let you know all your blog friends are here for you your raw emotions and heart show through on every post. Just wanted to let you know your Cora was a true blessing and she changed many lives and she will continue to change lives brightening up the faces of all those little kids on her playground. Sending a cyber hug from SUmmer and Family in CaliforniaReplyCancel

  • ran shae - I’m so sorry Joel and Jess. I can’t even begin to imagine how you get through these days. God must really be who He says He is, or else how could you have made it this far? I pray that He will continue to carry you, and I know He will. I commend you for letting Him.ReplyCancel

  • Erica - i wish that you could see the extent of which your honesty and “real-ness” touch each and every one of us. i, too, cannot imagine “doing ok” for awhile after going through this. i also cannot imagine seeing what you had to see. i cried as i read your post, my heart hurts for you as much today as it did at the beginning of all of this. someday the Lord will reveal to you the beautiful picture He is painting through all of this. the darkness you’re in now is just shadows of the light He is shining on you. be blessed, you are still in my prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Lexie Loo & Dylan Too - I am so sorry. My thoughts and prayers are always with you and your family.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Im always moved at your honest, bare and raw feelings that you let us all in to read. I can’t imagine what you are going through and when you said surviving that made me really feel what you’re feeling. Im sure you just feel like you’re getting through it. It took me a little over a year to finally hit ‘bottom’ when I lost a baby that wasn’t even here yet, only 20 weeks along. I’m sure losing a child will take much longer. But I can say ever since I finally hit the bottom I’ve been doing so much better. You’ll get there. Not that you’ll forget Cora but I think you’ll just learn a different way to breathe.
    And the playground looks awesome. I wish it was in Oregon. If I ever make it to Kansas I will look it up.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank you for sharing how we can pray for you! We are crying out to the Lord on your behalf!
    Luann in WAReplyCancel

  • Lacey McKay - That just makes me mad! I want to get on the phone right now and make some phone calls for you! How inconsiderate…

    Maybe you could explain the situation to them and let them know you would like one without the stamp for her baby album?

    I also know exactly what you mean about feeling of a “slap in the face”. I call those “triggers”. I experienced one just today and my sister has been gone for two years. I wanted to call her up and tell her something funny that had happened, but then it hit me all over again that I couldn’t call her because she’s gone…it sucks.

    Please know that you are loved by so many and so is Cora!ReplyCancel

  • Holly - (((hugs)))
    I pray for God’s loving embrace around you during these difficult times.ReplyCancel

  • Allen and Debby Graber - Woke up again at 4:30. Couldn’t sleep. Spent time in the Word and also prayed for you. Then went to the computer and read your blog. Wow. I’m so sorry. The post that explained the reason behind it – identity theft – made sense, but I hope you do try to get one that isn’t stamped. You know, they are wrong. Cora is more alive than ever. Titus 1:2 says “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” What a hope and joy we have in that. We can rest in it. May He comfort you. Love you!ReplyCancel

  • Mandi - I can’t imagine but I know God gives us the grace and strength to walk through our circumstances. Keep leaning into His loving arms. I just prayed for you.ReplyCancel

  • Candice - That’s terrible. I’m with you. Why do they have to do that? Had it happened after you received the birth certificate, they wouldn’t ask for it back to stamp it. Really, who wants to look at that? The “D” word is the worst.

    You and Joel are doing what you have to do- keep on living and take it day by day. We all think you’re very brave.

    Hugs and Prayers.ReplyCancel

  • tami - Your family holds a special place in my heart. Thank you for sharing your ups and especially your downs. God is using you. You might not see it now but please know he has used you in my life.
    You and your family are in our daily prayers.
    Your sister in Christ
    TamiReplyCancel

  • jwhitacre - I think of your family so often and of course continue to pray for you all. I was driving the other day and heard Stephen Curtis Chapman talking about his daughter’s death on the Family Life Network. He had said that a friend sent him a letter that said the following:

    “She is a bigger part of your future than she was of your past!”

    I immediately thought of you and wanted to share…I know it won’t help you miss your dear little Cora any less but hopefully it will continue to give you the hope you need to make it through another day…you WILL be together with your sweet baby again…for eternity!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - I had the same thing happen to me. I was so upset! If I had ordered his certificate while he was alive it wouldn’t have big bold letters stamped across it saying “DECEASED”. It is a very cruel punishment for us who have shouldered so much in pain. It is another slap in the face. And I think it is completely unfair to put such pain on our already broken hearts. It doesn’t make sense to me to stamp that on their certificates. Like I said…if we had ordered them while they were alive we would never have had that problem. So why the need to do it when they are ordered after they die? It doesn’t make sense to me. I even thought about going after legislature to change it. It does NOT need to be like that.

    Bug hugs,
    JenReplyCancel

  • hoosier68 - I am so sorry. I only wish I could bear some of your pain. Continuing to pray for you.ReplyCancel

  • TRICIA @boutellefamilyzoo - Jess,
    I wish I had the right words. I don’t. What I do have are tears and prayers and so much love for you and Joel both.
    May God continue to hold you in his hands, and bless your every day.
    Praying for your peace,
    *TriciaReplyCancel

  • angie c - Ugh…what a let down that surely was for you… I don’t have anything too encouraging to say for you… but as a scrapbooker, I’d say the cute one from the hospital is much better anyways πŸ˜‰ (Take THAT stupid state of Kansas!). Thinking of you…ReplyCancel

  • Misty Rice - Today is one of those days for me I guess. I felt it waking up this morning, I was in a crummy mood. I know why… because I have to share my 8 year old son half summers with his father. Today was last day of school and his fathers first half of the summer with him. So today school ends, my routine ends and my son leaves me for weeks.

    Then I get on the computer to read of a family that lost their 7 month old daughter last night, and as well as a family lost their grandmother last night.

    Already with a few tears in my eyes and a knot in my throat… I read your post and I lost it.

    I hurt for you. I hate all of this for you. I don’t know how I do it, but I know God has given me such compassion and love for people and children… I honestly feel like I TOTALLY get what you are saying and feeling.

    My son leaves me for weeks. As far as I know he will return to me. I hope that to always be Gods plan and will anyways. But those weeks are hard for me… and I cry and I miss him and little things remind me of him randomly. I know that doesn’t compare to your situation or pain….

    But know that you don’t cry alone in all of this.

    Thanks for being so honest today. I think it more than ok to not always seem to have it together…. you are human and this situation is very very real.

    God Bless.ReplyCancel

  • Julie - Praying for you…I am so sorry for the pain.ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Stegent - Oh wow…ouch. Yes, I think I would definitely be crushed as well! I still hate that Cora is gone, I still can stand to see you and Joel going through this, even though I do not know you. Often I think I would just like to come to your blog and read all your excitement about what Cora has just learned to do, or how cute she is, or about how she peed all over the floor instead of in the potty. I am so sorry, and I just hurt for you. You guys are precious!ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Our family continues to pray for yours. God Bless you Jess and Joel, and may His love give you daily strength.
    Thank you for the update.

    The Hunecke Family
    Batavia, ILReplyCancel

  • Courtney Cloud - Jess,

    You do not know me but I’ve been reading your blog since your precious Cora passed away. My heart has broken for you at least a thousand times. When I started reading your blog I was pregnant and I had so much joy in my heart and because of that I almost couldn’t even remotely connect with the pain you were and still are feeling. At almost 6 months pregnant (about 4 weeks ago) I went into pre-term labor and our sweet baby Nate did not make it. I know our situations are not the same but the loss of our child is almost to much for my husband and I to bear. We know the Lord and are trusting in Him for our every breath right now. Thank you for your honestly. I understood everything about this post and it hurts so badly to know that there are other people out there having to deal with this type of pain. I’m saying prayers for you and your husband right now. Once again…thank you for your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Oh, Jess. I’m so sorry.ReplyCancel

  • max, ava, and elle - Praying for you right now…ReplyCancel

  • Joanne (The Simple Wife) - Dear Jess,

    I haven’t commented much, but just wanted to let you know that we pray for your family each and every day. Every time my girls pray, you are mentioned. Mornings on the way to school, at night for bed, before meals.

    Sending you hugs!

    Toben, Joanne, Audrey and Emma Heim
    Denver, COReplyCancel

  • Miss Em - I know what you mean. The truth is you are just surviving to the best of your ability and it will be that way for a long while. Those around think you are so brave and strong because you are even though you don’t feel it. You are brave to face each day and try your best to get through it rather then any of the alternatives. You are strong because God is strong and you are leaning on him. I also hate to tell you that you will always have those smack in the face moments but they become farther between. They always take you by surprise and I find that after my crying I feel better. It reminds me of the love for my child and that God as asked him home. You never forget the one we lost but life eventually goes on. When I sing lullabies to my daughter I always raise my voice to heaven so that my son can hear me too. On his birthday I bake a cake for the family. You will find new ways to include Cora in your life…eventually. You just keep on doing what you are doing. I have so much love for you and your family and know that God has and will bless you many times over.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - Thank you for sharing that verse – it was something that I needed today.ReplyCancel

  • The Morris Family - I read this verse this morning; I laid me down and slept, I awaked for the Lord sustained me. (Ps. 3:5)

    It has been 861 since our Joel went to heaven. I have awaken 861 days with out him. The word sustains means ” to prop” and the Lord has done that. I can not find in scripture where he makes the pain go away but He does prop us up, comfort us and he is always there every morning I awake. Even after 861 days the pain is there but his grace is right along side of it to help soften the intensity of the pain.

    I read this and it helps with perspective

    The evening and the morning were the first day.
    Gen. 1:5

    Was it so even in the beginning? Did light and darkness divide the realm of time in the first day? Then little wonder is it if I have also changes in my circumstances from the sunshine of prosperity to the midnight of adversity. It will not always be the blaze of the noon even in my soul concerns, I must expect at seasons to mourn the absence of my former joys, and seek my Beloved in the night. Nor am I alone in this, for all the Lord’s beloved ones have had to sing the mingled song of judgment and mercy, of trial and deliverance, of mourning and of delight. It is one of the arrangements of Divine providence that day and night shall not cease either in the spiritual or natural creation till we reach the land of which it is written, “there shall be no night there.” What out heavenly Father ordains is wise and good.

    What, then, my soul, is it best for thee to do? Learn first to be content with this divine order, and be willing, with Job to receive evil form the hand of the Lord as well as good. Study next, to make the outgoings of the morning and evenings to rejoice. Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises, and for the gloom of evening as it falls. There is beauty both in sunrise and sunset, sing of it, and glorify the Lord. Like the nightingale, pour forth thy notes at all hours. Believe that the night is as useful as the day. The dews of grace fall heavily in the night of sorrow. The stars of promise shine forth gloriously amid the darkness of grief. Continue thy service under all changes. Every hour has its duty……..

    (Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon)

    CindyReplyCancel

  • Audrey - Oh Jess, I’m so sorry. I just can’t imagine….

    When you are feeling stronger, I hope that you will call the courthouse and explain the situation. I hope they will find it in their hearts to send you a “better” copy of Cors’a birth certificate so that you can have one for her scrapbook. I just can’t understand why they would stamp that anyway…isn’t that the point of a death certificate??ReplyCancel

  • les_mason_curt - Thanks for sharing, Prayers for you and your hubby! I have a picture of sweet Cora on my bulleting board in my office. I got it from Julie at Joy’s hope when I orderd to help the playground. Her story has changed my life. I know that may not make your life any easier, but I wanted you to know it.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Is it possible to love you and not even know you? I’ve been quietly following your blog since I was made aware of Cora’s plight. I’ve read through the recovery journey you are on, and I’ve visited the Etsy store TRYING to get a Cora dress before they sell out (no luck yet). I wish I could hold your hands, look you in the eye, and WILL some peace and love and … I don’t even know what…into you to soothe the ache.

    The authenticity of your posts makes my heart ache for you.

    I wish for peace and happy times for you.ReplyCancel

  • mom2wendy - There is one way that you can tell if you are making progress with your grief. Time. If you are able to think of Cora every 5 seconds instead of every one, you are making progress. One day you will be able to go a 15 seconds, then 30, then a minute, and then five minutes. This is progress which is good, but is also a slow process which is hard. One thing I can say from expierence, never will one day pass without thinking of Cora. This is good. One day, every memory will not be a say one. Seeing Cora’s birth certificate was a shot of reality. It is so earthly real. Earth life is hard even when you have the arms of Jesus loving your child in heaven and holding you up when you feel like falling. I understand. ((hugs))ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - why do they do that??
    I swear….does the government not have any clue?
    xoReplyCancel

  • Nan - Ugh. I’m so sorry.

    “For when we are weak then HE is strong…” Yes… Jesus loves me.ReplyCancel

  • kristin - Jess, I am so, so sorry. My heart
    breaks for you. I know the timing
    will have to be right, but once I again I find myself praying that you will soon be blessed with another child. I know that one cannot and will not take Cora’s place, I’ve never walked in those shoes so I don’t know, but I can’t help but think it would make the pain that every day life can bring a little easier to bear. I am praying for you & Joel daily with
    much Christian love.ReplyCancel

  • Marsha - My heart aches for you. I know that God will continue to hold you in His arms. I will keep praying for comfort and good days!

    Love and prayers.

    Marsha in VAReplyCancel

  • Cathy - Doing better? How do you do better? The people that ‘think’ you’re doing so good have no idea what’s going on on the inside. My heart still aches for you and I pray that time (hopefully soon) the pain will lessen some for you.ReplyCancel

  • lauren - praying for you all the time, and especially on days like these.ReplyCancel

  • Kat - My heart aches for you. I feel terrible that you had to open that envelope and see those horrible words. If I knew you in person, I would give you the sweetest hug! Praying for you still and thinking of you often.ReplyCancel

  • TheSamuelFamily - I just came across your blog yesterday and to be honest I think I cried with you for about an hour. I have a little girl Cora’s age and cannot possibly understand what you are going through. I immediately went to her and hugged her and did not want to let go. There are no words I can say but that I have thought about you and your family nonstop since reading your blog. I pray that you find the strength to make it through each and every day. I pray that you find peace knowing she is in heaven. I don’t think losing a child is something that gets easier over time. I have no words…..ReplyCancel

  • Lori - Continued prayers for you, Jess. I can’t imagine how painful it was for you to open that letter. I remember one day not too long ago when I found my older brother’s birth certificate that had “stillborn” stamped across it like you described. And then I saw his little hand and foot prints and I started to cry. ((((Jess)))ReplyCancel

  • ml - Jess,
    I am so, so, sorry. I can’t imagine what that must have been like to see on her birth cerificate, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like to type it in a post. I am still praying for you often.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - I’m sorry you have those “smack you in the face moments” I wish you never had to experience another one again. I pray that you may have peaceful and comforting days to lift your spirits.
    Love Courtney MayfieldReplyCancel

  • angie schmidt - Hi Jess, I met you at “Weekend to Remember” and teach with Ruth. Thank you for sharing. I went through something similar when we lost our son. You think you are “managing” but something comes along in an instant to change all of that. You open mail to read “Death Certificate” or something as impersonal with all of this information that you don’t think is relevant. I cried, I took it to the Dr. and asked why the State would be so insensitive. He didn’t have any answers. BUT the most important thing you and Joel have during this time is your relationship with God. Luke and I struggled through this for many years trying to lean on our own understanding and not His. Grieving is so hard and it takes time. Please know we pray for you and Joel often.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - I am so very sorry. My heart continues to hurt for you..I can only imagine how life is for you and Joel..I still cry thinking about your sweet Cora and look at her pictures, oh no it is so hard for me to do so how do we expect her Mom and Dad to get better…not better just through the day. I so wish that I could help, How? I wish I could take some of your pain away..Thank you for sharing with such honesty with us. WE ARE HERE FOR YOU in anyway that you need us to be.
    Always thinking and praying for you and Joel.

    KimReplyCancel

  • mandi @ it's come to this - I hesitate writing b/c nothing sounds “right” … my heart hurts for you so badly in those unexpected moments. Just know that it’s Cora’s LIFE that has touched so many. Still praying for you & your family:)ReplyCancel

  • Tonya - How horrible that must have been for you. Praying for you.ReplyCancel

  • Lacie and Stephen - Unfortunately when you feel things are finally behind you for the most part (when things that USED to give you a slap in the face don’t) you will still have those moments. I thought of my daughter the other day and just had the overwhelming urge to cry! I am almost two years out from her birth/death and I still have those moments! I feel so much for you! Oh, and I got that, “You are doing so well” comment all of the time too! It always came at the time when I felt so much emotional pain, I thought my heart was going to fall right out of my chest. That does get easier. All of this does, but it NEVER goes away! You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers! Hang in there!

    In Him,
    Lacie HutchinsReplyCancel

  • Ashley and Clayton - Just like many others, your story has wandered its way into my living room.

    I’ve spent the greater half of my son’s nap time, reading your blog. (Not that your blog isn’t very interesting or worthwhile…nap time is very valuable time! πŸ™‚ )

    I’ve sat her sobbing as I read through your journey. I can’t imagine the loss of a child.

    You are such brave and courageous people to share you story with so many others, and allow God to inspire the hearts of many.

    I’m sure you hear it a lot, but you truly are an inspiration and a beacon for God’s hope.

    I think and pray for your family often.

    -AshleyReplyCancel

  • alyssa - i am so sorry. my dad passed away 3 weeks ago, and FINALLY someone said something that i felt helped me. i was remembering him & feeling sad for my loss. they reminded me that my memories are the gift. my times with him were a gift. i’m sure you already knew that but i hope you had a good day today.ReplyCancel

  • dg darling - Wow, I don’t even know you and I just wish I could jump through this computer and give you a hug. I am so sorry you had to go through all this and also about the birth certificate. I have read on other blogs about the same thing happening to other mothers and I am just so sad for all of you who have lost your sweet babies. My baby girl will be one on June 28th and I think of Cora quite often when I look at my Emilia. Thank you for teaching me to keep my priorities straight by sharing Cora’s life with the world. I have never appreciated one of my babies as I have this one and that is because Cora is my sweet reminder to hold her closer and enjoy her more. I pray for you daily still and think of you often. I have cried many tears on your behalf and I wish you peace in the days…weeks…months to come.ReplyCancel

  • The Jones' - Praying for you. I can not imagine seeing that and I pray the Lord brings you a renewing comfort and peace. Hugs~
    LizReplyCancel

  • Leah - Echoing everything said…and letting you know that you ARE strong BECAUSE you’re leaning on God for every moment. There’s no better position of strength than that. Love you!ReplyCancel

  • Robin Cotton - I just want to tell you that I love you and Joel , even though we have never met . I carry you around in my heart and pray for you often .ReplyCancel

  • The Oldham Family - Please contact your Office of Vital Statistics and let them know what happened. They can mail you a copy without that stamp if you request.
    What a rotten day. I will lift you up to God’s arms tonight through prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - I am sorry, that was very unfair. Your reaction is completely understandable and very acceptable. Mourning is sooo very hard and exhausting.
    JanetReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Oh God, I am so sorry – my heart is breaking for you. I wish I knew something to say that would comfort you…ReplyCancel

  • Mikaela - Swallowing my tears as I read this. God is with you. Praying for you from WI!ReplyCancel

  • jennifereaby - Bless you, Jess. Sometimes life just sucks and there is no way around it. But if there is one thing we can say about our God, it’s that He didn’t exempt Himself from pain. He’s not that kind of God. And when it comes to our pain, He doesn’t always take it away and He definitely doesn’t negate it, but at least He understands it. And He’s there for us in it. Praying for you.ReplyCancel

  • beth - My heart just cried out for you! It has been a day to day struggle for us getting through the loss of my MIL, I cannot imagine how much more profound it would be to be the loss of our child. If only you could FEEL all the Love we have for you & Joel! Lifting you & Joel up in prayer tonight & always! I am so Thankful you both have the Lord as your seatbelt on this rollercoaster ride of emotions.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole @ BugaBoos - You and your husband are always in my prayers, my heart just aches for you both as I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through. There are some days when things do not go my way and I so want to be mad at God for that sometimes and you have really showed me how truly petty and ignorant that would be with your commitment to God in all that you have been through. You are truly amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Hailey - You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - Death in man’s eyes, but oh so alive in God’s. Nothing can take that from you. We continue to pray for you!!ReplyCancel

  • Mrs. MK - I don’t know if it helps to know that what you wrote is the way I have felt for the last 17 months. An ‘ok day’ can be derailed and there is not much I can do about it….survival is all I can muster right now. Moments of peace with my daughter’s death come when I realized that I didn’t have to be perfect, I didn’t have to be thriving and growing…..I just had to hold on to Jesus, and rest in the fact that He’s got ahold of me, and he won’t let me go!!! The terrible, horrific storm of grief just beat me to pieces…..but I am so thankful that it was His strength keeping me….because I don’t have anything left.

    Just my thoughts…..hope it helps. You are always in my prayers!ReplyCancel

  • daugherty06 - We are still praying for your family. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of you! Your story has made a dramatic impact on our life and we wish we lived closer to share hugs with you daily. May God grant you some serenity each day.

    Regarding the birth certificate….perhaps you could go down to your local courthouse and purchase one. They print them off and emboss them there when you arrive. The “stamp” will be put on it after they print it. If you take them the copies that you currently have and show them what you have to remember her birth-day, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t give you a copy without that stamp. It’s worth a try?ReplyCancel

  • Toni :O) - Oh golly, I’m so, so sorry you had to go through such painful mail. My heart broke in two *again* for you. I saw a rainbow recently and I felt it was Cora (and sweet Kayleigh that just passed away recently)…not sure why or how, but I just did. I think of you both so often and constantly pray for you in hopes that your pain will ease. Hang in there, sending love and hugs from Michigan.ReplyCancel

  • meg duerksen - love you jess.
    i love that you are so honest.
    it’s so good for you.
    so good for us.
    we don’t want to forget you.
    we dont’ want to forget your pain…at all.
    or dismiss it.
    love you.ReplyCancel

  • songskatesang - Still praying for you. i am so sorry that you got that in the mail. that is sad and i’m sorry. thank God for the body of Christ. I hope you know you are lifed up in prayer.ReplyCancel

  • Beck - Jess, like so many other people who stop by here, you are so often on my mind and in my prayers. But the other day it was interesting & out of the blue: I felt God say, “remember Jessica” and I was thinking, “hmmm? Who is Jessica? A friend of mine? Which one?” Then I had a mental image of Cora come to my mind. It was just incredible how God put you into my thoughts and called you “Jessica.”

    He must think of you all the time.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - So sad, I can feel your pain but I’m sure it’s no where near how much pain you’re really in! I cryed for you, being a mother it really hits home. I hope you know how many people are reading this and sending you our prayers. you have mine from NJ. Thank you for letting strangers into your life, but we’re all connected. I hope it helps you. God Bless you and your husband!ReplyCancel

  • heather - Oh, sweetheart. So sorry that happened.
    Continuing to pray for you and your husband. May you feel God’s arms around you.
    HeatherReplyCancel

  • PamperingBeki - I don’t know why but you are heavy on my heart this morning.

    I’ve spent over an hour in tears and praying for you today.

    Praying God holds you close.ReplyCancel

  • Krystal - For whatever legal reason for that horrible stamp on birth certificates of babies who’ve died, it really stinks for you and other bereaved loved ones, and my heart hurts for you!

    Praying for ya!ReplyCancel

  • Kelli - Bless your heart. I cannot imagine what that must have felt like. Praying that God showers your heart and mind with a vision of HIS perfect birth certificate for Cora.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - Jess, There are some days that the Father brings you to my mind so often and so strongly…I am crying right now with you…thanks for sharing a little of why that may be…I will keep praying…Liz BiggsReplyCancel

  • texasinafrica - Oh, oh, oh. I know the days are long. But it would be more worrying if you thought you WERE okay. This isn’t something you get over in a few months. Grief is slow and painful and the only way through it is through it. Thanks be to God that you are not walking alone.ReplyCancel

  • Falling Around - Haven’t commented in a while – I’ve been away alot. I am so sorry about what you had to face in the mail this day. That must have been beyond terrible. I honestly cannot imagine why they would have to stamp that on there. My heart aches for you every time I think about you and read about another painful moment you’ve had to endure.

    My friend Victoria said today, “Every time I feel like I’m at the end of my rope, God reminds me that He’s holding onto the other end.” I hope that thought helps you today.

    XOXOs,
    Christy KleinReplyCancel

  • Al's World - Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sometimes it hits me that I don’t have a mom, but you are right, God knows, and He is with me! You are inspirational. I pray for you often and am so thankful that God is your ever present source of strength.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick - Oh, how completely, completely awful. I am so sorry to hear that. I wish I could say something more constructive for that, but my heart just broke for you, again!ReplyCancel

  • The Koehns - You couldn’t have chosen a better verse to describe your feelings. I think of you almost every day. I am doing the Wichita Relay for Life this year in memory of precious Cora. You are all an inspiration to lead a better life!

    Still praying for you in Rose Hill,
    AmberReplyCancel

  • purejoy - i’m so sorry you had an emotional set-back. that will happen occasionally. i’m just so glad you have your momma nearby to walk with you through the tough times. and a sweet, understanding loving husband. what a sweet blessing. and what a comfort to have the Lord alongside you every step of the way.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - My heart and prayers go out to you…the verse you wrote is so true, He is with those who are crushed in spirit, and that’s what happened to you opening that envelope…I am so sorry, and praying for your peace and comfort from Jesus as only He gives…ReplyCancel

  • The Schilling's from PICU - Jess,
    I had been out of town and didn’t get your posts read until right now….. the contest was great! You guys are awesome! can’t wait to be a part of the next one, if there is one……

    Reading this post gave me such a sad heart and of course I wanted to jump in the car and come hug you BOTH.
    We had actually been back to Wesley for a apointment to see a lung specialist for Jaylee this week. Everything is good and normal, we will just have to wait and see what the next cold season holds for her lungs? As we drove down the street to the hospital, my heart sank and I had a very sad feeling. You all were on my mind so much! It was such a bitter sweet time for us there. We went thru, fear, tears, faith, hope and happiness of meeting you! I was going to go up and say hi to the nurses at PICU, but just couldn’t make my feet go there. It seems like years ago, yet just yesterday we were all there together, praying for eachother. I wish I knew what to say or do on the slap you in the face days, I am so amazed at your strength and love in the Lord. I still think of you all daily and wish I could make things easier for you. I thought long and hard about Cora on the way home, cried, smiled and wondered what she was doing in Heaven today. I imagine her running or should I say wobbling and laughing with those chubby cheeks of hers. I know she is sending her love to you and wanting you to know she is pain free and loving you from the heavens every minute! Please continue to believe and know the Lord is right beside you every step. I pray for you to have brighter days and know I miss you!
    love always,

    AMIEReplyCancel

  • Tom and Mira Ehrlich - Jess,

    I know exactly what you mean. When Caden died, we got the same letter, but instead of a birth certificate, it was a death certificate. I totally lost it then too. I know God held me the entire time, and I pray that He continues to hold you still. I keep praying for you both.

    MiraReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - First, let me say that I can’t know exactly how you are feeling, but having just gone through my husband’s death in March, I know grief. I am 41 years old and my children are 11 and 17, so his death was quite unexpected. I read something this week that stuck out to me that I would like to share with you. People that say they could never go through what you are going through or say they could never handle it themselves…right now they couldn’t, because God hasn’t given them the grace to handle anything like this because they don’t need it yet, but when and if they ever do, it will be there for them. His grace is sufficient for the burdens we are called upon to bear. The Bible says, as thy days are, so shall thy strength be. I have learned through my situation, that I can’t think about tomorrow or next week or next year. To do so causes too much grief, and worry. So I ask the Lord each morning just for strength and grace to make it through that particular day. What gives me hope is knowing that we’ll be together again one day in Heaven…what a reunion that will be!ReplyCancel

  • chanemza - I know you’ve probably heard this a thousand times by now, but I am so sorry you have to go through this. She’s a beautiful child. I was moved to tears, not just by your post but by the Etsy article as well (I’m CinnamonSass).

    I don’t know the loss of a child, but I do know loss of loved ones and other kinds of pain. I know what it’s like to get the comments about your strength and resiliency, and what you really feel inside is just the overwhelming wish to hide beneath the blankets and never come out.

    It never, ever goes away. But in a strange way, it does get better. Not the loss or the hurt. But in the way you remember and how you deal with it.

    Congratulations on the news, and I’m sure Cora will be a wonderful big sister: She’s your new baby’s guardian angel.ReplyCancel

  • The House Family - My heart aches for you and your husband and family… it’s so wrong to loose a baby, and soooo sad — I can’t imagine the pain you swim through. I don’t know you, but I found you through another blogging mom’s page. And I’m praying for you. I think it’s good to grieve, and cry and get mad. God is such a healer, and I imagine it will always be day-to-day until we all get to our final home where there is no more crying or pain.

    My husband and I have two miscarried babies in heaven. And two girls here. I think it’s so beautiful when people like you are willing to expose your pain and struggles to encourage others who are hurting too. What a beautiful thing.

    Love,
    JenReplyCancel

  • The House Family - Oh, and Congratulations!! I will be praying for your new baby and you and your husband. Grieving and rejoicing — so many emotions at once… My husband and I dealt with a lot of fear after the two miscarriages we experienced before our second daughter was born. I’ll be praying for peace for you both. That first ultrasound will be AMAZING!! Just wait πŸ™‚ My husband and I cried the whole time during ours…

    Love,
    JenReplyCancel

  • Rachel Tenpenny Crawford - I found your blog through the design girl. I have a blog of my own. I lost two daughters last summer. I just want to say that I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what you have been through. http://www.aubreyandellie.blogspot.com
    i will add you to my list of blogs I follow.ReplyCancel