Introducing… Jensen Bear.

In the last few days of my pregnancy, I could tell Jensen was going to be a healthy sized baby. The ultrasound ladies would let me know their guesses to how big he would be at his birth. Each week he got bigger and bigger. I felt his weight in every set and sometimes had to hold him in my belly. During those moments, I thought how much easier it would be to be able to hold him my arms and how happy I would be when I did.

But, that moment never came for me.

I don’t like to talk about this part of our story, but maybe I will another day. When I got home from the hospital, I didn’t want to feel his weight . It hurt too much to think about. At the same time, I knew one day I would, but wanted to make sure it was a special moment. That’s when I found out about Molly Bears and knew that’s what I needed. It would help me feel Jensen’s weight and to cuddle something at home in the place where Jensen would grow up.

On the next sign up date, I had my credit card ready and typed super fast so I could fill one of the one hundred and twenty-five spots. I hurriedly typed in my information, Jensen’s information, and what I would like my very own Jensen bear to look like. There were only two things I asked for: a grey bear and something navy and orange. After I finished the form, I found out I had a spot and the waiting process began.

Fast forward six months.

Yesterday morning was like any other morning. I was trying to be quiet making my bed so Leo didn’t run under the covers, then I heard my text message notification go off. It had been fairly earlier so I was intrigued with who it was. There was only two words I saw on the preview, bear and delivered. I dropped everything,  Leo ended up running under the covers, and I raced out to my car then to the post office.

In the car, I started getting anxious. It was finally time I got to feel Jensen’s weight in my arms. When I went back to pick my packages up, the mailwoman even said, ‘this one’s really heavy.’ She unknowingly picked up him up and her comment secretly made me so happy. It’s what I would want to hear about my baby, something about him other than death.

I came right home, went to my room where Jensen’s urn is, and opened it right up.

Jensen bear weighs seven pounds and one ounce. His grey fur matches Jensen’s crib and is so very soft. He was a bright orange bow tie right above his blue heart. Holding him, first brought tears to my eyes, but filled my arms. It meant so much to finally be able feel him. My Jensen’s weight was in my arms and I instantly didn’t want to let Jensen bear down. Jensen bear is perfect and even better than I imagined.

Without further ado, everyone meet Jensen bear.

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Thank you Bridget for creating my Jensen bear and allowing me to feel my little boy’s weight for the first time in my arms. Molly Bears is such a beautiful organization and way to honor your sweet daughter. I know you’ve been able to touch so many families that have experienced loss in such a positive manner. You have warmed my heart and filled my aching arms. There is not enough thank you’s in the world.

1 in 160.

Today is the final day of this journey. It also marks five weeks since Jensen has been gone. Five long weeks since I’ve been without my beautiful boy. In those five weeks, my love has grown so much. It’s a complicated love; a mother’s love without here child physically here. Instead of nurturing him, I’ve been finding ways to nurture my grief. One day at a time, I’ll continue to survive. I’ll continue to tell Jensen and I’s story. I’ll always love him.

Instead of a prompt, we were asked to join to celebrate on the Still Mothers Facebook page. Their website provides a multitude resources for bereaved mothers that do not have living children. They provide support and guide mothers into life after miscarriage, still birth, infant and child loss. It’s just one of the many great sources I have found in the past five weeks.

I wanted to take this final day and share some of the information I have found and websites that have helped me tremendously.

Here is Day Ten…

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Facts:

1 in 4 pregnancies end with a baby dying.

1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth.

1 in 100 babies die from recurrent miscarriages.

1 in 4 babies die after birth.

Jensen and I are the 1 in 160 pregnancies ending in stillbirth.

He was 38 weeks and 1 day. I had an ultrasound 4 days beforehand and everything looked perfectly. Jensen was kicking and moving the 1 day beforehand. He did nothing wrong. I went to every appointment, ate what I was supposed to, took my prenatal everyday, never took any type of medicine during pregnancy, got enough sleep, drank water, didn’t lift anything, and the list goes on and on. We did everything right; it ended wrong.

I’m sure the stats for infant and child loss could go on and on. I’m unaware of those statistics. I don’t mean to scare anyone or upset anyone with those numbers. They are the truth. I didn’t know those numbers while I was pregnant, I don’t even know if that would have changed anything. I never thought this would be my life.

For the past week, you’ve followed along and know mostly where I am. You know my love for Jensen, my feelings, and how thankful I am for the support I’ve gotten. Most people see those numbers I listed above just as numbers, I see them for what they really are. I am the one and I’ve met so many other “ones.” I see them as the beautiful mothers to perfect angels.

I’d also like to share some of the websites and other sources that have helped me. It’s a nice source for bereaved mothers and everyone.

  • Faces of Loss  is a website where women can submit their stories and support others. The stories can range from early miscarriage to infant loss. It’s a way to really connect with others and read their stories in detail. People can comment on each story, anonymously or not, to comfort and let mothers know they’re not alone. I actually submitted Jensen and I’s story and it was recently posted. If you’d like to read it you can here.
  • The Carly Marie Project has been a great resource for me. I’ve read through her website, watched her videos, and saw her amazing art; she is a beautiful soul. She posted a meditation video on her Facebook that I’ve watched over and over. Plus, she wrote Jensen’s name in the sand on Mother’s Day that brought me into tears.
  • Molly Bears is an organization that allows bereaved parents to fill their empty arms. They take the weight of a baby and make a teddy bear that weight. It allows a parent to remember what their child’s weight felt like. Their story is beautiful and they have helped so many families.
  • BurdenBearingBaskets although I did not receive a basket, I love the idea of helping another bereaved family through this Etsy shop. Jessica and Melissa provide a personalized basket to help a parent navigate their grief. The contents in the basket are beautiful and the shop owners are wonderful to talk with. I’d definitely recommend checking their shop.
  • Still Standing Magazine the sister site to Still Mothers. They also provide so many resources and support outlets. On Mother’s Day, they posted all throughout the day to reach out to bereaved mothers. It was nice just to watch videos, listen, and reach out when I was in the low of the day.
  • I also would recommend support groups online and in person. I have been trying to be as active as I can be in the online groups. There are local ones and national ones that will welcome you. This month I am going to my first group support in person. I’ll have to write afterwards, but they have been so supportive when I asked information about their groups through email. If you’re in Ohio, I’d love to share some of the local groups and in person groups with you.

As I look back on the ten days, I’m so thankful I found this program. I have met so many beautiful women and have been able to express my grief without any judgement. I’m so happy Jensen and I’s story has made an impact and helped other people. It means so much that his name is remembered and said by so many. He is the reason why I go on as strongly as I do. He is the reason why I’m a mother.

Although I might not be posting every single day in the near future, I plan on writing frequently. I created this blog to share Jensen and I’s story and I feel that I have so much more to share. It humbles me to see all of you read our story and be so supportive.