Jamie’s Story

As I type this I am pumping, as I do every day, and have done every day for the last 16 months since my daughter died. 

Let me back up. My husband and I have been married for over 10 years and were blessed with a beautiful healthy baby boy in December 2015. It took us over 6 months of trying before we conceived again and were thrilled; our first born was so excited to be a big brother. On the Monday after Thanksgiving 2018 we received some abnormal bloodwork results and the next afternoon I collapsed on the ground as our doctor confirmed that our baby, at nearly 13 weeks, no longer had a heartbeat. 

I decided after talking to some women who had walked this road before me to allow my body to process the lost life inside of me on it’s own timeline. Two excruciating (but also healing) weeks later, on December 11, I went to meet with an OBGYN to discuss and schedule a D&C for later in the week but during my appointment with her I went into labor, because that is what it was. I had contractions and I pushed. Unfortunately I started hemorrhaging and had to be rushed to the ER for an emergency D&C. Genetic testing on some tissue resulted in a “a little boy with very rare genetic disorder that is like 1 in a million”.

We were blessed with our rainbow baby boy who was due December 11 (I see you in the details there, God) but decided to wait until December 21, 2019 to make his grand entrance. Pregnancy after loss is no easy feat; it is an extremely challenging journey facing many emotional, mental and spiritual battles. But oh, the joy and emotions of holding him to my chest… 

October 2021 we were surprised to find out that we were pregnant again and thrilled again after the shock wore off. But at 8 weeks I had some very minor spotting and was scheduled to fly away for a weekend and just wanted to check everything was ok; we had just had an ultrasound two weeks before and saw our sweet busy babe. I will never forget the noise my husband made when the ultrasound said there was no heartbeat; he wasn’t able to be at the first one back in 2018.

Trusting my body again, nearly two weeks later I delivered our little love while my husband put our boys to bed. This aching was almost worse as I knew now how incredible it is to see your children grow in their relationship together. And again, further testing showed the same “very rare” genetic disorder with a little boy.

This time I was on a mission to understand what was happening. We met with multiple genetic counselors and testing and discovered that my dear husband, to his horror, has a genetic abnormality that causes genetic mutations. There isn’t much information on his specific abnormality and it was a lot of guesswork by the experts. 

With our track record, we decided to try one more time. We just felt this strong pull. 

And we got pregnant with our first little girl, Shiloh James. At 10 weeks we did the same genetic testing that we had done previously just to find out…

She has the same genetic mutation as her two brothers that died in my womb.

I don’t think I will ever forget the feel of grass on my knees and in my hands as my body was wracked with sobs when our midwife called us with the results. 

But Shiloh lived. She defied all of the odds. We were high risk from then on and had weekly appointments and check ups, we temporarily moved our family from Alaska to Arizona to deliver at a facility that had the experts and experience to handle a baby with her conditions. A lot of it was unknown but we did know she would need specific care for her heart and other needs.

At 32 weeks and 2 days my water broke at 2am on September 19, 2022; I actually woke up thinking I was delivering her. Nothing we could do at the hospital could stall labor and our girl went from head down to foot breech so she was born via emergency cesarean, thank you Jesus, as in addition to other medical challenges, had osteogenesis imperfecta; meaning her bones were extremely fragile.

For six days her doctors and nurses did everything they could and our girl fought so hard… so hard. But I told her, as she clung to my little finger, that I would fight for her for the rest of HER life if she wanted me to. But I would also let her go and love her for the rest of MY life if that’s what she needed. 

On her fifth day, her team surprised me with changing her respirator and I finally got to hold her as her brothers came to see her for their second time. At 5am on that sixth day, September 25, 2022, they called me from my room and I knew she was leaving us. Her daddy got to hold her finally and we sang to her together and after they took all of her cords and equipment off, her little heart kept beating for over an hour as I finally got to hold her body fully to mine, her head resting in the crook of my neck. 

The veil was thin, very thin in those hours, my friends. 

That night as I left the hospital for the first time since she was born, and preparing to tell her brothers that their sister died, I felt this very strong and clear message “you have love in your hearts and your homes, you will be adopting a baby”. 

We knew we couldn’t put another biological child through the suffering Shiloh endured. But we also knew, in God’s timing, that we had love; that the brokenness through adoption and our brokenness through loss could help heal each other.

And so… I’ve been pumping ever since waiting for that baby, to create a bond and connection that we don’t have with growing in my womb. In the meantime, sharing my Shiloh milk with moms and babies in need has been very healing and helpful for my heart.

In March 2023 we became an official waiting adoptive family and as of December 2023 became officially matched with an expectant mama due January 2024 with a little girl. Her due date is almost exactly 40 weeks after we became officially waiting. Adoption is both beauty and brokenness and we are so hopeful for healing, for joy, for redemption, for connection to this little love and her brave mama that we cannot wait to love on. And through it all, in the depths and darkness, God has been so faithful and we are giving Him complete trust in our story and our path and our hearts. 

Jamie wears the rainbow skirt. She holds her daughter in one arm and a teddy bear in the other. There is snow on the ground and she stands next to the water.

Jamie wears the rainbow skirt. She holds her daughter in one arm and a teddy bear in the other. She smiles down at her daughter.

Jamie wears the rainbow skirt. She holds her daughter in one arm her other arm is up in the air. There is snow on the ground and she stands next to the water.

Jamie wears the rainbow skirt. She holds her infant daughter. The skirt floats out on one side above the snow.

Jamie wears the rainbow skirt. She holds her daughter in one arm and a teddy bear in the other. There is snow on the ground and she stands next to the water.

Photos taken by Chelsa Jay.

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