Ree’s Story

My husband, Jesse, and I met on 12 July 2017. I lived in Sydney, Australia. Jesse lived in Kansas City, Missouri where he was serving in the United States Air Force at the time. After flying back and forth to see each other multiple times we both knew we wanted to start a family together. This is the story of my two sons, Elon and Corban.   

Elon James Childers 

On January 7th 2018, I found out I was pregnant with Elon. This day was also my mother (Debra’s) birthday as well as Jesse’s daughter (Makayla’s) birthday so to find out that we were pregnant with our first child together, it just seemed so perfect like it was meant to be.  

I was able to surprise my Mum for her birthday with a poppy seed in a little ring jewelry box saying this is the size of your new grandbaby. She screamed with excitement and said it was the best birthday present she could have wished for. At our 20-week appointment (NT scan) we were given the devastating news that Elon was diagnosed with CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic  Hernia), and told that he had a less than 50% chance of making it to birth and even less chance to survive the first few days of his life. It was such a trying pregnancy filled with many tests and appointments that caused so much stress and worry but still only love and care for the baby that grew in my tummy. 

I joined a CDH support group on Facebook and that is where I met Sarah. Sarah selflessly reached out to offer me support after only one month of losing her sweet little baby girl Jasmine, so being part of Jasmines journey is very special to me for this reason. I remember looking at a beautiful picture of Sarah holding and staring at her beautiful little lifeless baby Jasmine with so much Love and I thought this could be me. I was so scared of what was to come. 

On this journey I met a lot of lovely and caring people and I know I could not have got through my pregnancy without the support they gave me during this time. I will be forever grateful for all of the love and support and the friendships made. 

Jesse and I decided to get married ahead of the birth of our son Elon so Jesse flew to me in Sydney and on 12 July 2018 we were married. It was a small little wedding with just my mum, step Dad and niece but it was perfect. I married the man of my dreams and we both were so happy. Unfortunately, Jesse could only stay for 2 weeks due to work requirements. Two more weeks had gone by after our wedding it was July 31st I had been at work for the day and I just felt like something was wrong with Elon, I didn’t feel him move for the whole day, barely a little kick or two and I just felt something was different. That evening my mum insisted I go the hospital just to be checked, so my mum and I went in.  I alerted Jesse back in Missouri to be on standby just in case. After being monitored overnight and having decelerations, Elon who wasn’t due for another 7 weeks needed to be delivered for his best chance at survival. My biggest fears came true as the doctors came in and said “we need to perform an emergency cesarean as soon as possible”. I was terrified and alone my mum had gone home to get some rest and I was told I had only 30 minutes before going into surgery. Jesse would need to fly from Missouri and there is only one departure per day and I didn’t even know if he would make the airport in time to make his flight or have to wait until the next day to leave. He just made his flight. Regardless, he wouldn’t make it to me for 24 hours but thankfully my Mum arrived just as Elon was being delivered.  

At 1400 on August 1st, my son Elon was born at 4lb 4oz and 18.1 inches long. It was the moment that would change me forever. I was completely in love with my son, this little boy who made me a Mum. My Joy and excitement quickly disappeared though as I asked why he wasn’t crying. What’s wrong with him? I couldn’t hold him; I couldn’t comfort my baby. Elon wasn’t breathing and had no heartbeat at birth. There were so many doctors there and they were performing CPR right to the left of me. After 8 minutes Elon was finally revived and intubated before being rushed to the NICU. Thankfully my mum was there right beside me in the scariest moment of my life. My Mum went with Elon to the NICU while I had to stay behind in recovery. After one hour my Mum joined me in the ward and Doctors called me and told me it was a miracle that they got a tube in. They also told me that Elon was very sick and they were not sure that he was going to make it. They were moving him to the NICU in the children’s hospital.  I had to wait until 4 hours passed and I could get up into a wheelchair to be wheeled down a long corridor about 10 minutes walk that linked the main hospital to the children’s hospital. I had all kinds of emotions going on and was so anxious to get down to the NICU to be with my baby. I was terrified he would pass away without me there with him. 

I got to go down and see him for 1 hour and had to return to the ward. 

He was so tiny and so beautiful.  

The next day my husband arrived, there was no Wi-Fi on his international flight from Dallas to Sydney so he had no idea if Elon survived the birth until he was landing and able to turn on cell phone reception.   The first thing I said to him was “we did it, he’s alive and we are parents of a beautiful little boy”. As the days went by, I found out Elon didn’t have CDH after all. He was misdiagnosed in utero. Sadly, Elon did have several birth anomalies with the biggest being a severely underdeveloped brain (cerebellum) and what appears to be a completely closed airway making him not able to breath on his own. He also had club feet and his jaw was fused shut. This is only to mention a few of his problems. For the next 11 days we lived in Westmead Children’s Hospital NICU department spending as much time as we could with our son. We loved spending time with him and our only regret is not being able to spend more with him. Every minute was so special, we sat with him, read to him, sang to him. He gripped on to our pinky finger with his tiny hands and sometimes he would try to open his eyes when we talked to him. He loved his Daddy’s hand resting on his forehead. It gave him so much comfort.  We knew he was in there and we knew he was aware of our presence by his side. 

After many scans and tests doctors called us in for a meeting and told us sadly Elon was not compatible with life. He would never breathe on his own or eat on his own. He would never know of his own existence. They told us to make as many special memories with our beautiful little boy as we could. We cried and cried at this devastating news. Even the nurses cried with us. We had some sculptures of his hands and feet done as well as his fingerprints. On Saturday August 11th we shared the most special moment, we all got baptized together, holding hands. We had a photographer come in and do a photo shoot while we were baptized.  

I had my family all come in and meet him and say their goodbyes.  

Sunday the 12th August, after almost 2 weeks of doctors poking and prodding, trying their best to determine what was wrong and what caused this, our son, Elon James Childers passed away peacefully in our arms and gained his angel wings. They never knew what caused all of his problems, something so rare that neither they nor any other doctors around the world knew what the cause might be so it had no name or no diagnosis. 

We were able to bathe our beautiful baby boy and dress him in his first outfit. We were able to see his little mouth without a tube. We were able to stay the night with him and cuddle him. They gave us a cuddle cot to put him in and keep him cool so he could be beside us. 

The next morning was so hard saying goodbye as they come to take our little boy away.  

Leaving the hospital without him was just devasting. 

I thought I could prepare myself for this moment but you can never really prepare yourself for the pain that follows losing a child.   

Three days prior to Elon passing away while he was having a CT scan, I went to the chapel and I cried and I prayed, I placed my hand on the bible and I asked God to please talk to me. I opened to a random page and my eyes fixated on this verse; 

The Little Children and Jesus 

LUKE 18:28 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them, when the disciples saw this they rebuked them But Jesus called the children to him and said “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” 

Corban Ellis Childers  (Our Rainbow Baby)  

After the loss of our son Elon, I moved to Missouri with my husband in September 2018 and we began trying for another child about 6 months later. Because I had a c-section I had to wait to make sure enough time had passed since Elon’s birth to safely have another one. After about 18 months of no luck, we began getting help from Red Rock Fertility clinic in Las Vegas and on my husband’s birthday, 28 December 2020 I found out I was finally pregnant again. My feeling of joy was so wonderful and exciting yet also so scared of what if what had happened to Elon would happen again. I was considered high risk and as the months rolled by the doctor visits became more and more frequent. Each appointment they carefully looked over Corban for anything that would cause alarm but thank the lord, they never found anything wrong with Corban. He was said to be a healthy baby. Happy and relieved Jesse and I was of course, but also scared because Elon was misdiagnosed and we were worried that maybe there was something they just couldn’t see yet, so we prayed and we waited.  

On September 2nd, at 0500 we arrived at Nellis Air Force Base Medical Hospital (Las Vegas) for my scheduled cesarean. The sun had not yet begun to rise and the air of the night was still crisp, I recall thinking this hospital is oddly quiet and looks abandoned so early in the morning as we arrived before what seemed like everyone else who worked there. It didn’t take long for the staff to do their final checks, get me ready, prep the operating room and prepare to bring Corban into the world. I was so nervous. At 08:09 am our beautiful rainbow baby Corban arrived and we soon heard the cries of a newborn baby. This sound meant the world to my husband and I because we never heard Elon cry since he was physically unable to do so. Hearing Corban’s first cry was the sweetest thing I have heard in my lifetime. There was nothing physically wrong with Corban and after 2 days we were able to take him home where my two Boston Terriers were anxiously waiting for my return. They love Corban and are very protective of him. We love Corban so much and he reminds us a lot of Elon. It’s amazing how much he looks like his brother especially while he is sleeping. Being a Mum again has been very emotional for me because all of the little milestones I am seeing with our beautiful boy remind me of milestones I never got with Elon. 

Elon will always be a special part of our lives and we can’t wait to tell Corban all about his big brother  

His Guardian Angel  

A rainbow baby is a baby born after the loss of a child 

It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. When a rainbow appears. It does not mean the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with the aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color energy and hope.      -Doula Cortney 

Our niece, Meggan Tovar owns her own photography business called Blume Photography in northwest Montana and she graciously came to Las Vegas to take these beautiful photos for us to be part of Jasmine’s Journey. 

Ree is wearing a white dress and the rainbow skirt.  She stands in a desert road with large rocks lining both sides.
A shadow box, a brown teddy bear, a picture of their baby who passed away, and the baby's urn.
Elon, their baby who passed away.
Ree and her husband are holding hands and smiling at each other.
Hand print and foot print mold from their baby, Elon
Ree is wearing a white dress and the rainbow skirt.  She stands in a desert road with large rocks in the background.
Ree is wearing a white dress and the rainbow skirt.  Her husband stands next to her.  At the bottom of the skirt is a picture of their son and a teddy bear.
Ree is wearing a white dress and white shoes that have rainbows on top.
Ree is wearing a white dress and the rainbow skirt.  She stands in a desert road with large rocks lining both sides.
Newborn rainbow baby.
Their newborn rainbow baby son.

Find out more about Project Finding Your Rainbow.

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2 thoughts on “Ree’s Story”

  1. Janice Leigh Crawford

    I so miss the updates with Elon and was devastated when he passed but I was so so happy when I saw you were expecting again and now I love the updates on Corban thank you for sharing Elon and Corban with us they are both beautiful and you and Jesse are wonderful parents love you guys

    1. Thank You Janice I will forever be grateful to you for all of your support through such a hard time in our lives. The CDH family is Amazing ♥️♥️♥️

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