Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

There are about 4.4 million confirmed pregnancies in the U.S. every year

*900,000 to 1 million of those end in pregnancy losses EVERY year. 
*More than 500,000 pregnancies each year end in miscarriage (occurring during the first 20 weeks). *Approximately 26,000 end in stillbirth (considered stillbirth after 20 weeks) *Approximately 19,000 end in infant death during the first month.
*Approximately 39,000 end in infant death during the first year.

.....Over 1,000,000 parents with empty arms in just the United States alone.

Break th
e Silence!

Today, I was so close to my son physically.  It hurt so bad. 

A woman from my area messaged me, after I had posted a status about infant loss.  She told me she had just lost her son at 20 weeks pregnant, and she did not get to see him. She only had two blurry pictures. Her son's service was being held by the same funeral home Maddox's was, and he was also being buried right next to Max! There would be one sweet little boy separating them. Three boys in a row. 

The fact that she didn't get to see him, and had wanted to, made my stomach turn! I immediately suggested if she wanted me to call the funeral home, to see if there was still time. She agreed, and found that her husband wanted to see him in the hospital, but was too afraid to upset her. They both wanted to see their sweet 6 inch angel, but did not want to hurt each other.  So they both kept quiet about their desire, knowing they may regret this decision forever.

I made the call and the director was very discouraging and unsupportive of the idea. There supposedly was "not much to see" or would be to upsetting to the family. He exaggerated the size and smell of chemicals on the little boy. I told them this family is so passionate about seeing their sweet baby before they lay him to rest forever, and that they wanted some pictures of him, and with him. We set up a time Thursday for them to meet their baby. I told them I would go in before they did, to get some pictures first, and then show them their son through the camera first, to prepare them for what they were going to see. They were so nervous, yet thankful that they were given this chance! I felt so honored to be there and experience that with them!

I got to the funeral home about 20 minutes before the couple did. The man was very rude, so I was thankful that he left shortly and left me and the precious angel alone to have a very private and precious moment. 

He had everything...

 This little boy had everything. He had fingers, toes, eyes, nose, a spine, perfect pink skin, everything! I could not believe the man I spoke with on the phone, had said there was not much to see. I did not hesitate to jump right in and get some beautiful pictures of this little man. I held him, I positioned him, and I then noticed his little cord was wrapped around his neck still... twice... My heart hurt! Why did the hospital not unwrap this? I could not let the family see him this way, so I made sure I had a few pictures of him with the cord still there, in case they did want to see in the future, and then I carefully unwound the coiled, pink cord from his neck. It was such an intense moment that I had alone with the precious little baby. Just 6 inches long, some how caught himself in that little tangle, which was what caused the end of his life here...

The family arrived and they were so thankful and glad to have seen him! They held him and admired his precious little features. They could even determine who he looked like! It was a beautiful moment, and I felt so honored to have been there. They thanked me and expressed how much better they felt after seeing their precious boy! and to think that they may have not had this opportunity, scares me! To think that so many others do not have this opportunity, hurts me! They had said that the hospital offered time after time for them to see him, but they were scared. But I am soo glad that the hospital kept offering, and asking. They did exactly what they should have! 

The mother suggested, "This must be hard for you huh?"  I told her not at all. and it truly did not bother me. From the moment I walked in, I was not afraid or thought anything but positive thoughts of this little boy. Death does not phase me anymore. I was not afraid to see or touch this little body. I felt nothing but honored and grateful to have been given this opportunity, to see such a precious, tiny little body and be apart of a life changing experience...

After the couple held their little man, before they left they asked me to come to the burial the following day, and photograph it. I absolutely agree'd. This was today, Friday, October 14th. I arrived and fixed my little man's toys at his resting spot. I looked at the little casket stand, with the green velvet curtain, and just lost it. I sat squatted on my knee with my camera, everyone else standing, hugging and talking, and just hoped no one saw my stomach convulsing with pain, and my face flowing tears. It was like at that moment, I felt every feeling I did not feel at my son's burial because I was so numb. 

The director spoke about Heaven, and a family member read a few beautiful poems, and as everyone started to head out, the family asked me if I would stay and photograph the cemetery men, burying the baby. I do not know how they do it anywhere else, but here, they do not bury the person in front of the family. Probably because it is just too painful. So I stayed. Everyone left, and the big crane came in with dirt. They uncovered the hole, and I told them that the family wanted some pictures of the burial. I leaned over them, and cringed as they revealed how deep the grave was. Just the length of a man's arm. They gently set him in the hole, just by leaning over. I looked down into the hole, knowing my son was that deep, and that he was right next this little boy. He was right there. I wanted to reach in there and grab him too. I couldn't bare to stay for when they put the dirt in, so I said thank you and left and just burst into tears. I got in the car and sat there, screamed and cried. I couldn't believe this was my life. That my little boy is but only 3-4 feet in the ground. I howled in pain and lost my breath and pulled over again. I was so angry!! For the first time I believe, I demanded WHY aloud!! WHY MY BABY!!! I gave myself the moment I needed, and pulled onto the free way, and continued on with my survival in this painful life on Earth...

Rest in Paradise Jaron Matthew Portner

I feel like there was nothing better I could have done, to honor my son, and all the precious angels that lost their lives too soon. Especially today being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day, and awareness month. Thank you to my precious baby boy, for being with me this week, and helping momma stay strong!

Maddox, you changed my life. I want nothing more than for you to be with me, or for me to be with you, but I can't have that right now. I struggle with my thoughts, and if I ever really will see you again, hold you again, and nurse you again. I have to believe it to survive. You are still my everything, you have been since before the day I knew of you. I am living these months, thinking, just last year at this time, you were HERE in my arms! I was soo happy. We had just came home and our lives were so perfect. and now I am here, where I never would have imagined. I just miss you baby!! Momma loves and misses you toooo much I can barely stand it some days! I love you sweetie!! Please keep being with momma and letting me know you are here with me still!!!!


  1. Brooke,

    This Broke my heart to read it. What a very special lady you are for doing this for these people. Something they will always be grateful for, and something neither you or they will ever forget. You sweety are an angel in your own way, to be able to do something this heart-wretching for someone. I simply adore people like you, who give all of themselves to everyone they meet. Through your pictures, you show your love, your beauty, heart and soul. You will forever be and angel in my eyes...


  2. Brooke, I cried the entire time reading this.. I'm sorry I put you through that.. You will NEVER understand how thankful Matt and I are for you. I agree with Amy 100% you are an angel. I will NEVER ever forget those moments that you made possible for my husband and I. I can't even express it in words.. Just.. Thank you!

  3. Thank you! ❤️❤️❤️