photo by Tiffany Snellbaker
I wrote this letter the day after Cohen was born and read it at his memorial service the next day.
My Dearest Sweet Baby Cohen,
From the moment I found out you were growing inside me I loved you so much. I was so excited to be carrying and having another baby in our family.
At the same time I was scared about how we were going to be a family of 5 with the children now out numbering the adults but I knew that we would be fine and that we would be a perfect family.
As soon as I knew you were there I wanted to tell the world, but I tried to wait until you grew a little bigger. Well, buddy your mommy is not very good at keeping secrets that she is excited about and I kept telling more and more people until your Daddy finally gave up and told me to just tell everyone and stop pretending to “try” and wait 12 weeks.
Our first 12 weeks were great! I had a great first trimester. I was tired and would sometimes feel a little sick but over all I felt good.
I remember feeling you move for the first time on Christmas. Those first movements always feel a little funny, like a tickle or and itch in my belly that I couldn’t scratch. I loved feeling you move, it made everything so much more real.
The next 12 weeks were a little harder. I was so so so so tired, my iron was low and your brothers kept me very busy. Then the pharmacy messed up and I was taking too much medicine and couldn’t sleep much.
My favorite part of the day was after your brothers laid down for a rest and I would eat lunch and lay down and feel you squirm, kick, and flip around. I would lay there and cherish your movements. Sometimes I would talk to you, sometimes I would sleep. You were a crazy little guy in there! I remember thinking though that you always let me sleep.
At night when I would lay down after a long day you would move around but I never felt uncomfortable that I could not sleep. I loved feeling you move as I fell asleep at night. Even as you grew and got bigger I never remember feeling uncomfortable with your movements. You never stuck your foot in my ribs and having you move was never painful.
Daddy and I decided early on not to find out if you were a boy or a girl. We found out with your brothers but we wanted it to be different with you. At 30 weeks we finally got an ultrasound. We took your brothers with us and it was so amazing to see you move. Even though we had decided not to find out your gender, I thought I was going to be sneaky and watch really hard so I would know. I always had a feeling that you were a boy. I cried and cried after the ultrasound because my plan didn’t work and I couldn’t see for sure if you were a boy.
You were so perfect with 10 tiny fingers and toes. I thought you looked like you had huge lips. The tech showed me you had hair! I love you so much.
I remember rubbing my belly, even in public which Daddy thought was strange. I loved to feel you move.
At 32 weeks and 6 days I started to show signs of early labor. I panicked thinking you were going to come right then. Daddy and I worked really really hard that next week to get things all ready for you.
I started having weak contractions and I felt you move down. I could breath better but I also had to pee ALL the time. As you moved further down it was hard for me to walk and my hips hurt so bad. I started having more contractions and was not feeling good.
I wanted you OUT to hold and snuggle and feed and kiss. I wanted to have you here to hold. I was a grumpy lady for a few weeks cause I was so ready to have you!
It was getting hard to sleep cause my belly was so big but I still loved to feel you move. I would always tell you that I loved you so much but I was ready for you to be out!
At 38 weeks and 1 day we went to church. During church I kept telling Daddy to look at my belly cause you were going wild in there. My belly was bouncing around like crazy! Maybe you were dancing to the music.
I remember some nights Daddy and I would lay in bed and the whole bed would be vibrating from you moving so much. With your brothers I can remember thinking sometimes, “Man I wish this baby would settle down cause he is hurting me,” but I never once thought that with you.
On June 5, 2012 as Daddy and I went to bed I turned to Daddy and said, “The baby didn’t really move today. I think something is wrong.” I remember feeling like that once or twice with your brothers too so I figured I probably was just worrying too much.
I remember thinking you much have moved further down and were soon ready to come because my hips felt better. I also remember that I started having really bad heartburn again.
Right before I fell asleep I thought I felt you move. I felt better and I was able to sleep.
The next morning I woke up and got your brothers ready to spend the day with Daddy’s mom.
I thought I felt you move again.
I cleaned and did wash and took a good nap.
I started having a few contractions.
Daddy came home from work and we got ready to go to the doctor to check on you. On the way I told Daddy, “We are going to go (to the doctor) and all the doctor is going to say is everything looks good see you next week. When I want him to say, You’re in labor go right to the hospital.”
We go to the doctor and they started to check us out. Everything looked great. I told the doctor I was worried cause you hadn’t moved much. He didn’t seem worried.
He told me to lay on the table and went to hear your heartbeat. He listened for a minute and couldn’t find anything. He moved around and still nothing. He moved all around my belly and nothing. They told us to go to the hospital for an ultrasound but I knew.
I prayed on the way to hospital that God would bring you back but I knew, I knew you were gone.
At about 4:27 am on June 7, 2012 you were born. You were perfect in every single way. You looked like you were sleeping and needed to wake up. You look just like your big brother, Cole. You were the sweetest most perfect baby I have ever seen. From your tiny toes (that have funky toenails) to your perfect brownish red hair. I love you so much.
photo by Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
Oh sweet Cohen Bradley when you were in me I had so hoped that you would be a girl but from the moment I started pushing you out it didn’t matter. The second I saw you I loved you more than a million girls. Please, please, please know that you were so wanted and loved. I am so sorry if you ever felt like I didn’t want you because you were a boy because sweet Cohen it is not true.
I would do anything to have had the chance to hear you cry, to have fed you just once, or to have seen you move.
While you never took a single breath outside of me, I had so many hopes and dreams for you. This whole summer was about you and I so looked forward to snuggling with you outside while watching your big brothers play. I looked forward to taking you to the beach and bonding as a family of 5.
I will always have 3 children, 3 boys. You weren’t here long and I only had you outside of my for such and short time but you have forever changed me. You grew in me and I loved you from the second I knew you were there.
There is a great hole in my heart where you will forever hold a place. I cherish every second I got to hold, snuggle, and kiss you. I will never forget you and you will live forever in my heart. I love you baby boy. I love you more than you can ever know.
Jesus hold my baby tight. Conner teach him the ropes in heaven. Play together, talk together, and even though heaven is perfect maybe get into a little boy mischief together. Chase butterflies, play ball, and have fun.
Be ready little Cohen cause one day I am going to com to heaven and I am going to want to hold you and kiss you and just have the time that I didn’t get here on earth.
Jesus please hold my baby tight and tell him his mommy loves him and can’t wait to see him again.
I didn’t have you long sweet Cohen but I would do it again. You baby boy are worth everything even the pain. You have already taught me so much and I am sure you will continue to. You have made me stronger than I ever thought I could be.
How I would have love to see you play with your brothers. I know they love you and a part of them died too. One day the 3 of you will hopefully play together in heaven and our family will truly be complete.
I don’t know how I am going to go on without you. I wanted you move then words can express and I love you so deep, deeper then I can say.
You will always be my third born, my third boy, my third child. No one will ever take your place.
Mommy loves you sweet baby. Mommy loves you my perfect perfect Cohen Bradley.
You are forever a part of me and forever in my heart.
I love you so.