My pregnancy was fairly typical until I woke up with complications on March 1st, 2018 at 31 weeks pregnant. I spent two nights in Dubuque at the hospital, where after numerous screenings and tests it was determined that I was suffering from a small placental abruption. After my symptoms lessened, I was discharged on bedrest in hopes that I could make it to 32 weeks pregnant and deliver our baby boy in Dubuque. Throughout the couple of days in the hospital, I had constant reassurance due to Cohen's movements and strong heartbeat. 

At exactly 32 weeks pregnant, I woke up again with similar symptoms and again found myself at the hospital. The monitors revealed that I was having regular contractions and needed further testing to figure out what was occurring.  I was transferred to UIHC via ambulance and spent two nights in labor and delivery with contractions. Throughout my time in labor and delivery, I was repeatedly reassured by Cohen's flips and kicks in my abdomen and his continued healthy heartbeat. We were certain that sooner or later we would leave the hospital with a small but healthy baby. 

After getting confirmation that I was suffering from a placental abruption and premature labor, I was moved to the Antepartum ward in hopes that we could keep our baby from coming too early. As nervous as I was, the nurses and doctors constantly spoke about how strong our baby was due to his stable heartbeat. I knew Cohen would probably be premature and come early, but I felt comforted that I was at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. 

Early in the morning on March 11th, 2018 Cohen was born via c-section after many complications. It required the doctors 25 minutes to get Cohen stabilized. Cohen had been deprived of oxygen for over a day in utero and had too much extensive damage to his organs for him to live a healthy life. On March 12th, 2018 after 36 hours on this side of heaven, Matt and I compassionately handed Cohen over to God with heavy hearts. We are forever grateful that Cohen was able to meet his grandparents and aunts and uncles. Most importantly, we were able to capture magical pictures with our baby boy, give him a bath, snuggle, kiss, talk, and love on him before he became our angel baby.

I don't know how many of you believe in signs, but ever since we lost Cohen I could go on and on about different coincidental signs that have shined through. There is one that sticks out to me that occurred a couple of days after we got home from Iowa City when we went to go and pick out Cohen's headstone. Before we went, Matt and I discussed what we wanted the headstone to look like. After talking with the designer, he suggested we wait a couple of months to make sure that the design was what we ultimately wanted. We knew what we wanted. On the back of his headstone is Cohen's footprints with the quote, "There is No Footprint too Small that it cannot leave an imprint on this World." Weeks later I was placed in touch with a NFTS loss mom. I had no idea the organization No Foot Too Small even existed. I knew I needed to be a part of this group. I started by driving to Iowa City to attend the mom's groups. Those groups were just what my heart needed, a group of women who understood what I was going through, could give me non judgmental support, and help me through my grief. I am forever grateful for this sign that brought me to NFTS! 

No Foot Too Small has given me a feeling of community and a sense of safety. At first I felt so alone, and in meeting with other moms and families with similar stories I felt empowered to share Cohen's story and find ways that make me feel like I would be doing something in Cohen's honor. Working together to build birthing and bereavement suites has given me a way to use Cohen's legacy to help other families. Thank you to the No Foot Too Small community for walking alongside our family as we learn to parent an angel baby.

Matt and Lindsey Backhaus