My high school sweetheart Caleb and I were married September 19, 2009. We were excited to start a family right away! Our daughter, Addilyn Jane was born August 16th, 2010. Just a few years later on June 10, 2013, we welcomed our son Nash Dennis.
Years went by before we decided to add to our family. In 2017, I surprised my husband with our pregnancy news by gifting him a onesie on Father’s Day that said “I’m your Father’s Day present.” Months went by and everything was going fine with my pregnancy. I had morning sickness, cravings, a growing bump and heard a strong heartbeat at the 16 week check up. The following weekend I was at work. (I am very proud to say I work as a postpartum nurse and lactation consultant in the “Women’s and Children’s Center” at St. Lukes Hospital. I get be there when new life comes into the world, and also when life leaves the world.)
While at work, I just really didn’t feel right. I grew upset, knowing deep in my gut that something was wrong. Following an exam, they confirmed my biggest fear. There was no heartbeat; my baby was gone. The next day and a half is almost a blur, and yet so clear. Like many other deliveries, it involved medication to induce labor, painful contractions, an epidural, etc. I sat there thinking, "I can’t believe I have to go through this for nothing."
After laboring all day Saturday, the next morning Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 18 weeks gestation, our son Dallas Lawrence Moses was born. We named him Dallas after my late father, and Lawrence after my late uncle. He looked perfect. He was small but perfect. 10 little toes, 10 little fingers. For the next day and a half we held him, loved him, stared at him, baptized him. It’s very hard to fit so much love into such a short amount of time. I held him and realized that all my plans, wishes and memories I was going to make with him were gone. For me it was like an out of body experience.
I will never forget his baptism. It was one of the hardest yet most beautiful experiences of my life.
I will also never forget when the mortician came to get him. They carried him out in a beautiful little wooden crate that reminded me of what I imagine Jesus would have been in.
The next few months were filled with so much grief and so many tears - yet overwhelming love and support. A friend who'd also lost her son told me about “No Foot Too Small" - but I just wasn’t ready.
Shortly after, we were pregnant again. When we went in for our 8 week ultrasound, we found out we were pregnant with twins! All my hope and faith was restored! I missed my son, but I felt he had played a part in this ... it was surely meant to be. Unfortunately, we soon learned that our twins were mono-di twins - meaning they were sharing the same placenta. This would be considered a high-risk pregnancy and I would be watched closely.
At my 15 week appointment, an ultrasound showed Baby B was low on fluid. We were referred to the University of Iowa where they confirmed our baby girls were in trouble and we would need further care and they sent us to University of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. While in Cincinnati, many tests were performed - confirming that our babies were suffering from twin to twin transfusion.
At 16 weeks gestation, it was too risky to perform the life-saving surgery. If they done too soon, the babies could die during the procedure.
The next week I spent going to appointments and living in a hotel in Ohio. Caleb went home to work - saving any vacation he had for what would lie ahead. I had a stable appointment that following Monday and everything looked good! But when I returned on Wednesday, Baby B was gone.
Baby A was in great trouble as our babies shared a placenta. There was nothing doctors could do. We were forced to 'wait and see'. My husband booked a flight to be with me again in Cincinnati. We went in the next morning to find that Baby A had also passed away.
At 17 weeks, both of our babies were gone. In that moment I really couldn’t believe this was happening to me again. I'd lost three babies within 7 months. I would have to endure labor again for the same result. All of my dreams for the girls were gone. We took an evening flight home to Cedar Rapids.
I was scheduled to be induced the next morning. The induction went well but again included medications to induce labor, painful contractions, etc. I’ll never forget the moment I got my epidural. That moment made it so real for me that I again was going to deliver angel babies.
Quickly after my epidural on Friday March 23rd, 2018, I delivered Nellie Ann (Baby A) and Gracie Bea (Baby B). Nellie is a family name that means “bright shining light”. Ann was a family name and A for “Baby A.” Gracie named after “a form of grace” and Bea for “Baby B.” We wanted to use “Bea” for baby B because she was the baby in trouble first and my daughter would “pray for Baby B.” The rest of the evening and next day we held, loved and baptized our girls. They were beautiful, again with 10 fingers and 10 toes. It truly felt like the worst case of déjà vu.
I handed my babies over to a mortician again.
The next few months were filled with tears and disbelief. I was definitely angrier this time. I found myself angry at my reality. My family and friends were amazing - sending us meals, memorials gifts, love and support. But, I couldn’t help but feel like no one understood. At times I felt so supported - yet so alone.
That’s when I remembered “No Foot Too Small.” I saw the information for “Blooms and Butterflies.” I finally felt ready.
My husband, my kids, my mom and I attended. It was truly amazing and life changing for me. Everyone in that room understood. They knew how my family and I felt without saying a word. The children there had angel siblings like mine. It was beautiful to watch all the kids playing and enjoying the evening. Releasing the butterflies and having them stay a while in your presence was amazing. In that moment I didn’t feel sorry for myself, I felt lucky. I had my own personal angels among us and everyone in that room did too.
Just a few weeks later, I learned we were pregnant again! I was so excited - yet so scared. The pregnancy was filled with so much anxiety. I was afraid to prepare for a baby, or say a word about the pregnancy for fear I would jinx myself. I had every prenatal test and ultrasound I could. Everything showed a healthy baby girl. After months of worrying, we welcomed our rainbow baby, Emme Lu Moses Friday, February 22nd, 2019. She was perfect and worth all the worry. Our family is truly smitten with her.
I love how my earthly children talk about their angel siblings. It’s normal for them to mention their names and draw pictures with them in it. When we see butterflies, we know they are visiting. It all makes my heart smile. How I wish I could have all 6 of them on earth with me!
No matter my feelings, no matter my tears be happy or sad, “No Foot Too Small” is supportive. These women and their families understand. I am so grateful I found this organization....not just for myself but for my family. If you have experienced a form of infant loss I encourage you to join us.
My babies existed. Their lives yet short had purpose. I know I will be able to help others when they experience something similar; in this group, and especially in my career.
Thank you for this group. Thank you to everyone who has helped my family and I get to this point.
Thank you for letting me say my angels names out loud.
~ Dallas, Nellie & Gracie ~
Today, March 23rd, 2020 is Nellie +Gracie's 2nd heavenly birthday.
I wish you were here, Sweet Girls.
Today and everyday we celebrate you! ️
IN HONOR AND CELEBRATION OF DALLAS, NELLIE, + GRACIE, DONATIONS CAN BE MADE HERE.
ON BEHALF OF THE MOSES FAMILY, THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIFT.