Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day: A personal story

Categories   Nursery + Kids Room Decor, pregnancy + birth

This is a bittersweet post, mamas. But one we wanted to share, from a member of our community, that we’re certain some of you can relate to in a very deep way. Ashley of Southern Social reached out with this beautiful space she designed for her baby boy and the story of her heartbreak when he mysteriously passed away just days before her due date. It’s nothing short of devastating, but it was her wish to share his story in the hopes that other mamas who have lost a child would feel less alone in their grief. We are so honored to be able to publish this beautiful tribute to baby Beau on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day! Thank you so much for opening up here, Ashley.

natural light maternity photos

The journey of sweet Beau began on a Monday in early October – I remember that day so vividly. It was October 6th, and my husband and I had dinner with our cousins in Austin. Bryan, my husband, ordered the usual wine and oysters. I slowly sipped my wine and avoided the oysters feeling like something was different. Bryan had just accepted a new job in Nashville and he was preparing to travel the next day. On the way home from dinner, I managed to convince him to stop to get a pregnancy test. Within minutes of returning home, our lives changed forever.

black and white boys nursery

We were so innocent and naive throughout pregnancy – taking for granted so many small moments.  We never hesitated to tell friends, and actually shared the news before 12 weeks.  We experienced a pretty normal pregnancy.   I was tired, sore and ready to get my body back.  I had cravings and a long list of aversions.  We prepared the nursery, bought thousands of dollars worth of gadgets and baby must-haves.  We filled his dresser with tiny clothes and monogramed his belongings.  I imagined sharing his nursery and all his sweet newborn photos with the thousands of readers of 100 Layer Cakelet.  Selfishly, I spent hours thinking about how I would manage a business, nurse a baby and have a life.  After nine months of hard work and doing everything right, we were ready.

black and white boys nursery

The last few weeks of pregnancy, I felt Beau slow down. As a new mom, I worried about everything. I avoided any food, smell, or danger that I felt might harm my sweet baby. So, naturally, I asked my midwife if his slowness was normal. Beau was fine – at least all the tests pointed to a healthy baby. Our families were on speed dial and awaiting daily updates – they all live out-of-state. We patiently waited for Beau to arrive on his time. But, we wouldn’t make it to his due date.

black and white boys nursery

On a Sunday afternoon, Bryan and I strolled the back roads of Nashville enjoying what we anticipated as the last weekend as a family of two. I was 39 weeks, 5 days that day. After breakfast, Beau became unresponsive. I desperately tried to get him to move, but nothing seemed to work. After a quick call to our midwife, we rushed to the hospital. In that moment, all our dreams for Beau were shattered.

black and white boys nursery

The nurse spent five minutes trying to find Beau’s heartbeat. Many times in those five minutes, she would say “That’s him, not me” and we’d sigh in relief that he was still moving and alive. But, she never did find his tiny heartbeat. She called a code and the room filled with a team of doctors ready to perform an emergency c-section. Bryan and I held tight to each other, the room filled with fear, and the OB performed an ultrasound. She told us our baby did not have a heartbeat. Beau died. The room cleared and the hard decisions began. Bryan, my pillar of strength, called our family and friends. He spent hours destroying the excitement of those answering the phone – as so many of those calls started with “Is he here?”

black and white boys nursery

We were induced and delivered Beau Wayland Coston on Monday, June 15, 2015 at 1:38 PM. He weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces and was 21.5 inches long. We were surrounded by our doula, labor and delivery nurse and our incredible midwife. We spent five hours with Beau studying every inch of him. He resembled Bryan and was sure to be tall. We made so many difficult decisions in 24 hours – genetic testing, autopsies, and cremation. And, finally, the hardest, handing our son to our nurse to say goodbye. We walked out of the hospital with heavy hearts and empty arms. Our world was turned upside down.

wild and free banner

We were and are stunned.Stillbirth was never a fear – it never made my worry radar. I’ve thought so many times if I had known it was a possibility, maybe I could have worried myself into action. Frankly, I believed only sick babies died. I was healthy and did everything right. Through all the testing, the only answers we’ve received for Beau’s death were micro blood clots found in the placenta. These clots explain the decreased fetal movement I was experiencing. Beau was a perfectly healthy baby and nothing I did during pregnancy led to his death. To all the moms-to-be, please don’t read this in fear. But, don’t be naive. Listen to your instincts.

black and white boys nursery

We had Beau for nine months. Now, we treasure every kick, every stretch mark, every sign he existed. We are reminded of our sweet son everyday. We spend time in his quiet nursery and find comfort in the only memories we have of him. We don’t have a birth certificate; we have a proof of birth. We don’t have his tiny feet to tickle; we have his footprints. We don’t have his soft head to kiss; we have a lock of his gorgeous auburn hair. We don’t have loads of laundry; we have one tiny hospital outfit that smells so sweet. In the midst of the news, we dared to not look at Beau. We feared the pain of remembering our son. Thankfully, we found the strength to hold him tight and have photos taken of us – our family of three. Our doula hired Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a non-profit organization providing free photography for parents who lose their babies. Without their help, we wouldn’t have any photos of sweet Beau.

black and white boys nursery

Because of Beau, we have learned so much about the fragility of life. Beau has been gone for 14 weeks and we miss him every single day. In our healing, we find peace in visiting with our infant loss counselor, and speaking openly about Beau and his short life. We encourage anyone touched by stillbirth or infant loss to never stop sharing and be sensitive. There is no right or wrong in grief. Grief is proof of our love. One day, we hope to share the story of Beau’s brother or sister – our rainbow baby. As well as, share the strength we achieved to grow our family. We will cherish Beau as our first child, forever.

black and white boys nursery

When planning Beau’s nursery, I knew I wanted it to be whimsical, not theme-y and timeless. I spent months sourcing, printing and framing art! I loved a dresser from West Elm, but couldn’t stomach the price tag. So, we saved an old dresser from Craigslist and refinished it. We purchased the simple crib from IKEA – super cheap and functional. I found the airplane mobile, and instantly loved it! Beau’s great grandfather, Wayland, was a pilot in World War II. Bryan’s father, Bryan and Beau share his name!

black and white boys nursery

The majority of the items I sourced from Etsy, and loved supporting small businesses. We didn’t have a baby shower, instead we registered on Amazon and waited until about 60 days before our due date to buy everything all at once. Amazon gives you a 15% registry completion discount. When we completed our registry, I bought the big comfy Nurseryworks rocker! Our good friends from Austin made Beau a Texas – our home state! We had the coordinates of our house in Austin made and in tiny print at the bottom it reads, “Where you were created.” Bryan loves music, and decided to hang his guitar on Beau’s wall for safe keeping.

black and white boys nursery

The room feels finished and true to us. Nothing really matches, but somehow it all works. Bryan fought me on the teepee, but it’s the best part of the nursery!

black and white boys nursery

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Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Ashley. It’s beautiful and true and will certainly help comfort other mamas who have found themselves in a similar and inconceivable position. We hope your rainbow baby makes his or her way to you as soon as you’re ready.

*All photos by Lindsey Mueller.

Nursery resources below:

Crib: IKEA / Nurseryworks Sleepytime Rocker: Amazon / Shaggy Pouf: The Land of Nod / Clear Acrylic Wall Shelf: CB2 / Personalized Coordinates : The Printable Studio (Etsy) / I Love You to the Moon Print: The Printable Studio (Etsy) / Andy Warhol Print: Sofiprints (Etsy) / Eat.Sleep.Poop Print: Sam’s Simple Decor (Etsy) / Bear Print: Seventy Tree (Etsy) / Johnny Cash Quote Print: Simple Kid Industries (Etsy) / Constellation Prints: Fybur (Etsy) / Metal Letter B: The Land of Nod / X Book Caddy: The Land of Nod / Wild & Free Banner: Partybot Studio / Large Canvas Vintage Pull Down Map : Gritty City Goods (Etsy) / Guitar Baby Rattle: Projects by Zac (Etsy) / Child’s Teepee: House Inhabit (Etsy) / ABC Print: Snug Studio (Etsy) / Tiny Texas: Hemlock & Heather / Baby Bedding: Woolf With Me (Etsy) / Mini Triangle Wall Decals: Urban Walls (Etsy) / Teepee Pillows: Things that Sing (Etsy) / Large LAPPLJUNG RUTA Area Rug: IKEA / Small RENS Sheepskin Rug: IKEA : GADDIS Basket: IKEA / Large Felt Storage Bin: Loop Design Studio (Etsy) / Airplane Mobile: Meraki and Co (Etsy)

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Social Love

Sara on Oct 15, 2015

Thank you for sharing Beau with us. Take care.

Nikki on Oct 15, 2015

Your strength and grace is truly beautiful. I feel warmth and love coming out of this story despite it's loss and that is something rare indeed. I hope for continued support and future happiness for you and your family and am grateful to have heard your story.

Alexandra on Oct 15, 2015

Thank you for helping other mothers and partners. May we not forget and pray for all the tiny angels. You are courageous.

Ab on Oct 15, 2015

Thank you for sharing this. I lost my firstborn was stillborn 2 years ago as well. You almost never see these stories on mainstream blogs, & it's so important to share. Peace & love to Ashley & her husband. I love the shot of her cradling her belly that carried her baby boy.

Christa Black Gifford on Oct 15, 2015

Oh girl. Crying in a coffee shop reading about your precious Beau. I'm just so so so sorry. We buried our Goldie last year and the pain never goes away, but it does get easier. We live in Nashville if you ever want to grab a cup of coffee, talk about our babies and cry a bit together. Xx

Ashley Coston on Oct 15, 2015

Friends of 100 Layer Cakelet, Thank you for your encouragement. Your kindness is so appreciated by Bryan and I. I read this story over and over, and it brings me to tears every time. I hope all those reading this never face the death of your child. But, if you or someone you know does, point them here to me. I want to meet them, know them and love them. And, if you are reading this looking for photos of Beau, he's on my blog - lovesouthernsocial.com/blog Christa, I'd love to meet you! xoxo Ashley

Lili on Oct 15, 2015

I cannot begin to comprehend the courage and strength it must've required to tell us the story of beautiful little Beau, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you. From a mother to a mother, I wish you peace and hope.

Jaime on Oct 20, 2015

As a fellow mother in Nashville, thank you for sharing your story. People are so scared to talk about miscarriages and infant loss -- I think many do not know what to say. Your love for Beau shines through your story and your grief is a testament to how much you love him. It is not the same, but I lost my first pregnancy and initially despaired about what went wrong. We had a baby last November and I treasure every single moment with him, and I still miss the promise of possibility of my first baby. Beau is so lucky and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband.

Leslie on Oct 29, 2015

thank you for sharing your story, it was told beautifully and graciously. Much love to your family.

Caitlin on Nov 2, 2015

Ashley, I am so sorry you and your family had to go through this horrible nightmare. Thank you for sharing your story, your strength and courageousness .

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