Jan 13, 2014

The Short Version: The Story of Hannah Grace: Part One

I long to write our story. It is a good story. It is a story of the Lord’s sovereignty when the world can only ask ‘why?’ It’s a story of the Lord’s goodness when all the world can see is the sudden end to our sweet girl’s life. It’s a story of the Lord’s peace when we lacked any morsel of understanding. It’s a story of the Lord’s plans when all my plans seemed ruined. And it’s a story of the Lord’s strength; when people have told us ‘wow you are so strong’ I want them to know that all I am is weak, but that we have the Lord and He is strong. The story of our sweet girl Hannah Grace is one I’ll never forget. As the weeks pass and she fades from your memory, as the months pass and she is not my every waking thought, I want to make sure I remember her story. So I’m writing.

I long to fill pages with the incomprehensible joy, sadness, and laughter that has been the past year in our lives. I want to tell my story of becoming a mother for the very first time, even though my story doesn't end like most. I still have a story to tell.

I remember a friend telling me that after you lose a child, after you deliver a baby who has already left this world, after you lose your very first daughter that it’s hard to tell stories. Ladies gather in rooms while the husbands watch football and they talk about their kids, about their babies, about who got an epidural and who decided to breastfeed or use cloth diapers. She told me that you listen and you laugh, but you often don’t share your story. Because your pregnancy stories, your epidural stories, your baby stories, they end with loss. And as much as you smile and laugh as you speak of the awkward moments of labor everyone else gets quiet. Everyone else remembers your hurt and your pain and when it seems like the most polite thing they can do, to stop and remember your pain, all you wanted to do is share your story and have them laugh, too.

My sweet baby girl has a story and so I’m telling it here. And as you read you may laugh at things you never thought you’d laugh at, you may cry about things you never wanted to imagine, but just don’t be too scared to read it. Don’t fall silent and pretend I’m not a mother too.
Because I am a mother. Here’s my story of life after death.

If you'd like to read the other parts to Hannah's story and you haven't already. You can find them here.

The Short Version

I feel as if I should start with the short version of the story. The part with the details people really want to know. I saw something the other day that said something along the lines of ‘Obituaries would be more interesting if they told you how the person died.’ I used to laugh at that line but now it makes me just a bit sad. But it is true, people want to know what happened. I was also reading a book not too long ago that held me in suspense over multiple chapters at whether the author’s baby survived or not. I won’t do that to you now. It’s better that you know the short version ahead of time.

My husband Kyle and I got pregnant in the spring of our 3rd year of marriage. We were expecting our sweet girl to arrive on Christmas Eve. She was healthy and happy all the time it seemed. The doctor kept saying ‘she’s perfect’ again and again at her twenty-week ultrasound. And she was, she was perfect. After the showers were held and the maternity pictures taken, we prepared her nursery. We packed the hospital bag and we waited as the calendar said 38 weeks. And then one day I didn’t feel our baby girl moving. I did all the things the doctors say to do, but they didn’t work, she didn’t move. And we went to the hospital expecting to be turned away like anxious first-time parents, but we weren’t turned away. They told us our baby girl didn’t have a heartbeat. They prepared us for delivery where they found that she had a knot in her umbilical cord that had gotten too tight. Nothing we could have caused, nothing we could have prevented, nothing we could have known. She was perfect in every way except that she was lost, she had been trapped in my body with no way to breathe. We delivered our baby girl at 12:47 in the morning on a Tuesday. We have never seen anything so beautiful; we have never experienced more joy. She was 8 pounds 3 ounces 21.5 inches long and she was in almost every way perfect. Except that she wasn’t breathing, her heart was not beating, and she didn’t cry like all babies do. We held our sweet girl knowing she was already with Jesus. And then we started our road to recovery. There has been great sadness, yet great joy. But that’s only the short version.


  1. Brittany and Kyle,
    I am so saddened to hear of your loss. I know you don't know me but I have been following you for quite some time. Thank you for sharing. I pray that the lord blesses you and that you have the strength and courage to keep growing. Again, I'm so sorry.

    1. Thank you. I hold tightly to a verse I once shouted in song with a class full of four-year-olds one summer: 'Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9' He truly is with us.

      - Brit

  2. Brittany and Kyle,
    what a witness this is and how you glorify our LORD! I praise God for His faithfulness to both of you and to Hannah Grace, she is His child too and He loves all of you more than we can understand. A friend told me the other day that we don't get it as mere humans that death is love and Jesus was our example in every way. I can't imagine the pain you have had, but I do know the comfort that He has provided. We love you and will continue to pray for you as you persevere in His presence. barb and tom

  3. Brittany and Kyle,
    When I was reading Hannah Grace's story I felt pain and joy for you two. God has given you all such strength and love. You two are so blessed to feel the way you do. Hannah Grace will always be your little girl and I know that she is in the Father's arms. You two are such a blessing to so many people. I am praying for you and all your families. Love, Sandra D.

  4. Brittany -you may not be strong but you are brave. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Mom to mom, I have to tell you you are a great mom! Hannah touched you for a moment in time and you are rejoicing in her happiness with Jesus. When my children were born we had to turn them over to Jesus while alive on earth. There were no garantees we would be good parents or that our children would grow up to know the Lord as Savior. Each day moms (and dads) give their children away to Jesus. Sing mama sing your song for His glory. We are listening.

    1. Susan,

      Thank you for listening. God is so good.

      - Brit

  6. Dear Brittany and Kyle,

    You don't know me but I attended your fathers church while I was in college. I am impacted, challenged, encouraged and touched by your faith and the strength of our God. Your story gives hope and light. My husband and I will be praying for you all. What a blessed, happy little girl she must have been to have you two as parents in her time here on earth. You are truly beautiful and an amazing mother you should be proud to be.

  7. I do not know you, but wanted to let you know how sorry I am for your devastating loss. Really, I can't - and don't want to - imagine.

    I woman I grew up with (our minister's daughter, actually) also lost her first daughter, a few years ago. You and she seem to share a strong faith and hope, so I thought I'd pass along her blog: www.thegracetogrieve.com. I hope your faith will provide you with comfort.

    Brittany Lichter

  8. Brittany,

    A friend of mine that went to school with you sent me to your blog. She thought we might want to connect. I, too, had a stillborn daughter (at 39 weeks). If you're interested in talking or reading my Hope's story, my blog is www.ourprecioushope.blogspot.com and you can message me on my FB page, www.facebookcom/ourprecioushope.
    I am truly sorry for your loss.



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