This piece spoke to me on a whole new level. Please welcome Kristen and Meghan, and their son Braden, to the blog series. Here, Kristen, the non-biological mother to Braden, shares a poem about her experiences.

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Trying to grow our family is exciting,

Until it doesn’t work

Months turn to years

She sits crying on the cold bathroom tile

Helpless, I sit beside her, and I hold her hand

After the attempts, the waiting, the blood tests,

Scans, shots, meetings, “next times”, and loss,

It works

We celebrate every symptom, dancing in the kitchen

This is all beautifully real and I hold her hand

We tell our parents they are to be grandparents

We piece together a gentle nursery, with my Gram’s rocking chair and homemade blankets,

She glows in the daytime and laughs in her sleep

As we sing to him, I feel my first kick

We fall in love with our sweet, wild boy and I hold her hand

I watch her on the dance floor, rolling to Proud Mary

Out of breath and laughing, she holds her large belly

Beautifully happy, she is lit up from within

Later, we dance slowly, our wiggly boy joins along

The three of us move together and I hold her hand

We pick out the perfect tree

It is her favorite day of the year

As we decorate, she stops to let me feel his strong kicks

I give her belly raspberries and he responds with his dancing hands and feet

He is almost here and I hold her hand

In an instant I lose them both

Our sweet, wild boy is gone,

And so is the life in her eyes

Darkness moves in and she turns to gray, shaking stone

I fall to my knees and I hold her hand

Six pounds, two ounces, nineteen inches,

Sandy brown hair, and her face

Joy and a sinking ache

The three of us share a hospital bed until we run out of time

Trembling, she screams as he is taken away, and I hold her hand

She clutches his hat as she is wheeled down the hallway

Our boy is cold and left behind

She is stitched and empty

Wailing in the shower as her milk comes in

Drowning, drenched with pain and I hold her hand

I find myself reaching for her belly, only to remember

It hits, sick and gasping for air

She catches me and her full eyes lower

Baby spoons with the silverware and bottles in the cabinet

Heaviness hits my throat and I hold her hand

In six months-time, we build a garden

To have something to tend to, to nurture

We find joy in watching it grow

We are broken but trying

His light pours out of our darkness and I hold her hand

My wife, Meghan, and I met 13 years ago. We were both only 18. We dated throughout college at nearby schools. We spent summers living and working on Cape Cod, spending as much time as possible on the beach with close friends and family. After graduating, I began teaching in the Boston Public School system and she began work in youth-development, at local nonprofit organizations. We rented a small apartment and loved hosting Halloween parties.

After a few years, Meghan and I bought a home south of the city, close to our families. We were married on a beautiful September day in 2013. We decided to spend the first year of marriage traveling as much as we could and soaking up life, before we settled down to start a family. After a year full of beaches and breweries, we began to speak seriously about having a baby.

Braden wedding

Our journey to conceive was much harder than we had expected. Meghan underwent 12 IUIs over 12 months that were all unsuccessful. Because all of her fertility testing came back normal and she was young, our insurance required a year of “exposure to sperm” before allowing us to move on to IVF. In September 2015, she began IVF treatment. Meghan became pregnant in May 2016, in her 2nd IVF cycle. We are grateful to have been helped by a great team of doctors and nurses, and equally grateful to live in Massachusetts where most insurance companies will cover the cost of IVF after infertility diagnosis. We knew what a gift pregnancy was and celebrated every symptom, every milestone, and every movement.

Meghan’s pregnancy was healthy and complication-free. Our son was incredibly active in the womb. He annoyed all of the ultrasound techs, never staying still for measurements. They would all leave us saying “good luck with that one!” We spent most of the pregnancy dancing together. The baby loved anything with a good beat. Some of his favorites were Mumford and Sons, Daddy Yankee, and Tom Petty.

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Our son, Braden Patrick Jackman, was stillborn on December 16th, 2016 (at 34 weeks) due to an umbilical cord accident. Losing Braden was harder than anything we could have imagined. He was our miracle, our first born, our parents’ first grandchild, and our siblings’ and close friends’ first nephew/niece. We will always love our sweet, wild boy and we try to make him proud each day.

braden garden

If you are reading this as a loss parent, please know our hearts are with you.

To learn more about Braden and the ways we honor him please visit

This post is shared as part of the #LGBTBabyLoss Blog Series. To read more, or to submit your own experiences, visit the LGBT Baby Loss Blog Series homepage here

#LGBTBABYLOSSstories of love and loss

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