This week’s Real Stories of Loss, Hope & Healing I am honored to share this story featuring Arianne Reep. You can learn more about Arianne and all the good words she has to offer about this grief journey by following along on Instagram: arireep or by checking out her blog.
Arianne, thank you for trusting us with your story.
Tell Us About Yourself.
My name is Arianne and I grew up in Columbia, SC. I have two sisters and wonderful parents and the most loving husband on the planet. I also am a Mama to a sweet baby named Will in heaven.
I will be 34 next month and feel so blessed to have so many people who love me and my family. I work for my parents and with my sister. My husband and I enjoy spending time with our family and laughing. We love our church and are so thankful for everyone the Lord has placed in our lives.
Tell Us About Your Loss.
I suffered two early miscarriages in 2014 and 2017. They were terrible in their own but nothing could compare to what we have been through since.
After those 2 losses, we found out that I have low progesterone and my doctor was able to treat that when we happily found out in June of 2017 I was expecting again. We were so excited and scared and full of hope.
We found out we were expecting a boy, Will, and began to fill our home with all things baby. He was measuring for a very big boy and we knew I would have a c section. I went for my 37 week checkup and they decided then that I was going next door to the hospital to deliver. Thankfully my sister went to the appointment with me, because I was so afraid. He wasn’t moving like they thought he should be on the ultrasound.
My mama and my husband Coy, finally got to the hospital, as well as the rest of our family who were anxiously awaiting Will’s arrival. He was delivered at 2:25 pm on February 5, 2018. He was born not breathing. After 17 minutes, they found a heartbeat and he was whisked away to the nicu. Coy, my mama, and daddy were with Will as he was transferred to another hospital in town while my sisters stayed with me.
I was transferred to the same hospital the next day and was finally able to see my precious baby we had prayed and longed for.
The doctors were unable to find out what was going on and because of damage done during the time he was not breathing, his organs began shutting down. After many brain scans and so many surgical attempts to save our baby, we decided to take him off of life support. Our entire family shut down the nicu and came to meet our miracle baby.
We were blessed with so many hours of holding him and loving on him. He went to meet Jesus at 6:43 pm on February 7, 2018.
What Has Surprised You About Grief?
This journey has been overwhelming to say the least. The most surprising part has been that even when days feel like they are almost too hard to deal with and the sadness will never end, God is still there carrying us through. I found that the best way to describe it is that grief as a believer feels like you are bi-polar. On one hand, you know that God is sovereign and still on His throne, but on the other hand, you are trying to find a way to make it. It isn’t easy. Recently, our pastor has been preaching a series on Experiencing God. He said that life isn’t lived at the top of the mountains, it’s in the valleys. And it’s so true. It’s in the valleys that you are reminded to draw nearer to God than ever before.
What Was The Most Meaningful Thing Done For You?
I don’t know if there was just one meaningful thing I can pinpoint. My sisters and brother in law have probably been the biggest blessings to us. Both sets of our parents swooped in and helped. My daddy is literally the best. He took care of getting us everywhere and making sure the funeral for his grandson was perfect. My mama is a saint. But Allison, Chance, and Abby… they made us feel loved. My sister Allison took care of my roles at the office and was also able to make sure that she was present in my life. Chance made sure that Coy was taken care of. Abby made us know that we were loved. We didn’t do anything during that time. They got us food, did our laundry, and drove us places.
I think if people around you are going through a loss, the most important thing is to BE THERE. Be present, offer help, cry with them, laugh with them, and love them. Talk about their baby. Don’t ever forget their baby’s name and always talk about that baby. The baby was here and mattered and was so loved. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen.
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Who’s Friend Is Grieving?
Go see her. Talk to her. Love on her. Hug her. Take her a Little Debbie cake. Just be there. Talk about the baby.
What Resources Have Been Most Helpful To You?
I have found so much help through the community of grieving mothers. Instagram is a good place because there are people who are going through the same thing you are right now. Also, there are women who have walked this road and are ahead in the grief and have been living for a while since their loss. They have found joy again. And that is the best thing to see.
What verses have brought you encouragement or comfort?
Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”
After everything we have been through, I just want people to know that we couldn’t have done it without our faith in God and his desire for us to worship Him always. In the moments leading up to Will’s passing, I knew that I couldn’t do it. I asked God to do it for us. He knew this day was coming. He was there. His Spirit filled that hospital that day. He surrounded all of us with His love.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that my Will is perfect and whole in Heaven.
I also know that had I not know Jesus that day, I probably would not have made it.
What Would You Tell Another Grieving Mama
Take your time. You will smile again. And when you smile, you will feel so very guilty for even smiling. But, it’s okay. Better days are coming. I know it won’t feel like it for a long time, but it’s gonna get better. The broken heart will always be broken, your family will never be whole on this earth. But keep your focus on God and Heaven. Because one day that reunion will be joyous.
How Do You Honor & Celebrate Will?
We love to celebrate Will anytime we get. We have pictures of him throughout our home. Thankfully, we were blessed with time with a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. They are the most gracious and giving organization I’ve ever heard of. We visit his grave often and made it a tradition this year that on his birthday, we place balloons on his flower vase and then on his glory day, we release them. We invited our family to come release the balloons as well.
We remember Will every second and we celebrate that he is in heaven and we will spend eternity together.