Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Nightmare of Childloss

by Jenna Gassew

I lost my son October 9, 2014 just four short hours after his birth. That day was filled with mixed emotions. It’s one of those days where I experienced the absolute best and the absolute worst of all moments in my life. I never knew I could have so much hate and love for one simple date, but I do. When I think about the days leading up to delivery sweet memories come to mind. We had family over to celebrate with a cake for Shane’s 39 week mark, and had spent most of that weekend at Linvilla Orchards (our favorite pumpkin patch). We enjoyed every second we had with our little boy. Through labor and delivery I was surrounded by family and friends who were all excited for me to meet my little miracle, and when I did I can tell you he was - and always will be - perfect. His sweet eyes looked right at me and that’s when I knew it was all worth it, even the goodbye. 

Those four precious hours will always be the greatest four hours of my life and I am so thankful that we were able to have him for every single second he gave us. Shane Michael Haley was born into a family who loved him and always will.

After Shane had passed I held him with me for 27 more hours making sure he was cared for and held with the utmost respect. We had family and friends meet our little boy, as well as taking many pictures. I remember I didn't want to waste any time I had holding him, so I tried staying up for most of those 27 hours and I did. I remember Dan’s uncle had stopped over and I had just sat down to take a nap holding my Shane and when he left I think I started to nap. I remember having a dream of my Shane holding him while family and friends gathered round and then in an instant someone had said to me he’s gone and then I remember being woken up by my dad and Dan telling me it’s just a dream. I woke up looked at my son in my arms and thought this is no dream he really did pass. My heart felt so cheated that it couldn't just be a nightmare and I couldn't just wake up from it. I then stayed up the rest of the time I had with Shane until I had to give him over to the funeral director, and that was a living nightmare in itself.

When I went home the next couple days people stopped over to keep us company. We finished up things for his funeral and made it through arguably the toughest days. As time moved on I had a couple friends tell me they had Shane visit them in their dreams. I loved hearing anything about Shane. I loved just being able to hear his name. I thought maybe he will visit me in my dreams soon, but he never did. All I had was that one “nightmare” in the hospital as I held his sweet little body. Until a couple days ago; I had my second dream of Shane.

I was holding him and he was still with us and he smiled. I had yelled at Dan to hurry and capture his picture and he tried but he couldn't get the picture in time. Then someone had said "he’s gone" and I woke to Dan saying,” Jenn, it’s just a dream.” I was crying, and muttered out, “This is no nightmare, this is real, we lost Shane.”

You know that moment you get after a nightmare where you catch your breath and realize it’s just a dream? Those moments where you look around and can see everything is alright? I don’t have those anymore. These past five and a half months have been anything but easy and are my own living nightmare. Some days I wish I could sit back and think it’s all just a dream but I can’t, I’m stuck in a nightmare and there is no way out.  

Losing a child is a pain that I would never wish on anyone but it is also something no one can fully understand unless they went through it themselves. I wish more than anything I could hold my sweet Shane and just tell him I love him one more time. For now, I just pray for comfort and peace and that our sweet Shane continues to watch over us. I pray no  one ever has to be stuck in this nightmare, and if they are I hope they know they are not alone.

~ ~ ~
Jenna Gassew is from outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Rosemont College with a degree in Mathematics. She is the mother to a beautiful little boy in heaven, Shane Michael Haley. Shane was diagnosed with Anencephaly at 13 weeks gestation. Jenna and Shane’s father, Dan, decided to create a bucket-list on which they took Shane to various places such as Phillies games, New York City, and Ocean City, Maryland. Shane was born October 9, 2014 and lived for four precious hours where he spent his whole life loved. She continues to bring awareness to Anencephaly in honor of her son. More about Jenna, Dan, and Shane’s journey can be found on  their face book page, “Prayers for Shane.”


Brandy Martin said...

Lots of Love Mama! I hope this helps you and many other families grieve and celebrate lives of babies who have to leave us far too early. I love how much you share Shane and his story/your story with us. You are lucky to be Shane's mommy (parents), but he too is lucky to have you as parents!! Thank you for sharing!! xoxo -Nicholas' Mommy

HH said...

I've been following you guys for a while and it's great to hear from you point Jenna. You are a much stronger woman than many of us, myself included. Thank you for allowing us to follow Shane's journey he is incredibly loved and so lucky to have parents like you guys. <3

Anonymous said...


You are absolutely right that it is something no one can fully understand unless they went through it themselves.

I can not know what you feel but as a fellow mother, I can only imagine. Just wanted to say that I continue to pray for you and Dan.

danielle meade said...

I watched your journey for months, you were amazing by what you were doing for your baby. It was on the day that Shane was born that we found out something was going wrong with my baby. My daughter Hope was born on 12/4/14, she was so amazingly beautiful. She had Sirenomelia (mermaid syndrome), she ran out of amniotic fluid, she passed away before I got to know her. I have never felt so much pain, I can still feel my heart in all its broken pieces. I was so lucky to have such a great support system. But Jenna I watched you through out your journey, your a strong, amazing women. You gave me hope when I was being told that my baby was going to die. I saw you making the best you could for your baby, your such an inspiration. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you shared, you will never know how much it helped. I will always remember your family and your angel Shane.

Hanna Durbin said...

This is so beautifully written. Your sweet Shane is absolutely beautiful such a precious little one. I just want you to know you are not alone in this journey. Half of our hearts went to heaven 8 short days after yours. My husband and I lost our son Maddox on October 17th 2014. He was 3 months and 4 days old born at 25 weeks on July 13th 2014. I know the pain and heartache that you as a mother are going through but know that we will continue to pray for peace and comfort until you see him again.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible during this tough journey of child loss is:

Psalms 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Anonymous said...

This is heart wrenching...im so sorry you have to endure the pain of your loss but i am in awe of your strength. Shane was perfect! And perfectly lived his whole life. THANK YOU for sharing Shane with us. ♡♡♡

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story and I have followed Shane and you and Dan's story the whole way and will continue to follow it. Shane was and beautiful angel and will be loved by all. R.I.P Shane.

Anonymous said...

While I have never known the loss of a child, I am a mother and my heart breaks for you. I am inspired by your faith and love & know that God has a plan for you. Shane is always with you now and in the future smiling on your household that will be filled with children, laughter and love. Be brave, be patient, & be faithful..
Many blessings to you and your family

Amy Posadowski said...

Jenna, you are the most amazing woman and mother. I wish you and Dan peace in knowing that you were the absolute most wonderful parents to Shane. Please know that I, along with so many other, send you lots of hugs and prayers daily. Although times continues to pass you are not forgotten and never will be. Much love always!!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, first I'm wanting to say I'm very sorry for your loss. Reading your story brought me to tears not only because its beautiful but it hits home as well. A family member sent me a link here sure that I could relate in some way. My husband and said goodbye to our beautiful baby girl Charlotte in February. We also found out the news that we shouldn't expect much in December. Out of nowhere it seems they found several anomalies including a heart defect and VERY rare genetic deletion. We didn't expect her to live. After an emergency section she first met us as a feisty crying attitude I fell in love with. Her birth defects (as the doctors refer to them) I felt were her perfect imperfections and she wouldn't be her without them. We were told things looked better than predicted, but within 3 days everything went downhill, uphill, downhill again. We decided to leave everything up to her and God and removed life support when she was 8 days old. I have "realitymares" as you do. It seems like each moment I start to move through the day I realize she is no longer with us. Its like hitting a wall full force. I'm mourning her and mourning not doing mom things. I feel like I'm waiting to wake up soon...but I can't. Our little Charlotte seemed to have a magnetism about her, comforting, calm, mystic, and she gave us something that will last forever. She gave us the belief in angels because that she truly was...an angel. She was a fighter and something layed behind her eyes, something wise. She was my hero, my true love, my whole heart, my past and my future. in just 8 days she was more than I could ever be. To medical professionals she was abnormal...to us she was everything the universe could hold. Thank you for sharing your story. Sorry for the long comment, but you hit a cord in me.♥

Anonymous said...

Jenna and Dan,
I have followed Shane's story, and you are still in my prayers daily.

Jennifer Webster said...

My prayers go out to you both for peace and healing. And blessings to little Shane so that he can be lifted up pie in heaven with so much love. You are beautiful people. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Shane knew love from his mommy and daddy like no other. Rest assured he knew and felt it the entire nine months and his short hours on this earth. We will soon be reunited. Lots of love and prayers continue for you both. I am sure my parents have met sweet Shane in heaven. XO Debbie Kennedy

Wendy Deloge said...

So so sorry for your loss. I know the feeling all too well. It's been 23 years since I lost my precious son Jarrod. The worst pain ever!

Anonymous said...

Jenna, you are a WONDERFUL STRONG WOMAN AND MOTHER and I hope you know when little angel Shane looked into your eyes he KNEW that you were the wonderful woman who gave him life and LOVE, I wish you find peace knowing that your precious little one will always be thankful you gave him a chance to feel the love his parents had for him,MAY GOD BLESS YOU,YOUR FAMILY and most of all may your precious little Shane
be blessed in heaven with the angels.

Tamara @ The Workout Mama said...

Jenna, I have followed your facebook page throughout your pregancy and birth. I have never experienced the death of a child and my heart grieves for you and Dan. Praying that you hold close to each other and feel Gods comfort in these passing days months and years. Your post made me cry. I am so sorry for what you have gone through. I know you will be an encouragement to others who have experienced this. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I had my daughter with me for 3 months and 19 days. She went to be with the angels in her sleep, so I feel your pain, understand the nightmares and the overwhelming feelings that come in waves. My girl has been gone for almost 14 years and I still struggle. I don't say that to insinuate that it will always be bad, I say it to share what I have learned. That while it will never be okay, it will get better, you will find your new normal, complete with a special little man watching over you.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely beautiful my daughter was born at 25 weeks and passed away after 23 days and those were the best days of my life. She was my light and she is watching over us plus she sent us a beautiful little boy who is as perfect as his sister. You guys have a beautiful little boy. He will always be with you.

Anonymous said...

If you have never been through losing a child you will never understand the happiness of the birth but than the sadness, the hurt of the passing. I went into early labor with my twins. My baby girl was born and lived only a few hours. We cherished every moment we had with her seeing how she looked like her older sister. At the same time I was still pregnant with her twin brother he wasn't ready to come out just yet. So the sadness of losing her but thinking what can I do to keep my son from wanting to be born to soon. The doctors put me on a strick bed rest in the hospital. I could be out of bed longer than 3 mins and when I was allowed up a nurse had to be right by my side. 10 days later my son decided it was time he was breeches so I had to have a c section. Already knowing that my precious baby girl had passed away I was scared and didn't know what to expect. I was wheeled to surgery. I can remember laying there would drink what was going to happen. My precious son was born and he let out a cry I remember asking the doctors was that him I could hear and they told me yes. I recall looking over to the left and seeing a doctor taking my son out of the room. After I was done I lay in recovery wonder how my son was doing but I got the same answer he was in nice I wanted to see him to see if he was ok. I went back to my room waiting to see my son. Later that night I remember being woken up by the nurse telling me that I needed to go down to the nice to see my son because things weren't looking so good for him. In pain I got in a wheelchair and went in to see him he was so tiny moving his little leg. I reached out and touched him. The nurses rearranged wiring so I could hold him. I held him in my arms and told him how much I loved him. I gave him back and went back to my room to call my family. Within 30 mins they were all there with us. I returned to my son's bedside and wanted to tell him that he was a strong little boy and no matter what happens ed he will always be in my heart. I kissed his little head. When I came out the room my parents went in. I looked at my father who is a minister and said can you say a special prayer for him. Later that night I had got the news that my son had passed away. I didn't kno what to do but to cry. I couldn't help but ask myself why why both my babies 10 days apart. These was the hardest days of my life. It gets easier as time goes by they are never forgotten the will always have a place in my heart. I will always love them. I thank God that I was able to tell both of them how much I love them and got to spend what little time I did with them.

Unknown said...

I read your story and soooo many memories flashed thru my head like a thunderstorm. You see I also lost my Christopher Daniel to anencephaly in 1991. It was the harshest reality I've ever had to go thru and it STILL hurts ......BUT it does get better over time ! Many prayers

Tammy Hemminger said...

I read your story and soooo many memories flashed thru my head like a thunderstorm. You see I also lost my Christopher Daniel to anencephaly in 1991. It was the harshest reality I've ever had to go thru and it STILL hurts ......BUT it does get better over time ! Many prayers

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