Candace’s Story

Site created on July 9, 2020

        It is hard to describe the way I feel writing this. I think both the words shock and numb would be the closest that I could come to describing it. As you all know, this past year has been full of ups and downs for all of us, but for me in particular, the swing of emotions surrounded by the news of the baby girl that my Father in Heaven blessed me with.

After all of the sickness, isolation (COVID), and personal shame and struggles that I had to overcome, my Baby Abigail became my companion. She was my person that I talked to throughout the day. Similar to Tom Hanks and that ball, except she heard me and I heard her. Very soon after learning of the life that I was growing inside of me, my entire life took on a new meaning. My sole purpose was two fold: take continue to take care of Aidan, loving and supporting him through these teenage years and to plan for Abigail, while keeping her safe! I was convinced that she would be my reward in the end, not just because of everything that I’d been through (we’d been through together), but she represented hope and newness for my family!

The first notable thing that I have to acknowledge is the overwhelming love and support that I felt from everyone. I was hard on myself and felt very condemned. But the love shown to me in my initial stages of sharing with others, until the very end, was one of the truest demonstrations of Yeshua through His Body that I’d personally been a recipient of! So thank you to everyone for every congratulations, word of encouragement, excitement and prayer. The were so important to hear in times when I felt that she was a blessing and when I questioned if that were true. It was those long, or even brief interactions with you all, the conversations that I had with my Abba and the word which led me to a place of such joy and excitement in anticipation!

On Thursday, July 1, 2020, Abigail was 39 weeks, still in my womb with one week to go! For whatever reason, I didn’t feel my little Dancer moving that entire morning. To make a long story much shorter, I called my doctor, who sent me to the Hospital Emergency Room where it was confirmed by 3 different methods that there was no heartbeat. No words here...

I delivered my beautiful baby girl on Friday, July 2nd at 8:14a.m. She weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces, with the most beautiful full head of black straight hair. The reason that she suddenly stopped moving that morning was that somehow the umbilical cord had gotten wrapped around her neck a total of 4 times. (Sorry to be so graphic). Fortunately, she felt no pain. So I had to deliver her, and believe it or not, delivering her was not the hardest thing that I had to do. The staff was amazing, and allowed me to spend my hospital stay loving on my Abby. She was so beautiful, and they let her stay in the room with me. The HARDEST part of the entire process was day 4 when I had to leave her! But, even in that, there were so many beautiful stories from that day that I’ll share someday!

Today is July 8th, 2020 and I feel such a huge void in my being! I am in a better place now to talk to people, but I am very emotional, as you can probably imagine.

Since leaving the hospital on Sunday, I’ve had to prepare a funeral and burial for my baby girl! My son, family and friends have had to grieve the loss of not just Abigail Grace, but the hope that she brought with her. I don’t understand it all, and I am not even in a place that I want to share the inner/private talks that I’ve been having with my Father...or not having: I am just trying my best to live moment by moment, adjusting to our new normal.

I want to share with you all the details of Abby’s Memorial Service. It will be held this Saturday, July 11th, at Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home located at 14275 S. Blackbob Road, Olathe Kansas 66063. The visitation will begin at 9:00 am with the service immediately following at 10:00 a.m. Abby will be buried at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery located at 8321 Quivera, Lenexa, Kansas 66218. At the ceremonies end, all are welcome to meet at Resurrection at 11:00 a.m. She will be buried alongside other babies, I think it’s a sweet resting place for her. :) Please visit the web-site of the funeral home at http://www.penwellgabelkc.com/ for information about the service, or to leave any condolences, etc. Any other details, I’ll be sure to update.

The last thing that I wanted to share with everyone is that this is one of those situations in life that takes you by surprise and rocks you to the core. So please know that I appreciate every offer of help that I’ve received so far. I honestly don’t know what we need: I’m having a hard time even desiring basic necessities because honestly she was considered in every future plan that I’d made, and her being in my thoughts hasn’t lessened. I invite you all to go to a special website that I will post to regularly to keep you updated. It will also allow you to offer support.
 http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/abbygrace2020

Grief is a very personal and individual thing: and I do know that I will need each of you at some point...even if it’s just to hear you say her name. Please text, but understand that I may not be able to respond: it’s very encouraging either way. There may be meals, (mainly for Aidan) because I haven’t had much of an appetite. Sometime I may call you just to hear about you and not think about my own grief, or I may call to cry. Even going for walks, etc. so many things that could be, and I have no idea of what that may or may not look like. I can’t see past today right now. But someday, sooner or later, I’m sure I’ll need a loving friend! So thank you for both offering, and also understanding.

The last song Abigail and I danced to was Psalm 145, sung by Shane and Shane. For some reason I’d like to end this with me and Abby's final dance: Psalm 145.


Once again, I love and appreciate everyone that has walked this journey with me, Aidan and Abby!

Blessings,
Candace Neal

Newest Update

Journal entry by Candace Neal

How do you properly grieve the loss of your baby? This is something that I have struggled with myself, and after talking to a friend yesterday who'd lost her baby in the past, I'm not the only one who's struggled with that question.
This morning I looked in the mirror at my body that is still about 45 pounds heavier than it was Pre-Abby, even though I've already lost quite a bit. My immediate thought was that I don't want to lose anymore weight, and I even commented on how selfish and silly I feel now for all of the comments that I made about losing weight as soon as I had her. It sounds weird, but it feels like getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight would be a betrayal. Like it would be me moving on and leaving a part of her behind. Those sorts of things go through my mind constantly, and I have to reconcile those conflicting thoughts with balance.
But I do sleep with her elephant, and had a freak-out moment last week when I left her memory box in my friends car. She was so sweet, I'm sure that I sounded like her 3 year old daughter when I called her bawling, but she lovingly comforted me and even brought it to me.
I don't think that there is a right or wrong way to grieve. As long as you go through the pain and not try to avoid it...which is a whole topic that I'm struggling with, but I'll leave details for another day.
I am prompted to write about this because today I ordered a Molly Bear from a Non Profit Organization that makes weighted bears for families that lost their babies. My Abby was 6 pounds and 2 ounces, and I can't wait to feel the weight of her again! Though it will take about 6 months before I actually receive it, I'm so looking forward to having another tangible reminder of my Sweet Girl!
Her Elephant and Memory Box. My Abby Grace!
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