Carrying Cullen

A Journey of Life, Love, and Daily Blessings with Our Baby Boy

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I Have Been Blessed

The leaves are vibrant colors and falling from the trees, pumpkins and mums dress up everyone's porches as you drive by, the smells of pumpkin and apple are everywhere, and the cool crisp air gives you a brisk feeling every morning you step out the door..... yes, it's fall.  It's October.  For us, it's Cullen's birthday month.  It's one year since our precious little boy came into this world and we got to meet him.  All of these familiar sights, smells and feelings bring back memories of just last year when we were preparing this month to meet our baby boy.  Fall and Christmas seasons are my favorite time of year, no doubt why God chose to grace us with our greatest blessing during this time.  

I'd be lying though if I didn't admit that my Bath and Body Works fragrance plug in, Harvest scent (a wonderful mixture of pumpkin, leaves, apples, and everything spice) brought on a little PTSD.  Smelling that wonderful, all too familiar smell walking from my closet into my bathroom, took me back to the morning Cullen was born, and a different day, to the day of his it was happening all over again.  It was October 2013... it was November 2013.  I was there, I was in the moment, again.... deja vu, flashback...  PTSD was something I had never experienced, but I have since unplugged it, upon figuring out that was indeed what triggered it.

Helping us to get through this month though is the amazing support we have seen not only for our family but for the entire infant loss community.  October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a month that we recognize the hardship, difficulty and life changing experience some families face through pregnancy and infant loss.  A month that helps support and lift up those families, as well as reach out to other families who are or may face the same thing in the future and help them choose life.

Many of you know how special The Smallest Gift is to Joe and I, as we had asked for donations to be made to them in lieu of flowers upon Cullen's passing.  The response was heart warming and left us speechless, as we learned that almost $5,000 in total had been donated to them in honor of our son.  We appreciated every single donation because we knew it helped fund an organization that will continue to reach out and touch more families as they go through the most difficult walk of their lifetime. It blessed our hearts because we knew it was a way Cullen would continue to touch lives.  

For those of you who don't know, The Smallest Gift is a local organization who helps provide support to families who face infant loss and help to be the voice for a subject many people do not want to talk about.  They reached out to us when we learned of Cullen's diagnosis providing us with a heartbeat animal to record his heartbeat to listen to forever, and upon his passing a beautiful blanket and a special heart, filled to the exact weight Cullen was when he was born.  They are special ways to remember our son and it meant so much to us to have someone reach out to us that knew exactly what we were going through.  

On Saturday, October 11 of this year, Joe and I were honored to be a part of and witness an amazing event hosted by a local church to help bring attention to and raise funds for The Smallest Gift Organization.  The turnout to the event was overwhelmingly wonderful.  It was a blessing for us to see how many people came to support the families in the infant loss community.  It touched our hearts that so many showed that they care and that they wanted to help The Smallest Gift continue its efforts in ministering, reaching out to, and supporting families who face such a difficult circumstance.  We had the opportunity to meet so many lovely families and individuals who have also lost a precious baby and shared our stories.  No one wants to be part of that group, but in a way it's comforting to know you are there for one another.  And we were so thankful to share our story and my blog that day on WJUN, our local country radio, as well.  What a special way to celebrate Cullen's birthday month, in remembering him and continuing to share him with the world.  All in all, the event raised $13,000 benefiting The Smallest Gift and their mission.  Mandy Maneval, Jeannette Gill, Brad Gill, and so many others put an amazing amount of time, energy, heart and soul into the event and I think it touched the hearts of countless people who came.           

On October 15, we it a candle for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, to honor our sweet little Cullen and all of his precious little friends in heaven... Abigail, Aaron, McKinley, Xavier, Samson, Kail, Morgan, and the other little lives who have gone to be with Jesus.  We know many who have faced miscarriage, too, and did not get to hold their baby in their arms, but their sweet little babies still mattered and had a purpose in this life.  We will never forget any of these precious lives, as they will live on in our hearts, our minds, and our memories forever.  They have touched our lives in indescribable ways and changed our lives forever.  And what a hope we have, what a hope we are thankful for, that we WILL see our babies again someday!  Thank you to everyone who lit a candle in memory of Cullen or another precious baby.





Tomorrow (Cullen's original due date) we will have the honor to share in an awards ceremony, as Liz Schaeffer, one of our nurses from MFM, receives the Patient Choice Award from the Nightengale Board.  We nominated her for her incredible compassion and devotion to her patients, and shared the story of how she stood beside us through our journey with Cullen. She was chosen by the board for the award and we will have the opportunity to present her the award, share our nomination letter and also Cullen's life with a room full of people.  What an amazing (and emotional) evening it will be to share such a special moment with such a special nurse and friend.

So, no matter how difficult the day, no matter how difficult the month, God gives us just what we need at the right time. During a difficult time and month to relive, he has provided us with countless reasons to be thankful, to remember Cullen and continue to share his life and celebrate his life, as well as endless support and prayers from so many surrounding us.  Our God is so good.  And I think back to just this past Sunday at church when we listened to Jonathan Buckner and the Chosen Road sing, "I Have Been Blessed..."  The last part goes like this...

"He's my shoulder to lean on, when I am down,

The rock where he leads me, when I'm so overwhelmed

The place where he hides me, under his wings,

He's not just some song, He's the reason I sing...

Yes I have been blessed.


Yes I have been blessed,

God's so good to me.  

Precious are his thoughts of you and me.

No way I could count them,

There's not enough time.

So I'll just thank Him for being so kind. 

God has been good, so good... yes I have been blessed."


Leaning on the Lord to continue to help carry us through this October and journey of life.  And remembering Cullen, his birthday, and how blessed we are this month and each and every day.  Yes, I have been blessed.  



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