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  • Writer's pictureJen Chappell

Share Your Story Tuesday- Chaney James Corcoran

October is a very appropriate month to be speaking out about infant loss as so many experience this pain in silence.  My husband and I found out that we were expecting our first child in September of 2015.  We spent the next nine months so excited to be parents and awaiting the arrival of our sweet Chaney James. Deciding on his name was easy as it was his two great-grandfathers names.  On May 21st, 2016 we welcomed an 8lb 2oz bouncing baby boy into the world.  We were instantly in love and could not have been happier.  Chaney was such a ball of energy and always very alert trying to see all that was around him.  His grandmother used to say that it looked like he was trying to tell us something.  We spent the next 10 weeks in bliss loving and showing off our sweet baby.  I now consider this the time before ... Before our world shattered to pieces and changed forever.

When our sweet Chaney was 10 weeks old, I went back to work and was so excited to have my mother as our babysitter.  On August 3rd, 2016 I got the phone call that will forever haunt my dreams.  My sweet Chaney was not breathing, and we needed to meet them at the hospital A.S.A.P.  I was devastated.  How could our perfectly healthy 12lb pound baby just stop breathing?

When telling our story, I usually don’t talk about the traumatizing part.  For some reason, I feel that I need to shield the listener from it.  However, here I do think it is essential as other mothers need to know that they are not alone in the horrible hurt and pain.  We arrived at the hospital where they put us into a room.  They already had a priest waiting, and I knew that this was a horrible sign.  The doctor came in and explained that they could not get a heartbeat, had done all that they could, and needed to call a time of death.  I felt like I was someone else watching this all unfold from outside my body.  The hospital staff bundled our sweet Chaney up, so we could hold him one last time.  I felt like I couldn’t, but the EMT that was still there felt like I would regret it if I didn’t.  He offered to hold him with me.  I agreed and to this day am so thankful for his kindness and anticipation of my needs at a time that I could not know what was best for me.  I held my sweet boy one last time and kissed his sweet head.  I remember thinking that he just looked like he was sleeping and would wake up.  I just could not fathom the fact that he would never open his eyes again. I will never forget the kindness and compassion shown to us and our family by the EMT’s, doctors, and nursing staff that day.  They were hurting right along with us.  

The next weeks were difficult as we planned and attended a funeral for our sweet baby Chaney.  We were surrounded by family and friends that helped us keep going.  We will forever be grateful for that.  I just said over and over that headstones should not come in teddy bears.  No parents should ever have to bury their child.  We then set out to find our new normal.  This was not an easy task but one that we saw as necessary.  We did not think that our Chaney would want us to sit and fall to pieces.  We felt so alone at first, and this is why I think it is so important to share our story.  We needed to connect with other loss parents.  We needed to know that we could survive this horrible thingbecause at the time it felt crushing.  I will forever be grateful to the people that came forward and helped us see that we were not alone.  Friendships were made that will last a lifetime.  At first, it was minute by minute, and then hour by hour, and then day by day, and then week by week, and then finally month by month.  We started to be able to think a little farther out into our future.

With the help of my husband’s siblings, we started a nonprofit called Chaney’s Champions as a way to honor our sweet Chaney.  Chaney’s Champions donates teddy bears to organizations that encounter children in distress or need of comfort.  Each bear has a tag on it explaining why they received the bear and asks the child to pay the “random act of kindness” forward.  Apex Police Department was our first donation in December of 2016 and still remains one of our most dedicated partners in our endeavor to honor our sweet Chaney.  With every child that receives a bear, we see Chaney’s smile shining through.  You can find Chaney’s Champions both on Facebook and if you would like to follow along with our work.

Losing Chaney did change us, but I don’t believe it was for the worst.  We have learned to hug our loved ones closer, and to live every moment to its fullest.  Chaney is now a guardian angel and has two little siblings to look over as we welcomed twins into the world on April 21st, 2017.  Pregnancy after a loss was also hard but very worth it in the end.  We honor our sweet Chaney in all that we do and keep him apart of our everyday life.  We visit his grave and have picnics with him often.  We hope that by sharing our story, we will allow other loss parents to know that they are not alone in this.

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