I have a dear friend, she is one of my best friends, and her name is Alexis. I met her in 2001 on a website called "Storknet". We should be able to say "and the rest is history" but that's not true. The rest has been filled with happy times, but some much pain, too. That's why I can't leave that part out.

We both lost a baby at about the same time (within days). She went on to get pregnant again but that pregnancy had a lot of complications. I didn't get pregnant. But we both found consolation at Storknet still. It was our "saving grace" almost daily. She needed the support to make it through her pregnancy. I needed it to get through my infertility and loss.

Alexis had a baby girl 4-1/2 years ago named Allison Grace. She died about 3 months later. She had CHD (Congenital Heart Disease) and battled her way through her too-short life. The first time I met Alexis and Allison was when they and their family first moved to Decatur. See, Alexis is from Ohio. What's the chances that she would move to Decatur of all places? It was definitely all in God's hands.

I got to hold Allison that day. The first and last time I ever saw her. I feel so incredibly blessed to have held that beautiful girl. The next time I saw her was at her funeral back in Ohio. (Myself and a half dozen other "Storkies" were there to support Alexis and her family.) And it was from that point on that we had a connection like no other. And it's all because of Storket.

The internet is an amazing thing. It gave me the chance to share my pain and gain support. It gives each one of us all a lot when you think about it. Something to be very thankful for.

Very soon after Allison died, Alexis got pregnant again. Thank the Lord. That was the best gift anyone could give her and Matt after their incredible loss that no one ever dreams of having. 4 months after that I was pregnant again. My 4th pregnancy. I was not very hopeful. I knew it was going to end in miscarriage again. But Alexis had hope. And she held my hand.

Neil was gone traveling for work when my first ultrasound was scheduled, so Alexis went with me. She was there the first time we saw Noah's little heart beating away on the ultrasound. Alexis and I both cried. But at that point I had hope. It wasn't melting away anymore at least.

I'm not even sure why I am even going into all this. But today Alexis posted in her blog about a gift she got from a Storknet "sister". A person she has never met. She sent Alexis an angel because it made her think of Allison. It's rare that you find people out there like that, especially strangers. But I don't know if you would exactly call these people strangers. Some of us have met, some of us haven't. But we all know every detail about each other, no matter how big or small, and are always there to support each other, lend a listening ear, to offer advice or just to be there. So often through any kind of loss, you don't get that.

After I read Alexis's blog entry, it got me thinking. Thinking that even though here we are with beautiful families, we still owe so many difficult years of our lives to Storknet for keeping us going. I'm not sure Alexis or I would be here if it weren't for the women there. We can never forget those women and what they gave us. What they still give us.

It also got me to thinking how blessed I am to have Alexis in my life even though she is in North Carolina now, states away. It doesn't really matter to me because the bond we have will always be there and she'll be a part of my life forever more. Distance and how often we see each other or don't see each other just doesn't really matter.

Storknet will always be that for both of us. Something we will forever more have as a part of our daily life as long as the board keeps on going. With hundreds of members there, I don't think it's going down anytime soon. It's just been such a powerful part of our lives during such a painful trying time. And things like an angel in the mail reminds you of that and how much they still care.

It's unbelievably been 5 years for Alexis and I at Storknet. I know we are both forever grateful for the online site. It kept our spirits up, it kept us alive and it gave us some of the best friends we could ever ask for. (It's gotten us thrown out or locked out of discussions a time or two, too, but we won't go there!) And today the women there talk about our babies, Allison especially, all the time. They remind us all the time that they will never forget them.

They remember.

Merry Christmas to our babies up in Heaven. Merry Christmas to dear sweet girl, Allison. We will love you always.

Allison Grace, this would have been her 5th Christmas


Gingerdc9 said...

I feel the same way about SN. :-)

Alexis Jacobs said...

Okay you just sent me over the edge. (and that is not something to do when hungover) Thank you so much. I love you.

Jen said...

How touching! Thank you for the story, Val.

Jen said...

Very touching. Val, you know how to make my eyes all watery. I have never been involved in Storknet but it seems to have been a "godsend" and such a shoulder for all of you. I'm so glad it has helped those I care about. Thank you for the story. Jen