August 9, 2014
That's when everything changed for our family of three...
Hello, I'm Kristen, a stillbirth momma to our beautiful first born little girl, Gabriella Lynn Campbell.
Approximately 2 years ago, at 26 weeks pregnant, Gabriella’s heart stopped beating. Only later to find out there was a stricture in her umbilical cord that wasn’t detected until after I delivered her.
My husband, Jason and I never envisioned life without Gabriella…and holding only her pink crocheted blanket in my arms leaves this mom aching to hold her child. Thankfully, we know she is in the arms of Jesus and one day we will be with her again.
However, some days are OH. SO. ROUGH.
But, He is faithful and without our relationship with Him, the love and support from our immediate family, church family and friends we couldn’t have made it through the last 2 years.
This website, Marked With Love, was launched in honor/remembrance of Gabbi on November 12, 2014, her original due date. My greatest concern after we lost her was forgetting her because she wasn't physically with us anymore. So, I began praying and looking for ways to honor her life and process through this new found journey of that five letter word...GRIEF. Nothing ever prepares you. Nothing.
After we lost Gabbi, I was also confronted with the decision to go back to teaching OR go on maternity leave (which eventually led to my unpaid medical leave that year.)
I went with the latter decision.
Throughout my unpaid leave, I sought out calligraphy and hand-lettering as a vehicle to help me process through this grief journey. I started taking custom calligraphy requests/jobs from many family/friends to help support our one-income from Jason. From Christmas ornaments to hand-lettering on a bedroom wall, my time was getting filled up rather quickly and God continued to provide for Jason and I despite such a deep and sorrowful loss of our daughter.
That year off from teaching was necessary. It gave me space to not only heal physically,(because I dealt with a ton of physical trauma after giving birth to Gabbi) but time to reflect/process through everything. I mean, gosh, our lives were forever changed. Going from planning her baby shower and registering for cute baby clothes to meeting with our pastor to discuss a memorial service FOR OUR CHILD! Ugh. It was incredibly exhausting on all levels. At one point I could barely keep my eyes open because they hurt so bad from crying... I was a mess.
I remember a phone conversation with my mom during that year off and she said something I'll never forget, "Kristen, do something for YOU each day. Something that you love...maybe it's reading a book or making yourself a cup of your favorite tea but do something today just for you." A mother's advice truly is a wealth of wisdom. <3
I am fully confident that our story is so far from over and it's still unfolding...
If you haven't listened to Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "Glorious Unfolding" YouTube it right now. Better yet, just purchase the song and put it on repeat. The lyrics in that song put so much in perspective. ***I'm listening to it right now while I'm editting this :)
My hope and prayer through this space is to share how God showed up for us and how He continues to reveal His relentless love and faithfulness to His sons and daughters.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11