Losing a child is a burden no parent is ready to bare. A local family was shocked by the sudden loss of their daughter at birth. Through the pain, they’ve found a way to give back.
For the Remme family, pregnancy was a breeze.
“Everything was going awesome. We have two kids already. Braxton and Gavin are 7 and 5 and we had every reason to believe that everything was going to be the same with our third pregnancy, Oaklyn. Jessica was 39 weeks pregnant and she was going to be induced and it was a great day. And everything changed really fast,” said Travis.
“I always had this feeling in my gut that things were not okay. To the point where later on in my pregnancy they did an extra ultrasound. They did some extra monitoring. Reassuring me everything was just fine,” said Jessica.
Unfortunately, they had no way of knowing little Oaklyn had a rare liver condition, which ruptured from the pressure of birth. The family had a few moments to be with their baby girl, before they had to let her go.
“As a mom, you go to that NICU and you stare through glass doors and you see your child just fighting for their life and you feel so helpless. We begged God with all that we had in us to not take her from us that day,” said Jessica.
“We could have let that ruin us. That fact alone. Knowing that we wouldn’t see her this side of heaven. Or we could do something good with it,” said Travis.
The Remme’s chose to use that moment of despair as motivation.
“Somehow God gave us this incredible strength and showed us there was a much bigger purpose for our life. Even bigger than the one we had set out for,” said Jessica,”I just woke up one day and was like, we need to start a non-profit. We got to help families.”
That was the start of the Oaklyn Foundation. Through this new cause, the Remme’s are finding new ways to help parents through grief. It’s been less than two years since their loss, but Jessica feels they’re already making an impact.
“I was at an event speaking to about 300 women, and after I got done telling our story a lady came up to me in her 80s, I would say, and she grabbed my arm with tears in her eyes and she said, I lost a baby and nobody knows. She said my husband is the only one that knows and he’s no longer here. and she said my kids don’t know. Nobody knows. And it was in that moment that I said, we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” said Jessica.
On top of speaking at events, the Remme’s are assembling care packages for families to receive after the loss of a child. The boxes will be filled with things like letters with contact information to the Remmes, keepsakes to honor the lost child, as well as medical supplies women need after delivery.
Jessica says trying to figure out what to do with the physical aftermath on her body was one of the toughest challenges during the loss.
“It was a weekend and I looked on the internet. Well you look on the internet and you see this mom that’s smiling and it doesn’t come up like, if you lost your child go to this website. It’s all these happy moments that you’re looking at and it’s not a happy time. And you just want to figure out how to ease the pain a little bit,” said Jessica.
They will also be giving away specially made bears, which hold the same weight as the child who was lost. Something their own kids found a lot of comfort in.
On top of the physical and emotional toll, the Remme’s are hoping to raise money to help with financial strain.
“The medical expenses and everything that comes. You know, even though you don’t have a child at home, you still have to pay for the medical expenses afterwards,” said Jessica.
That’s on top of the cost of a funeral.
For Travis and Jessica, this wasn’t the path they had prayed for, but they believe this pain has been suffered for a reason. Now, they hope to make the journey a little easier for others.
“Being able to help other moms see that you can put one foot in front of the other, as hard as it is. And that it’s okay to talk about your child, and it’s okay to have them be a part of your life. Because they are a big part of your life,” said Jessica.
The Remme’s are holding an awareness walk for pregnancy and infant loss on July 27 at Cherry Rock park starting at 8:30 a-m.
For more information on how to join the walk, and how to help the Oaklyn Foundation, just head to their website OaklynFoundation.com.