This week we are so honored to feature Kali Holstein! She has been supporting us since the very beginning and even though we have never had the chance to meet her, she has been a constant source of love and support for us.
•About Kali and Cohen.
I'm Kali and I'm a mom of 2 boys, Jackson and Cohen. Jackson is a fun and spunky 2 year old and Cohen just turned 1 in Heaven. On March 11, 2018, our lives forever changed. Just a couple days prior, I had my 20 week anatomy scan ultrasound with Cohen and everything was totally normal. He looked perfect. He measured perfectly. We went home super happy with a healthy, normal babe. That night, I started experiencing some cramping. I called the after-hours line and they scheduled me to come in the next day to test for a bladder infection. I was told that often times, bladder infections present themselves as contractions in pregnancy. My urinalysis came back normal so they sent out a culture. The weekend came and I kept experiencing the cramps. They were more annoying than painful! By Sunday around 2:30pm, we were out with friends getting frozen yogurt. I hopped out of our truck...and my water broke. I rode in the back seat, scared to death squeezing my friend, Stefani's hand repeating "I'm going to lose him, I know I am. It's too early. I'm losing him." My cervix was 3cm dilated by the time we got to the hospital. After about 36 hours of labor, Cohen was born early in the morning on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. His heart was beating. He was alive. He was perfectly formed. He was a beautiful baby boy with his daddy's nose and his brother's lips. He lived for 2 hours and 13 minutes. He just wasn't developed enough for this side of Heaven. And it kills me every day.
•What helped Kali most after her loss.
What has helped me most after our loss of Cohen is three things: my marriage, my amazing little boy, Jack and my girlfriends. My husband has been a source of strength for me. What's ironic is that whenever I'm having some really rough days, he is having really strong, uplifting days. And when he's having really hard days, I'm having really good days. We balance each other out in those emotional days naturally, so it's been really helpful. Jack...is just amazing. He is the most perceptive 2-year-old I've ever come across. He picks up on when I'm sad and most times will come over, put his hand on my cheek and say, "it's okay mommy, it's okay." He keeps me going. He keeps us laughing and happy and allows us to live in those precious moments with him. My girlfriends have never made me feel uncomfortable talking about Cohen. They refuse, almost as much as me, to ever let his memory fade. They ask about him. They ask about me and David. They have supported me in every twist and turn that's come with me visiting countless doctors and finally getting the answer for why we lost Cohen. They never make me feel like a burden. It's been extremely uplifting.
•What has helped Kali to remember Cohen
Goodness, where do I begin? Beautiful sunrises. Infinity signs. Blue cotton candy skies. Jackson's stuffed CohenBear. @hillsongunited "Oceans." Beyond all of those beautiful reminders of him, my husband and I have started a #bekindforCohen tradition. Every year on his birthday, we set out to commit intentional acts of kindness in his honor. Friends, families & strangers have joined us - simply spreading kindness into the world for Cohen. People have donated money to March of Dimes in Cohen's name. People have bought stranger's meals at Chick-Fil-A. People have held doors open for strangers. People have complimented others on their cute shirt! I've been sent "Be Kind" shirts, signs, hats, etc. by people I don't know very well and it's always so encouraging to see how far kindness has been spread in the name of my sweet boy. What a legacy to leave behind, huh? Such a tiny 13oz little boy...and that huge of an impact on our world. He amazes me every day.
My girlfriends have never made me feel uncomfortable talking about Cohen. They refuse, almost as much as me, to ever let his memory fade. They ask about him. They ask about me & David. They have supported me in every twist & turn that's come with me visiting countless doctors & finally getting the answer for why we lost Cohen. They never make me feel like a burden.
•What advice would Kali give to others that have lost someone.
Some advice I would give to those who are grieving or even those who know someone who is grieving: check-in. Check in with your spouse. See how they're doing. Tell them how you're feeling. Don't keep it inside. Talk to your friends about your loss. Answer questions like "how many kids do you have?" with confidence. "I have TWO kids...and they're both awesome." To those who know someone who is grieving, ask them about their loss. Don't make it awkward. I promise you, they want to talk about them. They want to talk like their loved one matters. Lastly, keep going. Trust me, I know what it's like to want to be in Heaven with them. But the people here...they need you here. They want you here. Your lost loved one wants you to be happy and to feel joy among the sadness. Look for that and feel that. Notice the goodness in the world and know that it's them, looking down and saying "I'm here! I'm okay and I'm still here."