Today we’re talking about parenting through the hard things. Stillbirth is a heavy weight to carry but it can be even harder when you have another person to take care of. Today I want to talk about how moms fight through that to still be present with their kids and slowly emerge from their grief.
My guest today is Winter Redd whom I have known since high school. We have reconnected as podcasters. She has two, Hungry Squared and the more relevant one is called Still a Part of Us: A podcast about stillbirth and infant loss. Today we’re talking about how it was to still be a parent while having heavy grief as well.
Big thanks to our sponsor Family Routines — routines can often be the steady hold for us when things get rough. Family Routines helps you organize families. Be sure to use the coupon code mentioned in the episode…
Mentioned in this podcast:
- I love how people helped Winter and her family out after her stillbirth.
- Routines were her saving grace — check out my practical parenting series that will help you be a bit more intentional
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other parenting podcasts:
Check out all my podcasts:
Hilary Erickson 0:00
Hey guys welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast today on episode 30. We are starting a new series around here every couple months I’m going to talk about parenting through the hard times. So I think that we all have rough stuff in our life and sometimes having kids while we are parenting through the rough stuff can be difficult so today I have a guest on just a quick trigger warning she is talking about stillbirth so if that’s something that triggers you, this might not be the episode for you. We’re going to talk about like things she thinks she did well with her daughter things that maybe she wish she changed just kind of talking through that and I think we’re all going to realize that parenting through hard times has great points and sometimes hard times and let’s untangle it. Welcome to the pulling curls podcast where we untangle everything from pregnancy parenting home routines, even some family travel because heavens knows our lives are tangled. I’m your host Hilary Erickson. Okay, today’s guest is my friend winter. I always call her winter champ but she’s actually winter red. I call her winter champion. She was a little sister of my friend Felicia during high school. That’s right. I have known winter a long time. I was her drum major back in 1994 go t birds winter and I reconnected she is a podcaster she has two podcasts one is on stillbirth called still a part of us. And she also has a foodie podcast called hungry squared, which is so fun. Anyway, we reconnected at a blog conference. It’s just been so fun to get to reacquainted with her and her husband, but today we’re going to talk about something less fun some of the hard times that she had she had a stillbirth about 18 months ago I’m excited to have winter on to share some ideas with you guys please welcome my guest winter red. This episode of The pulling curls podcast is sponsored by family routines how to automate your housewife life ever wish life was more like you pictured it would be before you had kids. Being able to spend less time at the mundane tasks and more time teaching kids the fun and valuable life skills you know they need family routines teaches families to simplify daily tasks into routines that help them feel more peace and joy. Save 15% with the coupon code untangled. You can find it at pullingcurls.com and the menu under courses or in this episode show notes. Hey winter, I’m so excited to have you on my
Winter Redd 2:12
podcast. Yay. Thanks, Hilary for having me. I’m so excited.
Hilary Erickson 2:16
Alright, so tell our listeners a little bit about your story.
Unknown Speaker 2:20
So my husband Lee and I have been, we plan to have a second child after our first daughter, Lucy and we were going along, we got pregnant we’re going along without too many issues with that pregnancy. I actually was getting monthly ultrasounds since they discovered I had a single umbilical artery. So that means that there usually are supposed to be two umbilical arteries and then one vein going out, but I only had one in one,
Hilary Erickson 2:42
although it’s not super unusual. The nurse in me has to say exactly and
Unknown Speaker 2:45
so I was going in for monthly ultrasounds just to monitor that make making sure that he was growing. It was looking good. So I actually had an ultrasound on the Thursday of my week. 37 he looks great. He was going well. They’re like Oh, he’s gonna use our part to be about seven pounds, which was great. We were really excited because our first our daughter, Lucy was tiny. She was like four pounds, nine ounces. So pretty excited about that. I went to work on Friday, I’m a pharmacist and so I went to work felt him moving around at work. The next day on Saturday, I was actually feeling pretty tired. So I just slept a bunch. Like I took a couple of naps that day didn’t do time because I just my back was starting to ache a little bit. I didn’t think too much about it. The next day at church, though was when it kind of got a little tricky. I was you know, when you’re hurrying to go to church, sometimes you’re just kind of going, going going and then when you finally sit down in a meeting, you’re like, Wait a second, I just remember thinking I Gosh, I haven’t felt him today. I haven’t felt Brannan our son move much today. And actually don’t remember if I felt him yesterday because I had been sleeping so much. And so I asked Lee I told him I was like, I don’t know if I felt him today. So he started poking at my belly. We tried to move him around, you know those kind of things and he’s like, let me run home and get you some ice water or something. See if he just needs a little bit of a wake up or whatever. And I started of course you know googling stuff on him. Because that’s what you do when you’re all paranoid about stuff. And like maybe because he’s getting bigger, he has a he’s not moving as much in that type. So we ended up calling the hospital and they said, told us to come in just to check and see if everything was okay. But I just remember after hanging up, I kind of got really teary eyed. I don’t know why I just got really nervous and really teary eyed. We went and ended up dropping our daughter Lucy off. And at the time, she’s three and a half years old, and we dropped him off at Lee’s parents house, and we headed to the hospital. And I actually remember looking over to lean as we were driving there and saying Everything’s going to be all right, right. And it just was really nervous but not feeling super great about the situation. We get there. And the first ultrasound technician cannot find it Brannan’s heartbeat, and she’s like, Well, let me go outside and ask for another nurse to come help me and I after she left, I started to cry because I knew that I mean, that’s their job, right? It’s their job to find heartbeats. And they do it all the time all throughout the day. I mean, it’s not it’s their job, and I knew there was this was not good, and I started Crying the nurse came back in and she couldn’t find it either. And they brought in the doctor and she said, I’m sorry, we can’t find his heartbeat and we just burst into tears. So I gave birth to our son, Brannan on July 23 2018. At 2am. We named him Brannan Chan red. He’s named after both of our families last names. And it’s been about 18 months since our world was flipped upside down.
Hilary Erickson 5:23
Yeah, that is a lot. But I have to say that your story is very normal, although there are times that I can’t find a heartbeat and then somebody else comes in and they can find it. So but it is a little bit unusual. If you have an experienced nurse, yeah, be able to find it unless you have some weird presentation or persona or if you’re really overweight, like myself, anyway. So whatever. Okay, so today, we want to kind of talk about how she’s still parented the other child because she, of course, has a podcast about her own emotions. But I think sometimes one of the hardest things is dealing with the fact that you’re also a mom to another human being while you’re dealing with your own issues and tragedies, right? Yep. So Lucy went to Lee’s parents house. That sounds like right.
Winter Redd 6:01
Yep, exactly. And thankfully, so both of my parents have passed away. So I’m super, super grateful for Cathy and Lee, those are my in laws. They have always been there for us just whenever we’ve needed somebody and they’ve been our rock like that. We’re so grateful. And of course, Lucy thinks they’re the coolest people ever. She said that grandma grandpa’s is like the coolest funnest places place to be. And the second the first most place is Disneyland. And so… It’s a pretty good comparison if you ask me.
Hilary Erickson 6:29
Yeah, also a lot cheaper.
Winter Redd 6:31
Yes, Yes, for sure.
Hilary Erickson 6:32
So it’s so nice to have like a safe place for your child. Right. That’s awesome. We’re grateful for them. Yeah. And so Okay, so did she stay with them for an extended period of time? Did she come home right as you came home? What did you do with her?
Winter Redd 6:45
Yeah, so she ended up was with them. And then when we got home, she actually came to the hospital because we really wanted her to meet Brannan. And that was tricky, obviously, because that she’s really young. She was not going to understand but when she was there, I felt super grateful and relieved that she He was there. So when she got to when we came home the next day she came home, like my mother in law brought her to our house kind of right away. And I was really grateful. I remember saying to her, I’m anxious to see her. I’m anxious to be with her. I really need to have this little child around me. Yeah, just because we were kind of like zombies. And I think we needed her to be there. We gave her a lot of extra hugs and lots of extra kisses. I’m sure she hated it. But I’m really grateful that she was there. And I think it was a good thing for us. I think it was good that we had her there, and that we could plan and the funeral and also just be with family because there’s a lot of family and friends that were coming over. So I am grateful that she was there for all of that.
Hilary Erickson 7:38
Yeah, any tips on showing her the baby or anything like that anything you wish you had done differently in that immediate time period?
Winter Redd 7:45
You know, I wish so Brannan was born at two in the morning. I actually wish that Lucy was able to be there kind of shortly after he was born because he looks kind of pink and still alive. You know, like he had that kind of he looked a little bit better and by the time she came and saw him he had I mean, he we’re trying to do the best we could but he was starting to show somewhere on his body where the skin had, you know, worn off and so I’m I wish maybe we could have gotten her up sooner then because that was tricky because it was two in the morning when we when I gave birth. So yeah, so there’s not really any way around that I didn’t want to be totally out of it because she was half asleep, be there. So maybe have her come kind of first thing in the morning would have been a little bit better anything. That was the only thing and then we talked about it and we let her hold him and just talk like we’re not gonna be able to bring him home. And so it’s tricky. She’s three and a half at the time and it was hard for her to understand she still sort of gets it. I’m starting to get it now. Yeah, so But you know, I think it depends on the age right of your kids, your other kids at the time of if, if you have a stillbirth so
Hilary Erickson 8:46
well, if she had been much younger than three, then I think things would have totally changed right? There’s a big-
Winter Redd 8:50
Yeah, she would have not I think we would have wanted to have her up there so we can have a family picture or something like that, but she wouldn’t have gotten it.
Hilary Erickson 8:57
Yeah, it’s just a whole different ballgame and they are gross. So bit different at that age. So what was the best part about being a mom at the hard time? You mentioned it was just great to have her around. Right her little bright spirit.
Winter Redd 9:07
Yeah. And that was probably what I would say that I actually had. The best thing about it was that I had someone to parents, I know I had to physically take care of her and I’m not trying to compare grief for someone else’s story, but I’m grateful we had Lucy I, I have said before and I I am grateful that I had Lucy and that Brannan wasn’t my first child and that I lost during my first pregnancy because I hadn’t having Lucy doesn’t negate at losing Brannan. It doesn’t make it better by any means. But it was I felt like it was so good for us for our souls to have somebody to care for because you know, you’re you’re kind of your body is going through like I’m getting ready for a baby. I’m getting ready. I’m nesting I’m getting I’m ready to have a child and take care of this child and to not have that child come home with you is rough. And so it was nice to have Lucy to take care of
Hilary Erickson 9:56
Yeah, so what was the what was the hardest part of being a mom during in that timeframe, was there something about her that you were just like I’m losing my mind?
Winter Redd 10:04
Yeah. So it was funny because I talked to Lee about this. And we talked we mentioned we’re like, we don’t remember the first six months after Brannan passed away. So I there was, it was really hard for us to parent. Because apparently well, right, we were doing the bare minimum for ourselves. But we really, that was really, really hard was to make sure that we got food on the table because frankly, we were not hungry. We had no appetite for a good long time. And that’s that’s weird coming from us because we’re major foodies and so to actually get food on the table, or to do things to take care of her well, I unfortunately would say that we probably turned on too much TV or letter, you know, watch Netflix too much. But that’s just the way it is sometimes. So I mean, it was nice to parent her but then also it was hard to parent her at that time because sometimes you just wanted to not do anything and not you kind of want I always wanted to check out a little bit.
Hilary Erickson 10:55
Yeah, I think the best part of her of her being around is also the worst part of her. She’s always around you You
Winter Redd 11:00
always have to take care of her right? Yeah. And she wants to she had she’s three she was three and a half and she had a lot of she still has a lot of like, I need attention. Mom,
Hilary Erickson 11:08
you need to help entertain me, right? Yeah. And that’s, that’s tough. Yeah. That is always tough. Did anything do Did anyone do anything as thoughtful for her that you can think of?
Winter Redd 11:17
Yes, I so many people reached out to us. So I The thing that I think was the that was number one that helped us so much helped us and helped her was that they would just show up to our house and like, Hey, can we invite Lucy over and have a playdate with our kids and that obviously helped us because we got to have an hour break to our break or whatever. But she also got that I get to play with people. And unfortunately we were a little bit of homebodies I just really wanted to stay home all the time. I just didn’t feel comfortable. I just got anxious whenever I went outside, so it was nice to have her not be cooped up. Basically she’s a kid. She just wants to run and play and be a kid and so it was that was a gift for us is whenever somebody came in to said hey, I want to take Luciana date. Or, hey, I were going to go to the park. Can I take Lucy with us that was grateful I have this picture of Lucy it was between the time that Brannan was born and the funeral so we were in the middle of like planning the funeral and my friend invited her over it and I’ve got a picture of her she’s in her undies, because she doesn’t have a swimming suit with her because they busted out the pool and we’re playing in the pool and She’s so happy and having a grand old time and I am grateful for that little picture because it tells me that people were willing to they’re like, I can’t do anything to make it better but I can help with Lucy Abby. So
Hilary Erickson 12:32
right and what I mean that’s not a huge thing for them, but it was huge for you.
Winter Redd 12:35
Yeah, they’re like it was actually easier to have another kid because then the kids played with themselves and I didn’t have to entertain that.
Hilary Erickson 12:41
Love Me and good old play there yet. Anything you wish you had done differently with her?
Winter Redd 12:47
Once again, I mentioned that we kind of stuck her in front of the TV kind of a lot more than I
Hilary Erickson 12:51
would have done that either way.
Winter Redd 12:54
I know and I just and I looking back on it. I think we did the best we could yeah I’m that’s just That’s the way it is, right? I mean, parenting is hard sometimes and you just do the best you can. There’s not a manual that is out there
Hilary Erickson 13:05
now, especially not on this, yeah.
Winter Redd 13:07
know. And so we that’s what we did. And I guess it was not too bad that we sat in front of TV with her, like, we wanted to zone out too. And we were kind of just on autopilot. So that was one thing and then I do you kind of wish that we went outside and walk together as a family, like almost on a daily basis, because in the last 18 months, I found that it’s been super therapeutic for me to walk and just having her outside also walking and just being together. I think that would have been really helpful for us. I think I wish I would have done that a little differently, because I’m going to try and do that in the new year. So
Hilary Erickson 13:38
yeah, that makes sense. But I think you also you’d like don’t want to see people you know, the outside has a lot of unknown variables when you’re in a fragile state. Yep, that’s so true. So true. Anything you did great at you think like talking to her about it or anything like that. So
Winter Redd 13:54
like I feel like root was really good to have a talk about what was happening with Brannan and we bring him up All the time, I think the thing that helped us with getting kind of back to normal was having a routine. I mean, you talk about routines all the time and having things that just occur on it on a regular basis. And when we finally got into a routine that was so helpful for us, and for her, I went back to work about five weeks after Brannan’s passing, and then Lucy started preschool just shortly after that, and so having that regularity was very helpful for everybody. So yeah, if you can get get into a routine, that sure helps a lot.
Hilary Erickson 14:28
Yeah, you know, when I did my pediatric rotation at the hospital, they always say one of the most important things for sick kids is to have boundaries and routines for them because they still need to know that they need XYZ behavior, and that these things are going to happen every day. And you know, that’s just part of our day. So I think that’s really good advice. But hard, right? When you’re in the thick of things, right? Yeah, you just have to keep doing it. Keep doing the chores every every day that you need to do and yeah, it’s it’s tough, but it’s helpful. Yeah, I think we most people crave that kind of thing. So that’s awesome. Yeah. Anything else for somebody who’s going through a hard time and has a little person that
Winter Redd 15:04
they’re trying to help? Yeah, I was thinking about this I have two things I would recommend if you can, if you can, if you can manage the time if you can manage the finances, but if you can go on a tiny little trip going on a trip, we went to Bear Lake right after it was like a week or two after Brannan’s passing and we went to Bear Lake and it was kind of a reset, because we were not in our house. We were not even close to where he was buried or it was just nice to get away. And I’m not saying to forget about it, but to just not be physically reminded of it all the time. It was nice to have that little trip we were gone for two nights that was it. Lucy has the fondest memories of that trip. She’s like, what am I going to Bear Lake again? What do I mean? Like she asked all the time, so if you can do a little trip, I would recommend that or even I mean, heck, if you can afford to go to a hotel or something just downtown or somewhere away from your home. Sometimes that physical distance makes a huge difference in your psyche. And then the other thing that I Thought about and Lee is super good about this is that he tries really hard to emphasize that he loves Lucy and he loves Brannan. He loves both of them. Because it’s really I think it would be super easy for Lucy to think that Oh, Brian is better because we talk about him and we pray about him and all of these things all the time. And it would be hard to not feel like oh, I’m not as wonderful or perfect as my brother that died, you know. So just trying to emphasize that you love your children and that they’re special in their own way. So because I think it’s really easy to put that child that passed away onto a pedestal right because he’s not been here. We don’t know what his behaviors like we don’t know all of these things. And so I worry that Lucy’s gonna think oh, I’m not as good as Brannan — Brennan’s always going to be the you know, the perfect child. Yeah. Comparisons tough. He’s never drawn on your wall. Nope, He’s never done. Exactly. I want her to know that even though she does draw my walls that it’ll be fine. And I love her till still, unless it’s a sharpie.
Hilary Erickson 16:56
Because that’s permanent magic. aerators right. I know. Mr. Clean You’re the best.
Winter Redd 17:01
Yeah. All right, well, thanks for coming on winter Hilary, Thank you Have a great day. Thanks. Okay guys,
Hilary Erickson 17:08
this podcast is a little bit different than other ones that we’ve done but life is not all sunshine and rainbows are we right? I love how winter highlighted that getting back into routine can really help when you’re in hard times I hundred percent agree with that. I think that might be something that we find with everyone else going forward. So I’m interested to see that of course this episode is sponsored by family routines, because I think they are just that important. Big thanks to winter for coming on. I’m sure this wasn’t her favorite podcast that she’s ever been on. Maybe we’ll have her on later to talk about smoking brisket because that also sounds delicious. If you liked today’s episode, of course, I would love it if you would share, subscribe and review. We love our reviews. We drop an episode every Monday and until then I hope you have a tangle free day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai