Porter's Story

In October 2011, Seth and I learned that our unborn son, Porter has a condition called Trisomy 13 or Pateu's Syndrome which is not compatible with life. We chose to let God decide when Porter's life will end. These are the lessons we've learned from our Heavenly Father through the life of Porter Gray.
Isaiah 46:4

Monday, June 25, 2012

In a box...

It's hard to know what to say...

My son, whom I love, is in a box, in my bedroom. Let's get real. How do you wrap your head around that? What I want, is his warm little body in my arms and his sweet fingers wrapped around mine, and to hear him cooing in my ear. Instead, we have him in a box.

Then there are my feelings. Also in a box. Where I've had to put them in order to function as a wife, mother, friend and nurse. Whenever I start to feel them rising to the surface, I literally can feel myself neatly shoving them back down into that box.

Guess what? Those feelings take up a lot of room and eventually that box gets full. And when it gets full, those feelings spill out...as tears. And there is no stopping them once they do.

I am so thankful for an amazing grief counselor I've been able to see a couple of times. She asks all the right questions and asks me to gently open my box full of feelings. Usually, when I walk in her door, the tears immediately begin to flow. And it's okay. She's introduced me to a book called, "The Grief Recovery Handbook". I love this book. It's about actively grieving and working through to complete healing.

Everyone experiences this loss differently. For me, I believe that the Great Healer will not only take my sweet boy out of that box someday and physically make him whole when Christ returns, but he also knows how and when to take my feelings out of their box. He leads me quietly to my knees and whispers in my ears.

When he whispers, I hear the voices of my friends, Rebekah, Amy, Beth, Jill, Joanie and so many others that somehow know when those feelings are spilling over! How does God do it? I don't know but he amazes me.

This is a gift from my friend, Rebekah. It's called a Charlie Jar, named from another mommy who's daughter's name was Charlie. Charlie's mother filled jars with healing scripture and created a ministry for other parents who've experienced loss. What an incredible, yet simple idea! Wouldn't you know that Rebekah gave this to me the very week, I couldn't hold it together a moment longer. I am so blessed.

I cried out to God for help: I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord.
Psalm 77:1

The beauty of this verse is that God hears our cries for help, even when we put them in a box! The Holy Spirit finds the words for us when we cannot express them ourselves. If you've experienced a loss such as this, my hope is that you will not be broken forever. Yes, we'll forever be changed but I choose not to be broken. My Healer is too great.

So thank you all for taking a minute to peek inside my heart, my box of feelings.

Please continue to pray for us as we continue on in this world. That we will bring honor and glory to the one who gave us life, the one who gave us family and the one who gave us Porter. We continue to pray for you. That you will know our Father in a real and intimate way and know he loves you.

Love you all,


  1. oh my gosh, beautiful. love you friend.
    thank you for inspiring me, as well as so many others, without knowing it.

  2. That was the prettiest blog post I have ever read. I am so glad that Kris' Charlie Jar brings you comfort amid tears. :*) I had your jar for months and I wasn't sure when I should give it to you. But, God knew.
    I pray that the peace of the Holy Spirit, a wonderful gift, will come in waves and wash over your heart and mind and heal your family through the grieving of Baby Porter. Porter will be the cord that binds your family together. Other families will marvel at your strength and unity. It's Porter, now, he is carrying you, in a divine way that God purposed. I pray your lives will always bring our Father Glory. Through every box, big and small.

    I love you so,

  3. What a beautiful post. I love the Charlie Jar! Have you read Holding on to Hope, by Nancy Guthrie? It is an easy read and helped me the most. While your grief will easier to bear over time, your family will always feel incomplete without Porter. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  4. Hello Jeannie,

    My name is Becky Beck. I am also a Trisomy 13 mom. We had our baby Kevin on May 10th of this year. He lived for about an hour and a half. As I read through your blog your words and feelings are so similar to mine. I miss my little guy every day but I wouldn't trade one minute of all the hard times. So many blessings have come to our family through the short life of our little boy. I believe these sweet trisomy babies are too perfect for this life. All my best to you and your family. --Becky