Diana Stone blogs her own life story at Diana Wrote. She and her military retired husband have two girls, 8 and 2, and three sons who passed away after birth. Preston and Julian were born in 2012 at 20 weeks and, after a traumatic stay in the hospital, she learned how to advocate for herself and other mothers regarding medical care.
Kaden was born in 2013, and when he was 4 days old and ready to come home, his checkout exam revealed cardiomyopathy. The cause was found to be a rare, mostly unknown virus called ciHHV-6. He died in her arms at 3 weeks old. After two failed adoptions between and after these losses, they went onto have a surprise pregnancy in 2015. Refusing all meds and working with doctors around the world who monitored her, their daughter was born overdue and healthy. Her story was published in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.
Tamar is wife to Mike and mom to daughter Emelia, age 5 and son Ara, 11 months. She is a working mom who teaches English at her local community college. However, her true occupation is a creative writer. She believes that she is her best self when she pours her heart onto the page in the form of fiction, poetry, and essays. She keeps at her craft entirely to get to know herself and this life as it transpires around her. She is often stealing time to write between grading papers and changing diapers and fetching snacks, but mostly after both kids are in bed.
As someone who fought for her babies during both pregnancies – enduring through countless complications, months of bedrest and two traumatic births - she has a heart for mamas who suffer and believes in their peculiar strength. Although she has not herself suffered through infertility or loss, her heart aches for so many of her family and friends who endure through this grief. Because she has walked with so many women through this particular heartache, she feels compelled to make sure these stories about loss are not only heard but cherished.
Lori Ennis battled infertility for eleven-and-a-half years before she turned to IVF and became a mother in November of 2009. Her first son, John “Matthew”, unexpectedly and tragically died in his father’s arms ten hours after he was born. Lori continued IVF treatments and brought home her second son, Samuel “Luke” in January 2011. In April 2012, Lori suffered a miscarriage and lost another little boy, Trey, at fifteen weeks. At that time, she and her husband decided their hearts could take no more, and their family was complete on this earth.
Lori is the former owner and current Managing Editor of Still Standing Magazine and is grateful to facilitate a resource that didn’t exist when her first son died. A writer with Mothering Magazine, The Daily Mom Military and Petguide, she is also a speaker, amateur photographer and former elementary teacher. Lori and her United States Marine Corps pilot-husband John are enjoying raising Luke in many different places, with the most current being Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. Though Lori has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and Psychology from Virginia Tech, as well as a Master’s of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford University, her favorite job is Mama, and she is beyond grateful for that privilege.
Kaila Mugford is wife to Jamey and momma to 4, Samuel, Mira, Edward, and Gabriel. She began her motherhood journey with the devastating fatal prenatal diagnosis of Samuel at his 20-week ultrasound. He was born full term in April of 2012 and died within the hour in her arms. After multiple genetic tests yielded inconclusive results, Kaila and Jamey were given the green light to try again and became pregnant with their daughter Mira just 4 months after Sam’s death.
Mira was born healthy in May of 2013, and her little brother Edward joined their family just 2 years later in August of 2015.
Kaila and Jamey announced their 4th pregnancy in October of 2017 and at their 18-week ultrasound were given the news that their newest baby, another boy, had the same diagnosis as Samuel. They prepared their entire family for the loss of their youngest. In April of 2018 at 30 weeks pregnant, Kaila developed a rare form of preeclampsia termed HELLP syndrome and delivery was necessary to save her life. Gabriel was born alive and died in Kaila’s arms just 2 hours after birth.
Kaila blogs about her family’s grief and loss of two children at kailamugford.blogspot.com. Writing is healing for her, and she hopes that her words can bring comfort to others grieving too.
CrystalTheresa Z. Ejanda
Crystal is a mother of six: four deeply missed babies whom she carries in her heart and two wondrous living children who fill her with awe and delight and frustration (she knows how lucky she is to feel said frustration). Her path to Still Standing includes stillbirth, multiple miscarriages, infertility, rainbow babies, traumatic births, and the amazing bereaved families who welcomed, protected, and supported her since she joined the community in 2009.
Crystal loves her babies with a fierceness that’s emboldened her to be unapologetic in honoring what it means to grieve, mourn, and heal. Her children and the loss community inspire her to seek joy and to follow her passions. She currently attends a master of fine arts in writing program, works in marketing communications, and explores parenting, grief, spirituality, food, and semi-crunchy living.
Rachel Whalen is Still Standing’s Graphic Designer and writer. She spends her days living and loving in the vibrant and charming state of Vermont. She has always wanted to be a writer but, for a long time, was lacking a story to tell. After some searching she has found her greatest inspiration from her family; especially her daughter, Dorothy, who was born silently on February 22, 2016.
Experiencing Dorothy’s death made her determined to keep Dorothy’s memory alive and to share her family’s experiences with grief, love, and all that comes with it. When Rachel is not sharing her family’s journey through the unexpected, she enjoys the little things in life alongside her husband, Mike, her daughter, Frances, and their fluffy, white cat, Edie.
Franchesca Cox is the Founder and Creative Director of Still Standing Magazine. She is a former art teacher going back to school for her Master’s in Occupational Therapy. She has lived to tell the tale of what it means to grieve the loss of her firstborn daughter, and fought for the privilege to love life again.