Ozlan Vander

Jan 31, 2016

Today I had an amazing honor. A friend of a friend contacted me about a fellow loss family. And thankfully they were receptive to having me come and chat with them. Mom had just given birth earlier this morning. I walked into the hospital. Which happened to be the same hospital Joislen was born at. Onto the second floor, which happened to be the same floor Joislen was born on. Into the room. Which happened to be the same room Joislen was born in. To see the cot we donated in her memory being used for the first time. And to meet the most beautiful family. Baby Ozlan Vander, with his adorable nose and voluptuous lips, was born at 4:44am on Sunday morning. 8lbs 12 oz and all of 21 inches long. Biiiig boy. His spirit had already transitioned to the presence of God where his maternal grandma also rests. Joislen was born in that same bed 5 and a half months ago (to date) at 4:04am on a Sunday morning too, half an inch shorter. The doctor who was helping mom when I walked in is the same one who told me there was no heartbeat. Matt, daddy, is such a loving and kind partner and father. His eyes were oozing with genuineness and he just looked so confused as to the how's and the why's. He looked at me and asked "how did you do this". As if to say. Will we ever make it through? All I could tell him was one breath at a time. You could see his admiration for Carolina. And then comes this momma bear out the bathroom in all her splendor. Heartbroken but soberminded. This powerful woman with a capacity for so much, who expressed herself so intentionally, and has a very special and unique relationship with her handsome boy that went much deeper than any physical connection could convey. She shared of arguments she had hoped to have with him one day, during their times together. The love. The plans. The dreams. Her little drummer boy. The straight edge cousin. Didn't pan out how anyone had imagined. I saw moms nose in his. The love in her eyes when she described their relationship was one I know all too well. She simply adores him. Me and this momma seemed to share a heartbeat for a moment in the awareness that our first children would never have one outside the womb on this earth. Down to our birthing plans. We were both seen by midwives, against medication, and when we learned we lost our babies, got our epidurals and just blasted through the stages of grief almost in what feels like an instant.

We are in the process of trying to start up this peer support group at UCSD. I have suggested it months ago. Things are still being worked out, but God allowed me the greatest honor of all; to touch this woman, heart to heart, womb to womb--and just share with one another; formalities aside. I wasn't coming as a nurse or captain anything. nothing but a servant of God and fellow loss momma. I am so thankful to Carla and Luca the dynamic duo who thought of me and Joislen when they were contacted by Amy (Carolinas amazing, gorgeously tall friend). And that I was able to serve them. My heart is full. The grandma. Aunties. Everyone was so loving. My prayers are with this warrior family. And may the sweet memory of baby Ozlan Vander's journey live on forever, may every night sky, the constellation, the shining stars, bring his family comfort to know that he lives on.

Just a week or two ago I named the middle star of Orion's belt after Joislen. And sure enough, Carolina was going to originally name her boy Orion, because they love the celestial (she taught me that word) atmosphere. 

Pretty sure this meeting was divine. And I'm just honored to have some new local loss friends to navigate through the loss with. Rock on Joislen Grace I am your biggest fan. And Lord. thank you for connecting us through our amazing children.

Of course. I wore my joisey shirt today. To church. I hadn't worn this shirt yet. I wore her Ellie necklace too. I hadn't worn that either. Joislen was so excited to visit back her birth place exactly 22 weeks after, and we just experienced the purest form of humanity. In brokenness. In hope. In love. And dad sent this lovely text after we met. Which is just proof that this type of peer support should be the standard. And not just by chance. We all deserve this touch of direction and hope from one whose been there. From one who knows. From one who cares, and can help. 


  1. I am in awe of you and blessed to be sharing in your journey. Thank you so much for having the strength to reach out past your own wounded heart to take the hand of another just starting on this sad and sometimes lonely journey. We at SOBBS are firm believers that the one of the only ways our journey may seem survivable is to hold the hand of another.

    1. SOBBS held my hand! Each one reach one you know my motto. It takes a village to raise a child. And it takes a village to bury one. Love love love 💜