On the way home from my sister’s wedding, in late May of 2017, my husband and I passed a massive billboard for a large shoe store. We were driving through our hometown and started talking about the brands listed in the ad. I told him I had always wanted a pair of Birkenstock sandals to wear during the summers, and knew they were expensive but high quality. I told him they’d be the perfect shoes for pregnancy, considering my feet would most likely swell to look like puffer fish, and Birkenstocks have adjustable straps.

This began the conversation we had been somewhat putting off until after my Matron of Honor duties were over. We decided while getting off the interstate to go to this shoe store, that we would go ahead and start trying, or at least I would stop using birth control and we would see what happens from there. It took about an hour for us to decide on which pair, the fit, etc. My husband is the best person to shoe shop with, he brings you a hundred pairs and really weighs all options with you. We left the store with a brand new pair of sandals on my feet and a pep in our step. In my mind, these were my “pregnancy shoes.”

Two months later, I was pregnant. And I wore these shoes all the time, throughout the summer and even during the colder winter months. I adjusted the straps on swollen days to fit more comfortably and laughed at myself for wearing sensible, arch supporting shoes, something my parents always urged me to do. I wore them to work on Fridays and every weekend.

On Monday, February 25th, 2018 we went to the hospital, not yet knowing that Cooper had passed. Of course, I wore my pregnancy shoes. I had just loosened the strap once more and my shoes were as comfortable as ever. Once we heard the news, that Cooper’s heart had stopped beating, we were moved from triage to a delivery room to begin my induction. We were in this room for 4 days, and I never left the bed beside my frequent bathroom trips.

On Thursday morning, we began packing for home, and my Birkenstocks were nowhere to be found. The nurse looked for them, asked triage and also looked in the hospital lost and found area. At the time, we really weren’t concerned about a pair of shoes, we were about to have to say our final goodbye to our beautiful baby. That was paramount and honestly the hardest part of the entire situation for us. So we focused on our goodbyes, and the nurse gave me a pair of socks to wear home. We came home and thought maybe someone had packed them in our things and we would find them in my closet, but they were gone. We called lost and found a week and a half later and were told they weren’t there either.

It may sound silly, but I just think that was a little sign that my pregnancy shoes were only meant to be worn with Cooper’s pregnancy and not future children.

Today, the day after Cooper’s due date and 5 weeks after we lost her, we went together to the same store. We bought a new pair of Birkenstocks, in a different style, for a different baby. This baby has not yet been formed but is thought of often and gives us hope for the future. I can smile knowing that our Cooper was a jokester like her daddy and she took my silly pregnancy shoes with her. Just another sign from my girl.


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