Chicken Jalapeno Rice Soup: A Letter To Our Baby

Chicken Jalapeno Rice Soup

Warning: This post will be full of raw, honest feelings on the loss of our child. If you don't want to read this type of material today, or are here simply for a recipe, I suggest you skip to the bottom.

This is a hard post for me to write. My last one was filling you in on my pregnancy and the complications I'd been dealing with. Today I have to share that my baby was born into the arms of Jesus last week.

When I went for my 14 week checkup, the doctor wasn't able to find the heartbeat with her doppler, so we went into the next room to check things with an ultrasound. As soon as I saw the monitor and heard the deafening silence, I knew my baby had died, but I still kept praying, "Please God, let her find a heartbeat. Please God." As the doctor turned to me and whispered, "Amber, I'm so sorry." I already knew my baby was gone.

I was scheduled for a D&C the next day, and though having to go through the rest of the day knowing my baby was dead inside of me was hard, waking up from surgery feeling that emptiness was harder.

Miscarriage. It's something that can seem so common, but until you live it, you never know what you've lost. I may not have held my baby in my arms, or created memories together, but I carried the hopes and dreams of what the future was supposed to hold - with this particular baby - in my heart. That is what I have lost.

I've lost the chance to learn this child's personality, to know the contours of their face like the back of my hand, or feel the comfort of their small hand grasping my own. This is more than a setback in the plans for our family. We lost a child. A child that was unique and will never be replaced by another. If I'm being honest, I may not even have the chance to try again. My pregnancies are so difficult on my body and my family, it takes a lot of careful planning and consideration to decide if it's something we can go through again.

I'm hoping, given time, that I'll have the opportunity to give my son a sibling, and know the joy of snuggling a soft, downy head again. Until then, I'm focusing on healing my body from the months of malnutrition, and giving my son all the hugs and attention I wasn't able to give him these past few months.  I'm getting a great start with this delicious soup my sister-in-law made for me while I was recovering, which is a recipe of her friend Victoria Costilla. I was so lucky to have her there helping me, I cannot give her enough praise - thank you Christel!

This soup is full of vitamin C veggies and vitamin E from the brown rice. Did I mention it tastes great? And while it does have jalapenos in it, it's not too spicy at all.

Chicken Jalapeno & Rice Soup
Yield: 9-10 servings    Printable Recipe
(recipe courtesy of Victoria Costilla)

3-4 cups water
2 chicken breasts with bone (or meat from a rotisserie chicken)
3-4 chicken tenderloins (not needed if using rotisserie chicken)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, diced
7-8 cups chicken broth
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cups frozen green beans
1 cup water
1-2 fresh jalapenos
1/2 tbsp black pepper
pinch of salt (to taste)
cayenne pepper powder
fresh lemon

Combine 3-4 cups water and the chicken breasts and tenderloins, cook until the meat falls off the bone, about 1-2 hours. Turn down the heat, remove from heat and shred chicken with a fork. Alternatively, you can use the meat from a rotisserie chicken to save time.  Return to stovetop and add the following: garlic, onion, chicken broth and brown rice. Cook until rice is soft and cooked through. Add celery, carrots, cabbage and green beans. Cook until veggies are semi-soft.

While soup is cooking, using a blender, blend one cup of water with the fresh jalapenos. Add the blended sauce to the soup. Cook about 10 minutes longer, adding more water if necessary until you reach desired consistency. The soup will thicken once the rice is cooked.

Before serving, remove any bones, garnish with cayenne pepper, salt and fresh squeezed lemon or lime. This soup freezes really well, and can be frozen in single one cup servings for reheating later.


Chicken Jalapeno Rice Soup
My husband wrote a letter to our baby that he posted on his facebook page last week. He's a typical man, and rarely expresses himself verbally, but his heartfelt words struck a chord in me, and I wanted to share it with you since we're entering the month of giving thanks. You can read his letter below.

A Letter To Our Baby

"To my child, 

I want to take a moment to tell you about your family. You have a brother Cade. He is awesome, he has the biggest heart of any person I know, and loves harder than any brother you will ever have! He is your protector and he will take great pride in that job. You have a Mom and Dad that love you to no end. We will never forget you and look forward to the day we see you and hold you. 

A part of me says I am glad you did not have to experience this world as it can be a cruel place. That being said, I would die this very second if it meant you could experience the love that you have with this family. I would die this instance, if it meant Cade could hold you in his arms and kiss your forehead. I LOVE YOU! and will celebrate you everyday of my life. 

I question why you were taken from us. This I may never know. I do know that this emotional storm will pass, the scars will heal, and ours days will go on. 

To those reading this, I encourage you the next time you feel like you are having a bad day, stop and think about the things you do have in your life. Don't think about the things that you want, you can't lose those. However, you can lose the things you have, so be thankful and protect the things you hold close to your heart."

I think this is good advice for us all this Thanksgiving. :)



Emily @ She Makes and Bakes said...

Amber, I'm so sorry about the loss of your baby. I'll be praying for you and your family.

Cassie | Bake Your Day said...

Amber, I am so sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful tribute to your child. Your emotions, especially your love for this baby are incredibly evident and contagious. I'm praying for you and your family!

Steph said...

Amber I cannot even to begin to say how sorry I am for your loss. As someone who is in the middle of her first pregnancy I can only imagine what you are going through. I get nervous before every ultrasound because I'm dreading a moment where they tell me something has gone wrong. I send you tons of love, hugs, and prayers in this moment of hardship.

Mrs Sunshine said...

I am so, so very sorry for the loss of your baby. We lost our little girl at 20 weeks back in July. Please know that while it's still very hard for us to deal with, it does get better. Praying for your family.

Anonymous said...


I offer my sincerest sympathies to you and your family. I lost a baby at 38 weeks and know the pain of the loss of not being able to take a child home. I did have 2 more beautiful afterwards. But there is always a piece of me that misses her each and every day. May you take it day by day and heal your heart.

Lauren at Keep It Sweet said...

Oh Amber, I am so sorry for your loss and for your family's loss. I can't imagine what you are going through and can only hope that it gets easier for you every day. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way.

Unknown said...

Thank you Emily:)

Unknown said...

Cassie, thank you, your prayers are appreciated.

Unknown said...

Thanks Steph, hoping your pregnancy continues well for you:)

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I'm sorry for your loss too and appreciate your prayers.

Unknown said...

To Anonymous, I can't imagine enduring this loss so close to due date, and I'm so sorry for your loss too. Thank you for your thoughts and words of encouragement.

Unknown said...

Thank you Lauren, it's appreciated. :)

Kelli said...

I just want you to know that you are in my prayers. We too have a baby that is with Jesus. I understand the healing process. It is a different sort of road that only those that have been there understand. Praying that He wraps His big, strong, arms around you.

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious said...

Amber, I am really sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope you get better soon!

Margie said...

Deepest Sympathy and prayers.

Erica said...

My deepest sympathies are with you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Prayers for you and your family. I went through three miscarriages, I can comprehend your grief.

SkinnyMommy said...

So sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers, Bree

cakerid said...

Amber I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby. I'm a new member to your blog ... but today's post spoke to my heart and it weeps with yours. Take good care, be kind to yourself....

Carol said...

Thank you for such a touching post. I am so sorry for your loss. I had three miscarriages before I finally had our first baby. My pregnancies were all difficult in that I was nauseas twenty-four hours a day the entire time, each time. We had two more successful pregnancies. Then, seventeen weeks into the next one I started feeling too good. I called the doctor and got in right away. I had the same exact experience you described. I still remember waiting to hear the heartbeat, and the ultrasound that looked like a lunarscape. The nurse in my case never did say the baby was dead, but she didn’t have to. I already knew.
On the drive home I pulled off the side of the road and called my husband to tell him. When I hung up, I just sat there and cried a good long while. I had to go in to the hospital and get induced and deliver the baby. I got to hold him in my hands. He looked so perfect. I could not understand why he was taken so soon. We let the three children name him, and they chose the name Jason. It was really hard on my emotionally.
About the time of his due date, I was really beginning to get depressed. It was then the Lord blessed me with the next pregnancy, and soon I was happily hugging the porcelain throne. This time I wanted to know everything I could about the baby. Before Jason, I just wanted a healthy baby, and the sex didn’t matter. After Jason, I wanted to know who was in there! I had two more successful pregnancies. Then I had two more miscarriages. I decided that five healthy children would be enough; my heart couldn’t take any more losses.
I totally understand the pain you are going through. I encourage you to find a way to get traction. One thing I did was to plant a tree or a bush to watch grow over the years. Every time I water or prune or sit and gaze at them, I remember, but without as much pain. When you are ready, don’t hesitate to try again. I’ll pray for you and your husband.

Kelly said...

I am so very sorry for your loss, after such a difficult time of it. Thank you for sharing.

Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet said...

Dear Amber, I am so sorry for your loss... I can't even imagine what you and your family are going through... Your husbands letter is truly touching... You are in my thoughts and prayers...

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Sending healing thoughts and prayers your way.

Macaroni and Cheesecake said...

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I will keep you in my prayers!

Kim - Liv Life said...

My dear Amber, I'm so sorry. You have often been in my thoughts since I read your prior post on your difficult pregnancy. And now I'm so sorry that your little one didn't get the chance at life that he/she deserved. Your tribute is beautiful, and I'm certain the little one feels the love that you and your family hold. I don't have any words of comfort that will make anything better, but know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing such a difficult time....

danielle said...

I'm so sorry to read of your loss! My third would be due 12-12-12; I lost our baby back in May at 10 weeks. The pain changes with time, and I pray for you as you grieve.

Audra said...

Amber I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Of all the sadness we may experience in life I don't think anything could be worse than this. Sending you prayers!

Erin said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I too have lost a baby. Although I was only 9 weeks along, it was my first pregnancy. I also had a D&C and remember that empty feeling after waking up. It was horrible. I did go on to have 2 successful pregnancies and my babes are now 5 and 3. I still think about the baby I lost, every year on that due date-April 26th-I say a little prayer. It does get easier with each day that passes. I do hope you and your family are blessed with another child, be it through another pregnancy, surrogacy or adoption. AS for now, know that so many are thinking about you and your family. I hope you find the peace and comfort you need to get through this emotional and difficult time. Take care.

decocinasytacones said...

Dearest Amber and rest of the family. I´m so sorry for your loss. I´m a mother, and I can´t imagine how much you´re suffering now. I loved your post though, your baby will live forever in your blog and in our hearts.
Sending you all, my love from the north of Spain.

Suzanne said...

Amber please accept my heartfelt hug over the wires... my granddaughter is also in heaven, born full-term, lived 4 hours, then just went to Jesus.. We had known since May she would not stay with us (she was born in August) and every day we counted down seemed worse than the last. But then the day came, and we loved her, never put down for a moment, and gave her all the hugs, love and kisses we could send her Home with... why God needs these little buds in His garden we'll never know, but she, and yours, is safe, and creating lots of chaos up there, can't wait to see them both someday...

Jen said...

Amber, I'm so very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

Lori said...

Amber I too lost a chid midway through my first trimester and I was 37 so it was a miracle I got pregnant. I think what he or she would look like or be like to this day and every January 26th is my quiet day to reflect on the child we had but never knew. I did go on to have a successful wonderful pregnancy at 38 and my son as the baby is my world. They all are even when I don't agree with them or they give me advice I don't want or need. A friend of mine just had a perfectly healthy pregnancy and we were all excited it was a boy and she already had a girl. But little Donovan was born with Trisomy 13 which was not detected in any tests she had prenatally. He is a beautiful little boy and she can expect his life expentancy to be 3-6 months. He is an old soul and so pensive. I saw him today and it broke my heart that this family is going through this as we all are too. Prayers for you and your family and as I light a candle daily for Donovan, I will light one for your child that will greet Donovan when he physically leaves our presence. God be with you all.

Mel said...

Amber - my heart goes out to you right now. I know I don't know you personally, but your post (and your husband's letter) touched my heart today. I will be squeezing my children with lots of extra hugs today. Maybe it doesn't help to hear others have suffered through a pregnancy loss, too, but for what it's worth, I have also, experienced that pain and while I knew others had gone through miscarriages, when it happened to me, it felt like the loneliest place to be and my aching heart was beyond words. I am so sorry for you and your family. I pray peace will come swiftly and gently.

Courtney said...

I'm so sorry. Wishing you and your family peace.

Brenda said...

Dear Amber, I happened upon your post late as I was directed here from your recent Tasty Kitchen post. Thank you and your husband for sharing what is the real and raw reality of losing a child. There are no words to describe what your body, spirit, & heart go through after such a life altering event. For what was to be and what now is not, I am deeply sorry. We send you our love, prayers and support as a family who has 7 children, 6 who went to be with the Lord. I am ever grateful for the privilege to parent our amazing 5 year old boy who God has blessed us with here in this life. Bless you & your family.

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