“And they lived happily ever after” is the way a lot of children’s stories end. After the prince and the princess find each other and overcome some simplistic obstacle, it’s nothing but smooth sailing.
But real life stories are a lot more complex and, unfortunately, rarely as happy. When one couple was in the process of building their perfect life together, it seemed that fate was doing its best to throw as many plot twists their way as it could…
Brian and Courtney were a couple of people living a life like something out of a storybook. They’d met by chance in 2011 at Timothy O’Toole’s, a sports bar in Gurney, Illinois where they both happened to be waiting out bit biting wind and driving snow of a heavy winter storm.
Love At First Sight
They hit it off so well and so immediately that it seemed as if it was fate that had brought them together. “It was love at first sight,” Courtney said. “I had never had luck dating in the past. He was my knight in shining armor.”…
Brian, a retired Navy corpsman and Bronze Star recipient, was as kind and as caring as he was strong. They were crazy about each other and within just a few months, they’d gone from perfect strangers to standing at the altar, promising to live the rest of their lives together at their wedding in the summer of 2012…
“Brian really showed her what true love was,” said Courtney’s sister Amanda. “They had a relationship unlike any other couple I’ve ever met … just the smile on their faces, the sparkle in their eye. Anyone that was around them knew they loved each other.”…
Lets Have Kids
If there was one thing that would make Brian and Courtney’s life together even better, it was children. They both loved the idea of raising a family together, so they started trying for a baby shortly after they were married. But try as they might, a baby just wouldn’t come.
Try, Try Again
It would take years of trying before they were blessed with a baby, a daughter they named Reagan, who was born in 2015. Though they were overjoyed at their daughter’s birth, it was still a somewhat difficult time for the couple…
Helping Out Dad
Around that time, Brian and Courtney Hill moved to Texas in order to help out Brian’s elderly father, whose health wasn’t great. With Courtney just having given birth, it was up to Brian to support everyone financially. To do so, he got a job driving a truck, delivering lumber for a construction company.
Let’s Have Another
Despite the hardships of their lives, Brian and Courtney wanted to make their family even bigger and were trying for another baby. One morning in February, before Brain set off for a day of driving into Oklahoma, he was sad to see that the pregnancy test Courtney had taken had come back negative. But later in the day, there would be much worse news…
As he was driving for the lumber delivery, Brian would tragically be involved in an accident on the road, killing him. When Courtney got the news, she was utterly destroyed. In an instant the 30-year-old had gone from a woman living her dream romance to the widowed mother of a 1-year-old child.
Keeping It Together
Courtney did her best to remain strong for her daughter and for her father-in-law, both of whom still depended on her, but in the days following Brian’s passing, it seemed like it was all she could do just to keep from breaking down. Then, on the morning of her husband’s wake, Courtney took another pregnancy test…
Courtney was overwhelmed when the test turned out positive. “I prayed and cried when I saw the 2 pink stripes on the test. I said, ‘This is a blessing. It’s a miracle. I lost Brian, but I have a child, another one who will carry on his name,’” she said.
At the wake, she held Brian’s hand one last time. With tears streaming down her face, Courtney leaned close to him and whispered in his ear that they were going to have another child. It was a moment in her life she would never forget, but it wouldn’t be the last in a string of life changing events…
Joy and Pain
Courtney had barely begun processing her husband’s death when just a few weeks later, her father-in-law passed away. With no more reason to be living in Texas, she began to make plans to move back to Illinois to be closer to family when she felt something was wrong with her unborn child.
Rush To The Hospital
Thankfully, Courtney’s sister Amanda was still in town helping her out. She helped the panicked mother into the car and rushed her to the ER. “The doctor said, ‘Honey, do you know how to read an ultrasound?’” Courtney said…
“Then she turned the screen and there were 3 big black sacs with 3 floating embryos in each one,” she added. Courtney was pregnant with triplets. “We were shocked and very excited,” Amanda said. “We feel it is a blessing.”
Because Courtney and Amanda are themselves twins, she and Brian would sometimes joke about the possibility of multiples, though they “thought [twins] might skip a generation,” Courtney said. Thankfully, the two of them had written up a long list of names for boys and girls before Reagan was born. “I’ll have to use six of them,” she said…
Shortly after getting the good news, Courtney moved back to Illinois where her family could better help out. “My sister is very strong,” Amanda said. “She is obviously going through a lot, but she has felt so much support from family and friends.” But in addition to that support, Courtney was going to need a way to pay her bills until she could get on her feet.
Caring for a 1-year-old, pregnant with triplets, and without a steady source of income, Courtney’s sister set up a GoFundMe to try and raise some money to help out until the single mother could get back on her feet. Thankfully, the response was extremely positive and over 1,000 people donated for a total of over $40,000…
The upwelling of support would prove necessary because 25 weeks into her pregnancy, Courtney was hit with another emotional bombshell. During a checkup, she found out that 1 of the 3 heartbeats inside her had stopped. It was as if one of the babies had gone to be with Brian.
Though they came a couple of weeks early, Courtney Hill was ecstatic that the remaining twins, Miles and Harper, were born happy and healthy. Amanda had nothing but praise for her sister, saying, “she’s really keeping her head up and doing a great job. Throughout all of this, I don’t know how she does it. I call her ‘the rock.’ I’m just proud of her. She’s quite the courageous woman.”