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Three Little Birds Perinatal has the ability to help so many Rainbow families because of amazing volunteers, like our own Desiree Miller. Desiree and her business partner, Stacy, own and operate Image is Everything Studios in Swedesboro, NJ. They are always willing to use their studio space, as well as donate their time, for anything we may need. So many Palliative Care families have benefited from complimentary Maternity portrait sessions and belly castings. Even more recently, the families we've helped have begun returning to the studio for complimentary Rainbow Maternity portrait sessions, all in an effort to honor our families after their losses. Desiree has an ability to communicate the emotion in your photos with wanting to incorporate your child that can't be here, to the child now on the way. It is something so many people love about her images when working with Three Little Birds and our Palliative Care program!
And thank goodness for Stacy; her willingness to help out whenever needed and always ready to be our videographer for Three Little Birds filming/interviews. She's also volunteered countless hours creating items for our support boxes, sewing heating pads for post-partum moms and being that extra hand for belly casting.
We really do not know what we would do without Image is Everything Studios and just wanted to take a moment to thank them from the bottom of our heart!
As always, all families receiving Palliative Care services through TLB will always receive a maternity session at absolutely no charge, either through Image is Everything Studios or another local photographer (on the off chance they are not available in an emergent situation.
For returning Rainbow Baby Families, Image is Everything Studios is kind enough to offer a complimentary session with 5 digital images and 25% off of any additional purchases. If you would also like Image is Everything to also do your newborn session, the session fee will also be complimentary to existing TLB families only, but no images will be included. All TLB families will be offered a 25% discount from normal pricing! *One offer per qualifying family
Thank you Image is Everything Studios, both Desiree and Stacy! You never cease to amaze us with your generosity and beautiful work! www.imageiseverythingstudios.com
September 2, 2015
This was the due date Kathleen and her husband Brian were given for their daughter Scarlet.
They had an unremarkable and healthy pregnancy with absolutely no complications.
There was nothing to hint that anything would go wrong.
At 36 weeks 5 days into her pregnancy, Kathleen noticed less movement from Scarlet. She decided to get checked at the hospital just to make sure everything was okay. That's when their world came crashing down.
They were told "I'm sorry, there is no heartbeat".
Scarlet was born still on August 12, 2015 at 37 weeks. She was absolutely beautiful. Kathleen and Brian's family were there, as well as the pastor from their church. They took turns holding her, praying over her and everyone could not stop commenting how gorgeous Scarlet was.
Three Little Birds Co-Founder and NILMDTS Volunteer Photographer, Desiree Miller, met the Williams' family after she received a request for photography services for Scarlet. Upon entering the room, it was apparent just how loved and wanted this little girl was. They had adorable outfits there for her to wear, so they took care to make them able to fit her. They wrapped her in her blankets and took as many photos as they could with her mom and dad, and by herself. Desiree' spent time photographing and making memories with the family, walking the journey with them as they said hello and goodbye to their first child.
When we talked to Scarlet's mom, Kathleen, now about the photo experience, she told us “I’m so happy I have the pictures of my baby girl because it’s the only thing I have left to remember her by." Desiree says it's the exact reason she has continued to volunteer for NILMDTS since 2007.
After losing Scarlet in 2015, Three Little Birds kept in contact with the Williams family, as it is our mission is to provide immediate and long-term support to families. For Kathleen Williams, "I would recommended TLB to other families. It is good to have support when you are going through a terrible loss. It’s very hard. And you definitely need a support group to help you through! TLB helps you go through the whole grieving process. They are by your side every step of the way!"
Unfortunately for Brian and Kathleen, they continued to experience future losses with 2 subsequent miscarriages at 5 weeks and 6 weeks. Kathleen said she has continued to feel supported by TLB throughout her losses, but we are still sad for her family to have had to go through this experience.
This brings us to mid-2018, Kathleen and Brian let us know that they were expecting their Rainbow Baby this coming March and that this pregnancy was looking healthy and viable. We were ecstatic for them both and could not wait to support them on this journey, as we make an effort to help families bond with their rainbow babies, all while memorializing and honoring their previous loss(es). When asked why she felt she wanted to continue with Three Little Birds, Kathleen says "....because they have supported me emotionally and they know what I am going through." She says "I have major anxiety because there is no safe milestone in this pregnancy. I believe I will have a healthy rainbow baby, but every day is a struggle to think positive. Especially when I lost my baby girl at 37 weeks. TLB is already so supportive of me and my rainbow baby."
Actually, most are unaware that Three Little Birds offers families we assisted in the past, several support services, at no cost. The Williams family was excited to participate in one of those, a Rainbow Baby Maternity Shoot, to honor both of their precious children. They had a beautiful idea to incorporate Scarlet, who would now be a toddler, into their maternity photos and the outcome was just breathtaking!
We are so honored to be a part of Brian and Kathleen's journey and cannot wait to meet their Rainbow Baby in one short month! We thank them for their willingness to share their story and hope that it inspires you to have HOPE in your own journey!
Pregnancy after loss can be a very scary and anxious time. If you need support, and even if you are not a prior family of Three Little Birds, please contact us. We support all loss families.
NILMDTS Volunteer Photography by Desiree Miller
Rainbow Maternity Photo Shoot by Desiree Miller, Image is Everything Studios
PLEASE NOTE: For returning Rainbow Baby Families, Three Little Birds (partnering with Image is Everything Studios) is kind enough to offer a complimentary session with 5 digital images and 25% off of any additional purchases. *One offer per qualifying family to families we have supported through loss. Because we are a volunteer organization, our resources are limited. Our other resources are always FREE to anyone who is seeking support. For more information on our Pregnancy After Loss Support and Resources, click here.
Nine months. Nine months is a long time. It's how long Ali and Joe tried to get pregnant. Nine long months of pregnancy tests with just one line. Tears and pain, wondering and questioning. And in that ninth month, when all hope was dwindling.......finally, a positive pregnancy test (or 4!) Their prayers had been answered and they were overjoyed to finally become parents!
Two weeks later, Ali had some bleeding and went to see the doctor, where she was diagnosed with a blighted ovum and empty gestational sac. No baby.
However, having more blood work done over the next few days and seeing her Hcg levels rise, it was clear to her doctors that in fact, she was actually still pregnant. They repeated an ultrasound soon after and witnessed a miracle....there was a little heartbeat!
Fast forward to about a month later, Ali's doctor could not find a heartbeat again due to a retroverted uterus, so she was again sent her for another ultrasound, but her doctors were not overly concerned. Chances were, things were fine and the pregnancy was progressing. To Ali and Joe's suprise, there was a heartbeat! However, this ultrasound was also when Ali and Joe learned there was a large amount of fluid on their daughter's brain, as well as the baby having an enlarged fetal bladder. They were then referred over to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for more testing and baby Mira was also diagnosed with Hydrocephalus. This means she is unable to swallow in the womb. Her brain stem is impacted to the point that she won’t be able to breathe, have a gag reflex or eat on her own after her birth. As her mom wrote, surgery would not change this; it will only make her suffer.
After her birth. doctors believe she may only live minutes, hours... a day at most.
Mira will not be going home from the hospital with her mom and dad
For this reason, Ali and Joe are parenting their daughter Mira with every single minute they have to spend with her, while she's here with them in her mommy's belly. They read their favorite books to her daily, as they know she is listening to their voices.
They've taken her to visit their respective colleges. She has even attended a Philadelphia Eagles game and experienced a train ride! Her mom and dad are not looking at what is being taken from them, but instead, focusing on the days they have been given with baby Mira. When the time comes to meet their little girl, they'll pray that minutes can turn into hours and that hours can turn into days. They'll want for her, what any of us want for our baby's when they are born. They'll want her to feel warm the warmth of their bodies, and the love they have for her. And oh how she is loved; so very, very loved.
Says Ali: I have dreamed of being a mother since I was still a child myself. When women dream of becoming a mother, they don't think about anything going wrong. No part of my pregnancy has been "normal." I have not be able to to plan a nursery, have a baby shower with my family, or blissfully picture my child growing up. Instead I have had stressful weekly OB appointments, planned a funeral, and learned medical terms I never thought I would have to know. My husband and I's most important goal through all this is making sure our daughter's short life is celebrated and given as much value as possible. Desiree has been a big part in helping us reach this goal. When Joe and I went to Desiree to have our maternity photos done, we were both nervous, thinking it would be another reminder about how short our Mira's life would be. Instead, Desiree made our day all about Mira's LIFE, not her impending passing. Joe and I feel like a "normal" pregnant couple for the first time and we were able to feel the full joy of the life growing inside me. With Desiree ready to be present at the birth of our daughter, we can feel certain that we will have our memories from her birth captured in a beautiful way. Having this support has helped to eased our burden of making sure the our daughter's short life is as perfect as possible. When you are traveling through the hardest journey you will ever face in your life, any kindness and support means the world. We are so appreciative of the services that have been offered. Also during a time when finances should not even matter, you can't help but be overwhelmed by the amount of medical bills, funeral expenses, and travel costs that keep piling up. While we have been blessed to have financial aid and friends and family to help, having any service offered for free is such a relief. I am not sure anyone could understand how much these services mean to couple facing the loss of a child unless they have experienced it themselves, but I can tell you it means a little bit of normalcy, some relief during an overwhelming time, and ton of memories for the short time you do have, which is truly priceless.
To read and following along with the journey of Ali and Joe's pregnancy with Mira and also, her upcoming birth, please use this link:, http://babyferraram.blogspot.com/
Three Little Birds is honored to have been able to provide one-on-one palliative care support including a Maternity Family Portraiture Session and Belly Cast, free of charge, to Mira's family through our Palliative Care Program. The focus of this Program is to focus families on parenting, bonding and celebrating their baby, regardless of the outcome or uncertainty of their future.
This would not be possible without your donations.
Kristen Samuelson, SBD, Founder & Director