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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.
Earlier this summer, the Philadelphia Inquirer invited Three Little Birds to discuss the emotional and financial aspects of losing a baby and/or pregnancy. The healthcare costs of having a healthy baby are staggering, and even more so for families who leave the hospital empty armed and broken hearted.
If you have suffered out of pocket healthcare costs after experiencing a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal loss and would like to share your story, please let us know and we will put you in contact with Sarah Gantz at the Philadelphia Inquirer. They are seeking other brave families to discuss their experiences and the out of pocket costs they incurred. It is sharing our experiences that helps institute change and helps others understand!
Sunday, September 9, 2018 is Grandparent's Day in North America. Most of us remember having a special connection with our grandparents growing up and reminisce of the time spent together. Many people do not realize, however, the grief grandparents experience when they lose a grandchild via stillbirth, neonatal loss and miscarriage.
No one expects to outlive their own children, much less experience the loss of a much-loved, much-wanted grandchild. It is so difficult to raise a family, see your children do the same and see the cycle broken in this out-of-order way. NO one is prepared for the grief that follows. As a grandparent, you have double grief. You grieve your grandchild who has died, as well as for your own child who is now a bereaved parent. You not only feel your own pain and sadness, but also feel helpless and frustrated at not being able to help your bereaved child.
It helps to remember that there is no timetable for grief. Don't expect too much of your child, his or her spouse or yourself. At first, no one believes it. When the reality hits, everyone feels even more devastated. It is important to consider your needs as well as those of your bereaved child.
Acknowledging and working with your grief will help you and indirectly, your grieving child. Don't be surprised if at first you can't reach out to your grieving child. Remember that you are grieving. Be patient with yourself. Eventually, you may be able to talk, listen and help. IF you find that you can't help specifically with the grief you can send cards, tell them you love them, etc. Explain that you wish that you could be of more help but you don't know what to do.
SUGGESTIONS FOR HELPING YOURSELF AND YOUR GRIEVING CHILD
Kristen Samuelson, SBD, Founder & Director