On June 16, 2015, I went to a routine ultrasound five months into what had been a healthy, normal pregnancy. But as the ultrasound tech moved the wand across my belly with a frown on her face, I knew something was wrong. "I'm having trouble finding the heartbeat," she said quietly. Doctors induced labor later that day, and on June 19, I delivered a perfect baby girl, Susannah Grace. On June 20, after handing her body to the funeral director for cremation, I left the hospital sobbing, carrying not a baby, but a white, plush teddy bear with which Susannah had been photographed—one of our our only keepsakes to remember her by, along with a set of her tiny footprints.
In the devastating months that followed, we found comfort in the knowledge that we had the financial and emotional resources to remember Susannah in a way that brought us some measure of peace. We had health insurance to cover grief counseling, and we could afford to engrave a river rock from the Adirondacks with her initials and birth/death date—it sits atop the peak where we scattered her ashes.
Not all families are fortunate enough to have such support following the loss of a baby. While at the cemetery picking out a plot for her stillborn son, Nicholas, Michelle Mosca of Saratoga Springs noticed plots that weren’t marked. She and her husband, George, founded Angel Names Association (ANA) in 2001 with the belief that all families experiencing stillbirth deserve a fitting memorial for their child. Today, ANA provides financial assistance for end-of-life expenses and counseling services to the families of stillborn children nationwide.
Steve, Henry and I will be participating in ANA's annual memorial walk on Oct. 8 in Susannah's memory. We'd like to invite all of our friends to walk with us on Oct. 8, or to consider making a small, tax-deductible donation toward our fund-raising goal. In doing so, you'll not only provide a bright spot to families in their darkest hours, but will help us to honor and remember our daughter—the ray of sunlight who illuminated our desire to be parents to a baby who could love us back here on earth.