by Vickie S. Watson, Community Relations Specialist
New parents all over the world dream of a beautiful, healthy newborn. Imagine parents who get the news late in the pregnancy their baby will likely live only a few hours, if she survives delivery, due to multiple deformities – each considered a lethal condition. That is exactly what transpired in a story I read recently on Focus on the Family’s website as I was doing some research on perinatal hospice.
In this story, the parents were told, “You will have some choices to make.” With a firm belief in the sanctity of human life, the parents decided to continue the pregnancy “until the Lord’s appointed time.” Even though this story does not mention perinatal hospice, what this family did in preparation for a baby that would be born dying was a pathway toward healing in the midst of anticipatory grief. The family was intentional about making memories while their baby was still in utero – they went to Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World, to the ballet, to the zoo, to the symphony, and to the beach. And when the appointed time for the birth arrived, they were given two-and-a-half hours with their precious baby before she passed away. They took photos and had their other three daughters take turns holding her and “unabashedly loving and caring for her.” All of these things are concepts included in perinatal hospice care.
One of goals of the Shepherd’s Cove Foundation is to expand services to include perinatal hospice. Foundation Director Annah Grace Morgan stated, “Very simply, we have a great need for perinatal hospice in our community. I wish this need didn’t exist, but those who have experienced this loss know all too well how much support is needed, although often this care is not available. I feel that it is absolutely our duty to provide this type of care. As a community, we should be providing this type of support to those who need it most.”
I, personally, could not agree more.
The parents in this story displayed great love in bringing a child into this world knowing she had a terminal diagnosis. The family chose to celebrate her life, even in the short time they had with her. The end result is the family will never forget those two-and-a-half hours. You, too, can display great love by supporting our efforts to include a perinatal hospice program. If you can see the stark beauty of this story, and the need for perinatal hospice care, please consider partnering with us. Follow this link for more information.