Pregnancy and infant loss is a passion of two local community members, Joan Alexander of Maria Stein and Kerri Schlater of St. Henry. Motivated by their own personal stories with pregnancy and infant loss, the two have joined together to form Angel Baby Creations with a mission to support those dealing with and grieving from pregnancy and infant loss. Recently, Schlater and Alexander shared their stories with a team from Mercer Health’s Childbirth Center in addition to generously donating items and equipment to Mercer Health Childbirth Center to be utilized during times of loss.
Schlater states, “In 2015 my daughter Gracelyn was given a life limiting diagnosis. We were given our options – to terminate the pregnancy or to carry to term. We choose to carry her as long as possible. We were told that she would be stillborn if she by chance made it to full term. I had to give her a chance at life, she deserved that. She was born alive at 39 weeks and lived for two months. It was a beautiful two months and we have no regrets. When she had passed we were given a beautiful gown made from a wedding dress. I loved it and found that it was perfect. It was something made special just for her. With this love for this gown, a passion grew inside my heart to give other families something made with love and just for their baby.”
Alexander also shares her story of experiencing pregnancy and infant loss of two grandchildren. Joan shares, “My grandson Landon also had a life limiting diagnosis. The parents were also given the option to terminate the pregnancy as no infant had survived past 10 hours in 2008, but they too decided to carry as long as possible. In 2015, another son and daughter-in-law experienced a loss at six months in utero unexpectedly, his name was Jack. Kerri and I connected and we started talking about what we could do and we came up with Angel Baby Creations. Our mission is to make beautiful items made just for the babies that have passed away.”
Angel Baby Creations often uses wedding gowns and other like materials to create blankets, gowns, wraps, booties, and hats that are then given to families to have something special just for their babies. In addition to donating the created garments, the team has worked to generate enough funds to provide a Cuddle Cot to local hospitals. A Cuddle Cot is a cooling system that preserves stillborn babies while their parents grieve. The cooling device preserves a stillborn baby’s body in a bassinet or crib so that he or she can remain up to five days in a hospital room, extending the time a family has to spend with the infant; photographing, taking measurements, holding, rocking, singing, or showing to loved ones.
“We are so thankful to Kerri and Joan for their generous donation of the Cuddle Cot and the beautiful items for our grieving families. Parting with a stillborn baby or newborn infant is difficult. The items provide some comfort in their grieving process.” states Linda Finke, Childbirth Center Manager at Mercer Health. About 24,000 babies are delivered stillborn in the United States every year.
PICTURED: Angel Baby Creations, a community ministry team reaching out to those grieving from pregnancy and infant loss, represented by Joan Alexander (third from left) and Kerri Schlater (fourth from left) recently donated items to Mercer Health Childbirth Center. Representatives from Mercer Health, from left to right, Sandy Niekamp, Linda Finke, Nicole Schumm and Natalie Will.