Amy and I have been working on this blog post with resources for infant/child death and ways shed some light on this taboo discussion. I am sharing this with permission from the family with the intent to educate and promote more resources for parents of infant loss, still birth and child death. See the links below for website info and how to contact Amy.
In memory of William Triplett Bryant
If you're a parent then you understand that anticipation of your child's birthday and birthday party. Deciding what color theme to go with, the balloons and the cake, the clown or the pony rides. Imagine the excitement you felt when your child turned 5. Such a milestone in a child's life. Starting big kid school, getting ready to start making friends that don't include the ones from the Mommy & Me dates, and first time bus rides. Amy and Mike celebrated Will's 5th birthday a little different this year. Will is celebrating his birthday in heaven and they can only imagine the party he is having. I was invited to his celebration of life with the Bryant family to capture this day in images. I was overwhelmed by their love and strength.
The purpose of this post is to educate and empower families with information on infant death and also to educate people on what to do or say to someone who experiences infant loss.
Wikipedia: "A stillbirth occurs when a fetus has died in the uterus. A wide variety of definitions exist. Once the fetus has died, the mother may or may not have contractions and undergo childbirth. The term is often used in distinction to live birth or miscarriage and the word miscarriage is oftentimes used incorrectly to describe stillbirths. Most stillbirths occur in full-term pregnancies."
Amy Bryant: Heartbreak, loss, incomplete, mother of an angel
In 2008 Amy was 38 weeks pregnant and having constant contractions and went to the emergency department. There they told her everything was fine and sent her home. A doctors visit later that week confirmed that the pregnancy was right on point. The following Saturday Amy, in full blown labor, again went to the emergency department that's when the doctor informed her they were unable to detect a heart beat. Amy gave birth to her third child that day. Baby Will never opened his eyes, took a breath, or felt his fathers kiss on his forehead. When baby Will opened his eyes for the first time they saw heaven. Amy held her dead son for hours as the nurses refused to make eye contact, offer assistance or acknowledge the fact that Amy had just lost her infant son. The doctor gave her no sympathetic explanation or reassuring words for the death of her child.. Amy's mother bathed Will as Amy cried in a narcotic induced stupor grieving the loss of her child that just 8 hours prior was moving in her womb.
Amy describes the delivery room as a deafening silence. No laughter. No cheering. Only silence. No cries from her child. Only cries from the hearts of her family present.
Because Will hadn't taken a breath, he was considered "still born". He wasn't classified as infant death...Will's existence isn't even considered "birth". The hospital provided the Bryants with a report of fetal death.
7lb 2oz William Triplett Bryant isn't even recorded with a birth certificate.
(Photo credit to the very talented artist Amy Ellinghouse)
I was given permission from Amy to share detailed emotion to give you a small glimpse into the mind of a mother who has lost her child. I personally can't imagine the emotions one would experience but I know those feelings are raw, and they don't fade. Through this journey to create "God's Will" with Amy, there have been many conversations that have lead me to tears. She has explained her emotions, grief, trials and her triumphs with me so that I might be able to create the words that someone may be looking for. So that maybe someone reading this that may have lost a child and doesn't know where to turn or what step to take could find the resources they need to start the healing process.
What we do know is that Will's life was only inside Amy. His little heart only beat inside this strong woman. His ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes grew inside Amy while she carried and nurtured him. His entire life was spent inside the protection of his mother. We don't know why God chose to take Will home, but Amy has complete faith he was God's Will.
Amy's mission is to shed a positive light on the discussion of infant death. Through Will's death she has been given strength and hope. She has taught classes about putting the pieces back together after losing a child and recommends the links below. I've included her email address as well for anyone who may need to talk about an experience, or for someone who may want to help others. She is starting a book project to donate the book "Safe in the Arms of God" about infant death. Anyone interested in purchasing a copy for Amy to give to grieving families, contact her via email.