When a woman delivers a healthy child, she receives flowers and balloons. Ribbons announcing name and weight are placed on the door. Balloons are hung on the mailbox. And a never ending, revolving door of visitors arrive bringing food, flowers, and congratulations. But when your child is born not breathing, when your child will only live a few minutes to a few hours, there is silence. No one knows how to respond, whether to call or not, what to say. It is for this very reason we started Reagan’s Garden.
Reagan’s Garden is a non-profit fund through our local hospital foundations that provides tangible support to families who will not be bringing their child home. The child may be born not breathing, may pass away during or immediately after delivery, or may pass away in the NICU. Each family is sent beautiful flowers and a handmade card. It’s not much, it does not take away their grief, but it provides encouragement and a beautiful reminder that their baby is just that…their child. Our daughter, Reagan Catherine, was stillborn in October 2012. Our son, Lucas Robert, was stillborn in June 2017. These were the hardest and most difficult days we ever experienced, a pain no one understands unless they have been there too. And yet, holding your child, you are still filled with a love, you still want to celebrate their life, however brief. Reagan’s Garden hopes to encourage parents in labor and recovery to do just that, to take in every second you have with your child. It is our mission to ensure each mother, no matter her circumstances or support network, receives a bouquet and card for their hospital room, a tiny but tangible gift to remind them their child matters and should be celebrated.
Infants born prematurely or with complications face a potentially extensive NICU time. For us, this ended after 3 months with 2 baby boys at home. Not everyone has experience and not everyone will be bringing their child home. Reagan’s Garden also seeks to send these families flowers and a decorated box providing encouragement and Biblical hope.
Infant loss is devastating, but we were not made to go through this journey alone. Reagan’s Garden hopes to hold regular support dinners to unite parents with a network of people to talk with. These informal gatherings will provide a safe place for parents to talk about their children with those who have walked a similar journey, celebrating the moments we had with our children, and grieving all we will miss. Our goal is that no one would feel alone or isolated after loss.
~ Andrew & Meghan