After multiple rounds of IUI fertility treatments, we finally got pregnant with our second son, William. We were thrilled to meet our son and to expand our family. The last time we saw William was a few weeks prior to his delivery; we decided to do an ultrasound so we could find out his gender to tell our families at my older son's birthday party.
We were so excited his older brother would have a lifelong brother and buddy. I went in for a routine OB appointment in which we sadly were unable to find William's heartbeat. When we went home, we did not have a name chosen at that point (though we had a few contenders). We chose "William" as it means protection.
We chose his middle name "Myron" after my husband's grandfather. We were induced the following morning (March 4, 2020) and William was born sleeping at 5:34 PM the following date (March 5, 2020) at North Kansas City Hospital.
He was just shy of 8 inches in length; we were amazed at how long he was and how much he looked like his big brother for being so little. We held him, we rocked him, we snuggled him, and we kissed him goodbye the following day.
We chose to cremate our son. We held a funeral service with our family and friends at our church the following week, prior to COVID-19 shutting everything down in the Kansas City area. Our church has a memorial garden in which ashes have been spread of those that have gone before us. This is where William's ashes were spread. His name is carved in a large headstone, a place our family can visit.
My husband and I got tattoos in remembrance of William; it is the outline of the sound waves at the last ultrasound we saw him moving at. The placement is over our hearts as he will always be there. It has 19 beats for 19 weeks. It is about 4 inches long as he made us a family of 4, and his initials "WM" are at the end for William Myron.
This year, in honor of William's first Heavenly birthday, we decided to do "kindness cards" to spread kindness in memory of William. The idea is that our friends and family would do an act of kindness in honor of William on his birthday. We had people buy shoes for a homeless family, buy a meal for the car behind them, cook a meal for coworkers, buy diapers, formula, and toys for children they ran across at the store - the list could go on. We gave over 120 kindness cards out to friends and family in four states.
When we found out William passed, one of the first decisions I made was I wanted to see and hold him. One of the things we realized when we were in the middle of labor was we did not have clothing, a blanket, or anything for him to wrap him in once he was here and to get pictures of him.
My husband searched frantically at the stores, but could not find anything that was open when we realized this nor did he want to leave in case I delivered. When talking to our nurse, she told us about Bridgets Cradles and how your organization crocheted blankets for babies that are this small in situations similar to ours.
In the meantime, my husband could only find a bear with a blanket attached; not one we could wrap him in, but it is a stuffed animal we could call his. Once he was born, they gave us to him in a hospital blanket right away, but once they cleaned him up, we were able to hold him in Bridget's Cradles and take pictures of him in it.
We were so thankful he had a blanket that was his and his size he could snuggle in it. We were given the option to send him to cremation in the hospital blanket or with Bridget's Cradle (we knew at this point we would be getting the matching crocheted keepsake), we chose to send him in his Bridget's Cradle as well as his bear his Daddy bought him so we knew he would be warm and wouldn't be alone.
When we kissed him goodbye, our final memory of him is snuggled peacefully in his cradle. Though we thought we would be getting the cradle back after cremation, we were told he was cremated with it due to it being a biohazard. I was very upset, however, I was SO thankful for that keepsake as it is something I can tangibly hold that was part of him.
Thank you for providing our family the gift of comfort - your organization took care of our family in the fact that you provided us a blanket at an unexpected time. A simple but meaningful gesture that we will forever be grateful for.
Written by Leanne Hilligas, mother of William Myron Hilligas, born into Heaven 3/5/2020 at 19 weeks 5 days
Note: Bridget's Cradles sent Leanne another cradle in William's memory after hearing her story, one that closely matched his original cradle.
Please leave some love and encouragement for the Hilligas family in the comments below. We appreciate your prayers for their family.
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