Mothers share grief through teddy bears

Published: May. 24, 2013 at 3:23 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2013 at 3:23 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Time gives way to new realities but it hasn't dampened Sarah Hackett's spirit. She recalled her excitement about bringing a new life into the world in December of 2010.

"We were expecting our first child and we had found out very early on that she was a girl so we of course we got everything ready," said Hackett. "I was a Type A person so I wanted everything ready to go."

Baby Brie was about to debut and at 38 weeks, this first time mom went into pre-term labor.

"They hooked all the monitors up and we were very excited," said Hackett. "And then the worst words that anyone could ever imagine the nurse with the ultrasound machine just said there's no heartbeat."

Hackett said the pregnancy was textbook. She remembered the doctors pouring over her charts shaking their heads in bewilderment.

"We had to make decision right then about then about what to do," she said.

Two options were on the table.

"They said, 'You can go home and kind think about what you want to do next, you know if you want to wait a couple of days and let your body go into labor or we can go ahead and induce her pretty soon,' and that's what we choose to do. To stay and go ahead and get labor started."

Christmas was just a few weeks away and before leaving the hospital, she sent her husband home to retrieve what was supposed to be Brie's first present.

"I went home holding something," she said. "A teddy bear. It was just our little Brie's Christmas bear and I slept with that thing for a couple of weeks. It was comforting to have something that was supposed to belong to my daughter."

Leaving the hospital with something even as small as a teddy bear would have provided tremendous comfort, said Rachel Raper, who lost her son, Evan, at 36 weeks last July when his heart stopped beating inside her womb.

"It was gut wrenching," said Raper. "I think I just ended up with a barf bag in my arms and that's what I had. Empty womb but full heart."

Evan was going to be Raper's second child with her husband. Today the she still carries the grief, but has found some peace.

"I think it's about accepting what does happen to you and being a witness to other people see how you going to react to it so just being true to yourself and true to your beliefs and doing what you know is right ."

Hackett and Raper, who met through a local support group, say what now feels right is reaching out to others who may be in a similar situation. Raper recently bought 30 teddy bears to start the Embracing Evan Ministry---support so women don't feel so alone when they walk out of the hospital. While Hackett has given life to Brie's bags and a second child.

"Decided to sew a set of diapers one for the baby and one for parents to keep and a little cap that you can put on the baby and a book and then information about our support group."

Their friendship has blossomed into a  partnership. The teddy bears are tucked inside of the bags and their hoping  to generate donations  so they can leave them at hospitals across the Midlands. So far they've started off at Lexington Medical Center and have pledged to give five bags a month.
"When I was going through this what I needed was support of other ladies that lived in my same town and so here we are you know it's mom helping mom's who been down this road you are not alone," said Hackett.

The cost of the bags is $25.00 dollars each if you'd like to give or are in need of support resources then contact the mommy to mommy outreach at 803-317-0051.

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