I served a beautiful family in May 2008 who had a baby boy, named Gabriel. After Gabriel was born into the hands of his mother at home, we noticed that he had several physical differences from a "typical" baby's physiology. After a beautiful bonding time with his parents, we proceeded to the local children's hospital.
After two days, they officially diagnosed Gabriel with Trisomy 13, also called Patau syndrome, which is a genetic disorder associated with the presence of extra material from chromosome 13. He was given two weeks to live and discharged to a hospice program - which ended up not serving newborn babies.
This family was presented with such disjointed information from the professionals with whom they interacted. To me, it was a fiasco trying to get the family the help and resources that they needed. There was no one place for this family, let alone myself as their healthcare professional, to go and have easy access to information and support. It was then that I decided that this would change for the families in Northern Virginia who experience loss prenatally via miscarriage or stillbirth, or in the perinatal period, when their baby dies.
I want this to be a place for families to find the information that they need - easily. And to help find each other - easily.
I welcome any and all additions to this web site. No family should be forced to be out on their own in this journey, when they have learned that a baby has died or will die. They should be easily able to find the resources and support that they need.
Gabriel's life brought so much joy to his family, and his legacy goes on through this center for resources for other families experiencing loss.
It is because of my experience serving Gabriel and his family that I came to realize my calling to serve families facing the death of their baby - to make their journey in pregnancy and in birth, no matter when, a more gentle, family-focused experience - for the family and for the baby.
Thank you for your brief time with us, Gabriel. You made a difference in such a short time.
--Tammi L. McKinley, CPM
Proud Midwife to Gabriel and his family