The loss of a baby at any age or gestation is a shattering and heartbreaking reality for the parents, their families, and their communities. We are here to support you through it. Grief can impact all aspects of your wellbeing, including social, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Our HUGS volunteers are ready to hold space for you, answer questions, and simply be a source of on-going support as you embark on this grief journey. We have HUGS Bedside Volunteers who specifically support families at the bedside while in the hospital. After discharge, we can continue peer support with our HUGS Community Volunteers who dedicate their time to families in the community.
On October 22, 2009, I was 22 weeks along with my first child when my life would quickly be turned upside down. I went in for my late second trimester ultrasound and walked out knowing that the physicians were unable to find a heartbeat. As a bereaved mother, I have learned that grief is a journey that you must go through---not get over. I continue to walk through that journey still today as I learn to parent two rainbow babies and honor the life of my dearly missed Kennedy. May you find the comfort and support you need in the days to come. Please know I am here for you.
In April of 2016 we went in for the typical first ultrasound appointment and were told a heartbeat could not be found. Further ultrasounds and testing revealed we were carrying twins. My body did not want to naturally let go of my babies so medical procedures were needed. Although I never got to meet or see these little ones, I was (and still am!) extremely grateful for the HUGS volunteers who guided me before and after my procedures. I felt comforted to know I wasn’t alone and have become a HUGS volunteer in hopes that I can help ease someone else’s journey with early loss. Today, we are reminded of our blessings with a beautiful girl and two rainbow boys.
Our first child, Collin was stillborn. After a spell of preterm labor the week before, I went for a checkup the following week and they were unable to find a heartbeat. We were lost. How could this have happened? Labor was induced and September 23rd, 2009 was the day that would forever change my life. I gave birth to a beautiful child but not under the circumstances we had expected. Without the amazing staff we would not have made the memories we did with our son. They helped to make the darkest day of our lives better. It was also through the support of parents in the BPoM support group that we found others who helped to hold us up and give us hope. Because they had been in our shoes… By volunteering with the HUGS program I hope to provide support, help create memories, and honor the babies whose lives were much too short.
I’ve witnessed heartbreak as a nurse in the pediatric ICU, but I never truly understood what grieving families were going through until our first son, Deacon, was born prematurely and died after 3 weeks in the NICU. I am so grateful for all of the support I received from Mikayla's Grace, the hospital staff, friends, and family. Through the HUGS program, I want to reassure bereaved parents they are not alone and be a source of comfort and strength as they navigate this heartbreaking time. I hope to use my knowledge of the hospital environment and my own experience with having a baby in the NICU to help answer questions, be a comforting presence, and help bereaved parents find hope and courage.
After a complicated second pregnancy our daughter Danielle was stillborn in March 2011. Her death left me heartbroken and lost. We made many lasting memories during our short time holding and loving Danielle. Through BPoM, we were able to meet other families who had similar experiences. It was healing for us to know other people who shared our grief. Since her death we have been blessed with another daughter Arianna. Volunteering for HUGS allows me to reach out to other families to let them know they are not alone. While I cannot take away your grief, I have walked in your shoes. It is my privilege to help support you during this difficult time.
After my first and second pregnancies ended in miscarriage, I began reaching out to other women who experienced first trimester losses to cope with the isolation and loneliness I felt. Connecting with other mothers who were walking this journey helped me work through my grief when my third pregnancy ended in miscarriage. My fourth pregnancy resulted in my now 14-year-old son, Tyler. I continued providing support to grieving families, which gave me strength as I experienced four more miscarriages trying to give Tyler a sibling. Bereaved Parents of Madison was a source of support for me, and it’s been my mission to ensure nobody experiences this devastating loss alone.
My name is Felica Turner-Walton. I currently reside in Madison, Wisconsin, with my husband and youngest two children. I began my journey after the loss of my 4-month-old son Zaire Corvell on March 7, 2016. After attending numerous support groups, I soon realized that I did not have a safe space to grieve. After losing my son I decided I would devote my time to honor his life and support birthing parents in safely bringing new life into our world.
I am a Full Spectrum Doula, a Pregnancy Awareness Infant Loss Advocate, and a Certified Grief Educator. I am also the Executive Director of Healing Our Hearts Foundation, a Maternal and Infant Grief Support Organization. I also own All Things Phee, LLC where I offer Reiki and meditation healing along with doula service and education.
Gina (On-call Coordinator)
We heard those dreadful words no expecting parents ever want to hear in August 2012. I soon went on to deliver our angel Addison, who was stillborn at 32 weeks. With no definitive explanation for our loss, we turned to our faith, family and friends to help comfort the shock and heartbreak we faced. But it was hearing similar stories from parents at the BPoM support group that made us feel like we weren't alone, nor would our daughter be forgotten. Since then, Addison has taught us so much, and I hope to share the strength and hope she gave me to help other parents face that heartbreaking loss.
After years of struggling with fertility, my husband and I were so excited to be expecting a baby in 2017. After not feeling much movement, we learned that our baby had no heartbeat at 36w5d. With the encouragement of the nurses, a HUGS volunteer sat at our bedside hours after our daughter, Lucy Jane, was born. That visit helped us discuss, understand, and voice how we’d spend our days in the hospital together. Since then, my husband and I have received HUGS support, attended BPOM group meetings, and events. We are so grateful for the support and friendships - our journey would not be the same without it. I feel so honored to be able to support other parents and get to know their stories and babies, too.
In October 2016, at our 20 week ultrasound, we were shocked to hear that I had an incompitent cervix with signs of funneling. After 2 weeks of bed rest and daily progesterone, our son, Carter, was born on November 16, 2016 at 22 weeks. With the support of HUGS and BPOM, I was able to connect with others who knew what I was going through during a time where I felt very alone. Without the personal connection I made with my HUGS volunteer, I would not have been able to find peace within myself. I hope to be that light of hope for other families who are going through dark times and to be that personal connection they need when they are feeling lost.
In October 2014, after almost 33 weeks of a seemingly perfect pregnancy, I learned that my daughter’s heart had stopped beating. She was stillborn the following evening. Over the years, with the support of family, friends, and many other bereaved parents, my grief has lightened and I’ve found ways to honor my daughter and find happiness again. I’ve also had two more children, born healthy and alive. I became a HUGS volunteer to provide support, compassion, and hope to other families grieving the loss of their baby or babies.
After being a stepmom and a step grandmother for a number of years, my husband and I decided to start trying to have children together in 2016. After a short stint of infertility, my husband and I found out we were expecting in the fall of 2017. It was a boy and we were super excited to have a baby in our home. However, in June of 2018, our son was born still due to unknown complications. The fellow members of BPoM have been so kind and supportive. It's always been a safe place to share my innermost feelings and for us to grieve together. I've gained much knowledge about grief and how to be gentle with yourself.
My first pregnancy ended at 10 weeks in June of 2014. My husband and I were completely devastated and blindsided. I was so lost and was thrown into a really dark place. In 2016 we were blessed with our first rainbow baby. In 2018 we were thrilled to be pregnant again, but at almost 16 weeks in June (again), we would relive another nightmare. An ultrasound would confirm, there was no heartbeat found. This time a medical procedure was necessary. I was devastated and traumatized. Our Lalia Jae was born in the stars. I know what it’s like to have lightning strike twice – I felt as though there was no escape. To grieve our two lost children has been a journey, but I’ve found comfort in sharing my story. By volunteering with the HUGS program, I will aim to provide a safe outlet and support system for parents navigating through this impossible experience no one should have to, but so many do.
I have lost three babies. In 2010 I had an early miscarriage at home and lost my first baby Sam. Two years later my son Oren Jasper was stillborn at 38 weeks. One minute he just stopped moving. He probably died due to a cord prolapse but we don't really know. I was induced and gave birth to him two days later. I was grateful for my wife and step-son's support and the photos and memory items I have of Oren. After he died I donated my breast milk to living babies in our community and found support from Bereaved Parents of Madison. As a former midwife I felt compelled to help other families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss and I quickly became involved in offering peer support. In 2014 I found out at 16 weeks that my daughter Miriam had died. I had a surgical procedure after that third loss, my final pregnancy. I hope I can help you with memory making and honoring your baby and your story.
I am mom to Shea-Tate. We found out early on that our son had Trisomy 18. Our angel came to us in September 2005 at 33 weeks weighing a tiny 2lbs 13oz. The day was everything we had planned for, though no one can truly be prepared for such a journey. We had never experienced anything so sad yet so beautiful. We were able to hold an angel in our arms and am truly blessed to have done so. He joined our family with two older brothers & now has a younger sister. Shea-Tate taught our family so much during that journey and he continues to do so. The support I hold close to my heart continues today with the friends I have gained from the Bereaved Parents of Madison. Being a part of this group has given me the courage to live what I have learned from him. It is a gift to be a member of HUGS and being there for you is simple and pure for me. I want to give you support in any way I can during this difficult time. Giving you whatever is important to you and a little peace, light and love to hold on to! You are not alone!
HUGS Bedside Volunteers
We are fortunate to have hospital trained bedside volunteers who can visit with families while in the hospital. Our HUGS Bedside Volunteers are on-call to come to the hospital to answer questions, hold space, and offer ideas to help you through your time in the hospital. We currently serve at three facilities: UnityPoint Health Meriter in Madison, SSM Health St. Mary's Madison, and SSM Health Monroe Hospital. Whether before delivery or after, we can be there to support you. We know from experience how short and precious the time in the hospital can be, and we can support you through it. Past HUGS families have said how grateful they are for these bedside volunteers, how HUGS visits changed the trajectory of their hospital stay, guiding them in making memories and reassuring them through the many hard and bittersweet moments.
HUGS Community Volunteers
Our HUGS Community Volunteers connect with families after discharging from the hospital and will stay in touch for up to a year after your loss. On-going support is tailored to the individual needs of each family but might include text messages, email, phone calls, mailed cards, or meeting in person. Our volunteers work to meet you, the parents, where you are at, and offer support scaffolding as you re-enter life in your 'new normal.' They are knowledgeable about area resources and offer many ideas for facilitating healing.