For the media

Giving back in honor of their baby

By The Health News Team | October 4, 2023
Erin Sublett, an intensive care nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital

Erin and her family donating memory boxes to Sharp Mary Birch.

Bringing new life into the world is usually a joyous occasion filled with celebration, family and exciting plans for the future. While this is the case for many births, unfortunately, not all pregnancies go as planned. When a baby is not born alive, it can leave new moms feeling very isolated.

Erin Sublett, an intensive care nurse at Sharp Memorial Hospital, found herself in this devastating position when she delivered her daughter, Reagan, seven years ago at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns.

“Reagan was a very wanted child —a baby we had been waiting over two years to meet,” Erin, who had an otherwise healthy pregnancy, says. “And when we finally did, she wasn’t breathing. She didn’t make a sound. Everyone expects their babies to live and to get to watch them grow, and when that doesn't happen, it’s truly devastating.”

While holding her baby after birth, Erin recounts that she felt so alone, as if she were the only mom to ever experience this type of loss.

“Shortly after delivery, the nurses brought me a small memory bag with some items and blankets for Reagan,” Erin says. “This small gesture brought me such comfort in knowing I would be able to preserve Reagan’s memory. It also made me realize that I wasn’t the first and, unfortunately, won’t be the last parent to go through this.”

From tragedy to helping others
Each year on Reagan’s birthday, Erin and her family give back in honor of their daughter by donating memory boxes to Sharp Mary Birch for other parents who experience devastating loss. Each box is filled with items that parents can use to create small moments and memories with their baby. Erin explains that the memory boxes are small, but to any parent who leaves the hospital without their baby, they can mean the world.

“We also create a ‘Welcome to the World’ basket for the first baby girl born at Sharp Mary Birch on our daughter’s birthday,” says Erin. “It’s a way we can celebrate her day as a birthday and not just a day of loss. We have been blessed with the most wonderful social workers who help arrange the delivery of these items.”

Memory boxes from the Sublett family for Sharp Mary Birch

"Welcome to the World" baskets celebrate life, to ensure Reagan is honored in a positive way.

The Sublett family also celebrates Reagan’s birthday privately. “Her daddy, two younger sisters and I gather at a small park and have cake together and release butterflies in her honor,” Erin says. “It is a small but mighty moment for our family to remember our sweet girl.”

Erin says they plan to continue the tradition of giving back in Reagan’s name while supporting parents who experience this tremendous loss. “There is a fierce need to create a memory or a legacy for your child you’ve lost,” Erin says. “I wanted to make sure her brief life meant something and that she was not forgotten.”

Learn more about coping with infant loss.

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