Grieving parents honor stillborn daughter in emotional way

A grieving California couple came up with a special and emotional way to honor and remember their stillborn daughter.

According to Yahoo Health, Richard and Emily Staley hired a photographer to capture their time with Monroe as a way to acknowledge her as part of their family.

It all began when Emily was rushed to the hospital after not feeling her baby move. Emily was told her daughter had passed away.

The next morning, Emily gave birth to Monroe Faith Staley. Photographer Lindsey Natzic-Villatoro of Love Song Events and Photography was there to capture the emotional moment.

The couple spent nine hours with their daughter. The photographer shared the photos and her emotional experience with the family on her Love Song Events & Photography Facebook Page. The photos have been shared over 100,000 times.

Here’s Natzic-Villatoro’s story (used with permission):

“As a mother the last phone call/email I want to get for a “forever loved” session is anything that has to do with a child. Friday afternoon as I was preparing for my weekend sessions with all 3 of my girls I got an email from a girl named Kelly telling me her sweet friend just found out her baby had died. She told me some details and asked if I would contact the family to be there in their time of need. Given the circumstances, you only have a very short window to truly capture these forever moments. I rushed out of the store I was in and called this woman.

When this mother answered the phone she could barley speak. She knew I was calling which I’m sure was the only reason why she answered the phone. She was short of breath, crying uncontrollably between her words and could barely even speak. She told me that earlier that morning she was eating breakfast, oatmeal actually. She had a cup of coffee and was proceeding with her usual routine. Her husband had already left for work and she was just at home relaxing with her son and niece. She noticed that her daughter hadn’t been moving in her belly like usual.

Normally it is her baby’s routine to have some fun in mom’s belly once she drinks her coffee. Considering that her baby hadn’t kicked all morning, mom moved her tummy a bit and after still feeling nothing went and got her heart monitor to check on her. Again mom heard nothing. In a panic she called her husband and told him what was going on and said she was going to drop the kids off to be watched and head to the hospital.

Once she got to the hospital they got her in a room to be monitored, and the nurse could not find a heartbeat. They then gave her an ultrasound and discovered her sweet baby had died due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around her child’s neck. They asked her if she would like to delivery the baby vaginally or said she could have a C-section. Given the fact mom had ate that morning she needed to come back for the surgery, she wanted the C-section.

She was told she could come at 3:30pm later that afternoon or 5:00am the following morning. Mom decided to come back given she was alone and wanted the support of her husband who was working over two hours away. She would of had to do the surgery alone if she decided to do it that day because it was impossible for him to be there by 3:30pm.

Mom, a total wreck left the hospital in disbelief. How was this happening? Her baby was just moving and alive late the evening before so how… why… why her? Why her baby? Why their child? Every question known to man popped into her mind- nothing made sense.

I met the family at 6:30am Saturday morning. I am a professional but human. Set aside my everyday photography, I photograph about 15 to 20 terminal sessions a month that range from every tragedy under the sun BUT that NEVER makes these easy. Every session I do affects me differently.

I walked into a cold hospital room, room 230- full of tears and family, everyone was in disbelief. I grabbed mom’s hand and I told her this was quite literally the worst thing that could ever happen to a mother but together we were going to get through this. I smiled at their nurse sweet Ronda, looked at dad and told him I was here to help them both. I also told them that there way NO right way to handle this. If they wanted to freak out on me, throw something, cry, yell…whatever, it was absolutely OK.

Thankfully I know many of the nurses and doctors at the hospital Mom was delivering at so I called Friday night and told them I’d be there in the morning. When I got there they gave mom the option of having me in the OR during the C-section. Mom and Dad decided that was right where I needed to be, although both were very scared and nervous. I went into the bathroom before we walked into the OR, said a prayer for the surgery and for everything that was about to transpire.

I then got all geared up, and together Dad and I met mom in the OR where surgery had already started. I looked at mom on the operating table, she knew my heart was breaking for her. With my hair and mouth covered, and only my eyes to be seen Mom and Dad both knew I was doing everything I could to be supportive and hold it together for them. I needed to be strong; I needed to do my job. At 7:52am I looked at that clock and sweet baby Monroe Faith Staley was born. I was the first to see her.

My eyes quickly filled with tears as I pulled my mask down, looked over to mom and dad and said, “SHE IS PERFECT.” Together we all cried. I stood next to the baby and watched the nurses give Monroe her first sponge bath, I touched her hands, put the hat I brought her on and took a few pictures. The nurse Miguel which we all adore then handed mom her baby girl as the doctor finished her surgery. It was a dream, this family was living a total nightmare. I can’t even begin to describe the pain I knew Mom and Dad were feeling at that moment.

As mom pleaded for her baby to wake up, her sweet husband brushed her hair with his hands crying with her. Cheek to cheek, clinging to their baby girl in disbelief; the two of them were pillars for each other. At 8:20am the four of us went across the hall to Mom’s room and for almost 9 hours Monroe never left their sight. I was able to capture moments that this family will forever have. I kissed this sweet baby over and over again… I even joked with Mom about taking her home.

We both got a giggle out of it. Baby was full term and ABSOLUTE PERFECTION, Monroe defined perfection. Throughout the morning and afternoon family members came to meet this perfect angel. I took the baby to the infant warmer and snapped away. Any image that came to mind, I shot. I wanted this family to have every possible memory of this child I could physically give them.

So with that being said, I would like you all to meet this beautiful family. 26 year old Mother Emily, 29 year old Father Richard, and baby girl Monroe Faith Staley weighing 6 pounds 2.5 ounces, 19 inches long.

This family wants you all to know they have felt your prayers. To those of you that responded to my post when I asked for prayer Friday evening, they appreciate the kindness you have shown to them.

Sweet Monroe has a 5 year old big brother that loved her dearly and was counting down the days until he could finally meet his baby sister. This death was EXTREMELY unexpected and tragic. I am asking you all for your help. Emily will be released from the hospital today and have to go home to a house full of baby items. She will have to walk into her daughter’s nursery and relive this nightmare for the rest of her life.

Please stop and pray for them. I said on Friday, “No matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.” And I ment that. NO FAMILY deserves this unbearable pain.

The Staley’s rest assured knowing they will be reunited with their sweet baby girl one day soon, but until that day comes they struggle thinking life will ever have some normalcy. They would like their story to be shared; they hope to bring comfort to other families out there that have also experienced such tragedy. They want their daughter’s life to be remembered.”

To donate to the family, visit their GoFundMe page.

17 comments

  • Honor Them

    Such a terrible tragedy, but one that this family has more strength than alot of people to continue staying strong and making a beautiful memory with their baby. I pray that these parents continue to have faith in God and do know that their little angel is now looking down upon them smiling and letting them know she is ok. The pictures were beautiful and may God bless the entire family!

  • Sharon Fryar Height

    May the Grace and Peace of God be with you. I will continue to pray for your family and you. Trust in the Lord with all of your hearts and lean not to your own understanding, in all of your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path. In the darkest hour, know that dawn is just around the corner. Sending hugs, love and prayers to you from Fort Lee, VA.

  • Cyndi Goldfarb

    I am humbled by the grace with which they shared the moment with us. Our Lord will provide them with the peace that passes all understanding and reward them for the love they show us.

  • Tammy Allen

    My heart is with you. I lost a baby at 6 months of pregnancy due to an placental abruption. The pain from this loss will ease but you will carry this sweet child in your heart always! Take one day at a time and walk forward with God’s help.

  • Rebecca

    I am sending prayers to you and your husband and family and I pray God eases your pain. I lost my son at birth Jan 15 1997 and I still have rough days but know with God’s love the days get better. My heart hurts for you. Your baby girl is beautiful.

  • Jan

    I also had this happen twice, my husband and i were devasted, after tryiing so hard, I wish there had been someone to capture my moments in time with my beautiful daughters. Prayers to the family and blessings to you for the caring you gave this family.

  • Luisa

    Thank you Emily and Richard for sharing your beautiful daughter Monroe with us. She is the epitome of perfection. From her rosebud mouth to her wrinkled toes, she is truly beautiful. And Emily, from one other to another, your strength is inspirational and your grace is humbling. Taken too soon, but perhaps needed elsewhere. Gods plan is sometimes a mystery to us, but know in your heart that Monroe’s life goes on, in splendour and peace. <3

    Lindsey Natzic-Villatoro, your gift to these families is a rare and beautiful thing indeed.

  • Brooke Burrow

    Just last week, My husband and I suffered the same unexpected loss of our daughter at 39 weeks. She was born still and Deneen with Capturing Hopes Photography came and spent a significant amount of her time capturing the few precious moments we would have with her here on Earth. The compassion and care she showed during our session was insurmountable and the memories we are left with were captured beautifully. Her photos remind us daily that we are parents here on Earth to a sweet little girl named Camden who is now in Heaven. Bless these photographers for their priceless gifts to other parents like us.

  • angel

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with us. I too have an Angel….. his name is William. 7 years later and I still think of him daily. A great song that I have always cherished is glory baby by watermark.

  • Wendy Oxendine

    As I read this article, i cried. I was never able to have a baby but to have gone through the wonderful months and feeling her move, I can’t imagine the pain you both are feeling. My prayers are with you and Monroe.

  • Lisa Bryant

    I am so sorry for you alls lost she’s a beautiful baby girl I’m sitting here crying as I’m typing I have never lost a child but I’m praying for your family may god bless you both.

  • Jennifer

    You have a beautiful heart to do this kind of work! These are beautiful pics that will be cherished by this family for life. I have lost 7 babies…never able to carry to term. I do however have a wonderful 13 year old “step”daughter(we hate that term) that is my heart!

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