UAMS Remembers Those Grieving Pregnancy and Infant Loss

By Katrina Dupins

Every year, UAMS Love Lives Bereavement Program organizes a Day of Remembrance to observe Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and remember grieving families.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were restrictions that prevented Love Lives from holding its usual ceremony. NICU nurse BJ Thorn and patient educator Emily Paul thought of an innovative way to commemorate the occasion. She asked the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub to create floating lotus flowers for the remembrance ceremony. The flowers were illuminated with tea lights and placed in the water of the Dolores Bruce Memorial Fountain in front of the hospital.

Innovation Hub flowers

The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub created the floating lotus flowers for the remembrance ceremony.Bryan Clifton

“We were happy to accommodate UAMS, who is a partner organization for the Innovation Hub,” said Errin Stanger, deputy director at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. “We 3D printed 50 flowers using a special filament. It means a lot to us to be a part of this ceremony.

An estimated 15-20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage and there are between 20,000 and 30,000 stillbirths in the United States every year. Sara Peeples, M.D., medical director of the UAMS Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) says that loss is something people never recover from or expect to go through. She ran across a poem a few years back that moved her. She keeps a copy in her office.

We remember
The babies born sleeping
Those we carried but never held
Those we held but could not take home
Those who came home but could not stay

 “It is important for us to remember and honor families who have lost a child,” said Peeples. “This year it was even more important because this year has been stressful and isolating. We want to make sure those families know that we still remember them and wanted to honor their babies’ memories in the midst of everything that is going on in the world.”

Thirty minutes after sunset, Director of Pastoral Care Susan McDougal opened the ceremony, then Peeples took the first flower and placed it on the still fountain. Everyone else followed as the song How Long Will I Love You, by Ellie Goulding played in the background.

Love Lives Remembrance Ceremony

Love Lives Remembrance CeremonyBryan Clifton

Day of Remembrance

Every Life Changes the World

Day of Remembrance

Sara Peeples, M.D. places a flower on the Dolores Bruce Memorial Fountain.Bryan Clifton

Love Lives Remembrance Ceremony

Love Lives Remembrance CeremonyBryan Clifton

Love Lives Remembrance-10162020-850_3091

Director of Pastoral Care Susan McDougal opened the ceremony.Bryan Clifton