FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Blanchfield Army Community Hospital’s Perinatal Bereavement Nurses and Chaplain hosted a virtual remembrance ceremony Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Fort Campbell Soldier Recovery Unit Memorial Garden for families who have experienced a loss during a pregnancy or the loss of a baby or child.
“Footprints on the Heart” is an annual gathering at Blanchfield for families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, intrauterine fetal demise, stillborn or infant death. This special day is focused on remembrance and healing.
“Unfortunately we were not able to do it in person like we have in the past. There is a loss to that because coming together as families and meeting other families who have gone through it is one of the key things about this event,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Todd Morrison, the hospital’s Department of Ministry and Pastoral Care chief. “But we can be thankful that through technology these days we are able to do this virtually to capture this and maybe we can have a broader reach to let people who wouldn’t have been able to come be able to experience this wherever they are.”
The event serves as an opportunity to remember the lives lost and to support others who have shared a similar experience. While it is not often spoke of pregnancy and infant loss may be more common than people realize. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports miscarriage occurs in about 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies and stillbirth occurs in about one in 100 births each year.
Recognition of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month at this event allows this subject to be brought into the spotlight and for families to grieve their losses publicly as well as privately. This awareness is meant to help bereaved individuals know they are never alone.
During the virtual event, guest speakers, Jane and Martin Wiegand shared the story of their daughter Frances Marie who was stillborn during Jane’s 32nd week of pregnancy. Jane was seen and delivered Frances at a Nashville, Tennessee-area hospital. It was there they received the gift of extra time with their daughter through a device called a Cuddle Cot which preserved her condition and allowed the baby to stay in their room for the duration of their hospital stay.
After their experience the family chose to donate a Cuddle Cot to Blanchfield for the benefit of military families.
“We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to families on the loss of their child or children. We really don’t have the words to encompass how we feel and are heartbroken for you and for ourselves,” shared Mrs. Wiegand.
Capt. Angela Imhoff, Blanchfield’s Labor and Delivery clinical nurse officer in charge shared information on support services available to military families in the local area experiencing pregnancy and infant loss including a Pregnancy and Infant Loss support group that meets at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month in Fort Campbell’s Liberty Chapel located at 3111 Bastogne Ave.
“Every October we take time to remember and celebrate those who have left footprints on our heart. Losing a baby can be overwhelming and life altering. Today we are here to walk through this journey with you,” said Imhoff.
The Facebook live can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/BACH.Fort.Campbell/