Stillbirths strike one in 115 expectant couples in the United States. Sadly, those parents don't get to take their babies home from the hospital.
However, thanks to one Arkansas mother, many parents can take now take with them a personalized keepsake. When one Little Rock family found themselves facing a miscarriage, they decided it was time to do something to comfort other families that will follow in their footsteps.
Mamie Adams was the first child for Sarah Bussey Adams and her husband Taylor. Their pregnancy with Mamie had been routine until Sarah went in for a regular check up at 37 and a half weeks and the doctor couldn't find Mamie's heartbeat.
"It was horrible having my first child and her not being alive. It's something that nobody ever wants to have happen. I felt like I was living a nightmare," said Sarah.
All Sarah and her husband left the hospital with were photos of Mamie and a lock of her hair. After returning home, Sarah found a Christmas ornament she had forgotten to take with her to the hospital. She had planned to have the ornament stamped with Mamie's hand and footprints. Looking at the ornament, she came up with the idea for Mamie's Poppy Plates, a charity that provides plates to hospitals so the tiny hands and feet of stillborn babies can be preserved for families across the state.
Sarah said, "I thought well, it would kind of be neat to have something that families could have year round rather than just for Christmas. So, that's kind of how I came up with the plate idea."
Sarah ran the idea by Beth Carlisle of Firefly Pottery Studio. The two quickly formed a partnership. Once the hand and footprints are gathered at the hospital, the plates are delivered to Firefly and Beth carefully handles the rest.
"It sounded like such a wonderful thing to give moms so they can have something else to take. Something physical and that is a part of their child," said Beth.
The statistics of each baby are painted on the front and the names of people who've sponsored the plate are on the back. In the past year and a half, Sarah has given out hundreds of plates and she's had another baby.
Burke was born nearly two years after Mamie's birthday. Six-month-old Burke will grow up knowing his big sister's memory has left an imprint on others.
"It makes me feel so good just hearing her name," said Sarah. "I tell people to always to talk to me about her. She's my child. Just because she's not here I think everyday about what she would be doing if she was here."
If you're interested in sponsoring a plate for a grieving family, you can do so for just $15. Click here for more information.