Hello, my name is Sarah Stillman, and I am the birth mother of Nathaniel Wyatt Stillman. When My Baby Died is in honor of his life, his death, and for all the babies that are gone too soon. While I am so glad you have found this resource hub, it is likely because you or someone you love have experienced or are about to experience the devastation of Pregnancy and Infant Loss. While each family’s loss journey is unique, the common ground is that all Loss Families are faced with a trajectory they were not prepared for. All babies matter. You have every right to grieve in a way that suits you, and grief has no timeline. I know I will. This is a space that is welcome to all Loss Families, as well as their supporters. My goal is to create the most inclusive, transparent, and equitable set of resources for Loss Families.
I wanted to share a bit about my journey as a Loss Parent. I am married to Amy Stillman, Nathaniel’s wonderful mama. Our journey to parenthood started with a first trimester miscarriage in August 2020. Amy and I, being in a same-sex relationship, face a different approach to parenthood than a heterosexual couple; but that did not make us any less immune. We knew that our journey would begin in the world of Fertility Clinics, like those who are experiencing infertility, are single individuals or are taking precautions based on their history. The low parts of our journey did not end with our first miscarriage in 2020. From there, it was required for me to receive a subsequent uterine surgery, which led to seven rounds of IUI. When this continued to not work in our favor, we moved on to conceiving Nathaniel through IVF.
Nathaniel was such a mover and shaker from the first time we saw his little gummy bear body moving around 9 weeks (I had an appendectomy with him at 8 weeks – and his warrior spirit survived). Nathaniel grew and was loved every moment he was inside of me for the 32 weeks and 5 days. In the weeks leading up to his traumatic birth, I had developed severe preeclampsia and he had been diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). On February 18, 2022, Nathaniel was born via emergency cesarian at 3:32am after I was experiencing pain from a total concealed placental abruption. As I was wheeled down the hallway to the operating room, I was able to get Amy on the phone and tell her that our baby’s heartbeat was disappearing and I was going into surgery. When he was born, he had no heartbeat, but he was able to be resuscitated and quickly transported to the NICU. Amy luckily made it to the hospital within minutes and was able to make decisions for his care, while I was still in surgery. In the immediate hours after his birth, we knew our baby suffered extreme brain trauma, known as Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and many other life-limiting complications. This put Amy and I in a position we could have not fathomed would be ours. These diagnoses were indicative of a quality of life that would not be conducive to Nathaniel’s longevity; as well as what we dreamed and hoped for him. After an excruciating 64 hours of loving our boy and knowing he would not leave the hospital with us, Nathaniel was taken off his life supports and he died in my arms surrounded by so much love.
From the moments I woke up from general anesthesia, and had been told my baby was barely alive, I realized that no one prepares you for the death of your child. It is never mentioned in pregnancy classes; rarely touched upon in books or apps. It’s taboo. It’s not happy for a time that is supposed to be glowing and joyous. I had never seen anyone die and to have my child be the first person who I saw died was life shattering to say the least. Nathaniel is the first urn I had to choose and the first memorial service I was forced to plan. We had no idea what to ask for, whom to talk to, or where to look to get answers. We were so very much alone. People tired to help us but in the end none of them had lost a baby before. In the early days after Nathaniel, Amy and I’s conversations were on repeat. We were full of the same questions… How do we do this? How are we going to do this? How do you plan a funeral for baby? Why did this happen to us? I am fortunate to be well-equipped in my search techniques on the internet, and I started to compile all the resources I began to find. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting.
Since Nathaniel’s death, I have had the opportunity to connect with Loss Families all over the world. Although our journeys differ, as I have previously mentioned, one commonality was that no one knew what to do or how to handle the death of their baby. This resource hub stems from the experience of having to ask questions and look for answers on a topic no one prepares us for, Pregnancy and Infant Loss.
We are hopeful that we can help lighten your burden as you journey into life without your child. May they always be forever loved, forever thought of, forever remembered, and forever watched over.
Love, Sarah, Amy and Nathaniel Stillman
Connect with me directly on Instagram @whenmybabydied
Faces and Names Behind WMBD
Our North Star
Nathaniel Wyatt is the North Star of WMBD. Born at 32w +5d, Nathaniel had a true warrior spirit like all small babies. He was a true fighter and wanted to be earthside with his mamas. He made his mama crave mexican food, and gave her aversions to sweets or stinky. He joins his moms regularly as a red-breasted robin and bursts of unexpected candle and fire activity. Nathaniel knows he is forever loved and remembered.
Sarah is Nathaniel's birth mom. She is happily married to Amy and they live earthside in Massachusetts with their two 4-legged dog children, Albie and Finley. When not doing WMBD, Sarah works at a Boston area university health services as their project manager. She loves meeting online and in-person with fellow loss parents, creating opportunities for collaboration, and finding ways to celebrate and honor Nathaniel and every baby gone too soon. In her free time, Sarah loves to cry, laugh, and tries to find joy in the smaller moments of life post-loss. Sarah and Amy currently do not have any earthside children.
Nathaniel and Sarah's Rock
Behind the scenes, Amy ensures that Sarah remains fed, laughing, and supports her in her grieving journey in all of its forms. Amy is a wonderful, thoughtful, and devoted mom to Nathaniel. She speaks with him every day and admires his fighter spirit.