BILLINGS, Mont. - October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The day serves as a remembrance of infants and babies lost from various reasons like miscarriages, stillbirth and SIDS. One mother shares her story of losing two of her babies.
In May of 2016 Hil Hart experienced a parent’s worst nightmare. As everyone was getting ready for bed her husband found their 3 month old son Kaleo not breathing in his crib.
“He came running in, he had the baby and he was blue. And I just kind of froze. I didn’t know what to think or what to do," says Hil.
As the family started panicking, no one could find their phones. Hart and her 11 year-old son began knocking on neighbor's doors in hopes of receiving someone’s help.
“So we’re pounding and nobodies answering, it feels like so much time was going by that it wasn’t going to help…”
Eventually one of their neighbor's opened their door. Hil says she saw her son pulling a man from his door across to their apartment, saying please help my brother. The man happened to be a doctor, and after calling 911 he took over CPR from Hil's husband.
Kaleo was rushed to the hospital in the ambulance while his parents followed behind in their car.
“They pronounced him dead at 11:11pm. So for an hour he fought really hard. So he died 3 months and 22 days," says Hil.
Sadly, it wouldn't be the last time this family would feel this type of pain. Just one day after Christmas Hil was 18 weeks pregnant when doctors told her the baby boy she was carrying, the one they named Kai, had died.
“They scheduled me for surgery on January 2nd. So for a whole week I had to carry a baby that was no longer alive," explains Hil.
While many may think one loss may be greater than the other, Hil says that's completely false.
"There’s no greater loss than losing a child. Whether you’re pregnant or it’s a child after it was born. There’s no difference," says Hil.
St. Vincent's Nurse Lauren says 1 in 4 women will actually lose a baby either while they’re pregnant or in the first year of life. With a statistic like that, Hil knew there had to be help out there for other moms like her, and she found it with the local Rainbow group. Through their Facebook group and meetings, Hil listened to other mothers who went through the same thing.
“The first couple years, if it wasn’t for them I would not have made it through there," explains Hil.
She knows she’s not alone and shares a bit of advice to other parents who might be grieving.
“To get out and get moving. Even though it’s hard not to get out of bed sometimes, you have to, you have to force yourself because I could have been in the process of starting to heal a long time ago.”
With October being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, Hil hopes that sharing her story will encourage parents to pay more attention to their kids and keep her son’s voice alive.
While most cases of pregnancy and infant loss are unexpected St. Vincent's Nurse Lauren shares tips to lower the risk.
”Good prenatal care, and it continues after birth with safe sleep practice. Always putting baby to sleep on their back. Refraining from co-sleeping as much as possible. Keeping the baby at a nice normal temperature, not putting anything in the crib with the baby, no bumpers, none of those really cute super fluffy blankets or toys or anything like that," says Lauren.
Lauren also highlights the Ramsey Keller Memorial because they pay the funeral costs for all miscarriages, stillborn and infant deaths for the entire state of Montana.