October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, in honor of the 870,000 babies that die each year from miscarriages to newborn death.
Babies like Talitha Griggs, born with anencephaly, or absence of large portions of the brain, skull or scalp. Talitha was born in 1999, four weeks prematurely. The severity of her disease assured that her life would end almost as quickly as it had begun, and as a consequence her family was forced to say goodbye just minutes after they’d welcomed her into the world.
“Talitha’s birth was so unexpected...her delivery was an emergency, and because her life was so short, my out-of-town family members were not able to reach the hospital before she died. We kept her with us for a few hours afterward so that everyone could see her as they arrived,” Talitha’s mother, Lorna Griggs posted on Facebook.
Facebook has been one of the family’s means of keeping Talitha’s memory alive. Each year, her mother posts another part of her and her baby’s story in remembrance of the daughter she lost. This year, she writes about those few precious moments shared in the hospital. Because Talitha’s life was short, she was cleaned and returned to the family so that they could spend more time with their baby girl.
“Because we had been so busy trying to cram a lifetime into a morning, we realized too late that getting her handprints and footprints had been neglected. By the time anyone remembered, her little hands had already clenched in death and would not open,” the post continued.
A nurse at Shannon, however, had an idea and rocked Talitha and rubbed warmth back into her little hands so that prints could be taken.
“I don’t remember her name. I’ve never been able to thank her other than at the moment she brought the papers to me, but I often wish I could. I know that cradling a stranger’s dead newborn certainly was not what she had been planning on doing when she got out of bed that morning, and I am tremendously grateful for the time and effort she took to give me such a treasure… So wherever you are, young nurse with the brown hair who was working at Shannon Hospital in San Angelo, Texas around lunchtime on Thursday, September 30, 1999, thank you. You gave my baby an hour or so of your time. And through that act, you gave me a lifetime of memories,” concludes Lorna Griggs.
Locally, the lost little ones like Talitha Griggs are being honored through events held at the White Rose Garden at Shannon Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Cindy Rogerson, perinatal educator and White Rose Coordinator from Women and Children’s loves the garden and what it stands for.
“The garden is a place for people to come and remember babies that have been lost,” said Rogerson, “I don’t think people talk about losing a child.”
Anyone is welcome to visit the garden, no matter how long ago they lost a child, or how, “they never forget them,” said Rogerson, “and we want to let them know that we remember them too.”
That’s why Betty Fuller started the ‘Walk to Remember’ in 1992 as a time for those who’ve lost their babies to come together and honor them.
The walk begins at a pine tree she planted in the City Park behind the old Central Fire Station, and ends at the White Rose Garden with a new rosebush being planted for all the little ones who died that year.
Those who would like can write the name of the baby on a piece of paper to be planted along with the rosebush.
This year’s ‘Walk to Remember’ is Sunday, October 6 at 2:30 p.m. starting at City Park (Magdalen and Twohig) and ending with the planting of a rosebush in the White Rose Garden at Women and Children’s.
For more information contact Cindy Rogerson at (325) 481-6332.