In 2007 Phil and Stacy Barter eagerly anticipated the arrival of their twins Truman and Taylor after years of trying to conceive and undergoing IUI treatments. Unfortunately, Stacy went into labor at 22 weeks and the twins were delivered at 24 weeks, unable to survive on their own outside of the womb.
“Immediately we wanted to do something to assist other people in the same situation. Our plan was temporarily put on hold when we found out we were expecting naturally conceived twins in 2008 -- 11 months to the day we lost Truman and Taylor, Thomas and Tanner entered our lives,” Said Stacy.
Shortly after, the “Tiny Two Giraffe Project” was formed in which special care packages are created for families who lose a newborn. The care packages are assembled by a group of mothers, fathers, grandparents, and friends who have unfortunately walked a similar path as the Barter family. The items in the box were carefully chosen based on their experiences. The boxes are made by hand for the family and tied with a bow so they can tie the memories away if they need to, and open them when they are ready.
One patient described the impact of the Tiny Two Giraffe Project. “March 18th, 2012 was one of the most difficult days of my life. I arrived at Centerpoint in active labor expecting to deliver my healthy little girl, but when they went to hook me up to monitoring they couldn’t find a heartbeat. Our daughter, Cora Elizabeth Padilla was stillborn at 7:14 that morning. I honestly don’t remember when the beautiful handmade box was brought in to our room; I know it sat there for a couple of hours before I could bring myself to look inside. I don’t think words can fully express how much the contents of that box have helped us over the last few weeks. Everything in there was wonderful but what stood out to me the most were the matching little quilts. We got to use one to tuck our daughter in when we said goodbye at the funeral home and we have one to keep with us always. We just want to say thank you, thank you so very much,” said Michelle Padilla, former Centerpoint patient.
Each box consists of: a keepsake box; set of matching blankets (one for the baby and one for the family); hankie (antique or new but all with a personal touch); disposable camera; new stuffed animal; chapstick; travel sized lotion; journal/notebook; a set of notecards; writing pen; travel sized Kleenex; kleenex holder (optional –a grandmother makes these with her grandchildren); chocolate; Tic-Tacs; “Stillborn, Miscarriage, and Understanding Death” flyer; When Hello Means Goodbye by Pat Schwiebert; and A Guide for Fathers When a Baby Dies by Tim Nelson.