Parents share heartbreaking photos to remember their stillborn baby

A California couple have encouraged others to share photos of their stillborn daughter both a way to deal with their grief and acknowledge little Monroe as a member of their family.

The Staleys went to the hospital when they did not feel Monroe moving. Doctors told the parents-to-be their daughter had died in the uterus, according to Yahoo Health.

When Emily Staley gave birth the next day, photographer Lindsey Natzic-Villatoro, of Love Song Events and Photography, was there and spent nine hours with the couple. She took photos of their daughter and family as relatives visited. The photographs were posted online, and the Staleys have encouraged others to share them. Lindsey shared the photos and her emotional experience taking them on her Love Song Events & Photography Facebook Page.

Here’s Natzic-Villatoro’s story (used with permission):

WARNING- these images are extremely emotional. The family wishes for these to be shared in their child’s memory. If anyone has anything negative to say please DO NOT do it on this page. I will ban and remove you for the protection of this family. It has taken an extreme amount of courage for them to share this story and your negative opinion is not needed. They deserve encouraging words, stories and comments. There is enough negative stuff in this world and this post is meant to be positive and beautiful. If you do not like these images or feel they could be harmful to your day, then please do not proceed in reading the rest of this posting. I have built my business on LOVE and I do not expect that to change now. If you chose to continue reading please join me in support.

To answer many of your questions, I AM NOT AFFILIATED WITH NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP (NILMDTS). Although a wonderful organization that has helped thousands, Love Song is actually VERY different. I have done this type of work for my clients for going on 4 years. I am simply a photographer- one that loves people and caters to all ages for my “forever loved sessions.” Thank you for listening. Lindsey

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE.

I often ask God “why” and question life. I question things like cancer, tragic accidents, and murders, stillborns, child deaths… everything that just seems so painful for someone to bear. I know death is never easy but I believe everyone should die of old age, I know that’s not reality. As a mother the last phone call/email I want to get for a “forever loved” session is anything that has to do with a child. Friday afternoon as I was preparing for my weekend sessions with all 3 of my girls I got an email from a girl named Kelly telling me her sweet friend just found out her baby had died. She told me some details and asked if I would contact the family to be there in their time of need. Given the circumstances, you only have a very short window to truly capture these forever moments. I rushed out of the store I was in and called this woman. When this mother answered the phone she could barley speak. She knew I was calling which I’m sure was the only reason why she answered the phone. She was short of breath, crying uncontrollably between her words and could barely even speak. She told me that earlier that morning she was eating breakfast, oatmeal actually. She had a cup of coffee and was proceeding with her usual routine. Her husband had already left for work and she was just at home relaxing with her son and niece. She noticed that her daughter hadn’t been moving in her belly like usual. Normally it is her baby’s routine to have some fun in mom’s belly once she drinks her coffee. Considering that her baby hadn’t kicked all morning, mom moved her tummy a bit and after still feeling nothing went and got her heart monitor to check on her. Again mom heard nothing. In a panic she called her husband and told him what was going on and said she was going to drop the kids off to be watched and head to the hospital. Once she got to the hospital they got her in a room to be monitored, and the nurse could not find a heartbeat. They then gave her an ultrasound and discovered her sweet baby had died due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around her child’s neck. They asked her if she would like to delivery the baby vaginally or said she could have a C-section. Given the fact mom had ate that morning she needed to come back for the surgery, she wanted the C-section. She was told she could come at 3:30pm later that afternoon or 5:00am the following morning. Mom decided to come back given she was alone and wanted the support of her husband who was working over two hours away. She would of had to do the surgery alone if she decided to do it that day because it was impossible for him to be there by 3:30pm. Mom, a total wreck left the hospital in disbelief. How was this happening? Her baby was just moving and alive late the evening before so how… why… why her? Why her baby? Why their child? Every question known to man popped into her mind- nothing made sense.

I met the family at 6:30am Saturday morning. I am a professional but human. Set aside my everyday photography, I photograph about 15 to 20 terminal sessions a month that range from every tragedy under the sun BUT that NEVER makes these easy. Every session I do affects me differently. I walked into a cold hospital room, room 230- full of tears and family, everyone was in disbelief. I grabbed mom’s hand and I told her this was quite literally the worst thing that could ever happen to a mother but together we were going to get through this. I smiled at their nurse sweet Ronda, looked at dad and told him I was here to help them both. I also told them that there way NO right way to handle this. If they wanted to freak out on me, throw something, cry, yell…whatever, it was absolutely OK. Thankfully I know many of the nurses and doctors at the hospital Mom was delivering at so I called Friday night and told them I’d be there in the morning. When I got there they gave mom the option of having me in the OR during the C-section. Mom and Dad decided that was right where I needed to be, although both were very scared and nervous. I went into the bathroom before we walked into the OR, said a prayer for the surgery and for everything that was about to transpire. I then got all geared up, and together Dad and I met mom in the OR where surgery had already started. I looked at mom on the operating table, she knew my heart was breaking for her. With my hair and mouth covered, and only my eyes to be seen Mom and Dad both knew I was doing everything I could to be supportive and hold it together for them. I needed to be strong; I needed to do my job. At 7:52am I looked at that clock and sweet baby Monroe Faith Staley was born. I was the first to see her. My eyes quickly filled with tears as I pulled my mask down, looked over to mom and dad and said, “SHE IS PERFECT.” Together we all cried. I stood next to the baby and watched the nurses give Monroe her first sponge bath, I touched her hands, put the hat I brought her on and took a few pictures. The nurse Miguel which we all adore then handed mom her baby girl as the doctor finished her surgery. It was a dream, this family was living a total nightmare. I can’t even begin to describe the pain I knew Mom and Dad were feeling at that moment. As mom pleaded for her baby to wake up, her sweet husband brushed her hair with his hands crying with her. Cheek to cheek, clinging to their baby girl in disbelief; the two of them were pillars for each other. At 8:20am the four of us went across the hall to Mom’s room and for almost 9 hours Monroe never left their sight. I was able to capture moments that this family will forever have. I kissed this sweet baby over and over again… I even joked with Mom about taking her home. We both got a giggle out of it. Baby was full term and ABSOLUTE PERFECTION, Monroe defined perfection. Throughout the morning and afternoon family members came to meet this perfect angel. I took the baby to the infant warmer and snapped away. Any image that came to mind, I shot. I wanted this family to have every possible memory of this child I could physically give them. So with that being said, I would like you all to meet this beautiful family. 26 year old Mother Emily, 29 year old Father Richard, and baby girl Monroe Faith Staley weighing 6 pounds 2.5 ounces, 19 inches long.

This family wants you all to know they have felt your prayers. To those of you that responded to my post when I asked for prayer Friday evening, they appreciate the kindness you have shown to them. Sweet Monroe has a 5 year old big brother that loved her dearly and was counting down the days until he could finally meet his baby sister. This death was EXTREMELY unexpected and tragic. I am asking you all for your prayers. Emily will be released from the hospital today and have to go home to a house full of baby items. She will have to walk into her daughter’s nursery and relive this nightmare for the rest of her life. Please stop and pray for them. I said on Friday, “No matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.” And I ment that. NO FAMILY deserves this unbearable pain. The Staley’s rest assured knowing they will be reunited with their sweet baby girl one day soon, but until that day comes they struggle thinking life will ever have some normalcy. They would like their story to be shared; they hope to bring comfort to other families out there that have also experienced such tragedy. They want their daughter’s life to be remembered. Join with me in donating and praying for peace for you sweet Emily and Richard.

Em’ and Richard, I hope you enjoy your pictures. Thank you for allowing me to be there with you both in this time of grief. THANK FOR FOR SHARING A PEICE OF YOUR LIFE WITH ME & letting me love on your little piece of heaven. Xox

Thank you in advance! If you know anyone that Love Song can help through my documentaries PLEASE email me VIA facebook or visit my website.
www.lovesongphotography.com

WITH: Lindseyann Natzic-Villatoro, Richard Staley, Emily Staley

7 comments

  • Wendy

    My husband and i lost a baby 20 years ago. I so wish we could have done something like this in her memory. The Staleys are so brave and loving. I commend you for what you did for the love of your baby. You made great memories out of a sad moment in your life. R.I.P. Baby Monroe

    • Lisa Graves

      The same thing happened to my daughter at 29 weeks and it was devastating. She too delivered a beautiful baby girl and we took pictures to remember our little Cori Alisa. God bless this young couple!

  • Naomi Blackwell

    I have lost 8 babies at different stages of life. Most have never seen the light of day BUT they were born into heaven and into God’s arms and my heart. Each loss was painful. Each time I got pregnant I had to keep it a secret from everyone but my husband due to losing them. Then when we lost them we had a memorial service for each of them, named them and sent their little souls back to the God of all Creation . I’ve received counseling and many prayers. Over the last 25 years I have seen God work wonders in my life. I still have no children here on earth BUT I now know that with my health being what it was back then and is now there is no way I could have survived a pregnancy.

    My heart goes out to this young couple. My prayers go up for this couple. Losing a child is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone though in my entire life and that includes brain cancer and breast cancer.

  • Malissa Davis

    I would just like to say to the Staley’s that their courage is inspiring and admirable. I am very saddened by the loss of your Monroe but just know that she is asleep in the arms of the Lord and that I truly believe that love reaches beyond borders and between words. No place is to far away for your love to still reach her. I pray that you heal and that God gives you a perfect peace. I am not a mother but I am a daughter and I know just how fierce that love is. It’s a love that never dies. I hope you can believe that. Thank you for sharing your story. We will meet our loved ones again. Lean on the Lord and not your own understanding. You are in prayers.

  • Jody kelso

    My heart goes out yo you, with love and prayers my son was born 18 weeks early he weighed 1ound 1 ounce and lived for six months he smile cooed and ate a bottle all over time across when he passed away just 4days after turning six months he weighed 9 pounds 15 ounces. God will see you through this the pain is there every day but it does and will get better. Lord bless their relationship may they lean on one another and you.

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