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Peyton, Matt and Jenna


Jenna was given a choice. “When my OB arrived at the hospital, he informed me that I would need to be induced immediately,” she said. “I could not bear the idea of laboring, and delivering my deceased daughter. The pain I imagined seemed too painful emotionally. I was given the choice between cesarean and vaginal birth. I cried to my mom, and to Matt that I needed the cesarean, that I couldn't do it any other way. They told me I could do the vaginal birth, that it would be healthier for future pregnancies. I trusted them. I chose to be induced. I am so thankful, and grateful I made that decision.”

After a long labor, she was ready to deliver the following evening. She was induced and delivered by another doctor from her obstetrician’s practice, instead of the physician who had seen her throughout her pregnancy — he left after confirming her baby no longer had a heartbeat. “I have not spoken to him since then,” she said. Peyton was delivered at 8:53 p.m. and Jenna and Matt were told there was no obvious cause of death.

Special moments

Peyton was cleaned up and handed to Matt and Jenna, who spent time holding and looking at their baby. A nurse had the idea to contact a local photographer from the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep organization, and the next morning, Marti Wagner came to the hospital to volunteer her talent.

Baby Peyton - Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

“She provided us with a gift that constantly reminds me of the reality that Matt and I are parents, that we do have a daughter,” she explained. “Marti's beautiful photographs help me to cherish our precious Peyton, whom we only got to share 15 short hours with. I feel so blessed and am forever grateful to be able to embrace these beautiful photographs of our sweet Peyton.”

She was released from the hospital that afternoon, and thanks to the forethought and kindness of two nurses, parting was easier than it could have been. “The nurses allowed us to decide when we wanted to say goodbye to Peyton,” she told us. “We are so grateful that they did not take her away from us — instead we left Peyton in our room with our nurses when we left.”

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

About a week later, the photos, a DVD slideshow and a CD arrived, and she and Matt decided to view them together. Peyton and Daddy - Stillborn photography

“In the photographs you could not even tell that we were in a hospital bed, let alone that Peyton was already deceased,” she explained. “And then a picture of Matt kissing Peyton's forehead appeared on our television screen... and I realized what a gift Marti, and the NILMDTS Organization, had given us.”

Jenna planned a fundraiser in honor of Peyton, and she was reunited with Marti for a special night of honoring her baby girl and raising funds for the NILMDTS organization. Together, they were able to raise $2,800, and she was later asked to sit on the Parent’s Committee by Gina Harris of NILMDTS. “I was overwhelmed with joy!” she shared happily. “I of course accepted.”

They are currently planning a second fundraiser in honor of Peyton, and Jenna plans on taking photography courses after finishing nursing school so she can become a volunteer photographer for NILMDTS.

A rainbow baby

Jenna and Matt announced their second pregnancy on Easter. After consulting with a high risk maternal and fetal medicine OB just a few weeks after their loss, they got the green light to try to conceive a month or so later, and happily met with success after just a short journey.

Matt and Jenna

However, this pregnancy is understandably different than her first. “This pregnancy is entirely different than my previous pregnancy,” she shared. “Breakdowns, flashbacks and guilt consume almost every aspect of my life. Part of me looks forward to breaking down — to crying for hours on end — to forgetting every part of my life, except for Peyton.”

However, she’s learned that her new pregnancy is an essential part of her healing process. “When we decided to become pregnant again our motto became, ‘A new baby will not replace Peyton, but a new baby will fill our empty arms,’” she said. “Nearly halfway through our pregnancy after loss, that motto has become only partially true. Matty will not replace Peyton; that statement is very true. Yet, while Matty will fill our empty arms physically, emotionally our arms will always yearn to hold both Peyton and Matty together. We will never be given a chance to do so. In some odd way, learning that has brought me peace and comfort.”

Her new obstetrician is a lot more proactive than her last, and as the itchiness of her first pregnancy has recently recurred, she is being taken seriously and is currently awaiting the results of bile acid testing. She will be induced at 37 weeks and monitored very closely until delivery day. “I am so proud of myself for trusting my intuition and for not giving up when no one would listen to what I had to say,” she said. “When I was pregnant with my daughter I trusted anyone and everyone before I trusted myself. A doctor is simply a doctor. If you are not comfortable with your doctor and their decisions you have every right to seek out another opinion… you can even change doctors if you would like. Do not let anyone belittle your concerns, your knowledge, or your motherhood.”

More amazing moms

Pregnancy after a loss: Rachael's rainbow baby
My dangerous and rare twin pregnancy
Finnish babies and the boxes they sleep in

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Comments on "Memorial photography made a difference for this mom"

Miranda September 10, 2013 | 8:18 AM

I'm sorry but I hope she sued the ---- out of her old OB!

Anne Musial September 06, 2013 | 10:17 PM

My baby girl died from the same cause on December 25th 1999 at 38 weeks. It is a rare condition and I was able to save my cousin's baby from suffering the same fate. It is highly genetic. Hugs to you sister. Thank you for posting. XO

Jaci Neiffer September 06, 2013 | 4:42 PM

This Organization helped make the memory of my son last in photograph forever! God bless the people who donate their time and their hearts to make these moments possible. To the family who had to say goodbye to their precious baby too soon... My heart goes out to you and I pray you find solace and comfort!

Gina September 06, 2013 | 2:03 PM

My heart breaks for you. I am a labor & delivery nurse and have been through many losses with families. Every single time, it feels as wrenching as the first time. We use NILMDTS volunteers at our hospital, and are very grateful for the work they do. I am so sorry that your OB was so dismissive of your complaints. That should NEVER happen. There is just no excuse for it. None. I don't care how many times I receive a phone call from the same woman telling me that she hasn't felt her baby move....I tell her to come to the hospital immediately for evaluation. I would rather send someone home a thousand times for a false alarm than to miss something.

sandra September 06, 2013 | 8:28 AM

thank you so much for sharing. i have wonderful pictures of my sweet grand daughter who lived for two weeks - pictures with her mommy and daddy and with gran and grandad. and, i have the memory of holding and cuddling sweet elizabeth.

Lora September 06, 2013 | 7:56 AM

my heart breaks for you, I lost my daughter at 34 weeks and after doing my own research I came up with the same answer. Autopsy showed blood clots on the placenta and do to that that's probably what caused her to pass. Bloods clots due to this disorder. I had severe severe itching, they told me it was winter, never checked, I complained of decreased movement, that's okay placenta is in the front, never checked anything, then found out by ultrasound she passed. I asked the doctor "why didn't you do anything sooner" Her response was "I didn't know..." didn't know because you didn't do anything to check! I am interested in your heart were you able to find peace and forgiveness because I have been able to find peace but not forgiveness....

Kristi Chittam September 06, 2013 | 7:39 AM

May God bless and keep you and your family, Jenna. You and Matt are such strong people and I admire you for your strength and wish nothing but the best for you!!!

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