A year ago today a local couple's life changed forever.
They delivered their son and the hospital room was silent.
But now, the mother is speaking out and offering up a donation that meant so much to her in their time of grief.
Maggie and Justin Perdue were so excited to announce they were welcoming their first child that they had a local photographer put a video together to share with family and friends.
They were all smiles as their baby boy would arrive just in time for Thanksgiving.
But a month early, the unimaginable happened.
“The weekend of October 24, 2017, I noticed that my baby wasn't moving as much, and so, I went to the doctor's office and they confirmed that my baby had no heartbeat,” Maggie explained.
In shock, doctors sent her and her husband straight to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital to start the delivery process.
At 8:37 a.m. Oct. 24th, Nash Finley Perdue was born, lifeless.
“It was the best worst day of my life,” Maggie said. “That's the only way I can really explain it. It was this amazing moment of euphoria, of being a new mom, mixed with the reality that I would not be taking him home and so it was tough. Tough, isn't even a word. It was tragic.”
Maggie and Justin left the hospital with a few keepsakes and a baby blanket they had wrapped their son in.
“The blanket held my son and, you know, it's the piece that I have that I can carry with me for those few hours that I had him and so that blanket I have held on to every day since and just cherished. When I looked at it I thought, you know, somebody put their time into this and made this not knowing how much it would be cherished by me,” said Maggie.
Wanting to channel her grief, Maggie learned from her mom how to crochet.
Her goal was to make one blanket to give back to the hospital.
Picking out yarn colors and designs gave this grieving mother something to look forward to.
“As I made a lot of these there was a lot of tears, there was a lot of heartache that was poured into these blankets, because I knew the woman that would be holding this blanket would be in the same situation I was in and so it was very emotional for me. I would mess up and I would have to take it out and I'd have to start back over and, you know, the frustration in that along with the grief,” Maggie said.
Together, she and her mother made more than 20 blankets out of love to be given to mothers who miscarry or deliver stillborn babies.
“I also made sure I prayed over them because I knew what these were going to hold.”
A year later, with a lot of tears and prayers sewn in, Maggie and Justin donate the crocheted blankets to the same nurse, Heather Brush, who helped them at the start of their journey.
“It's a hard road, it's a long journey before your heart is healed, but this [donation] tells me she's healing,” Brush said.
“I was able to have so many keepsakes and things to remember my one day with him that, you know, I wouldn't take it back for anything,” Maggie said.
While the blankets won't be part of a happy ending Maggie and Justin's prayer is that they are part of a healed one.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Carilion has created a program called SHARE to help families who suffer from infant loss. Brush has served as the SHARE program facilitator for 27 years.
“Nobody plans to come in and not bring their baby home with them, so our time with this family is to help them begin their journey of healing,” Brush said.
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