Pregnancy is a joyous season, one filled with hopes and dreams for a new baby and the excitement of growing one’s family. It is a season of celebration marked by weekly milestones, pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, baby showers, and eventually, the ever-anticipated arrival of a new baby. This is simply the nature of things–except when it isn’t. Our family was walking in the midst of “isn’t” when we were joined on our journey by Edmarc.
We were referred to Edmarc’s perinatal hospice program shortly after receiving the news that our son had a neural tube defect called an encephalocele as well as a rare brain malformation called holoprosencephaly. In layman’s terms, his skull didn’t close as it should’ve and his brain didn’t divide. Our maternal fetal medicine team was phenomenal, but had little to offer in the way of good news or hope. We were gently told our son would likely not survive to delivery, and if he did, his time here would be brief. Suddenly pregnancy looked very different.
In all honesty, when we first heard about Edmarc, we were unsure about being involved in a perinatal bereavement program. Our hope was that they could answer a few questions for us and help us navigate the logistics of making final arrangements for our son. Beyond that, we didn’t see how a perinatal bereavement program could help us. Were we ever wrong! We left our first visit with Brittney, our amazing social worker, with so much more than answers to our questions. We left with the realization we were on this journey with a new amazing team, a team who had hope for our son.
As our boy’s due date drew nearer, so did our Edmarc team. From home visits, to coming with us to appointments, to our entire street lined with volunteers in Jeeps delivering Thanksgiving dinner, they stood by our side. They met needs we didn’t know we had and encouraged us to hope. It was our Edmarc team who kept saying, “yes, but what if?”. I am so grateful they did. By God’s grace, our son, Barrett Malcolm Burkett, was born alive on December 10th, 2015. Once again, our Edmarc team surrounded our family with support.
I could share a dozen ways Edmarc touched our hearts in that season, from the way Madalyn came to our house in the middle of the night our first night home and helped troubleshoot our feeding pump, to the way Alicia always referred to Barrett as her “doll baby”, to how Brittney never came without a special surprise for our two-year-old daughter. Perhaps one of the sweetest memories I have though, is holding our son in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and getting a video of our daughter opening the door of our home to see Santa with a bag of toys on her doorstep. What joy! What care shown, not just for our son, but for our family as a whole!
That is what Edmarc does, they come alongside your whole family and become family in the process.