When mom-to-be Emily McClearen stopped feeling her baby's fluttering kicks in her belly, she feared the worst and immediately rushed to the hospital. There, doctors delivered the tragic news: the umbilical cord had wrapped around the baby's neck and she had died. Emily would have to deliver the stillborn full-term baby via an emergency C-section.
Instead of closing ranks and mourning the loss privately, Emily and her husband, Richard Staley, hired a professional photographer to record their final nine hours with daughter Monroe, according to multiple reports. Among the precious moments captured were the baby's official weigh-in and the first time Emily held her. "I wanted our family to have some way to show how beautiful our daughter was," the mom explained to Yahoo! Health.
The couple then went one step further and allowed the photographer, Lindsey Natzic-Villatoro, of Love Song Events and Photography, to share the intimate stillborn baby photos on her Facebook page. Like any mother, Emily said she "was proud of her [daughter], and I wanted to show her off and make sure her memory lives on." She also wanted to help other parents who are dealing with a similar loss by showing them that they don't have to mourn in silence.
Here are some of the stillborn baby photos taken that day. Warning: Have your tissues ready.
Though some question why Emily and Richard had these moments photographed and shared, many more have expressed support for the family—through encouraging comments on Facebook and donations to cover baby Morgan's memorial service expenses.
- RELATED: How to Plan a Stillborn Baby Funeral
Emily and Richard allowed themselves to mourn the way they needed, and their stillborn baby photos might even help other grieving parents find a little peace.