Ten years ago, Teresa Fort was pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl. Then 25 weeks and two days into her pregnancy, she wasn't. "I remember being in the triage room and them trying to find a heartbeat for him," Teresa says. That was the day she learned her son, Brody Thomas, would be stillborn. Much of that devastating day has become a blur. But there's one thing Teresa never forgot: the nurse who stood by her side, "holding my hand and crying with me."
In the years since, life has moved forward. Teresa welcomed Brody's twin sister, Lauryn, into the world. She finished her nursing degree, began working at Mayo Clinic, and had three more children. But she's never stopped thinking about the one who didn't come home with her. Whenever anyone asks how many kids she has, Teresa's answer is always five. "I love any chance I have to talk about my son," she tells us.
So last fall, when Teresa saw a friend's Facebook post linking to a T-shirt fundraiser for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, she was quick to click and place an order. The response she received back brought her to tears. The woman selling the T-shirts was the very nurse who had stood at Teresa's bedside all those years ago. "She told me she'd never stopped thinking of me and my twins," Teresa tells us. "I'd always wondered who she was, what her name was. Connecting with her was like finding a missing piece to a puzzle. It felt like fate."
That nurse — Cindy Adamson — has worked on Mayo's Labor and Delivery unit for more than a decade. "When people find out where I work, they say, 'Oh, that must be such a happy place.'" But Adamson knows that's not always the case, and that not every expectant mother leaves the hospital with a baby in her arms. She's comforted many mothers like Teresa, and because of that, "pregnancy and infant loss hold a special place in my heart," she says.
Adamson quickly learned it's a cause that's close to many other hearts as well. Since launching her fundraiser to provide bereavement supplies and gifts for families who come to Mayo Clinic for care, she has sold 143 shirts, many customized with a cherished child's name. "It's amazing how many people this affects," says Adamson, who tells us she's raised $1,400 for the cause so far.
While gifts can be treasured mementos, both women tell us the best gift to give someone who has lost a child is a listening ear. "If you know someone who has lost a child, ask them about their baby," says Adamson. Teresa agrees. "It hurts when people don't bring Brody up," she says. "You become a mom the day you find out you're pregnant. Your dreams and aspirations for that child don't go by the wayside. We were mothers to those babies we lost. We carried them, loved them, held them, buried them."
And they will always, always remember them.
If you'd like to order a T-shirt to remember a child or support bereaved families, information is available on Adamson's Lazy Crafternoon Facebook page. Then remember to leave a below before using the social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.