Reprinted here with permission of Lori Waugh
Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2001
Dear Ms. Ilse:
I hope that this reaches you. Four weeks ago today, I delivered a stillborn
little boy, Caleb Trent Waugh. I was 20 1/2 weeks. My doctor gave me your
book, Empty Arms, while I was in the
hospital, but I could not bear to read
it while I was there. However, a week later, I did. Thank you for the
I was glad that so many of the ideas you shared, we did for our little
Caleb. The hospital did very special things for us, such as a large plaster
heart with his tiny little hand and footprints in it. Also, they did a
small seashell with footprints for my mother, which was special for her.
They also did painted footprints, gave us a handmade quilt that he was laid
on immediately, a tiny little newborn hat, just like his brothers (2) and
sister (1) had when they were born. The special nurse also took a lot of
pictures of Caleb alone and with us, trying to make special memories for us.
The pictures are on a disc so we can look at them on the computer. We can
also print them out. The nurse was wonderful and helped us so much during
this difficult time.
Anyway, we had a memorial service for Caleb, which was very uplifting.
Actually, I wish I had it on video because the singing was beautiful and our
3 other children, ages 7, 5, and 3, sent up helium balloons, which was very
While I was in the hospital, I mentioned to one of my sisters-in-law, who
was expecting 3 days after me, that I wanted a bear while I was waiting to
deliver. I just wanted something to hold on too. About 15 minutes later
after she left, her husband came up to the room with an angel bear, white
with gold wings. He was perfect! I cried as I held him. He especially
helped me when they took Caleb away after several hours of being with him.
I slept with the bear for 3 or 4 nights, then I was okay with just setting
him up on a shelf and hugging it occasionally. I thought that this might
be something you could add to Empty Arms. This bear, although it could
never replace my son, helped me cope by giving me something to hold on to.
Thank you for what you do. I hope that through all of this, and with time,
I will be able to help others.