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Kelly Fay – Finding comfort and support

Precious moments

Kelly FayHow a mother found comfort after losing her daughter and now comforts others.

When you first meet Kelly Fay, you immediately notice her welcoming smile and warm personality. Look closer and you’ll notice she wears a beautiful butterfly necklace. That necklace has a very special meaning, not just for Kelly, but for her entire family.

An unexpected path

In summer 2013, Kelly and her husband, Peter, received some surprising news. With children ranging in age from 4 to 21, they thought their family was complete, but they were thrilled to learn they were expecting their ninth child.

“The whole family was really excited,” Kelly says. Her pregnancy progressed normally, but when she was 38 weeks along, Kelly felt something wasn’t right. The baby was unusually still. She grew so concerned that she called her midwife, who suggested she go straight to Methodist Richardson Medical Center. Kelly had given birth to her previous eight children naturally, but this time, she and the baby were in distress, so she was prepped for an emergency cesarean section.

Minutes after Beatrice Ruby Fay was born, weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces, she was whisked off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Methodist Richardson has a Level III NICU, which means the staff can provide highly specialized care for critically ill infants.

“We thought it was her lungs,” Kelly says. “We had no idea it was her heart.”

Kelly couldn’t believe it. “She looked just perfect, just like all my other babies.”

Neonatologist Lilian St. John, MD, on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson, says Beatrice was born with several rare congenital heart deformities.

“Our NICU team gives babies the best possible chance at life, but sometimes when congenital abnormalities are too severe, survival is not in their favor,” she says.

A few hours later, Beatrice was airlifted to a specialty hospital. Peter had to leave his wife, who was recovering from surgery, and race to be with his daughter. After Beatrice’s condition was evaluated, Peter and the specialists called Kelly with the devastating news.

“We just realized it wasn’t in our hands anymore,” Peter says. “Her little heart wasn’t made for this world, and she just wasn’t going to make it. We had peace that if she was going to leave us, we’d be holding her and that her brothers and sisters would get to see her and say goodbye.”

Finding comfort and support

Kelly Fay and her familyBeatrice lived 49½ hours. The Fays clung to their faith in their darkest hours. It was a comfort to them, believing they would see her again in heaven. Kelly soon found another comfort when she was introduced to Hope Mommies.

Hope Mommies is a nonprofit Christian organization that provides help to families who have experienced infant loss. They provide fellowship and community support, along with a beautifully decorated Hope Box that is filled with comforting items. Each box is made with love and donated in honor of a child who has passed.

Kelly immediately knew she wanted to honor Beatrice by bringing Hope Boxes to Methodist Richardson. It was a special day when she delivered those first boxes.

“Our goal is to help these moms so they don’t go home empty-handed and to know they are not alone,” Kelly says.

When the Fays make Hope Boxes, it’s a family affair. They pray over them with the hope that each box brings blessings to a family in need.

“I wanted to know Beatrice’s life had a purpose and to know that she really has made a difference,” Kelly says. “Many of our Hope Boxes have butterflies on them, in memory of Beatrice — because a butterfly is a symbol of a short but complete life.”

From spring 2017 edition of Shine magazine