A beautiful beginning: Ruby Rebecca’s birth story.

The last few days since I asked for prayers for my friends, Doug and Alex, the number one response has been: “How can life be SO cruel to one family?” It’s a question that we shall never know the answer to but we will never stop asking. They’ve faced so much loss together that it’s questionable if they have more family in Heaven or on Earth.

A handful of years ago, Alex and Dough met with Kelly and I for our birth consultation, excited as they should be, preparing for their first birth. Months later we received a message causing both our jaws to drop. Alex quickly developed HELLP Syndrome which lead to the passing of their sweet Dougie in final weeks of pregnancy. Awful. Just heartbreaking.

Not long after, riddled with fear from start to finish, she conceived twice and THANK JESUS, had repeat successful births of their two adorable sons.

Fast forward to September of 2018 when Alex reached out SO excited that she was finally having her GIRL! YAY! Still anxious as ever, she carried on through her pregnancy with great well checks. Last Wednesday she had a healthy non stress test and was sent home as usual. Just as she was relaxing into this pregnancy, pushing away the fear and anxiety of loss, Thursday morning came and just like that, no more kicks or jabs from inside. ::VOMIT:: They went straight back to the Dr to find themselves in the worst deja vu that ever was. She was gone. She got her angel wings an entire lifetime too soon.

Thursday evening, they went to Good Sam for an induction where they were greeted with another baby keepsake grief box instead of the pending excitement of future baby squeals. Alex, the warrior that she is, mustered up the courage to vaginally deliver her angel baby and by Friday evening her body was ready for the tragedy all over again. Baby girl was folded in Frank breech (pike) position with her tiny tush making its way out as the room remained in complete despair and disbelief. ONLY ONE MONTH from her scheduled induction date! ONE.MORE.MONTH. 😩 Once she was placed on mama’s chest it was like I could see the huddle of angels looking down on us. We wept as they celebrated, welcoming Ruby back Home safe in both Alex’s Mom and Grandma’s arms, her namesakes. Ruby (&) Rebecca. Big brother Dougie hugged her letting her know she was too beautiful for Earth and they’re protecting her from all pain she’d face here. Now, she too, only knows love.

Ruby Rebecca was the sweetest and most pretty little angel, looking just like Alex. At 17″ long and 4.2lbs with a full head of hair. They held and kissed their angel without pause. Doug was able to assist in printing her tiny feet and hands, as well as trimming some locks of her hair. 💕 All these things are the only physical proof that she really was here, as her smell on the empty blankets will fade. She too, is their child, just the same as the boys at home. She may have only been held in their arms for less than a day, but she’s held in ALL OF OUR hearts forever. All.of. ours.

Alex had chosen this song early in her pregnancy for her future birth slideshow. Once they heard the news of her passing, the words took on new meaning, which become even more painful to hear. “I get to love you” by Ruelle

After seeing there were no outward signs of trouble with her anatomy, Dr Schnettler *thinks* the cause of demise was from a poor location and weak umbilical insertion to the placenta. Instead of needing a “true knot,” all it took was a twist or two to compress the vessels flowing blood to her. 😔😔 Sweet, sweet, baby girl…

Besides the constant vomit rising in our throats we’ve all felt since last Thursday and the countless tears we’ve shed for you, know that the community surrounds you and lifts you up. I’m so so sorry. I wish this was truly just a nightmare. Much love. Thank you for having me and sharing sweet Ruby with the world. It was an honor and privilege to meet, photograph and love on her (and you guys)! It takes one BA mama to stand up right after all you’ve been through. Props to Doug for being your rock and being there for all that you need. The world needs more truth and reality and being willing to share this raw vulnerability is praise worthy. God is doing big things through you, even if how He’s doing it seems real friggin shitty. You’re His voice right now. 💕💕It’s through moms like you that stay with Him through the darkest of times that are teaching the rest of us how to walk the right path. 😘😘😘

Love, Melanie

Trish - February 5, 2019 - 9:19 pm

Thank you for sharing this deeply personal moment. She’s absolutely gorgeous Alex and Doug! I’m praying for you daily- that the pain eases and you’re comforted in small ways. God bless you

Stephanie holscher - February 5, 2019 - 8:36 pm

Melanie simply beautiful .. these nurses in this video are my wonderful coworkers and I’ve worked / admired dr. Schnettler for many years. Myself being a labor nurse for 12 yrs this always brings me to tears no matter how many of these deliveries I help/witness it never gets easier and each one is so special. My heart breaks for this family that they had to do this twice. Sometimes gods plan is never one we understand but we trust he knows best.. lots of love to this family as they grieve 😭

Tracy M Kemper - February 5, 2019 - 8:24 pm

Thank you, Melanie, for telling the truth, all of the hard truth of Alex and Doug’s story. This little one will be loved always, and my heart is broken for these sweet and committed parents. Alex and Doug, all my love to you.

Aunt Net - February 5, 2019 - 8:23 pm

My heart goes out to them and all who struggle to have children. We all deal with loss but these seem so unfair. May God bless them and give them strength and courage. May the community surround them with love. Incredibly written Mel, right from the heart. Love you💞💞

JennyBZ - February 5, 2019 - 6:41 pm

I can’t stop crying. This poor sweet family. Sending up so many prayers for healing those broken hearts. Beautiful images, Mel. love and prayers to everyone feeling this loss. ❤️

A Beautiful Beginning: Luca Alexander’s Birth Story

Nearly three years ago, in the middle of the night, Taryn delivered a chunky baby girl. After she sat on her chest for only a few minutes, she handed her over to her true mom, Elizabeth. It was a delivery I’ll talk about for the rest of my career. Time passed and the families remained close, so naturally the casual conversations of a sibling began. Just like road to Aria, it was full of heartache and loss but alas, Luca “bringer of light” was meant to be. Thankful for an induction because of SO many ducks to get in a row, Luca casually made his entrance mid afternoon. The butter ball weighed in at 9.9lbs, 20″ with 3 perfect dimples and a double chin. Another job perfectly well done by Taryn, I mean, could she set the bar any higher as a surrogate? NOPE. As Elizabeth said, if Taryn’s not going straight to heaven, nobody is.

After awhile, we melted from the hospital window as Aria, quite literally, pulled her sitter by the arm sprinting through the snow towards the hospital doors to meet baby brother. Aria, well really everyone in the room, was overcome with joy as the siblings snuggled up in Mom’s arms, just as God had planned. It was a story written in Taryn’s, Elizabeth’s and Dave’s tapestry long before they met. I’m so thankful to have the privilege of documenting their story twice over. Just as I asked after the first birth, mom wrote some words below to share with all the readers who can’t seem to pick their jaws up off the floor. Amiright?

From Elizabeth: Nine years ago started a chapter in our lives that I was not really sure how it would end. Our world was completely shattered with cancer when I was 27. I was faced with surgeries and chemo, not to mention loosing my hair- all things I never would have imagined facing in my 20’s. I won the battle, accepting the way it would forever change the way I felt, leaving the scars left on my body, but it took something from me I thought I could never recover from. Cancer took my fertility…my hope for starting our family. I knew in my heart I was meant to be a mommy, that ache was never going to go away.

The road to bring us to this point was not an easy one… we have faced loss and deep heartache along the way… but it has brought us the most incredible baby girl and boy and for that I’m forever grateful. We truly believe they were meant to be ours. We are so thankful that Taryn came into our lives- she brought us hope and she loved and cared for our babies like they were her own. She has the biggest heart and is the strongest, most brave person I’ve ever met! We are so happy that Aria and Luca get to know Taryn and her amazing family. They will grow up knowing their story- I think it’s a pretty special one. Aria and Luca are our miracle babies and our happy ending! Now a new chapter begins ❤️.

Push Play below to watch the slideshow!


A world of congratulations to y’all! Love, Melanie.

A Beautiful Beginning: Bridget Katherine’s Birth Story

This sweet little baby girl arrived between the holidays instead of after, like she was supposed to! Starting with a morning water break and a day full induction with little progress, we thought for sure she’d wait until morning to be born. I had only been home from the last birth a few hours and juuuust climbed in bed after Elizabeth said she was still 3cm. We knew the baby was in a poor position and they worked on rotating her all day and just as she heard it was bedtime, she turned Anterior! I closed my eyes and ::CHIME!!:: “We are 8cm!!” I laughed and said to my husband, “welp, cya later then!” as I put my clothes back on. HAHA. All went well and Bridget was born smoothly into Elizabeth’s arms! 6.11lbs with tons of light hair that stuck straight off her forehead! Elizabeth was so tired after a long day she was using all the remaining energy to hold her eyes open as we talked to her. Welcome to motherhood, amiright? Congrats you guys! She’s perfect!

Click PLAY to view slideshow!

love, Melanie

A Beautiful Beginning: Connor Knox’s Birth Story.

Life is funny in that you just never really know what’s coming next. Like, surprise! A you’re pregnant! A boy to be exact! Ellory’s labor was slow in the beginning then quick. Laurel rushed into the world, greeting us in the middle of the night. But this boy, he wanted his own dramatic story. Carolynn had an induction set for Friday morning but Thursday afternoon she started regular contractions. We thought for sure he’d come before the 5a induction, but sure enough she was still pregnant in the morning. As hours passed, I decided since I already had my kids with a sitter, I would just head out to Bethesda North since her previous two births she went from 3-10cm in less than an hour. I ate my lunch in the parking lot and casually headed in with her only being 4cm. Magically, as I was walking into her room, the nurse was checking her saying, she’s 7cm but the cervix is melting away. “Awesome!” I ran to the bathroom and when I came back, under 2min later, there were about 12 staff rushing around. UmWHATNAH? I was pushed out of the way and told to STEP BACK AND STOP NOW! I’ve been in lots of very serious scenarios and never had this happen, so clearly something intense was unfolding. Through the crowd, I could see Carolynn with oxygen on and staff discussing the decelerations not rising after contractions. Basically they established that she went complete so fast, the baby dropped with his hand to face, trapping the umbilical cord with him in the canal. So with a compressed cord, his body wasn’t receiving the blood and his heart rate was in the 60-80s and not rising back to 140. The resident Dr was able to get his hand up there to scare away Connor’s hand and after 10min of intense crazy and almost a sprint to the OR, all was fine again. HA!! WHAT THE?! We were all left standing around Carolynn like, uhhhhh, so that just happened! Then like no big deal, after a few pushes, Connor came out like, “Heyoooo! You thought the girls were crazy, Imma add so much more wild to your life!” Incredibly thankful it was remedied quickly and his sweet face is here and 7.4# of perfect! He has so much more worry planned for you, just you wait. 🤣🤣 Congrats, Brian and Carolynn!!

Love, Melanie