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Humans of Adventist Health Portland: Mother donates teddy bears to honor son

News, Spirit

In her own words, Paige Altman explains why she has donated weighted bears to our Family Birth Place for the past couple of years.

In 2018, my husband and I were pregnant with our first child, and at our anatomy scan, we found out he had bilateral renal agenesis, so he had no kidneys. He actually was born without a bladder as well, so it led to low lung development.

We were told when he was born he would pass away. We were really lucky that we were aware of that beforehand because it made our birthing experience actually really beautiful.

He lived for an hour and a half. When we were going to leave, we were gifted a weighted bear. It was amazing because it was the only way I was able to sleep after and one of the only things that kind of brought me comfort after losing our son.

I thought it could be helpful for other moms and dads leaving the hospital. And so I donated them for his first “angelversary.” It just felt really amazing to kind of do something in his honor, so we did it again this year. I hugged every single one of them. He would have been 3 this year. I’m hoping to do it every year.

It's a group you don't want anyone to be a part of. But then it's nice knowing that there's other women and men who have lived the same journey.

We had two miscarriages this summer too. So now I've experienced multiple types of loss. Miscarriage is even sadder in a way because there's so much less support there. People just don't even think it’s really considered a loss.