OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The birth of a baby is often one of the most joyous occasions for a family. Unfortunately, sometimes a family does not bring their baby home. One family recently experienced that loss, and they are now hoping to help other families in a similar situation.
Jen Schellen and Rodney Bender were excited to add to their blended family, but in March, Jen was admitted to Methodist Women's Hospital with complications at 22 weeks pregnant. The situation quickly became increasingly serious with Jen showing signs of a serious bacterial infection.
"Dr. Jacoby had to look at me and bring me into reality and say listen if we don't do this, do what we need to do here, you're going to go home alone," Rodney explained.
Baby Charley was born in the middle of the night. Her heartbeat for one hour and 50 minutes.
It was all hands on deck for the staff. They worked to care for Jen while allowing Jen and Rodney to be present in their time with Charley.
Nurse Jasye Morrison came into the room to help.
"My mom is a nurse at Women's as well, a labor nurse, and she has said for a long time how important it is to let these parents parent their baby because this is their shot, the chance that they get to do that," Jasye said.
As coworkers filled out paperwork, Jasye called the chaplain so Charley could be baptized. And Jayse picked up a camera.
"There's one photo where you caught Rodney. I've never seen somebody so sad, holding Charley, but it's a photo I will treasure because it is real and it is raw and that is how we felt," Jen said.
Jayse had recently taken an online class through the group Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. The organization helps provide end-of-life photos to help families heal after losing a baby.
The thoughtfulness of the Methodist staff left an impact on Jen and Rodney who wanted to help others going through similar grief.
"That's where it came into our thoughts, what can we do to give back," Rodney said.
They made a donation to the Methodist Hospital Foundation to provide USB drives and memory boxes for other families who are unable to bring their baby home.
Jen said, "I wanted Charley to have a purpose."