In January, Stacy and Jonathan Holley of Raleigh found out they were pregnant and were overwhelmed with joy. On February 12, that joy was tripled when their OB/GYN discovered Stacy was pregnant with triplets. Three baby boys!
The Holleys did as any expecting couple would do. They told family and friends the exciting news, began to prepare the nursery, and picked out names. Since Stacy was considered a high-risk pregnancy, she was also under the care of a maternal-fetal medicine physician, and went to appointment after appointment. Everything was progressing as planned until she was 22-weeks pregnant.
“My pregnancy was completely fine, until it wasn’t,” Stacy said.
There was not much time to prepare, and on May 29, 2019 at just 23 weeks, Stacy was rushed to WakeMed for an emergency C-section.
Meeting Their Babies & Mallory for the First Time
Wright Anderson and Graham Franklin were both born at 10:41 am, and Ford Austin was born at 10:43 am, with each baby weighing a little over 1 pound.
It was during Stacy’s C-section that Jonathan met Mallory Magelli McKeown, a Family Navigator for WakeMed, who Jonathan says was crucial to their experience.
Family Navigators are a critical component to the many services provided for families with children in the hospital and babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). In this role, they support families, helping them navigate the hospital and access support services.
That is exactly what Mallory did for Jonathan the minute he got to the hospital. Mallory walked Jonathan through the NICU where the babies would be cared for, introduced him to the nursing staff who would be caring for Stacy and the babies, showed him what the numbers on the machines meant, and prepared him for the next steps.
In addition to Mallory, the Holleys were surrounded by a team of nurses and physicians who cared for the boys around the clock.
Working Through the Grieving Process
Members of this team were also with the Holleys during the devastating loss of each of their boys, and shared in their grief. Wright passed away on May 29, Graham on May 31, and Ford on June 2.
Stacy and Jonathan were numb.
Mallory helped guide them during this challenging time. She coordinated with WakeMed Spiritual Care services to have chaplains and resources available to the family. They helped Stacy and Jonathan give each baby a bath, dress them in a tiny white gown made from donated wedding gowns, take photos of the babies, get their hand prints and footprints, and create molds of their hands and feet.
At the time, Jonathan and Stacy didn’t understand how important these precious items would be. Now, they are treasures the couple is thankful for each and every day.
Jonathan said the entire team was wonderful.
“They were all great healthcare professionals and treated us with us as much care as our boys. The fact that there was someone like Mallory with us made all the difference. I had one person that I could go to, get answers, and find help, and had someone to care for us. We didn’t know what to do, or how to do it, but Mallory led the way and was a constant companion to us.”
Finding the Strength to Share Their Story
This is just one of the many reasons Stacy and Jonathan found the courage and strength to share their story.
At WakeMed, the Family Navigator position is funded through the WakeMed Foundation. The Holleys want to make sure that other families who have similar experiences get the same level of care and support that they did.
“I didn’t know how common pregnancy and infant loss was until it happened to me. And now it is important for Jonathan and me to share our story so other families know it is not their fault and they are not alone.”
The Holleys want to talk about their precious babies and share about the wonderful care and compassion they received from so many people at WakeMed. They want others to know that good can come out of loss.
About Love Light
WakeMed’s annual Love Light tree lighting ceremony began in 1985 with the generosity of Dr. Bill and Colleen Lee, who donated the first Love Light tree in memory of their son, Matthew William Lee. Today, the annual tree lighting ceremony continues with the ability to make Love Light donations in honor of someone special.
Each year, a family of one of our former pediatric patients is selected to kick off our Love Light tree ceremony. This year, we are honored to have the Holley family light the tree. All of the proceeds earned from the Love Light ceremony directly benefit children’s services at WakeMed.