Five years after losing their premature newborn to a rare genetic disease just minutes after she was born, a U.S. Army Reserve chaplain and his wife keep their daughter’s spirit alive by gifting teddy bears to women who’ve lost a baby.
The couple learned that Reagan Marie had Trisomy 18, a rare genetic disease that causes birth defects, halfway through the pregnancy. They had tried for two years before conceiving.
"We decided that no matter what, we would be with Reagan until the end of her natural life,” Bob told Fox 5.
Cindy’s water broke 10 weeks early and she brought a teddy bear with her to Northside Hospital, thinking it would comfort her during the difficult delivery.
"We had the bear with Reagan,” Cindy told Fox 5. “Kind of how a child will snuggle up with a stuffed animal. And we had pictures taken of her with the bear. And then when I left the hospital, I was holding the bear."
The family had 21 minutes together before Reagan died.
Now parents to a 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, the Baimas created their fund to offer a teddy bear to each woman losing a baby.
"We realized how painful it is for a mother to leave the hospital with nothing in her arms, watching all these other moms leaving with babies in their arms and balloons and all these celebrations,” Bob said.
“It's certainly a great way for moms and parents to know that they're not alone in this,” Cindy said.