CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A Noblesville couple is sharing the legacy of their baby son with other families experiencing late-term miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss.
Kathleen Jeffers says she wants to give families a gift in their time of need to help them cope. It’s something she and her husband, Steven, wish they had.
Doctors told the Jeffers they had a textbook-perfect pregnancy with their daughter. When it came time to have baby number two, everything went as planned at first.
“As soon as the first blue balloon made its way out of the bag, there were cheers,” Kathleen remembers in a special tribute video made about her baby, named Scotty Michael Jeffers.
“At seven months pregnant I went in for a routine appointment and found out that Scotty’s heart had stopped beating and from there our world was rocked,” she told News 8’s Brenna Donnelly.
Kathleen Jeffers delivered and baby Scotty Michael was laid to rest. But she and her husband decided his legacy shouldn’t be mourned, but celebrated and used for good.
“It was extremely lonely and scary and sad and we knew we didn’t want other parents to feel as helpless in that situation,” she said.
Now the couple creates “Scotty Boxes” that go directly to a grieving parent at Ascension St. Vincent Carmel, where Scotty was born.
The first message inside the light brown, ribbon-wrapped box is a letter from Kathleen to the grieving family. Underneath a special baby book, a necklace, and keepsakes, including a worry stone that said “Breathe.” That item is one of Steven’s favorites, as he did not have significant paternity leave and went back to work within a week of Scotty’s death. He said that stone gave him something to focus on and allowed him to re-center throughout the day.
There’s also a stuffed folder filled with resources for funerals, counseling, lactation and information particular to moms and dads.
“Your mind is so far away from normal life that you have no idea what to do so the resources in there are just holding your hand,” said Steven.
The response has been positive both from the families and the hospital staff at St. Vincent Carmel. Nurses had told the Jeffers sometimes they struggled with how to handle a grieving parent in the delivery room, and handing off the boxes help.
The women who receive Scotty Boxes are typically those who have experienced late miscarriages at 18 weeks through stillbirth and loss right after delivery. They’re only available at St. Vincent Carmel but the Jeffers hope to expand to the larger Ascension St. Vincent Hospital on 86th Street in Indianapolis.
Scotty Michael’s tribute video continues with Kathleen’s voice: “You were too perfect and God has big plans for you.”
The Jeffers began The Scotty Michael Foundation, and say this is just the beginning.
“We’re hopeful to be able to continue Scotty’s legacy through something that is positive and can help others,” said Kathleen.
The boxes cost the Jeffers around $100, pulled from The Scotty Michael Foundation.
They hope to someday help fund funeral arrangements and medical expenses for families in need.
The Jeffers are hosting a golf scramble fundraiser on Sept. 10, 2021 at Plum Creek in Carmel.
To participate or contribute to the foundation, follow this link.
The Jeffers have since welcomed a healthy baby to their family. They say they’re grateful for their rainbow baby and are happy to speak with other families experiencing loss or pregnancies after loss.