APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – What should have been one of the happiest moments for a local Wisconsin couple turned out to be one of the hardest. Thankfully, they were given support in their time of need and recently gave back on their heartfelt anniversary.

According to ThedaCare, Brian and Kelly Friedrich were ready to be parents and expected their baby boy in April 2021. However, as Kelly neared 36 weeks, ThedaCare explained she noticed she hadn’t felt the baby kick in a while.

Kelly got checked right away and found out there wasn’t a heartbeat anymore.

After hearing the news, ThedaCare said the couple went home and started planning for something they never expected.

“I went into the hospital to be induced,” explained Kelly. “The teams at ThedaCare were amazing. They were compassionate and truly cared for all of us. When you lose a child, there are so many decisions to make, and you’re grieving, not in any state to think through those decisions. That’s where the team made it as easy as possible, coordinating every detail. It’s how we made it through.”

The couple said the team at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton supported them throughout their journey, and on April 28, 2021, grieved with them as their child – named William James – was born.

“They anticipated everything,” said Kelly. “They helped coordinate photos and keepsakes. Things we never would have thought of at the time – William’s footprints, a swirl of his hair. I am so grateful for those treasures now.”

“The team made something wonderful out of what would have been one of the worst experiences. Incredibly, they made a horrible situation, so much better,” she added.

How they gave back

On the anniversary of the child’s death, the couple honored the day by visiting the nurses at the Appleton ThedaCare.

In addition to treats and cake, the family brought books and information so team members could give them to other families who have experienced the death of an infant.

The couple said they wanted to thank caregivers again, as well as provide resources for other families who might be experiencing a similar situation of grief.

“I want mothers to know that they are not alone,” Kelly said. “I wish that no other families would feel what we felt, but we know these things will happen. And we want others to know there is a whole community that is standing alongside you.”

ThedaCare also announced Kelly is pregnant. In a release sent on May 23, it explained she was at 31 weeks with a baby boy.

Resources

Staff explained ThedaCare Family of Foundations supports families like the Friedrich’s through keepsakes and resources for teams serving families in need. It also assists the Resolve through Sharing program, which brings families who have suffered together.

Walk to Remember, an annual event held in October, and Candlelight Memorial Service every December, are there to help show support to families who have dealt with the loss of an infant through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or neonatal death.

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