A Happy Valley, Oregon, couple whose child died in utero are doing their best to help ease the pain of other parents facing the same situation.
Randy and Rebecca Hauskin’s daughter Hayden was stillborn in 2010 at 32 weeks gestation. “I hadn’t felt her move and we went right to the hospital,” Rebecca Hauskin told ABC News. “We had no knowledge, didn’t know what stillborn meant, the thought didn’t occur to me,” she said. The doctor told them there was no heartbeat.
“When you’re pregnant and your baby passes, you still have to go through the delivery,” Randy Hauskin said. Rebecca was in labor for 14 hours. “You need to make a lifetime of decisions in a really short period of time,” he said, referring to logistics like funeral arrangements.
Haydens Helping HandsHayden’s Helping Hands pays the hospital bills for stillborn babies.
Another decision the couple needed to make quickly was whether or not they would want to hold their daughter after her birth. They did.
“At 32 weeks, she was fully formed, just really tiny,” Randy Hauskin said. Hayden’s older sister, Madison, was also given the option of holding her little sister or not. She did.
Rebecca Hauskin said that she “had never experienced grief like that in her life.”
The couple returned home without their baby, but the nightmare didn’t end there. After about six weeks, they began to receive a hospital bill to pay off the $1,000 they owed. The bill was $77 each month, and Randy Hauskin paid it dutifully, though it was a recurring painful reminder of what the family had been through.
It was that experience that eventually led them to develop their foundation, Hayden’s Helping Hands. The organization has paid the hospital bills, up to $1,000 each, of 44 stillborn babies in Oregon and Washington.
“The reality is, we can’t change stillbirth,” Rebecca Hauskin said, “but we can be a resource for these families.” In Hayden’s case, she said, the umbilical cord became kinked and stopped delivering nutrients to the baby. There was no way to prevent it.
Her dream, she told ABC News, is to expand the foundation to become national and help families all over the country.
“There’s no other organization like it,” she said, “and we’re not shy about recognizing the babies by name.”
Most families, Rebecca Hauskin said, want to find a way to keep their baby’s memory alive. Because of that, Hayden’s Helping Hands names each child at their annual fundraiser and on its social media pages.
As for the Hauskins, the foundation is their way of giving Hayden’s life meaning. They’ve had another daughter, Josie, since Hayden’s passing but Hayden is still very much part of their lives.
Randy Hauskin said, “We have three daughters, period.”