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Headshot of Erin Konecky with her new born baby

Coping with Infant Loss

APRIL 10, 2023
Headshot of Erin Konecky, Nebraska Mother of the Year 2019
Erin Konecky, 2019 Nebraska Mother of the Year

I want to speak the story of Spencer, my infant son who died in my arms.

At our 21 week ultrasound, I had a bad feeling. It started when the ultrasound tech asked us ominously what genetic testing we’d had done. Her tone didn’t help the fact that I was already wary of ultrasound technicians because twice the previous year we’d been told there was no heartbeat at our first ultrasound of the pregnancy- two times- two separate miscarriages.

So when our doctor entered later, with a jovial comment about our baby quickly growing, I cut him off.

“Is everything ok with our baby?” 

He simply replied, “No.”

Long story short, our appointment that day began at 9, and we finally left the hospital at 1 with crushing news. Our baby had a heart and brain defect – most likely trisomy 13 or 18 – both fatal. Devastated, we went home to our then 6-year old son, Gram, to determine our next steps.

Fast forward three months. Three months of planning for a birth, a death, and a funeral. Three months of sobbing. Three months of praying, questioning, and pleading.  Three months of celebrating the baby we decided to name Spencer. Three months of researching, reading, and getting advice from families previously in our position.

And on October 12, 2017, it was time. Time to say hello to our beautiful baby boy. At 1 p.m. my husband, Tim, and I walked into the hospital. I began crying in the car on the way there, and was still tearful when the elevator doors opened to the delivery floor. Luckily, we had supportive women there who knew exactly what we wanted that day to look like, and their job was to see our wishes fulfilled.

What was our wish for that day? First- it was to celebrate Gram- the big brother. To give him as much time with his baby brother as possible. Second, it was to have Spencer baptized while he was alive. Third, I wanted that baby to feel so much love in his lifetime.

Headshot of Erin Konecky with her new born baby

And when Spencer was born, I couldn’t have imagined a better 96 minutes. He was held by 12 different family members, one of whom joined him in heaven a few months later. He was baptized by my father.  He died peacefully in my arms.

Spencer was 3 pounds 11 ounces. He was tiny but had long slender feet. His cleft lip grew uniquely so that he had a little bubble under his nose. He was beautiful.

My baby was here. My baby was important. Every life matters, every life deserves to be spoken about, even if they only last 96 minutes.

Read more about Erin’s work to help families grieving the loss of an infant here.

In less than two years Erin Konecky, experienced two miscarriages, the death of her infant son, and the unexpected death of her father-in-law. In that time, Erin struggled with her own emotions while comforting her husband and six-year-old son through the losses. Because she learned her story was not unusual, Erin used her tragedy to better the lives of families grieving from infant and pregnancy loss by implementing and executing a condolence card from Governor Pete Ricketts. By coordinating with his staff, Erin created and funded the project to let parents know their baby had an impact. As an educator and through involvement in local organizations No Footprint Too Small, Mourning Hope, and Cedars, Erin focuses on supporting grieving Nebraskans and educating others on the impact trauma has on students at home and in the classroom. Erin is the 2019 Nebraska Mother of the Year. Read more about Erin here…


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