Program dedicated to helping families through miscarriages, similar losses

Angels Away gives support after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death

SAN ANTONIO – Many sources say 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. It's a shockingly high amount, yet it's a subject most are often silent about.

Last week, KSAT spoke with a woman who miscarried and kept the fetus with her in her purse. After that story aired, KSAT was flooded with emails and social media posts from other women who had also miscarried. They echoed a similar feeling: When it happened to them, they didn't know what to do.

What many don't know is that the only program in the entire region dedicated to helping families through this type of loss located in San Antonio. It's called Angels Away, and it's helping families cope and heal every single day.

Amy Thomson is an English teacher at John Paul II Catholic High School in Schertz. Every day, no matter where she goes, she wears a silver charm necklace around her neck.

"There's a ‘G' with a heart, these little angel wings, and his birth stone, which would have been April. It's just something to hold and to feel him with us," she said holding onto the small charms.

It's a physical reminder of her son, Gianni, who was miscarried nine weeks into her pregnancy. That was a year and a half ago.

"It was very traumatic. With the baby being gone, all of your dreams and all of your hopes, all of the plans you had made, is all gone with it," she explained.

Like many women, she had no idea what to do. Then she found Christus Santa Rosa's Angels Away program, and its chaplain, Peggy Huber.

"Whether they've had an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, a still birth, or a neonatal death, they all have that sensibility that there is this short span of hello and goodbye," Huber said.

For 15 years, Huber has helped people like Thomson find burial programs, support groups and memory items.

"She prayed with us and gave us a memory box. The box in and of itself had information on it which is very valuable, because in those moments you feel lost," Thomson said.

Something special these families are offered is a certificate of life, either in Spanish or in English, validating that their baby was real.

That validation also came from the monthly Angels Away support group, which Thomson still attends.

"Sometimes just being able to talk about it helps you remember and know, and reinforces that your baby was real. Your baby passed away. To actually meet and hear stories from other people who are going through the same thing you are. To hear them going through different stages and being able to acknowledge, that's exactly how I felt!" Thomson said.

"Some people are two years out since the loss. Some people are three weeks. So they have a sense that I will get better," Huber said.

The memory never fades, but Thomson is healing, and wants other families to know they can too.

"With a loss like this, you need help and there are sources for that help. You have to be a little bit courageous and reach out there and get the help that you need," she said.

The Angels Away Program covers and takes care of the burial if the woman is a Christus Santa Rosa patient. However, even if other community members are not patients, the chaplains still help them find a different burial program in the area. Everyone and anyone is welcome to the rest of the support services. 

Click here for more information on Angels Away.

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