Owlet's mission is to empower parents to give care at home. Owlet Cares is our advocacy initiative that is dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of babies and parents.
We partner with nonprofits all over the world who share our mission. These groups participate in our 3:1 match program. When they purchase one Owlet product, we match it with two - meaning three families are reached. Each month, we shine a spotlight on one of our foundation partners and the important work they are doing.
This month, we’d like to introduce you to the Allo Hope Foundation and its founder, Bethany Weathersby, as she shares how she keeps her daughter’s memory alive during the holidays.
By: Bethany Weathersby
Christmas has always been a highlight for me in the tapestry of parenting highs and lows over the years. Christmas morning with little kids is pure parenting joy, plus exhaustion but there’s always coffee to remedy that. However, the year my daughter, Lucy, was stillborn, the festivities of Christmas just seemed to sharpened the pain of her absence. How does a parent celebrate Christmas when one of their children is missing?
Navigating the Storm
In 2013, I was diagnosed with Maternal Alloimmunization, a rare, high-risk pregnancy condition that would not only change the course of my future pregnancies but would change my whole life. Maternal Alloimmunization means a mother’s immune system has created antibodies that could go through the placenta during pregnancy and attack her unborn baby’s red blood cells, causing fetal anemia. This condition in the baby is called HDFN (hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn.) My first two pregnancies had been uncomplicated and my two oldest boys, Liam and Asher, were both born healthy at 41 weeks. But this third pregnancy, now complicated by my new diagnosis, was extremely high risk. My husband Josh and I were devastated, confused and we felt extremely isolated since no one seemed to understand our new diagnosis. The unimaginable happened halfway through my pregnancy when we watched our baby girl’s heartbeat slow down and stop on ultrasound. After laboring through the night I delivered our baby girl the next day. She weighed exactly one pound and she was beautiful. We named her Lucy Dair. Our hearts were broken.
Christmas Without Lucy
That first Christmas without Lucy we hung three stockings for our three children, but on Christmas Eve when I filled both boys’ stockings with chocolate and toys, Lucy’s stocking remained painfully empty. I sobbed as I folded up the empty stocking and put it back in storage. On Christmas morning Liam and Asher asked me what Lucy got in her stocking, but I was at a loss for words.
For several years, we continued hanging a stocking for Lucy, but I started to dread the moment on Christmas Eve when I would fill everyone’s stocking except for hers. Eventually the pain of putting away her empty stocking led me to stop hanging it altogether.
Hope Arises: In 2015, after seeking medical care out of state, our daughter Nora Juliet was born healthy, highlighting the fact that even severe HDFN is in fact treatable with the right care. In 2017, we welcomed our son, Callum Joseph Thomas by emergency c-section at 34 weeks. The fear of leaving the hospital empty-handed again loomed over his birth and hospital stay, but after 20 days in the NICU we were able to bring Callum home. During Callum’s NICU stay I learned about the Owlet monitor from a friend. Unable to afford it due to ongoing medical bills, I reached out to Knox Blocks, an organization providing monitors to families in need, and they gifted me an Owlet smart baby monitor. The peace of mind our Owlet monitor brought was invaluable. We went on to have our last baby, August Judah, in 2020 after another extremely high risk pregnancy and the Owlet monitor again brought us so much comfort during his first year of life.
The Birth of The Allo Hope Foundation
During my journey navigating maternal alloimmunization and trying to grow our family I was able to connect with other patients online and I realized that like me, lots of other women were struggling to find the right care during their alloimmunized pregnancies. Other babies are dying preventable deaths, and other women were feeling isolated and hopeless during their alloimmunized pregnancies. So in 2019, I founded a nonprofit organization called The Allo Hope Foundation to provide education and support geared specifically towards alloimmunized women and HDFN patients. Our mission is to prevent any harm, stillbirth or infant death caused by Alloimmunization and Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn (HDFN). Since its creation, The Allo Hope Foundation has grown and become a safe community for families navigating alloimmunization, offering resources to both patients and medical professionals.
Lucy's Stocking Fundraiser: A Symbol of Love and Hope
A few Christmases ago, Nora asked me why we don’t hang a stocking for Lucy at Christmas and I remembered the pain of folding up her empty stocking every Christmas Eve. But Nora’s innocent question sparked a profound idea. Why not fill Lucy's stocking like we did for her siblings? And what if we could fill it with HOPE for other families facing this disease? Thus, "Lucy's Stocking" fundraiser was born. The Allo Hope Foundation launched this initiative to raise funds for underserved patients worldwide who needed support and resources during their alloimmunized pregnancies. Every donation was written down on a little card and placed in Lucy’s stocking on Christmas Eve. My heart was so full on Christmas morning when I got to see the kids’ eyes light up noticing all of the filled stockings including Lucy’s. They were very curious about what was in her stocking, so we read through every card and we talked about what those donations would mean to other families struggling with HDFN- it would mean access to educational resources, anti-D injections (also known as Rhogam) to prevent the disease, support for women who were overwhelmed and scared, and improvement in care practices for the disease. It meant HOPE and LIFE for other families. And each name was a reminder of how much Lucy was loved and valued even though she wasn’t here with us.
Continued Impact: Lucy's Stocking fundraiser has become an annual tradition, turning a symbol of loss into a beacon of hope. Year after year it has grown and now includes other families who run their own stocking fundraisers for their babies who battled HDFN.
Healing Through Giving: I have found the most profound healing in using our tragedy for good. Lucy's life has become a catalyst for change, giving other families hope. I remember what an impact The Knox Blocks Foundation and Owlet had on our family during a very stressful time and I am grateful to pay it forward with Lucy's Stocking. The fundraiser symbolizes hope, love, and the tangible impact our babies can have on this world regardless of how long they were here.
Bethany's story is one of resilience, love, and hope. Through the Allo Hope Foundation and Lucy's Stocking, she has turned personal loss into a force for good. As we approach the holidays, let Bethany's journey remind us of the importance of remembering our babies, supporting those facing similar struggles, and finding hope in the darkest of times.
Bethany Weathersby lives with her husband, Josh, and their five children in Tuscaloosa, AL. During her third pregnancy in 2013, Bethany was diagnosed with maternal alloimmunization (Kell antibodies) and her daughter, Lucy, was stillborn halfway through the pregnancy due to severe HDFN (hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn) caused by her Kell antibodies. Determined to continue growing their family, Bethany partnered with maternal-fetal specialists out of state who supported her throughout her next three pregnancies, helping the Weathersbys have the large family they had always wanted. In 2019, Bethany founded the Allo Hope Foundation to provide resources and support for alloimmunized women, HDFN patients and their providers. Today, she continues to advocate for moms and babies across the world and offer hope as the Executive Director of The Allo Hope Foundation.
*The quotes, stories, and experiences included here are those of the individuals and are not representative of Owlet's views or claims about our product. Individuals were not paid and did not submit their information as part of any paid promotion by Owlet. The content provided on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have and to learn more about your child's specific needs.