Angel’s Story

At our tournament this year we will have a baby remembrance of babies that our foundation has helped, or that we have met along our journey of establishing and running the foundation.  We believe it is important to share their stories and say their names.  
We are remembering Angel today.  I met Angel’s Mommy, Christi Moreno, through Hope Mommies.  She is the currently Hope Mommies Dallas Chapter President. I want to thank her for her advice, wisdom and her ability to share her heart with me.  This is Angel’s story…

Angel Moreno

September 13, 2016

“On September 13, 2016, we went for our 20 week sonogram, to find out the gender of our 4th baby.     My husband and I have three daughters, so we were desperately hoping for a boy this time.  Instead of finding out the gender, we heard those four terrible words, ‘There is no heartbeat’, and my heart broke in two.  We left the office and went home and told our daughters, the baby they also wanted so badly was not going to be coming home, and my heart broke even more.  I remember going to bed that night knowing our lives had been changed forever.  On the 15th, we delivered the son we had hoped for, but not the way we had hoped to.  Angel was still born due to cord issues.  The pain of saying hello and good-bye to our son in the span of a few hours was crushing.  We buried our son three days later, next to my grandmother in a cemetery where five generations of my family are buried.     

We really miss having a son and seeing what he would have loved doing and what his personality would have been and watching our daughters get the opportunity to be big sisters to their baby brother.  To handle my grief, I focus on the hope we have knowing we will see our son again one day in Heaven and the blessings our journey through loss have brought into our life.

Emotionally the loss of Angel still affects us.  Our daughters still miss their baby brother and speak about him often.  It has brought us closer together.  Financially we incurred medical debt and debt for burial expenses, even with some financial assistance from our family.

What the Rhett Sullivan Foundation is doing is amazing and so needed.  Not having to worry about the finances and the cost and being able to honor your baby in the way your heart longs to, after having to say goodbye is an amazing gift.  We were fortunate to have help from our family, so we could do what we felt was best for our family, but without help we would have had to make decisions based on money and not what we wanted.”

~Angel’s Mommy

Noah’s Story

At our tournament this year we will have a baby remembrance of babies that our foundation has helped, or that we have met along our journey of establishing and running the foundation.  We believe it is important to share their stories and say their names.

Thinking of sweet Noah today, when his mommy, Maria and I spoke his story touched me in many ways as his story was very similar to Rhett’s. I have enjoyed getting to know Maria and learning more about her sweet boy. This is Noah’s story…

Noah Alexander Huchton ( Noah bear)

Feb 9, 2019 – May 05, 2019

“I miss everything about Noah.  I’ll never get to know what type of personality he would’ve had. I never got to hear him laugh. He was supposed to be my son Adrian’s best friend. Noah’s loss is still very fresh, but I handle my grief by praying, crying, talking to Noah and my other kids help me.

Emotionally it’s super hard; there are times where I feel lost. My heart is just broken. My daughters get sad and they try to think positive not just for themselves, but for me as well.  Financially we struggled coming up with the money for his headstone and hospital bills. 

The Rhett Sullivan Foundation spoke to me after Noah passed away.  It helped in many ways, because I had no idea what to expect after the loss of my baby. I felt alone, lost and broken. I have never had to deal with one’s death. Talking to them made me feel that I’m not alone.  I’m just so thankful for the Rhett Sullivan Foundation. Without them I would have been more of a mess than what I was trying to figure out where to even begin.  It was such a blessing to have the foundation’s financial help after Noah passed away. May our Angels watch over all of us parents and their families.  Forever in our hearts our sweet Noah bear.”

~Noah’s Mommy

Ella’s Story

At our tournament this year we will have a baby remembrance of babies that our foundation has helped, or that we have met along our journey of establishing and running the foundation.  We believe it is important to share their stories and say their names.

Precious Ella, we are remembering you! Ella’s mommy, Sable, has felt lead through this experience to help others facing early child loss through her counseling practice, Village Counseling. I enjoy my conversations with Sable about what our babies would be doing at different ages.  I hope to continue to expand our counseling reach with Sable. This is Ella’s story…

Ella Lynne Gonyea

August 24, 2015

“Our pregnancy with Ella was difficult. I was sick for most of the pregnancy, but even so Ella was loved fiercely. At our anatomy scan around 21 weeks we learned that Ella had not grown since around 19-20 weeks. My blood pressure was also high at that (and every other) appointment. Our doctor asked us to return in one month for a repeat scan. We returned around 25 weeks and learned that Ella had not grown much at all and I did not have much amniotic fluid. My blood pressure was also dangerously high and my “morning sickness” hadn’t let up. We were immediately admitted to the hospital and despite attempts to encourage Ella’s growth and keep Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome from progressing, we were forced to induce to save my life. The induction began on August 23, 2015 and Ella’s heart was still beating strong.  Somewhere around 6:30 am on the 24th, Ella died. I know this because my body reacted and I became extremely cold. Ella was delivered at 8:00 am on August 24, 2015.

We miss her whole life. We miss watching her grow and every milestone missed. We miss seeing her with her little sister, Laurel. We miss the rocky teenage years. We miss the possibility of her wedding day and building her own family. However, we had to find meaning in Ella’s life. We had to separate her death from her life, which wasn’t an easy process to do.

The first year after Ella’s loss is still pretty hazy. Emotionally we were devastated, felt lost, and didn’t know how to move forward. It was like we were screaming our pain into a crowded room, but no one could hear us. Outside of medical, burial and funeral costs, I was unable to work for 3 months after Ella’s loss and that was completely unpaid, which was not easy financially.

If I had been lucky enough to have the assistance of the Rhett Sullivan Foundation when I lost Ella, I would have used the assistance for specialized counseling. I couldn’t find any therapists that specialized in pregnancy and infant loss that took our insurance. Any that did specialize, either were an out-of-pocket expense or were far away. As such, I found a wonderful therapist that had no conception of the grief of losing a child. Her experience with grief was losing her elderly mother, which I have no doubt was a tremendous loss, just different. Had there been financial assistance available, I could have used that support to seek a counselor who ‘got it.’”

~Ella’s Mommy

Mercy’s Story

At our tournament this year we will have a baby remembrance of babies that our foundation has helped, or that we have met along our journey of establishing and running the foundation.  We believe it is important to share their stories and say their names.

We are remembering Mercy today.  I met Mercy when I met her mommy, Allison, while researching child loss resources in the Denton County area.  Allison and her family established Team Mercy in memory of Mercy, in which they help to assist grieving child loss families, specifically the siblings, through one of life’s most difficult tragedies, by providing funding for an existing activity for those siblings through Mercy’s Gift. This is Mercy’s Story….

Mercy Elizabeth Whitfield

September 8, 2011 – September 21, 2011

“At 16 weeks I was sent to the Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor to have everything checked out… This ultrasound started out as all the others, and then took a turn. We were whisked down the hall to the Pediatric Cardiologist and given another ultrasound. After what seemed like an eternity of silence on the part of the technician and doctor, probably 25 minutes, a doctor came in with a chart of the heart and explained the heart defect our daughter has and how she was planning on fixing it after her birth.  Then back to the maternal fetal doc. He says he would like to see us again, and was encourage an amniocentesis to rule out genetic disorders such as trisomy 13, 18, and 21. The results came back with trisomy 13.  We are told the survival rate to term and after are more than poor. We are given three options to terminate, induce labor or carry as far to term as possible and deliver.  We chose option 3. Mercy was successfully carried to term, and born via c-section September 8, 2011. She lived for 13 days. Like many parents given a fatal diagnosis I became fixated on what I could do.  I could not change her DNA but I could decide how I would value her life. We planned for Mercy but we also planned for our other children. We chose to carry the pregnancy like it was any other and to find joy in each opportunity, #MercyEverywhere. 

I miss having Mercy here. I miss the time at the kitchen table with all 4 kids. I miss discovering if she and her sister would be more alike or more different. I miss her presence. I allow myself to be sad. I move forward by embracing the sad and celebrating the good. We strive to acknowledge our children’s grief for their sister in each age and stage of their lives. We also want them to feel equally valued, loved, and cared for.  

Emotionally, each of us is different and each of us process grief in our individual ways. There is not one way to define how our grief can be seen, physically or emotionally. But it is there. We acknowledge it, embrace it, and move forward with it.  

We were gifted the advice and financial ability to keep our other children’s lives as normal as possible while they learned their new normal of life with and then without a sibling.  That normalcy was of the greatest value. We hope and desire that for all children who experience the death of a sibling. In our journey and through the experiences of our children, we formed Team Mercy. Team Mercy provides Grief Packets for families as well as funding healthy grieving activities for the children while learning their new “normal” through Mercy’s Gift.  

I am thankful for the presence of the Rhett Sullivan Foundation.”

~Mercy’s Mommy

Stella’s Story

At our tournament this year we will have a baby remembrance of babies that our foundation has helped, or that we have met along our journey of establishing and running the foundation.  We believe it is important to share their stories and say their names.  

Sweet Stella, we are remembering you today.  Stella passed away 6 months to the day after Rhett and I remember hearing her story and knew I needed to reach out to Stella’s Mommy, Laura.  Since then we have become close friends that like to talk about Stella and Rhett.

Laura and her husband have started a foundation in Stella’s memory called “Stella Save Lives”.  They want to bring awareness of childhood illnesses, support research, and help other grieving families when tragedy such as ours strikes.  They are both strong supporters of Sepsis Alliance and help to bring awareness and education of sepsis symptoms. Another project Laura is working on in memory of Stella is the Tribute Clothing Co, please check it out. This is Stella’s story….

Stella Hall

July 8, 2017- March 22, 2018

Stella has a twin Nash and an older brother Hayden. She was our only girl, our princess. She loved to be held and had the prettiest big eyes, chubby cheeks for kisses, best giggle and sweet little girly voice. She loved to flap her little arms in excitement especially when big brother, Hayden was doing something silly.

We miss everything about her, what she was and who she would have been. For me, her mother, I will never have a daughter on earth. She was my best friend in the making. We will miss all her milestones and we will never have our twins together. Every milestone that Nash hits, she should be right there with him.

I handle my grief by openly talking about her with whoever will listen even if it makes them uncomfortable.  I have made many friends through this journey that know this pain.  I like to think that Stella leads me to people. Much like Rhett and Stella connected Tyler and I.  Emotionally we get up and go forward every day for our surviving children.  We are constantly telling the boys we love them and hugging and kissing them because we understand that every moment could be your last.  We have PTSD from the trauma of that morning and most nights I don’t sleep or I wake up thinking one of the boys is dead.  Our boys, especially Hayden because he was old enough to remember has lost his innocence of death.

We actually had a small insurance policy for all or our children. We never in a million years thought we would have to use it. It helped us cover Stella’s funeral and burial expenses. We continued to receive hospital bills after we had laid her to rest. Those we had to pay out of pocket. Most therapy sessions are not covered by insurance so these have been an added expense as well.

I think the resources the Rhett Sullivan Foundation are gathering to help families is invaluable. We didn’t know where to turn and felt so alone when Stella died. We would have loved to have someone like The Rhett Sullivan Foundation helping us. Funeral costs and burial expenses are very costly and most people don’t have life insurance for their children so all expenses are out of pocket.

~Stella’s Mommy