When Mindy Danison shared photos of her 7-week-old baby, whom she miscarried, on Facebook, she had a purpose: to share with the world the preciousness of life.
Danison is mother to five children, ranging from age one to age nine. She and her husband, Gabe, were thrilled to be expecting another baby last fall, but unfortunately, that baby’s heart stopped beating around 7-and-a-half weeks gestation.
“One day at my mom’s house, I had a gush of blood,” explained Danison. “We rushed to the hospital hoping it wasn’t what we thought it was. We found out the baby’s heart had stopped. I couldn’t believe it, even seeing it for myself.”
Danison was given the options of a D&C procedure to remove the baby from the uterus, or pills to force the miscarriage into happening more quickly. She decided to take her own path and allow the miscarriage to happen on its own time. It was three emotional weeks later that the contractions started.
“I sit down in the tub and right away felt calmed,” she explained. “[…] I lean back, giving gentle pushes and finally I find a large thing that was encased. I analyze it to see if baby is inside. I begin to look closer and see a small piece of the baby. In that moment I was not sad, but not happy. It was a feeling that you can’t explain. If I had to, I would say, comforting, love, amazement.
“The placenta was surrounding the sac the baby was inside. The moment he was born, I began to cry. I had so many emotions rushing. But the first thing I remember saying is, ‘I can see him.’ Sitting in a tub full of blood and blood clots, holding my little baby in his sac encased in his placenta still, all I could do was look at how amazing this was. How beautifully made this baby was.”
Danison spoke to her baby boy, whom she named Riley Jae, and said goodbye. That night, Danison and her husband cut the umbilical cord and sat together looking at him. They took pictures and prayed, and felt very blessed that God had given them the opportunity to meet Riley.
“The incredible view of life in the early stages,” she said. “Those stages the doctors told me my baby was just clots and tissue. They told me I wouldn’t see him, I wouldn’t tell it’s a boy. […] How can they tell me this child, my baby, was not a baby?”
That night, Danison had a dream of God telling her not to worry, that this was always meant to be Riley’s destiny. God told her to share Riley with the world and to help as many people as she could with his photographs. She said this gave her an overwhelming feeling of peace.
The next day, Danison and her husband brought Riley to the funeral home and had his remains cremated. Her husband told her that it was the hardest thing he ever had to do and he never wanted to go through the experience again.
But Danison and her husband would soon suffer two more miscarriages, including their daughter, Annabelle, whom they were also able to take photographs of after her birth in February. Anabelle was only eight weeks old when she passed away.
At an early ultrasound they learned that there was a Subchorionic Hematoma, in which the egg slightly separates from the uterine wall shortly after implantation. The doctors told them not to worry. A second follow-up ultrasound showed that all was well and the baby had a strong heartbeat. But then on the way to visit family, Danison felt some cramping. They pulled over, and at a gas station bathroom, she miscarried Annabelle.
They were able to finish the drive and later in the day they marveled over her little body, including fingers, toes, ears, eyes, mouth, brain, arms and legs. Just as they did with Riley, they spoke to her and told her they loved her. They also had Annabelle’s remains cremated.
Danison feels that Annabelle and Riley share the same purpose, which is to share the humanity of preborn children in the womb. She wants to show women that these are their children, not “tissue” or “clumps of cells.” Now, in light of the undercover Planned Parenthood videos by Center for Medical Progress, Danison knows that it is urgent her children’s photos be shared with the world.
“We are lied to daily by our people who went to school [to be doctors], who say they know what’s best for us,” said Danison. “We, as parents, need to do research ourselves. I want my photos to be seen by as many eyes as possible. My photos are from love. These children […] deserve to live on through the eyes of the world to see the true beauty, the amazing creation of God, and to help in any way they can, whether that be hanging these photos up in every single abortion clinic and making it mandatory to view them.”
Danison and her husband are now excited to be expecting twins in February. They both know that each of their children’s lives have meaning and value, and they hope that everyone can look at them and see them for what they are, children who deserve a chance at life.