Pregnancy and infant loss fund helps families heal

While the loss of any loved one is difficult, the loss of an infant or unborn child is oftentimes unthinkable.

Fortunately for bereaved parents, Fairview’s pregnancy and infant loss fund, supported by generous donors, is available to help families grieve, heal and begin to move forward.

In January 2011, Justin and Jess Kostner welcomed the new year with excitement and anticipation—they were expecting their first child early that summer and were eagerly preparing for their little one’s arrival. But, just weeks later, the couple tragically lost their baby. Born at only 21 weeks, Jacob James Kostner was delivered stillborn at Fairview Ridges Hospital.

“We were so unprepared for the moment of Jacob’s birth,” recalls Jess. “But, we were so impressed and overwhelmed with the support that we received, of course from our friends and family, but also from the amazing staff at Fairview.”

Supporting families in grief

The Kostner family received a memory box filled with tools to help them make their first and last moments with their son as memorable and meaningful as possible. From a homemade gown to dress their newborn in and a camera to capture photos of their son, to a keepsake kit for collecting footprints and handprints, the labor and delivery staff were well prepared to support the Kostner family in their journey.

Lily touches a stone engraved with Jacob's name.

Lily touches a stone engraved with Jacob’s name.

“Part of the focus of this fund is to better prepare our staff to help patients and families through this extremely difficult time,” says Lauren Johnson, director of patient/ family support services and community relations at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, who manages the pregnancy and infant loss fund.

“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, all of our labor and delivery units and many of our same day surgery and emergency units are stocked with memory boxes and other mementos for grieving families. Staff are also trained on how to help grieving parents,” adds Lauren.

Justin says they experienced this firsthand. “The pregnancy and infant loss fund supports tools and resources that were so instrumental in helping us cope with our loss and memorialize Jacob,” he says.

The Kostner family is not alone in their feelings of gratitude. The fund touches more than 1,000 families across the Fairview system each year.

Remembering Jacob

Kostner family on vacation.

Kostner family on vacation.

Justin and Jess Kostner, now proud parents of 2½-year-old Lily, are expecting another child later this year.

They host an annual golf tournament fundraiser—“Jacob’s Hope”—to support the pregnancy and infant loss fund, and to remember the son they lost. So far, Jacob’s Hope golf tournaments have raised nearly $20,000.

“We felt so supported in the wake of our loss that we want to help others experience that as well. Once a year we gather our family, our friends, and our community to keep Jacob’s memory alive and to support a truly great cause,” says Jess.

To support the pregnancy and infant loss fund, visit Fairview Foundation.

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