“I Want People to Know They Existed”—Triplet Mom Shares Heartbreaking Story of Infant Loss

News anchor Stacy Skrysak is invited into her television viewers’ homes every evening, so it’s only appropriate that she shares a few personal things with them as well. By the time Skrysak and her husband Ryan found out they were pregnant with triplets, her viewers were well-acquainted with her three-year struggle with infertility. Sadly, they were soon also acquainted with a second struggle for the Skrysaks: infant loss.

Stacy went into labor with her triplets Abigail, Peyton, and Parker 17 weeks early on June 23, 2013. Little Abby died in her mother’s arms just two hours after birth. Doctors tried to prevent Parker and Peyton from being born as long as they could, but were forced to deliver them 17 hours later when Stacy’s life was threatened with septic shock.

Kept alive in the NICU by wires and machines, Peyton and Parker fought for their little lives with their devoted parents by their sides.

NICU Parker
Baby Parker in the NICU. Courtesy of Skrysak family.

Parker lost his fight at 5 weeks old. Severe brain damage after a surgery weakened his body. He needed more surgeries, and doctors said Parker might not survive.

“We came to the point where we decided to stop care,” Stacey told PEOPLE magazine. “We didn’t ever want him to suffer.”

His mom and dad held him and read him books for four hours before Parker—and they—finally let go.

Newborn parker
Newborn Parker Courtesy Sprysak family
Although they focused their energy on Peyton’s survial, Stacy and Ryan were reeling with grief.

“People say that the loss of a child is the worst grief you can ever go through,” Stacy says. “I completely agree. It’s a different kind of grief. Your children are supposed to outlive you. The best advice is to allow yourself to grieve.

“So many people think, ‘I need to be strong, the tears need to stop,’ and I was like that. I said to my therapist, ‘Why am I feeling so sad three months later?’ And she said, ‘This is not going to go away. You never move on, you move forward.’ ”

Happily, at three months of age, Peyton started doing so well that Stacy knew she would survive. At four months old, Stacy and Ryan got to take their little girl Peyton–Abby’s identical twin—home. Peyton is now two and thriving!

Peyton 1
Peyton at 2 years of age. Courtesy Sprysak family
Now, in addition to raising their survivor, the Skrysaks are focusing on raising awareness about the heartbreak of infant loss, and taking the “taboo” out of talking about your children who are no longer on this earth.

“I want to talk about the children all day,” she says. “I want people to know they existed.”

Peyton bears
Peyton with two bears given to her parents to represent Parker and Abby. The bears weight what the babies did at birth. Courtesy Sprysak family

Stacy did an intimately personal profile on infant loss for her own TV station, WICS in Illinois and it’s heart-wrenchingly transparent. You can see it here.

Thank you to Stacy and Ryan for sharing your story with us! I will never forget your children! Lets help Abigail and Parker Skrysaks names be known—share this story on Facebook to spread infant loss awareness.

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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.