Nothing changes your world like a child. The first time Dora Bailey held her daughter Abigail she felt complete.
"I have this life in my hands that God put inside me, and it's mine, and she's really here, and she's screaming, and it's awesome," recalled Bailey of those first precious moments.
That joy was felt again when two years later Dora found out she was pregnant. Knowing a little more about what to expect this time, she began prepping for their little boy.
"It starts for me as soon as you feel the first kick, or the first hiccup or the first punch," smiled Bailey.
The first two trimesters passed normally. Well into the third, baby James's personality was already felt. He was a mover. However, shortly after Valentines Day, Bailey noticed James wasn't moving like normal. They had a good checkup just the day before, but she decided to see her midwife.
"That night she said, 'I don't think your baby is alive.' We were like, what do we do? We came back to Searcy went back to the hospital and did an ultrasound to confirm."
The Bailey's later learned the cord had a knot and was wrapped around the baby's neck. On Monday Dora held James for the first and last time.
"It was like the best and worst second of my life when I got to see him for the first time. It was such a sacred moment. He was so beautiful."
The couple took photos, footprints and hand prints, but mementos, though precious, can't fill aching, empty arms. Weeks later a friend told her about Molly Bears.
The Molly Bear Foundation began when founder Bridget Crews lost her daughter, Molly, at 34 weeks. In order to fill her empty arms, she stuffed a teddy bear with rice until it weighed the same as Molly. She began a non-profit to provide bears to other families affected by stillbirth. It is now an international non-profit organization.
"It looks like a regular teddy bear you know, and you think that you can just pick it up like it's a pile full of cotton and just fling it around, but it holds weight," explained Bailey.
The bear weighs 6 pounds and15 ounces, the exact birth weight of James. With this bear, Dora learned she and Tim weren't alone. One in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. At times the bear is painful to pick up, Dora wishing more than anything it was James instead. She's learned that her story is not singular, but it is significant - just like her child.
"Just to carry him with me in a physical way that I can have. It's just people are really, really special when they reach out to you."
Bailey hoped by sharing her story, she can help other grieving mothers connect with resources and find healing. You can learn more about Molly Bears and how you can donate to the non-profit here.