PALS Meet-Up Leaders

Danyelle Andrews

Danyelle Andrews is a PALS Meet-up leader in the Chicago area, a physical therapist, and a mother to five children–she carries three in her heart and two in her arms. She lives in Burr Ridge, Illinois with her husband Eric and 2 of their children, Chloe and Ronan. Rylie and Avary, the twin girls who first made them parents, were born in September of 2014, four months premature due to premature rupture of membranes. Rylie and Avary were born and died the same day. Since that time Danyelle has become an advocate for breaking the stigma associated with pregnancy and infant loss and works to raise awareness and help others in her daughters’ names. In 2016 her first rainbow, Chloe, was born. In 2017, after an early miscarriage of ‘Baby A’, Baby B, Ronan, was born. Danyelle knows without a doubt that it was her loss mama friends who helped her navigate and survive her pregnancies after loss, and she is honored to be joining Pregnancy After Loss Support to help others who are on the same journey after loss. You can contact her through her blog, Twin Angel Bees, or by email.

Megan Brandow-Faller

Megan Brandow-Faller is a PALS Meet-up Leader in Manhattan, NY. She is a wife, mother, and professor at the City University of New York. She is the author of multiple books and scholarly articles on women’s art education, artistic toys and the material culture of childhood. She and her husband Adam (whom she met in Austria in 2002 and married in 2008) were devastated to learn that their first child, Lotte (Charlotte Dorothea Cecilia) was diagnosed with a very serious congenital heart defect (HLHS) at her 18-week sonogram. While the rest of the pregnancy was extremely difficult emotionally, Megan carried the baby to term and sought out, with her husband, the very best medical team to perform the surgeries typically required of HLHS patients. Megan was induced and Lotte was born (via emergency c-section) on May 4, 2015. Lotte died in the hospital after only 12 days due to unforeseen complication. Millions followed her story on the Humans of New York page. Megan and Adam were overjoyed to welcome a new baby, Otto, on September 6, 2016. Megan is an advocate for pregnancy and parenting after loss, including parents who have experienced medical and emotional trauma (like her experience of watching their daughter endure multiple surgeries and procedures) and is passionate about helping other mothers to heal, and even thrive, through grief, loss, and the concerns facing conception after loss and/or parenting rainbow children.

Blair Carter

Blair Carter is a PALS Meet-up Leader in Washington, DC. She is a wife, mother, and elementary school teacher in the DC area. She lives in Arlington, Va, with her husband, Brandon, and her rainbow son, Owen. In 2016, Blair had a “textbook” pregnancy with her first child, a daughter. At 33 weeks gestation, Blair delivered her daughter, Hazel, who only lived a short time due to complications from a complete placental abruption. In March 2017, Blair and Brandon found out that they were pregnant again. Owen was born, healthy and screaming, in October 2017 after a very anxiety ridden and fearful pregnancy. Through her grief journey and then the many emotions that come along with subsequent pregnancy after loss, Blair found support in Pregnancy After Loss Support’s (PALS) online groups and in talking with other PAL moms. Blair now hopes to help as many women as possibly who are facing pregnancy after loss by offering support and hope during such a difficult time.

Jessica Gamache

Jessica Gamache is a PALS Meet-up Leader in Metro Vancouver, BC and lives in beautiful Maple Ridge, BC. After finding out she was pregnant in October 2015, she and her husband eagerly awaited the arrival of their first child. In June 2016, her labour lasted off and on for almost a week, so she went in for her scheduled 40 week appointment only to discover their little girl had no heartbeat. Completely unexplained. Scarlett was born still the next day. Jessica longed to have a living child to raise while grieving for their daughter. When Jessica found out she was pregnant again six months later, she was an emotional roller coaster of happiness and fear. After the longest nine months of her life and one c-section later, Kayden was born alive and happy in September 2017. Jessica hopes to raise awareness about pregnancy and infant loss, and to help people not be afraid to talk about it so that moms and dads can get the support they need.

Helen Hoepfner

Helen Hoepfner is a PALS Meet-up leader in New York. She live in Brooklyn with her husband and rainbow baby boy. In December 2015, at 24 weeks, she found our her first baby, a girl named “Tootsie”, had massive brain hemorrhaging and wouldn’t live much longer. Helen made the heartbreaking decision to end her pregnancy. After months of tests, she and her husband still had no reason for “what went wrong” and they had no name for the syndrome that took Tootsie.  The anxiety of not knowing what happened during her first pregnancy, coupled with the fear and joy of a new pregnancy lead her to Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS), where she found a tribe of amazing mamas. She now has a wild 8-month-old son and has the deepest love for all mamas who have gone through subsequent pregnancies after loss. She keeps the memory and light of Tootsie alive by sharing her story and listening to others.

Shawnte LaTour

Shawnte LaTour is the Volunteer Coordinator for Pregnancy After Loss Support, as well as the PALS MeetUp leader in Albany, NY. She is a 35-year-old wife and mother who lives in Albany, NY. After years of running a child care business out of her home, Shawnte now works seasonally as a tax preparer. She spends her “off-season” months caring for her five-year-old son and her rainbow baby, who was born in April of 2017. Shawnte and her husband lost a baby to miscarriage in April 2016. After the loss Shawnte struggled to cope with the many emotions she was feeling. She leaned on her husband, her faith, and the trying to conceive after loss Facebook group for support and healing. Shawnte and her husband found out they were pregnant again in September of 2016. Her pregnancy with her rainbow was far from easy. At 28 weeks, she was found to be at risk for preterm labor and was hospitalized. Her beautiful baby girl was born at 33 weeks 2 days. She had a 5-week NICU stay but is now home and thriving! This journey has made Shawnte so very grateful for her many blessings. She now has made it a personal goal to help other women going through similar situations, and let them know that they are not alone.

Malory Lea

Malory Lea is a PALS Meet-up leader in Vermont. She lives in South Burlington with her husband and toy poodle and works as an estate planning attorney. In early 2016, Malory and her husband decided they were ready to grow their family, and about eight months later they were ecstatic to see those two pink lines show up. Unfortunately, at their 20 week ultrasound for baby boy “Bug,” the doctor discovered that Bug had CDH (congenital diaphragmatic hernia) a rare birth defect of the diaphragm.  Bug’s CDH was extremely severe and prevented his lungs from forming. Malory and her husband decided they would not let Bug suffer. At almost 21 weeks, Malory made the heartbreaking decision to end her pregnancy. Still grieving the loss of Bug, Malory found out she was pregnant again with her rainbow, just four months later. Malory is currently 24-weeks pregnant with baby girl “Bean.”  She tries to stay positive but has come to know the intense emotional struggle of dealing with a pregnancy soon after a loss. Malory is dedicated to helping other women through this difficult journey to give more meaning to Bug’s too-short existence.

Kathryn Lederer

Kathryn Lederer is a PALS Meet-Up Leader in Willamette Valley, OR. She is a wife and mother who lives in Aumsville, OR. She has a 2 year old son Hudson, her rainbow baby. Kathryn had her first pregnancy in 2012, which ended in miscarriage. That was followed by 4 additional miscarriages. Through her struggle with recurrent pregnancy loss, she found a local pregnancy and infant loss support group that gave her strength to continue trying. In 2013, she lost her 6th pregnancy during the 2nd trimester (Grayson). Devastated and uncertain, she tried again and went on to have their rainbow baby in April 2015. Kathryn found her local pregnancy loss support group to be invaluable. After having her rainbow, she found she needed support in a new way and formed a parenting after loss support group. Kathryn is committed to helping moms in all stages of loss. Kathryn works part-time as a nurse practitioner in college health.

Laura Rahman

Laura Rahman is a PALS Meet-up Leader in Washington, DC, where she lives with her husband and works full-time as a fundraiser for a national nonprofit. Her angel Zain was diagnosed in utero with a CHD and had open heart surgery within hours of birth. He fought for 81 days and lost his battle on June 9, 2017 at 2.5 months. Laura is currently pregnant with her rainbow Laila Zain Rahman due June 13, 2018. Once pregnant again she struggled with the anxiety and the fear of losing another child. Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS) has been an incredible community of support to her during her pregnancy and is excited to help others through their PAL journey.

Heather Ralston

Heather Ralston is a Meet-Up Leader in Baltimore, MD. She is a Baltimore, MD native where she lives with her husband and one living son. Heather and her husband were very excited to find out she was pregnant again in December 2016. Her first pregnancy was perfectly normal and her second pregnancy appeared to be that way until her 20-week anatomy scan in March 2017. During that scan, Heather discovered that her second son, Aiden, had a severe case of hydrops fetalis. After two weeks of testing, meetings with doctors and genetic counselors, Aiden died at 22 weeks gestation, with no known cause of the hydrops ever found. Less than 10 weeks after Aiden’s death, Heather became pregnant again with her soon-to-be rainbow baby, due in March 2018. Heather has gone through the grief process and the pregnancy after loss process all at the same time. A pregnancy after a loss is a hard journey to navigate without the support of family, friends and other loss mothers. Heather was very happy to find PALS’ online support and is excited to be a part of the Meet-Up program in order to help and support others through pregnancy after loss. 

Ariane Sroubek

Ariane Sroubek is a PALS Meet-up leader in the Boston area where she lives with her family. Ariane met her husband while studying child psychology and they were married four years later. Despite having been told that having children would be difficult, Ariane was pregnant within a month of her wedding, and after a challenging pregnancy she delivered a healthy baby girl. Three years later Ariane’s second daughter, Noemi, was born via emergency C-section at 34 weeks. She died moments after birth due to complications of Group B strep pneumonia. During the following two years, Ariane experienced several early losses as well as the loss of another daughter, Marienka, through a missed miscarriage at 10 weeks that was caused by Turner Syndrome. Ariane is currently pregnant again and found PALS while looking for support during her own pregnancy. Despite her fears and painful losses, one of Ariane’s most treasured blessings is her role as the mother to her children here on earth and in Heaven. She is passionate about sharing her story and supporting other families who have lost children through her blog, My Sustaining Grace, and her role with PALS.

Melissa Wilson

Melissa Wilson is a PALS Meet-Up Leader in Calgary, Alberta. She’s a pediatric occupational therapist by trade but more likely to be herding a gaggle of kids these days. Melissa and her husband have 3 girls and decided to try for a “last”  little soul in 2105. After a tumultuous diagnostic journey, they were faced with the most difficult decision of their lives. Their little boy was born teeny and blue at 25 weeks. 10 weeks later another pregnancy stretched their wounded hearts. Pregnancy after such a significant loss was laced with grief, fear, anxiety and precious hope. They were blessed to safely welcome a rainbow boy in November 2016. Pregnancy after loss mama connections are buoying in a sea of those that can’t understand.