PALS Meet-Up Leaders 2018-02-07T14:51:59+00:00

PALS Meet-Up Leaders

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.

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. 

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.