HOLLADAY — Danny and Molly Jane Young spent five years making the most of being young, married and without children.
They traveled, they "had some fun" and then they decided it was time to start their family.
"From the moment that I felt like we were pregnant, we just knew this little baby was our angel," Molly Jane Young said.
They loved feeling the baby move inside of Molly Jane Young's growing stomach and joked that their daughter-to-be had favorite foods. Danny Young said the baby seemed especially "excited" whenever Molly Jane ate a hamburger.
"From the moment that I felt her move and he felt her move, that’s when I knew she was ours," Molly Jane said. "She didn't take a breath, but she was alive in my belly and I took care of her."
On June 30, Young was 41 weeks along when the couple headed to the hospital, prepared to bring their daughter home. The crib was set up, the car seat was strapped in, the diaper bag was all packed.
"I didn't feel movement that day, that morning, and so we went in and they hooked us up to an ultrasound machine and right then and there (the doctor) said there was no heartbeat," Molly Jane recalled.
"That's the moment where our world turned upside down."
They said it was a moment of complete shock. They called their family and their close friends, who came to the hospital to support the couple through the delivery process. Then they debated what to do next.
"We went back and forth," Danny said. "Not that we didn't want to see her, but we didn't want her to be here and not be alive. I remember thinking: 'I don't want to see her because I will want her so bad.'"
They named the little girl IzzyJane, a name Molly Jane decided on after hearing the name "Izzy" called out at a camp — before the couple was even expecting — and they decided to spend a precious 24 hours with a little being they love and cherish, their child, now and always.
"It was awesome to have our family and close friends come and be able to hold her and smell her and kiss her and love on her for a little bit," Danny said. "It was precious moments we hold on to."
Friends surprised them by releasing (balloons), directing everyone's eyes heavenward. And that's where the Youngs look constantly, focusing on one of nature's most beautiful creatures.
"We kind of consider (IzzyJane) our little butterfly," Danny said. "I think it was the day we went home from the hospital. ... That day there was a big butterfly that was flying around the back yard. … I don't usually notice those things. I think that was Izzy saying, 'I'm still here. I'm not really that far away.'"
IzzyJane was buried in a dress covered in little butterflies. She and her mother both wear silver bracelets that say: "Forever."
Realizing that not every couple had the love and support they had, the Youngs decided to start the Flutterby IzzyJane Foundation.
"We kind of had to figure out how we were going to move forward, how we were going to take this experience and move, not move on, but move through it," Danny said. "I think a lot of people think you can get over something like this. I don't think it's something you ever really get over but it is something you can get through."
One thing that helped, though, was being able to talk about it. The couple hopes the foundation will provide hope and encouragement and support for couples going through similar experiences. They also hope the foundation will help families with unexpected funeral costs and provide them with bracelets like those Molly Jane continues to wear.
"How great to keep a foundation in her name and help other people flutter by," Danny said.2 comments on this story
The foundation will have its first fundraiser this Christmas at Jay Brooks Jewelers, Danny's employer, at The Gateway. The couple hopes to develop pamphlets about infant loss for hospitals. There is also a blog and Facebook page with more information. They pointed out that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, something they say few people realize.
The pair said they have gotten through the experience with the support of one another and the faith that they will see their daughter again. But the foundation gives them an opportunity to reach outward.
"I think that is what has helped us be strong, too, is to look forward to serving others and helping others and giving them hope," Molly Jane said.