- Heather Johnston Welliver
- Ohio Ambassador
Hi, I’m Heather. I am the mama of four: Benjamin, Lydie, Josephine, and Samuel. The most transformative experience of my life was in November 2014 when my daughter Lydie was unexpectedly stillborn from an umbilical cord accident. I was 34 weeks pregnant.
I was shocked when I learned that nearly 24,000 babies are stillborn each year in the U.S. alone. My OB regularly asked me, “lots of movement?” but never mentioned counting kicks. Lydie was my second child and I had zero risk factors. Lydie’s safe arrival felt promised, and I never thought stillbirth could happen to me.
Six years later, I miss Lydie every moment of every day, and despite the fullness of my home and schedule, someone is always missing. But — Lydie’s short life has more impact than I ever could have imagined.
I honor Lydie through advocacy work, helping to comfort other bereaved families and working to prevent this senseless tragedy from happening to other families. Some of this work has included donating a Cuddle Cot in Lydie’s name, organizing two perinatal loss conferences for hundreds of medical professionals at a Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic, testifying at the Ohio Statehouse in support of House Bill 507, a tax credit for families of stillborn children, and serving on the Ohio Study of Associated Risks of Stillbirth (SOARS) Committee.
However, I am most proud of Lydie’s Loop: Steps against Stillbirth, a community event I founded and organize each year to honor babies gone too soon and bring together their families and supporters. From its inaugural year in 2016 through its most recent year where I partnered with Count the Kicks, Lydie’s Loop has fundraised over $100,000 for stillbirth prevention.
I am excited to continue my advocacy work for Count the Kicks as an Ambassador in the state of Ohio.
I have also been fortunate to spread awareness of stillbirth through various news outlets, and have included a select few below. If you’d like to learn more about me and Lydie, please read more.
11/6/22, cleveland.com: How many empty strollers is enough? Why I’m screaming about stillbirth: Heather Johnston Welliver
9/8/20, cleveland.com: Stillbirth kills 24,000 American babies each year: Here’s why you should care
3/15/18, Dayton Daily News: Ohio lawmakers consider $2,000 tax break for stillborn births
3/14/18, cleveland.com: Parents of stillborn babies ask lawmakers to back bill offering tax credit
10/17/17, Columbus Dispatch: Volunteer Photographers Pictures of Babies Who Die Give Families Lasting Memory
9/26/17, This Week News: Lydie’s Loop aims to improve outcomes for pregnancies
10/30/16, cleveland.com: How my sister is making the world safer for babies
2/5/2016, NPR: Local Health Officials And Parents Form Standards For Families Of Stillborns
2/10/15, Washington Post: Stillbirth in the 21st century? It happens
12/21/14, cleveland.com: Grieving my stillborn nieceBack to Ambassadors