When a nurse informed Rebekka Hauskins her baby, Hayden Ruth, was stillborn at 32 weeks it was "complete devastation," People reports. “I just remember at one point saying to my husband, ‘I just want to die.’ It’s just so painful,” the Oregon mother says. But within weeks of her daughter's death in 2010, Hauskins started getting the urge to help others in some way, according to Today. "You just feel like there has to be something you can do to help after a loss," she says. Hauskins' inspiration came in the form of, of all things, a hospital bill. For over a year, Hauskins' husband wrote a monthly check for $77 to pay off the $1,000 hospital bill for the delivery of their stillborn daughter. "It hurt every time," Hauskins says.
To make sure other couples wouldn't have to worry about a bill while dealing with the loss of a child, Hauskins and her husband, Randy, started Hayden's Helping Hands in 2011. "We didn’t want her little life to be in vain,” Hauskins tells People. A 2013 study of a decade of stillbirths in Michigan found that giving birth to a stillborn child was about $750 more expensive than giving birth to a live baby and in some cases the bill exceeded $14,000, Refinery29 reports. Since its founding, Hayden's Helping Hands has covered the hospital bills for 44 families in Oregon and Washington to the tune of more than $40,000. The families who've been helped by Hayden's Helping Hands say it's not just about finances but an acknowledgement that their child was real. "For us, it's about saying, 'I know you had a baby and I recognize your loss,'" Hauskins tells Today. (Read more stillbirth stories.)