Shortly after Estelle died we knew we needed to do something to honor her short yet meaningful life. At her memorial service we found out that the Little Free Library (LFL) organization had recently partnered with Bradshaw Celebration of Life and had three library models created for memorials. I have always been a fan of LFLs so when I saw them I told Justin, This is it. This is what we’re doing.
We thought more about it as we received memorials in the mail and decided that the library should go in the park by our house. It would have been where Estelle would have played with Piper and it would allow Estelle to be part of our community. But because it wasn’t our property we knew we’d have to ask permission.
Justin contacted the local Parks Board and got our ask on their agenda in May. All three of us attended and the Parks Board approved to pass our request on to the Township Board later that month. We didn’t think we’d have any trouble but were still a little nervous. Luckily they were all in favor but we did have to sign a contract and provide backup families who would help support and care for the library.
Next up we had to order the library. Thankfully we had just enough funds to cover the library. Not surprising, but I chose the biggest and the most expensive. Only the best for my kids. 😉 After the purchase was made, we were able to personalize the sign, and Justin’s older brother, Troy, along with our nephews, Axel and Porter, poured the concrete and installed the library late June.
Three days after installation we held a neighborhood dedication. We want the library to be successful so we wanted to make sure our neighbors were invested, too. We had about 85-90 people show up. We had cake, beverages, and Justin said a few words, along with the founders of Little Free Library.
We received over 200 books and had the first official exchange. We created labels for all the books and had special ones created for books to be dedicated in honor of other children who have passed away.
We are so excited to have Estelle be known around our community and to raise awareness about stillbirth and infant loss.
- Stillbirth is the death of an infant before or during delivery at 20 or more gestational weeks
- 1 and 160 American pregnancies end in stillbirth
- Almost 50 percent of stillbirths occur at or near full term and often seem to be otherwise healthy babies
- Nearly 2/3 of all stillbirth deaths remain unexplained
- The stillbirth rate in the US has not changed in the last 50 years
- The US ranks 48th out of 49 developed nations in the world for annual rate of reduction of stillbirths
- Stillbirth is the most under-studied issue in medicine today
All stats received from starlegacyfoundation.org.
We hope that if you’re in the White Bear Lake area that you’ll swing by Brandlwood Park and pick up a book for yourself and your children and think of Estelle! 💛