February 19, 2011

Smarty Mom: Meghan Hampton


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On a blazing hot summer day I met Meghan. I was pregnant with the twins, swollen to the size of a walrus and standing outside with Sutton selling lemonade. Meghan strolled by our house with her newborn daughter and we offered her a glass. Meghan didn’t have a dime on her, but we “gifted” her a glass and the rest was truly fate. I asked Meghan how old her her adorable little girl was and as she answered I saw a familiar pain in her eyes. Her body was lively with animation and joy as she gushed about her sweet little pink bundle (Scotlynn), but her eyes showed me something more. Slowly, Meghan opened up about her story and the tragic loss of Scottie’s identical twin sister who was stillborn. Having experienced a stillborn myself, I know the emotions she was fighting with. We became friends. Friends who will always share a painful story, but whose lives were blessed all the same.

As I got to know Meghan more and more, I became inspired by her. I learned about her whimsical clothing line, Addie & Ella. I learned about her heart and the charity associated with her fabulous “kiddie couture”.

Meghan Hampton’s Smarty Mom Stats

Mom to: Isabella Grace “Ella” and Scotlynn Kate “Scottie”
Married to: Steven for seven years
Years in Charlotte: born & raised!

Smarties, meet Meghan Hampton. Enjoy learning about her cause, her company, and her faithful wisdom.

You suffered a complicated pregnancy while carrying identical twins. What was your experience like?
It was a roller coaster from the start. When my husband and I heard a heartbeat, we were so excited. I brought my mom with me to the following appointment. It was that visit that I was told that there were 2 heartbeats. Talk about shock! It was an even bigger shock to find out that they were identical twins. I was told at that appointment that the type of identical twins I was having was 1 in 10,000. It was referred to as a Mono-Mono twin pregnancy. This meant that they were in the same sac and sharing the same placenta. Most identical twins don’t share everything so they have a bit more protection from one another. My pregnancy was extremely high risk, mostly out of fear of cords twisting and forming knots. I was given a plan. I would be monitored frequently until around 27 weeks where they would admit me into the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy. This way, I could be monitored several times a day. At 32 weeks, we would deliver via c-section because they were at a greater risk staying in me than being born. I ended up getting admitted at 26 weeks and had an emergency c-section on June 2. I was 29 and a half weeks. It was the worst day of my life.

What were your feelings the day Scotlynn was born?
It was definitely not the typical emotions you have that accompany the birth of a child. I felt Schizophrenic. I had every emotion possible hitting me at once. I felt a sadness that I didn’t know was possible over the loss of Kate, relief that Scottie was alive, fear for her survival, anger, you name it. It was survival mode from that point on. Scottie was 2 lbs. and so tiny and helpless. She had to be resuscitated, needed two blood transfusions and had a long road ahead of her. All the while, I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that Kate didn’t make it. It was absolutely overwhelming and almost suffocating. It was definitely the lowest, darkest place I have ever been.

How did you explain the loss of Scottie’s twin (Katelynn) to your older daughter Ella?
We didn’t really have to. Ella was exactly 2 and a half at the time. When I was pregnant, she called the girls Cottie and Cake instead of Scottie and Kate. We named Scottie after her sister so she became Scottie Kate and Ella just sort of went with it. She never really questioned it. They just morphed into one in her head. She was just too young to try to explain it all to her. She is thrilled now that her sister is home, healthy and safe!

I can’t imagine what joy you felt when Scotlynn was born, but simultaneously, the pain you felt when Katelynn passed? How did you handle these extremely tough emotions?
I shut down for a few weeks from everyone other than my husband and immediate family. I just needed to cry a lot and get Scottie through some critical milestones before I reached out. My friends are amazing and were so patient and so supportive.

What advice for families suffering a loss of an infant?
It’s hard to give advice when it is such a personal journey. I guess my advice would be to lean on your spouse and other loved ones. My husband was my source of strength. I have also done so much to keep her memory alive and try to make something good out of it all. That has been therapeutic for me. Hopefully I will be able to look back one day and know that because of her, we were able to make a difference and save other babies.

You have a clothing line called Addie & Ella? Where did you and your Partner (Mai-Lis Bahr) find inspiration for creating this line, how did you get started and where can we buy these AWESOME pieces?
We really started it with an idea to help moms out with droolers. We both had kids who drooled so much and their clothes were always soaked down to their chest. We thought if there was a way to have removable collars that looked like they were part of the outfit but kind of acted like a bib then our mommy woe would be fixed. We had a few samples made and next thing we knew we were dealing with manufacturing plants on other continents. Our line has grown so much from then. It has been a steep learning curve with some bumps, but along the way but it has had a tremendous response. We are really proud of it. I am blessed with the most amazing partner. I can honestly say, we are still going strong because of her. We will be in Shower Me With Love with our Spring/ Summer collection and over 50 boutiques primarily throughout the Southeast.

You used “Cottie & Cake” as the charity division associated with your clothing line? Tell us about it.
We really wanted our company to give back in some capacity but we were not sure which charity we wanted to partner with. After spending 10 weeks in the NICU at The Levine Children’s Hospital, it felt so natural to find a way to give back to them. During our stay, I had the most amazing nurses and they took such pride in dressing the babies and making sure that their isolettes looked a cheerful as possible. We decided to use fabrics from our collections to create soft and colorful blankets to help brighten the unit for babies and their loved ones. We have 1,400 being shipped in the next few months. Scottie’s primary nurse lived by the motto that “when you look good, you feel good”. It is our hope that we can make as many babies look good so they can feel good on their road to recovery.

Tell us about the Charity event you are organizing centered around the NICU and how can our readers get involved?
“In the NIC of Time” is the first local charity event to raise money specifically for the Neonatal Intensive Care at Levine Children’s Hospital. They do such amazing work everyday and truly make miracles happen. There are 7 of us working to make this event come to life along with two incredible event planners from Carolina’s Healthcare Foundation. This is the first of what we hope will be a yearly event. It is going to be an amazing event with great entertainment at the Duke Mansion on June 2nd. If anyone has been touched by NICU experience or just wants to get involved, they can contact Sheri Joseph, see contact info below.

Best book you’ve read lately?
The Sweeteas- The Secret of the Pearls – Its a children’s book. Who has time to read anything else?

I could not live without my…
…Girlfriends! I have the absolute best.

Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
My parents are here! You can’t find better sitters than Nana & Poppy!

All contributions to “The NIC of Time” Event are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations. Carolinas HealthCare Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization. Checks should be made payable to: Neonatal Intensive Care Fund, and mailed to Carolinas HealthCare Foundation, P.O.Box 32861, Charlotte, North Carolina, 28232. Attention: Sheri Joseph. Please call (704) 355-1956 for further information. by contacting Sheri Joseph, Development Officer for Carolinas Healthcare Foundation at (704) 355-1956.

To find out more about “Addie & Ella” visit their website at www.addieandella.com

4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    So sorry about your loss of Kate, I can only imagine your heartbreak, it is also wonderful to see the picture of Scottie, we love to see pictures of our graduates from the NICN. Thank you for the fundraising efforts you are doing for our unit, look forward to hearing all about it, I hope that there will be information about it for the unit as I am sure many people at work will be interested in the event. Thanks for all your hard work!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing your story Meghan, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious daughter Kate. I also had a mo-mo pregnancy and we lost both of our girls at 16 weeks. It was very devastating and it is so rare. The site http://www.mono amniotic.org was so helpful to me. To connect with other women who had the same experience as me. Your girls are beautiful, I will pray for God's comfort and peace for you and your family. Jennifer

  3. Anonymous says:

    What an incredible story, and to see you making a positive out of a devastating negative. You're an inspiration to women everywhere!

  4. Meghan,I read your story with tears in my eyes. My dear friend lost a child soon after birth 10 years ago. It was a devastating time in their lives and she cherishes the few photographs she has of his short life. Fast-forward 8 years and I was running a professional photography business. I heard of a national charity called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and I was so moved. It is a non-profit group of photographers who remain on-call with all local hospitals to offer free, black/white portraiture for families experiencing an infant loss. I KNEW God called me to do this work in honor of my friend and her son. I have worked with NILMDTS for over a year now and I am honored to provide these grieving families with a timeless gift. ALL LIFE DESERVES honor…no matter how short. I wish I could have provided this for your family. I try to educate all local nurses to offer the service to grieving families but we have a long way to go in terms of education. Thank you for sharing your story. Julie StaleyIn His Image Photography

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