In The Ledger

Peytons Purpose was recently featured in the local news paper. Read the entire story from the Lakeland Ledger By WINTER HAVEN – Not everyone can immediately point to the worst day in their lives, but for Artesha Spencer, it was Dec. 7, 2015. That was the day Spencer, 32, who was seven months pregnant at the time, found out her son – Peyton Jeremyah Spencer – had died in the womb.

“I had him Dec. 9 at 10:25 a.m.,” Spencer said. “I received the best care while I was in the hospital, the absolute best care. But once I left there, the care ceased.

“It was almost as if they wheeled me out with my keepsake box to my husband’s car and that was it.”

Rather than pushing away her loss, Spencer – a Winter Haven resident who works as a 6th and 7th grade guidance counselor at Boone Middle School in Haines City – resolved to make sure Peyton’s brief life had a purpose.To that end, Spencer has established Peyton’s Purpose, a nonprofit that provides grief care packages to women who have suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death.

Jacqulin Bonner-Morris and his wife, Shatoya, lost their daughter, Angelica Evette-Lee, in October when Shatoya was 30 weeks pregnant. The Flint, Mich., couple were the first recipients of a Peyton’s Purpose care package later that month.

“She contacted me and asked if she could send a care package to help us get through the loss of our daughter,” said Bonner-Morris, who became aware of Peyton’s Purpose through Facebook.

Among the items in each package is a bottle of body wash, a list of local counseling resources in the recipient’s area, a personal note from Spencer, and the book “Always Within: Grieving the Loss of Your Infant” by Melissa Eshleman.

Bonne-Morris said the couple’s favorite items were Eshleman’s book and some lotion.

“It was a really good care package, and it helped us get past our loss and try to move on with the rest of our lives,” he said.

Miscarriage, a pregnancy that ends on its own within the first 20 weeks of gestation, is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The ACOG notes that anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.

Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes that stillbirth – which refers to a loss 20 or more weeks after a women becomes pregnant – affects about 1 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. The CDC also estimates that for every 1,000 babies that are born, almost six die during their first year.

“It’s healing for me, actually,” Spencer said of establishing Peyton’s Purpose.

Spencer had been trying to get pregnant with husband, Jeremy, for more than seven years.

In July 2015, the Spencers – who have been married for nine years – received news that Artesha was pregnant.

“We’d gone through fertility treatments and nothing had worked, so we’d actually decided to stop when we finally got pregnant,” Spencer said. “Everything was just falling into place.”

That changed on the morning of Dec. 7 when Spencer noticed that there was no fetal movement from her baby.

“I called my doctor, left a message, they called back almost immediately and said, ‘Go to the hospital,'” said Spencer, who went to Winter Haven Women’s Hospital. She was put on a fetal Doppler monitor and an ultrasound machine. “It was two nurses and a technician, and the room was completely silent. I looked at the nurse, and I said, ‘Is my baby alive?’