Our fall favorites are here! 🍂

 The journey through grief takes many twists and turns. Thankfully, there are organizations like “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” to help parents navigate the rough waters surrounding the loss of a pregnancy or death of an infant. When Her View From Home decided to dedicate October 15 to grieving parents, lost pregnancies and infants, and those who care about them, it seemed appropriate to include information about this generous organization and its volunteers. I decided to research and locate a NILMDTS volunteer in Central Nebraska. Sonya Schultz was gracious and provided information about her work as well as her personal story, and why she chooses to give her time to grieving moms and dads.

A little about NILMDTS


To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture.

Our Work

NILMDTS trains, educates, and mobilizes professional quality photographers to provide beautiful heirloom portraits to families facing the untimely death of an infant. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family’s healing process by honoring the child’s legacy.


Maddux Achilles Haggard was born on Feb. 4, 2005, with a condition called myotubular myopathy. It prevented him from breathing, swallowing or moving on his own. On the sixth day of his young life, his parents had to make the excruciating decision to take him off life support. But before they did, they called photographer Sandy Puc’ to take black and white portraits of them cradling their son. Puc’ photographed the couple with Maddux at the hospital before he was removed from life support and after — when he was free from the tubes and the wires that had sustained him.

“That night was the worst night of my life. But when I look at the images, I am not reminded of my worst night. I’m reminded of the beauty and blessings he brought.” Cheryl Haggard, Maddux’s mother and co-founder of NILMDTS

Those tender photographs documenting Maddux’s eternal connection with his parents inspired Cheryl Haggard and Sandy Puc’ to begin a nonprofit organization that has provided thousands of families of babies who are stillborn or are at risk of dying as newborns with free professional portraits with their baby.

Sandy and Cheryl founded the organization in April 2005 and called it Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS)  after the children’s bedtime prayer.


Since NILMDTS was founded, over 11,000 volunteers have been part of the network. NILMDTS reaches every state in the United States and has been or is present in 40 countries worldwide.

Sonya Schultz is a photographer from Wood River, NE and her studio is in Grand Island. I reahed out to Sonya and asked her to share in her own words about her inspiration, and what her volunteer work means to her.

Our story began almost 20 years ago when our 2nd daughter Paige was born on Oct 18th-1993. She was the biggest of our 4 kids weighing in at 9 lbs:) She was super healthy and thrived. I had taken her to the DR. on January 28th for her 3 month check and he said she was perfect. Just 3 days later she was gone. I remember the exact time I got a call, I remember what I had on, I remember throwing up and begging God not to take my baby. I remember running in the emergency room and I felt like my legs weren’t connected to my body. It was by far the worst day in our young lives. I can’t even describe the feeling of being told that your baby that you dropped off at the babysitters house at 7:30 was dead at 12:55.HVFH Paige

We were able to keep Paige with us in the hospital chapel until our out of town family could get there. We took turns holding her and rocking her. As a mother I could not get past the point that I was supposed to be taking care if her and how could I leave her at the hospital. Life after Paige died was a blur- friends and relatives took turns helping with out 2 year old daughter Shelby. I remember having to buy a dress for her, pick out a cemetery plot and plan a funeral at the age of 25. Over the past 20 years we have tried to keep Paige’s memory alive in our hearts. We were lucky enough to have 2 sons after Paige and they talk about her like they knew her:)

 I don’t have any pictures of me holding Paige. I was always the one taking the pictures. I guess I have always thought that if Paige picked me to be her mom so that I can help other parents who have suffered a similar loss then maybe I can make some sense of our loss. When I get called to the hospital to take pictures for a family it is hard but for some reason I can do it- maybe it because I know exactly the devastation they are feeling and I know the pictures will bring them some peace. Most of the time they don’t know I have lost a child so I just do my job and tell them I am so sorry. Losing a child is something that is with you your entire life- I can always find a spot for Paige in every family photo, days like when she should have started school, graduation day, college always stir up feelings of loss-we just miss out on so many plans we had for our kids. There is not a day in the past 20 years that I have not thought of her or said her name. I saw a quote once that has stuck with me and I try to live my life by it….

“Everyone has pain and suffering in their life but misery is optional.

I always feel bad when I see an obituary in the paper for someone who was preceded in death by their children. I always think- that poor mother or father and then I realize that my obit will say the same thing someday. I guess if I can help other parents and volunteer my time with NILMDTS to prove to myself that losing Paige can be turned in to something good and meaningful. In the end we are all supposed to be here to help other people and make a difference in someone’s life and I hope that is what I can do.

HVFH photo

I think people need to realize that living your life after the loss of a child is a lifelong journey. You go on and you are happy but there is always a hole in your heart. Some days it’s a tiny hole and other days it feels like it is big enough for a river to run through it…but, it is always there.

The Her View from Home staff would like to thank Sonya Schultz for her contribution to Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. In addition, we would like to thank the parents of this lost little one for sharing one of the portraits that Sonya was able to create for them.

You may read more about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and Sonya Schultz Photography on the web.






So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Leah Peterson

Leah Peterson is a native Nebraskan, living on the ranch her ancestors homesteaded in 1878. She and her husband Matt, met at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and returned to the ranch in 2012 after working and living in Central Nebraska the past 12 years. They are parents to two daughters, Maggie and Lucy. Leah has an undergrad degree from UNL in Communication Studies, and a MA in Leadership from Bellevue University. Aside from her work at the ranch and opportunity to be a stay at home mom, she enjoys writing, photography, community involvement, spending time with friends and family and trying new recipes in her kitchen. Leah published her first children's book in 2011 titled "An Apple for Dapple" and enjoys traveling throughout the state to share her book with children and raise awareness about the importance Agriculture in Nebraska.

My Baby Was Stillborn, But Still Born

In: Child Loss, Grief
My Baby Was Stillborn, But Still Born www.herviewfromhome.com

My baby was stillborn, but still born. In a cool white hospital room where so many had been born before. My body trembled and shook as his body worked its way out of my womb and into the hands of a doctor. He was void of breath, of sound, of movement, but he was still born. My baby was stillborn, but still lived. In the darkness of my womb. The outline of his body was visible against the darkness of the screen, his presence undeniable. The sound of his heartbeat drowned out the sound of mine as I watched his...

Keep Reading

I Am Not My Child’s Death

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Faith, Grief
I Am Not My Child's Death www.herviewfromhome.com

We are NOT what has happened to us or what this world says we are. That is not what defines us. While we are grieving parents, that is not what our whole story has to be about. Although, at times, we feel that our story is over. We ask, how do we go on and live full lives without our sweet Sophie with us? I’m still not 100 percent sure I know the answer to that. BUT the Lord says I am beloved. I am redeemed and accepted. I am holy and chosen. I am righteous and complete. I am...

Keep Reading

The Hardest Moments After Losing a Child

In: Child Loss, Grief, Motherhood
The Hardest Moments After Losing a Child www.herviewfromhome.com

Within the first three months following the death of my newborn daughter, I participated in one baby shower, attended two first birthday parties, had multiple infants in and around my home, and watched not one, not two, but five of my closest friends take happy, healthy babies home from the hospital. And in the midst of my own life-altering experience, I purchased, wrapped, and mailed a gift to every one of those new babies, because they deserved one. In the days and months after my daughter died, I didn’t run away or hide from babies at all. And this seemed...

Keep Reading

6 Commitments I Made to Myself After Child Loss

In: Child Loss, Grief, Kids, Motherhood
6 Commitments I Made to Myself After Child Loss www.herviewfromhome.com

Following the death of our infant daughter, I found myself facing an opportunity to activate the immense power of personal choice. Time and time again. Hour after hour, day after day. It felt as if every moment that passed provided me with a choice: to let the grief consume me, or not. In the midst of the most emotionally complex experience of my life, my ability to survive felt as simple as that. Will grief consume me, or not? Once I began believing that Olivia had lived out her life’s plan completely—that she had come, she had loved, she had...

Keep Reading

To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss: You Are Not Alone

In: Child Loss, Grief, Infertility, Motherhood
To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss: You Are Not Alone www.herviewfromhome.com

You are walking the hardest path anyone will ever walk—living this life without your children. Your losses have come in many shapes and sizes. You’ve lost tiny heartbeats early in the womb. You’ve screamed and sobbed through labor to deliver a silent but perfect little bundle. You’ve held a fragile infant for hours, days, weeks, or months, only to give him back to Heaven. You’ve watched your little one grow into a curious toddler and then held her a final time as disease or an accident took her away. You’ve lived a full childhood with your baby and even watched...

Keep Reading

A Letter to My Mama, From Your Baby in Heaven

In: Child Loss, Faith, Grief, Miscarriage
A Letter to My Mama, From Your Baby in Heaven www.herviewfromhome.com

Dear Mama, I know you miss me and wish you could watch me grow up. But instead, you sit in that rocking chair, tears streaming down your face, arms wrapped around the blanket that was supposed to be mine. I see you crying, Mama, wishing you could hold me. Wishing you could look into my eyes. Wishing you could hear me cry or call you “Mama”. I want you to know Jesus rocks me to sleep every night and while He does it, He tells me all about you. I know tulips are your favorite flower and that every spring...

Keep Reading

God Actually Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle

In: Child Loss, Faith, Grief
God Actually Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle www.herviewfromhome.com

I used to be someone who said, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” That was before I had faced any hardships in my life. I didn’t know who God truly is. When people are going through something hard and decide to share it, it makes people uncomfortable. It’s hard to watch others who are hurting, and it’s hard not knowing how to help when it’s someone you love. “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” is a very well-meaning encouragement that I know is meant in love. I’ve said it before! But it’s not really...

Keep Reading

Why I Got a Tattoo With My Teenage Daughters

In: Child Loss, Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Why I Got a Tattoo With My Teenage Daughters www.herviewfromhome.com

“We should get a tattoo, Mom.” I laughed. I knew it was just my younger daughter, Sarah’s way of getting herself a tattoo—to go along with her nose ring, and six ear piercings. She didn’t really want me to get one. Did she? “Truth!” My oldest, more conservative daughter, Elle, chimed in. “We should all go.” What? Home from college just five minutes, maybe she was bored. I heard tattoos really hurt and she hates pain, like I do. I glared at my two daughters, now 17 and 19. They can read my mind. I knew it! There was something...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Sure How Long I’ll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal…and That’s OK

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Grief, Mental Health
I'm Not Sure How Long I'll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal...and That's OK www.herviewfromhome.com

I tried to wean off of Zoloft and couldn’t. And that’s OK. I had never really been aware of the world of antidepressants. My life has been relatively uneventful—with the normal ups and downs that most of us go through. I knew people on medication for depression but never understood. How can you be THAT sad that you can’t just be positive and make the best of your circumstances? How can someone be THAT unhappy ALL the time to need medication? I didn’t get it. I felt bad for people going through it. Then my 2-year-old was diagnosed with Stage...

Keep Reading

To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes

In: Cancer, Child, Child Loss, Health
To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes www.herviewfromhome.com

Most people never get to meet their heroes. I have, in fact—I have met many heroes. These heroes didn’t set out for greatness; they fell victim to a terrible disease and faced it with courage, might and bravery like I have never seen before. And when we talk about this type of battle, there is no such thing as losing. whether the battle ended in death, life, or debility, each of these heroes defeated. My heroes are the innocent children who battle cancer. I high-fived, hugged, wept over, laughed and played with my heroes for 10 years as a nurse. And you better believe I...

Keep Reading