Highschool sweethearts who lost two baby boys find comfort in helping other families

High school sweethearts Ashley and Nicholas Batt had decided early on they wanted to be parents. 

After spending so much of their time growing up in one another's presence before going to college together at Michigan State University, they knew they wanted to have kids. Unfortunately for the young couple, that dream took some unexpected twists.

"They both passed away from a rare genetic disorder and so knew that after their passing we wanted to do something to make their lives still live on and make it special for with our lives moving forward," said Ashley.

The Batt's lost both of their baby boys several months after they were born - one in 2020 and the other in 2022.

The recovery process wasn't an easy one.

"It happens a lot more than you think and I don't think people talk about it because it is hard," Ashley said. "I don't know if it's hard because - losing your child, I don't even have words for it. It's so heartbreaking it changes your life forever."

"You lean on each other and you lean on your faith and you take each day as it comes," said Nicholas

The pain of their crushing loss spilled out. But eventually, the two found a way to direct that grief and transform it into something that can help others going through the same struggle. It manifested in the Bryson and Baker Batt Foundation.

The foundation supports families in the neonatal intensive care unit, as well as the parents who don't get to take their baby home. The goal is to provide some comfort and love when a family is faced with the unimaginable.

"I think it's therapeutic to know that we've been in these family's shoes, we know how they feel and what they're going through. Just a little smile goes a long way so if you can put a smile on someone's face like that makes us feel good," said Nicholas. 

Additionally, the foundation helps them thank the nurses that helped the couple during their hardest and easiest moments.

"The NICU nurses and the NICU doctors are angels on earth," Ashley said. "We always said they have a certain personality that makes your life easier in the NICU. They would come up with nicknames for the boys and made you just feel the NICU room was your home." 

Welcome bags await families whose children need neonatal care - they're call sunshine bags. 

Additionally, the couple have also created memorial boxes for the families that are less fortunate.

"Those are unfortunately given to families who lose their child in the NICU and it's filled with items to bring some comfort to the family."Ashley said. "Instead of taking their baby home, they sadly have to take home a box or a bag, but it's items to make you feel less alone in that journey."

Learn more at brysonandbakerbattfoundation.com