Grow Forest, Grow

I love Shona and Bob as dear friends and when they found out that they were having a baby, I was honored when they asked that I take the role as Doula in their journey. My role is that of emotional support in pregnancy, labor/delivery and after birth.  This is my way to still do this for them while the three of them move through their journey.

March 23, 2020, will be a day that Shona and Bob will never forget. While putting together their nursery and celebrating 5 months of being pregnant, Shona felt like something was wrong. She felt fluid leaking and cramping. She mentioned it to Bob and he immediately called their care provider. Up to this point, their first trimester had been a rough go, many hurdles, ER, midwife and doctor visits but they always managed to end with reassuring or good news. 

This event was not going to be the case. The news was not good. A hard pregnancy was going to get harder.  

Shona and baby had lost all amniotic fluid. Her water broke. A dire and devastating finding. 

As a couple in their 40's, they had tried for over a year for this baby.  When they found out that they finally conceived they were overjoyed, as well as a little scared, to be honest. Discovering the desire to become parents was made possible only by growing their love for each other.  Getting pregnant felt like the fullest expression of love in their marriage.

...and for this to happen.

To come this far in their pregnancy and to potentially lose a baby they have come to deeply love is heartbreaking.  The condition Shona and baby suffered was diagnosed as preterm premature rupture of membranes (pPROM) likely caused by cervical insufficiency.  A condition unknown to them until this event happened.  Survival of babies after an event like this is somewhere around 1-2%. They were almost certain to lose the baby.  They were urged by more than one doctor to have a procedure to terminate the pregnancy but that didn't feel right to them. That was not the story of their baby.  They both knew and believed that.

Then something miraculous kept happening.

The baby kept growing, moving, and its heart beating stronger and stronger. Their OB was shocked that the baby was still with them week after week during their visits. Their baby is a fighter and now they need your support to fight for the three of them. They are so grateful that we get to stand for this baby's life.

Shona had an ultrasound on Monday, April 13, 2020, that showed that some amniotic fluid has reaccumulated. This is great news.  Shona and Bob wanted to keep the sex of a baby a surprise for their pregnancy. As their story started unfolding they decided to find out and to give the baby a name so as to connect as deeply as they could with it.

They are having a sweet little boy.  His name is Forest Gace Walter Conlin.

They are needing your support now for the next stages of our journey. Shona and baby have entered the hospital and are on strict bed rest getting the necessary and life-saving care for the baby. Due to COVID-19, it has made matters even more challenging to navigate care and continue to meet the financial and emotional needs of the family. The hospital stay for Shona could be up to 3 months and the baby's stay, once born, could be up to 5.  Unfortunately, Bob will not be able to be with them in the hospital due to visitor restrictions which further adds to the heartbreak of all of this.

The support will be used to help pay medical bills for the lengthy NICU and hospital stay as well as meet some of our daily living expenses. There have been and will be many trips to the hospital. Thankfully they have insurance but the coverage will not cover all of the costs associated with the care being received. Their typical daily cost to keep baby alive and thriving will be $300 to $500 a day after insurance. To make matters even more challenging, Bob's business has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Many of you have reached out to ask how you could support Bob and Shona. I have decided to create a GoFundMe on their behalf as a way to show support and love for them. If you personally know Shona and Bob you know that they are love. They stand for love and they share their love freely. It is hard for them to ask for your help and support. They are proud and resilient and they need help. They are grateful for any support you and your family could provide. Especially when we are all hurting, scared, and confused given our current state of the world. It would mean the world to have the stress and fear of this financial strain out of the picture while they focus on keeping mama and this miracle baby healthy.  Any contribution would be greatly appreciated and more so including them in your thoughts and prayers, sharing this, and passing their story on would mean the world to them.

They are in prayer, meditation, and manifestation circles around the world. Please add them to yours. 

Their baby has a purpose and they are committed to fighting for it. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially.

They will be sure to pay your kindness and generosity forward and share the magic created here everywhere. Anything they can do for you after they get through this let them know.   

Big Love,

Hillary Hittner on behalf of

Bob, Shona, and Forest


  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 4 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $60 
    • 4 yrs
  • kaela gedda
    • $1,416 
    • 4 yrs
  • Becky Aister (Noonan)
    • $50 
    • 4 yrs
  • Josh Kline
    • $36 
    • 4 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Hillary Hittner
Chicago, IL
Bob Conlin

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