No Foot Too Small: Our Story of Losing Beau

Beau's Story - RobinGood Morning Iowa City Moms!

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Robin Boudreau…and I too am an Iowa City Mom. In addition to being a medical sales rep for Medtronic, a hobby photographer, and a food blogger, I am also a wife to my husband, high school sweetheart, and best friend, Ryan. Together we are the parents of 2 beautiful children, Bella + Ben…and one angel. It is to honor our angel Beau that I am writing each of you today.

As Ryan and I continue to share our journey, we are hopeful that others who have walked a similar path (or may do so in the future), find peace, strength, and encouragement. After reading our story, we’ll share with you our plan to give back and honor Beau along with other babies lost each year. So here goes:

In January 2013, I posted a vote on Facebook.  We were 15 to 16 weeks pregnant and wondering…were we expecting a girl…or a boy?  A week later, we were headed to Cedar Rapids to do an ultrasound with our dear friend Abbey, just as we had during our pregnancy with Bella.  Abbey greeted us with her warm smile, and we joked about just what exactly we’d find.  Would Bella have a sister…or a brother?  Would I need to start shopping or would Bella’s wardrobe become hand-me-downs?  Just before starting the scan, I looked to Abbey and said, “Abbey, remember, if you see that something is wrong with the baby….tell me.  It is okay to tell me.”  In her compassionate and professional voice, she said, “Of course. It won’t be official, but I will tell you.”  This was the same conversation we’d had before scanning Bella.

Fortunately, as we started the scan, our little Beau was head down and rump up.  Like any good little boy, he was proud to make it abundantly clear that he was a boy.  I was shocked.  I think Ryan was too…and Abbey, well she was just grinning from ear to ear.  I think her words were, “It looks like we will be throwing you another baby shower!”

From there, Abbey began scanning the rest of his tiny body.  As she approached his head, I immediately felt my heart sink.  I calmly but abruptly said, “What’s wrong with his head?”  It was clear to the three of us that something was drastically wrong.  Unfortunately, there was no one in the office to call in, no one to grab a second opinion from, no one to make sense of what we were seeing.  Poor Abbey tried to find comforting words and encouraging explanations, but clearly, we had all shut down.  Ryan, having a background in neuroscience, knew that Beau’s skull and brain were malformed.  Even I, from the few images I could make sense of, knew the diagnosis and prognosis, could not possibly be good.

After a night of tears, questions, and mounting fear, I called the University of Iowa Hospital on Tuesday morning.  I pleaded with them to see us….how could we possibly wait?  Despite my efforts, we were encouraged to visit on Wednesday with the Fetal Genetics Team.  The rest of Tuesday was torturous.  What was wrong with our son?  Had I done something wrong?  Was there something wrong with us?  Could he live?  And most gut-wrenching of all, would we be asked to choose?  In those hours, Abbey met with two of the OB Physicians in her office.  Though extremely rare, both physicians believed that Beau suffered from some form of acrania (missing skull) and that the severity of the defect would leave virtually no chance for survival.

Through the tears, I prayed.  I prayed over and over again for God to make Beau’s condition clear to us.  I prayed for clear scans, absolute diagnoses/prognoses, and for the decision to be HIS, not ours.  With the help of a dear friend, I also prayed that we would be given no more than we could handle.  No less…but no more.

As we sat in the waiting room at UIHC on Wednesday morning, I was consumed with fear, guilt, and pain.  I remember scanning the room and fighting terrible thoughts…terrible questions about the others that sat around us.  Through the frustration and anger, I reminded myself that being a good parent, a healthy 30-something, and a hard-working, contributing member of society doesn’t make me exempt from heartache, tragedy, or struggle.  Maybe it was just our turn.  Maybe we had something to learn.  Maybe, just maybe, life happens.

After what felt like hours, we made our way into the ultrasound with a team of 7+ staff.  I laid on that table, Ryan by my side, and baby Beau up on the screen as Doctors discerned several abnormalities throughout his body. With tears streaming down our faces, they confirmed our worst fears.  Beau suffered from severe acrania (missing much of his skull) and a sizeable portion of his brain was protruding through the opening and developing abnormally.  The Doctor looked at us and said, “The prognosis is extremely poor. The extent of these defects are incompatible with life.”  I cannot put into words the pain and suffering that followed.  How could this sweet little boy have not a chance?  There would be no divine miracles.  There would be no medical miracles.  As hard as this was to accept, we found peace trusting this must be part of God’s plan.  This WAS His plan.  Somehow, we’d have to prepare for goodbye.  We were losing him before we’d ever get to hold him.

That Friday, the time came to say goodbye.  Our sweet Beau was delivered and handed over to Heaven.  We were completely and utterly crushed by his departure but feel so very fortunate to have had him in our lives.  He is our son.  He will forever be with us.  And most importantly, he has taught us so very much in just 5 days…about love, about life, about the strength of our marriage, about the compassion and support around us, about parenthood, and about loss.  He is nothing but a blessing, and we are proud to share his story… a story that should not go untold.

Though I asked to see him, the staff urged me not to due to the extent of his head malformations, particularly, those of his face (double cleft) which were previously not apparent in the ultrasound.  In addition to his cranial and brain defects, his left hand and foot were severely deformed, lending support to some type of genetic syndrome caused by a chromosomal abnormality. I trust the staff’s decision…for now we will always remember him as that beautiful little boy we’d dreamed of sharing in our future…one who probably looked so much like his daddy.

It is my hope that each of you reading this story will learn something from our struggle.  And God forbid, should any parent have to experience this down the road, may you feel comfortable reaching out to us.  Had one of my dearest girlfriends not confided her story with me years ago, this struggle would have been much darker.  May you all hug your children extra-long this evening.  May you appreciate the delicacies in creating life.  No pregnancy is a given.  Life is fragile and fleeting.  We must appreciate every gift, in every form, every day.

Beau's Story - Footprint

You can visit my blog to read our full story.


As some of you may remember, last September 2014, we hosted our 1st Annual No Foot Too Small Benefit. In that inaugural year, we celebrated 15 babies that lost their lives far too soon…a majority of those babies were YOURS. Yes, ICMB families who reached out and shared their story – joining NFTS!  That September evening we shared Beau’s story, held a silent auction, enjoyed live music, and came together as a special community – a community of families who’ve experienced an unimaginable loss. The loss of a pregnancy, infant, or child. At the end of the event, we’d raised over $10,000 – all of which was donated to the March of Dimes.

We are proud to announce that we are hosting our 2nd Annual No Foot Too Small Benefit on September 24th at Cedar Ridge Winery in Swisher.   This year, we are doing something a little different – something very special to me. This year, we are selecting our very own No Foot Too Small Feature Family. We are honored to have chosen Blake & Stevee Tiernan from Cedar Rapids to share their story – Claire’s Story. You can read their story here.

As I did last year, I am inviting you to join us. We welcome you! Just as I photographed Ryan holding Beau’s footprint, I would be honored to photograph other families who are also left with a mere print of their child. I will print these images on canvases, hang them at the Benefit and present them to the families at the end of the night.

NFTS (2)Please, if you’ve endured a similar loss – if you too are left with tiny footprints, reach out to me. There is no footprint too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world. We believe that.

**You can find out more about our 2015 NFTS Benefit HERE.**

You may also visit our Facebook pages:

Thank you all for reading this very long post and we hope to see you at the event in September! If you’d like to get involved, feel free to reach out to me: [email protected].



NFTS Flyer 2015





  1. Thank you for sharing your story Robin with the ICMB community. (Kleenex please!) You are an inspiring momma! Here’s to remembering Beau! Your event is a wonderful celebration of the little angels.

  2. Our family has two sets of footprints (16 weeks and 19 weeks). It’s so important for those who feel they can, to share their stories so others don’t feel alone. Thinking of you and your sweet Beau – love the way you’re honoring him.

    • Thank you Beth! And I am so sorry that I am just now seeing these comments/responses to my post. My heart goes out to you…with 2 sets of footprints, you know the pain, struggle, and longing well. As we prepare for our 2nd Annual event…we’d love for you to join us and honor your angels. XO, Robin

  3. Robin, So sorry of your loss of Beau. My son Liam died at 5 mos. of a form of SMA. My next two pregnancies were interupted because both babies also had SMA. Life is random and precious. Let’s all hug more, laugh more and remember.

  4. Robin,

    Thanks for sharing Beau’s story. Hugs to you and your family. My son Liam died at 5 months of a form of SMA. My next two pregnancies were interupted as both babies also had SMA. Life is random. Hug often. Laugh lots. Thanks for you story.


    • Therese….oh how my heart breaks for you! I am so sorry that I am just now seeing these comments/responses to my post. Your angels are a gift but undoubtedly the journey has been trying. You are so right…hug more…laugh more…live more. Please join us this year at our NFTS event if you are able! XO, Robin

  5. Robin, you are amazing! You are strong, courageous, and so generous. Thank you for working so hard to support all families who have angel babies. So many blessings have come from Beau and will in the future 🙂

    • Katie,

      How did I not see these messages last year?!? Anyway…you know I love you and I so appreciate you and all of the other wonderful people in my support system who help make me who I am…and allow me to give back the way I love to give back. XOXO

  6. My sincerest condolences. Much like your story, I was 16 weeks pregnant with our little angel that went to heaven January 2013. I was 16 weeks and 5 days. All tests and sonos were reading perfect, no abnormalities. We had a scare at 3 months with spotting, but our little angel was kicking and doing little flips every time I had a sono. They found nothing to be wrong, but doctor recommended further testing to be safe. Once again no problems and our little boy was ready to reveal he was a boy, kicking like crazy with hiccups. Then January 1, 2013 was experiencing contractions which after visit to hospital to check on our little angel which they just checked his fetal heart rate was fine, but was contracting still. Released me went home where contractions were stronger and closer together. Could barely eat because started to feel nausea which was pretty much what I had been feeling off and on with this pregnancy so I took a nausea pill. I was able to relax more and contractions stopped. I woke up 4 am on Jannuary 2,2013 with contractions just as strong as they had left off previous night with cramping and scared me to re-visit er. Found out I had uti and needed medicine to and should alleviate contractions. They did sono just to check our little angel and he was as active as ever with hiccups again and we were relieved. But, the saddest part of my husband and my story is the hospital’s staff was supposed to get an ambulance to transport me to womens hospital (across the street) to get me antibiotic. The ambulance service (which was right outside hospital I was in) did not come to get me until 5 hours later. Which by then was told in womens hospital that I had been in full blown labor and would have to deliver our little angel without him having a chance of survival because his lungs weren’t developed. Longest 24 hours of my life yet. We had just bought little outfits for our little angel and had to tell our 3 year old daughter that her little brother got sick and went to heaven. After strength, love and courage our little family presses on and not a day goes by that I don’t think about our little angel.

    • Christie,

      First of all, my sincerest apology for not seeing these messages last year!! I read and responded to every single email I received, but I didn’t realize there were messages on my post as well. I’m so sorry. Your story is so similar to ours…and the timing…almost exact. I immediately feel connected to you and would have loved to have walked the journey together – because never ever did we feel so alone as we did in the hours and days surrounding Beau’s diagnosis and departure. I know those hours were your hardest yet.

      If you are ready and interested in celebrating that sweet angel, we’d love for you to join us for our NFTS event this year (Sept 2015). I will be photographing families with their footprints and presenting them with canvases…just as I did last year. Please reach out to me if you are interested. We are not alone! XOXO


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