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Gilbert mom fills the hearts of families going through pregnancy loss

Aprilee Pena fills Blayklee's Boxes for Valley families going through pregnancy loss. She fills the boxes in memory of her daughter she lost during pregnancy.

GILBERT, Ariz. — The heartbreak of losing a pregnancy never fully goes away. It oftentimes leaves families with more questions than answers, as they leave hospitals devastated and empty-handed. A Gilbert mom who knows that pain all too well is turning her loss into something beautiful.

Aprilee Pena is helping families heal through Blayklee’s Boxes. Knowing there's no cure for losing a baby, Pena started making the boxes. She lost her own daughter during a pregnancy in May 2019.

“It was like my world stopped that day, everything changed," Pena said. "I had to wait four days before I could actually get a room at the hospital to deliver.”

Pena, a mom of five, was told there was no heartbeat during a routine pregnancy ultrasound. Her husband and children were by her side when they found out the devastating news. 

“It’s words that I will never forget," Pena said.

Days later, Pena would deliver and say goodbye to her daughter, Blayklee, all in one day. It was a devastating moment taking thousands more to heal from. The excruciating pain of loss stayed with Pena for months.

“After you hear the words she’s gone and then you have to go deliver, the next hardest thing is actually leaving without your baby," Pena said.

The sadness, eventually nudged Pena to find a way to show other families like hers, they're not alone. Turning her pain into support, Pena has touched dozens of pregnant moms she's never met. 

“I don’t want moms to go home with empty arms," Pena said. 

Through Pena losing her daughter, Blayklee’s Boxes were born.

“They shouldn’t be going home with a box but I want them to at least have something," she said. 

The boxes are given to pregnancy loss families in Valley hospitals. Blayklee’s boxes come in different genders and sizes, with hats, blankets and bears. There’s two of everything.

“I don’t want a mom to have to choose if that blanket is what she’s buried in or if she snuggles that blanket at night," Pena said. 

For families forced to leave a larger than life sized piece of their hearts behind.

Pena said she’s donated more than 160 boxes to seven Valley hospitals since starting last year. Her goal is to turn this into a nonprofit soon. She is accepting donations and volunteers to help make more boxes right now.

The boxes cost between $20 to $50 to make.

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Una mamá de Gilbert llena los corazones de las familias que atraviesan la pérdida del embarazo

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