The Ohio beekeeper whose maternity photo shoot went viral over the summer after she posed with a swarm of bees has lost her baby.
Emily Mueller of Akron posted the news to Facebook that her son was “born an angel” on Saturday, about six days before his due date. She and her husband, Ryan, named him Emersyn Jacob.
In subsequent emotional posts Mueller explained what happened and responded to the hundreds of people leaving condolences on her Facebook page.
“Our lives have been changed forever in so many ways but I am realizing we are not the only ones suffering the loss of Emersyn. It is a profound experience to see how many people are mourning with us,” she wrote. “Your prayers are what are getting us through and it means so unbelievably much to us.”
Photos of Mueller, a professional beekeeper and honeybee rescuer, created a worldwide stir on social media in August after she asked her friend, professional photographer Kendrah Damis, to do a maternity photo shoot with bees. Damis put her faith in her friend’s expertise in handling bees.
“I am not a bee person,” Damis told the Akron Beacon Journal at the time. “I didn’t have any experience photographing bees before.”
Mueller and her husband own the Mueller Honey Bee company. They also remove hives for homeowners and businesses, the Beacon Journal reported. The bees used in the maternity shoot came from a hive Mueller had captured earlier in the day.
She made sure the bees had full bellies so they’d be less active and less likely to sting during the photo shoot. To make the bees swarm around her, she held the queen in a container in her hand.
She said at the time she consulted with her doctor to make sure her baby wouldn’t be endangered. “Working with a hive is just another day for a beekeeper,” she told the newspaper. “That might sound crazy to some, but it really was.”
She told the BabyCenter parenting blog that bees hold a special place in her life. She’s been around them for years, and her first hive was a gift from her father.
“When we decided to begin keeping bees, it was after our second miscarriage and during a time I needed something else to focus on emotionally,” she told BabyCenter.
“I began to read a lot about bees and learned that they not only represent death but the beginning of a new life and I knew that is what I needed.”
After her second child was born, she became a full-time beekeeper.
Last week, she wrote on Facebook, she was preparing for an event and got so busy she wasn’t paying attention to the baby’s movement.
“Who truly does when you’ve been this far along 3 times before and everything has been completely normal,” she wrote. “By evening I began to realize I had not felt baby move much and had contractions that felt different than any I have had before.”
She went to see her midwife the next morning, and the midwife brought in the doctor on call.
The next moment, Mueller wrote, “is forever sketched into my mind and I cannot stop replaying it. Dr. Sutter sat on my right side looking at the screen and turned to me and said, ‘Your baby has passed.’
“I can’t and don’t want to explain that feeling to anyone. Turning to your husband and seeing him die inside. Seeing him completely break. Seeing your children feel and suffer your pain in front of your eyes. The pain is unbearable.
“The Dr. encouraged me to look at the screen and I wished I hadn’t. I wished I could remove the imagine in my mind of seeing the unbeating black, lifeless heart on the screen.”
The most horrible part came next, she wrote.
“Finding out your baby died is unfathomable. Learning you have to be induced and deliver your deceased child is way beyond that.”
She and her family have accepted the fact that they might never know what happened to the baby, she wrote.
“If my intuition serves me right, I have a very strong feeling that this was a blood clotting issue as those traits have been affecting our immediate family for some time,” she wrote. “My next of kin have suffered miscarriages due to this disorder so it would make sense we could go through it as well.”
She shared her story, she wrote, to help other families who have been through the same pain and she’s been stunned by how many other women have shared similar experiences.