On Sept. 1, 2011, Stephanie Freisner was at a routine obstetrics appointment when she learned the tragic news. Her baby had died in the womb.
Three days later, she delivered a stillborn baby girl named Lillie Elizabeth Freisner.
"You never get over it, you just learn to cope better," Freisner said. "My arms were so empty."
Freisner said she felt like she lost everything that day. The Milton High graduate said her 17-year marriage to her high school sweetheart had become strained because they grew apart. Her first child, Andrew, 10 years old at the time, was constantly unhappy.
For Freisner, it was a time of confusion. She said she thought getting pregnant again would fill the void left by Lillie's death. She assumed her husband wanted the same thing. At that time, Freisner felt her only purpose was to have a baby. So she got pregnant six weeks after Lillie's death. But that pregnancy also ended in tragedy.
She had a miscarriage.
Life has gotten better for the 39-year-old Freisner. She and her fiancé, Kyle Wright, have a daughter. Kylie Elizabeth Wright was born on Sept. 18, 2013.
She has her own business, Stephanie's Cleaning Fairies LLC, and a new life.
However, Lillie is never far from her thoughts. Freisner said she was going through her son's old books when she got an idea.
She would donate Little Free Library structures in Lillie's memory. Kyle, she said, will build them.
Freisner contacted the nonprofit organization online (littlefreelibrary.org) and found out how to build the small repositories where people may take or leave books.
Her goal is to have one in place by Sept. 4 at a local park. Freisner said she is working with Milton interim city manager Randy Jorgenson to find the right location.
Freisner also wants to continue helping mothers going through fetal demise, the clinical term for stillbirths. She credits groups like Mothers Enduring Neonatal Death and Still Standing Magazine for helping her get through her grief.
Freisner said she recently raised $300 for the nonprofit group Project Alive and Kicking, which helps low-income mothers take better care of themselves during pregnancy.
"All I want to do is have people remember Lillie and become a better person," Freisner said.