Derek Larsen is a loving husband to his high school sweetheart, Carissa, whom he met as a sophomore, and devoted father to his two amazing boys. While it took him 13 years to finally marry her and start a family, it was not long after the wedding that they were pregnant with their first child. An event they had literally fantasized about for over a decade, they expected a fairy tale pregnancy. It was quite the opposite. At 20 weeks, they were told that the pregnancy would not last and to prepare for the worst. The next month was a living hell, as they simply waited and hoped, until their precious Emanuel Robert succumbed to Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) and was stillborn at 24 weeks on 12/31/10.
After spending a career in advocacy and politics, Derek briefly considered starting a nonprofit to focus on outreach and policy for parents of stillborn children. However, he quickly realized that he needed to focus on himself and his family instead of putting energy into an activity he did not have the strength to maintain. After grieving together and hearing months of no real answers from doctors while fearing that IUGR would reoccur, they found the faith to try again. Even in the hospital on the day Elijah Monroe was born, Derek was just waiting for another dreadful loss.
Now in a new stage of grief, Derek is attempting to focus on using the loss of Emanuel to be an amazing and dedicated father to Elijah. Derek has presented as a keynote speaker at a conference for healthcare professionals on “A Father’s Perspective” and hopes to continue to utilize his experiences and share his journey while contributing to PALS as a grieving dad.