Amanda and Skyler Sorensen of Orem were excitedly expecting their first baby to be born this fall. But, their plans changed when Amanda Sorensen went into preterm labor when she was just 24 weeks into the pregnancy. Baby Milo was born four days later on Aug. 1, weighing one pound, eight ounces.
“He did fairly well for a baby being born right at the edge of viability,” Skyler Sorensen said. Dozens of well-wishers followed Milo’s progress on a “Mighty Milo” Facebook page where the Sorensens chronicled the ups and downs of Milo’s life.
“At day 24, he started showing signs of infection. That night, he went septic and eventually passed away due to a heart block,” Skyler Sorensen said. “He passed peacefully in his mother’s arms.”
The heartbreaking and traumatic experience has served as a catalyst for a healing, personal project. From the beginning, Skyler Sorensen, a film student at Brigham Young University, wanted to make a film about Milo’s life because of the unique way he entered the world. “I obviously didn’t expect the ending that it had, but making this documentary was my way of categorizing the events that transpired and making sense of it all. It was my replacement for writing in my journal,” he said.
Creating the documentary has helped with the long and difficult healing process for the Sorensens. “As cheesy as it sounds, I felt as though the story was editing itself in front of my eyes. I discovered a version of the story that, while condensed, did a great job at showing me what I experienced from a removed perspective,” Skyler Sorensen said. “It also served as a eulogy and my ‘farewell for now’ to my son.”
While Amanda Sorensen was not very involved in the actual filming or editing of the film, she did experience watching her husband work on it.
“I have to admit that the first time watching the film was painful. It is so beautiful and well done, but hard to relive some of the most painful moments of my life,” she said. “However, after watching it a couple of times, it started to just become something beautiful and something less painful to watch.”
The documentary, titled “Milo, a Story About Our Son,” is about 30 minutes long and is separated into three parts: his birth, his life and his passing. Aside from the actual filming, it took Skyler Sorensen about a month of on and off editing to complete. It consists of a combination of footage from the hospital and Newborn Intensive Care Unit, as well as music and symbolic footage that captures the emotion of the experience, he said.
Members of the public are invited to attend the screening of the documentary, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 5 at Cornerstone Technologies, 1387 S. 630 East in American Fork.
“For those experiencing recent loss or grief, this may not be something you want to subject yourself to so soon,” Skyler Sorensen said. “ It acts as a catalyst for our experience, and we feel a piece of that same grief while watching it as we had while experiencing it. It may be a similar experience for viewers.”
Skyler Sorensen said he hopes the viewing of the documentary to be a solemn remembrance of past struggles and a hope for the future. “The film ends with a hopeful message and I feel that is something everyone can relate with,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch it without tearing up or without missing my baby, but it is a beautiful way to commemorate his sweet life,” Amanda Sorensen said.