(This is a guest blog by Dr. Karla Iacampo. She is a hero to my wife and I as she was the doctor who helped us through our 2nd (and 3rd) pregnancies after we lost our first child, Norbert. The character of “Dr. Claire Holden” played by Connie Nielsen in the film is based on Karla. Thank you for sharing your experience, insight and beautiful heart with us on this journey, Karla.)
My experience with RETURN TO ZERO started when I first met Sean and Kiley. The essence of our meeting was just like the movie and unfortunately, it is true that we bonded over our shared experience of pregnancy loss of their first son, Norbert, and my third daughter, Joanna.
I was amazed when Sean asked me to review his script for medical accuracy; I’d never done anything like that before and I didn’t realize that is what he did for a living. As it turned out, I was in for more surprises because he asked me to be on set for the hospital and office scenes.
I’ve lived and worked in LA for 20 years and this was my first up close experience with “Hollywood”. It turned in to an amazing, cathartic and emotional roller coaster. I met a man from Seattle (ed: Brent Spraker) who lost his daughter, Emily; he volunteered to work on the movie in her honor.
I met the cast who could not have been nicer to my daughter and me and who were incredibly sensitive to the pain and loss of this imagined child as well as our real children. I was thrilled Sean decided to portray my character as tall, blonde, Danish and beautiful!
Connie was so insightful in her development of empathy and courage for her character and she was a quick study in how to deliver a baby.
I still cannot fathom where Minnie went to get to the raw emotion she showed in her loss scenes. Sean and I cried together as we watched the monitors; she was so real and true to what we and so many others have experienced. Paul had just the right amount of anger and disbelief that surrounds couples when the unimaginable happens to their family.
I am grateful to Sean for the opportunity to be a part of his story because he also told my story–I hope his beautiful script and movie may help others know and believe that even when the worst loss imaginable happens, that there is hope, love and life afterwards.
- Karla Iacampo, mother of Andrea, Christina, Joanna and Michelle