Friday, December 31, 2010

Carried Through Grief & Beyond Words Designs

I'd like to you to meet Stephanie the author of Carried Through Grief & Beyond Words Designs.  Stephanie is a mother to 5.  Stephanie has an angel named Amelia who is her heart and inspiration for both of her blogs.  Here is what Stephanie has to say about Carried Through Grief...

I decided to create this blog in honor of my daughter Amelia Rose, who has already taught me more than I could possibly explain. I hope to continue to share my story with others who are either going through the same kind of loss or that have experienced loss already. 

Before Ameila was born, I posted on caring bridge and shared my daily journey with family and friends.  I wanted to continue sharing and quickly realized that after Amelia was born I would need another outlet for my pain.  Finding so many 'baby lost' parents on line has helped me to realize that I am not alone.  My personal relationship with God is what is carrying me through each day.  I am trusting that in the days to come He will continue to carry me through my grief and hold me together as I fall apart. 

Amelia Rose

After a rough transition from the south to New England, we found out about baby number four in June 2009. We were and are thrille​d to welcome a new life into our family. With much anticipatio​n and delight, I endured the rough first trimester and finally felt that I was in the fun part of pregnancy. We had found a midwife and began planning a home birth.

During my 24th week, our midwife explained that I was measuring larger then I should and she asked us to get an ultrasound to rule out twins. I was so excited about the possibility of twins, but also very aware that other problems could be the result of measuring larger. So, we waited for our ultrasound appt.

During the appt. I told the tech that we didn't want to know the sex of the baby. She did extensive measurement​s and made the appropriate small talk. But I instintivel​y felt something was wrong. As I contacted our midwife after the appt. she informed me that there was indeed something irregular that was found and that a level 2 ultrasound was called for. So, the panic began. The week between ultrasounds was the longest week in my life. We had some ideas of what to​l terrible possibiliti​es, but until the next ultrasound, all we could do was wait.

A week later, the level 2 ultrasound confirmed that we had a baby girl who had multiple congenital anomalies that were incompatibl​e with life. She was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, Cystic Hygroma, and Hydrops Fetalis. We were told right there that we had a 99% chance of her being born still and a 1% chance of her being born alive. I believe that the doctor said that she had a close to 0% chance of surviving at all. They believe she has a disorder called Turner's syndrome. This is a chromosomal disorder where a part of the 46th pair of x chromosomes is missing or damaged. It is not hereditary.​

We began to arm ourselves with information in order to make the best possible choices for our daughter. Parenting her is a privledge and our focus is on making Amelia's life all about love.

Aiden, our 7 year old, was in constant prayer for a baby sister, and we were able to tell him that God has answered his prayer. Both he and Oliver, age 5, were given the privilege of naming their sister. Marin, our 3 year old, is always within reach of my growing belly.

This pregnancy has become very surreal, as I change faster and have less time to adjust to the changes in my body. The pregnancy does not pose any risk to me currently and I am not "high risk". The only change has been to the location of Ameila's birth. Our home birth has been changed to a hospital planned birth.

We have been blessed with time. The diagnosis, the hundreds of​ questions, and the lack of answers are difficult. God has given both Steven and I faith and surrounded us with support and love. We have been given time to prepare and plan. Time to sing, talk, play, share Amelia with our children, and grow in love for our fourth child. We have been given time to pay attention to Amelia and her movements as she dances inside me.

We have told our children that she is sick, but not given them more than that yet. Amelia's life is being celebrated each day and that is our focus right now.

We hope that you can help us celebrate Amelia's life. Sharing our journey is truly difficult, but one we feel is necessary. We hope by sharing, that we not only answer questions, but honor Amelia's life. She is and will always be our child. If she is born to heaven before being born to us, it is our most important wish that she never be forgotten. Amelia is very much alive right now, and for Steven, I, Aiden, Oliver, and Marin - she IS and always WILL BE. Please help us celebrate her with prayer and love. And never be afraid to say or speak her name. God has chosen Amelia to be part of our family, and nothing will ever change that.

Amelia Rose

Stephanie has also included on her blog a fantastic list of ways to help your grieving children.  I thought she had a lot of great suggestions!  You can see Children and Grief by clicking here.

Stephanie's other blog is entitled Beyond Words Designs.  Below is what she has to say about why she started Beyond Words Designs.... 

Choosing to create has been a driving force for me during the last part of my pregnancy. The genesis of Beyond Words Designs has given me something to hold onto as I awaited Amelia's birth. I truly believe that it has been a lifeline; a way for me to crawl out of the devastation and help others by creating beauty from pain.

So many bereaved parents suffer from the purposeful deletion of their child's name in conversation. The death we experience is hard enough, but the loss of hearing our child’s name spoken aloud, is a continuous trigger for our grief. 

I could not bear the thought of this happening to Amelia. So, I painted her name along with words that represent the amazing blessings she has already given us. Amelia's canvas hangs proudly above our fireplace in the most visible part of our home, inviting all who come into our home to feel it is safe to speak her name aloud. 

It didn't take long to realize that Amelia's painting was something special I could build upon ~ that I could offer to other grieving parents.  As a result, Beyond Words Designs was born!  

It is my desire to help others through my work and to let art become a vehicle with purpose ~ a way to encourage others to keep memories alive.    I would love the opportunity to create a meaningful piece that celebrates the life of the one you love.

My work has grown in the last 8 months to include three very distinct and different collections.  Each collection is very special to me. 

The Tribute Collection was inspired by Amelia's canvas.  This has become a popular and creative way for you to honor a baby, child or someone special in your life.  Each canvas is customized with words that are meaningful to you.

The Celebration Collection began a long time ago when I painted depictions of pregnancy for each of my friends' baby showers.  I wanted to give each of them something special to celebrate their pregnancy ~ not just something from a gift registry.   The Celebration collection glorifies pregnancy and new life.  

There were about nine paintings in total, and because I never gave a thought to making my art into a business, I didn't photograph them (ugh!).  So, the work in my gallery is all relatively new.

The Fanciful Collection is my newest brainchild.  It is whatever you wish it to be ~ fun, sophisticated, fanciful, simple ~ it is all up to you!  This collection is geared for the discerning parent that wants to have something 'extra special' to match their child's bedroom decor.  

I am also open to custom painting requests ~ just ask!  I find that I am drawn to a challenge and love to paint on various mediums.  I have begun to paint belly casts (as seen on my gallery page) and have worked on various commissions for birth centers, hospitals and well individual clients.  

I am excited to see where this little adventure will lead me and hope that you will help spread the word if you like what you see here!

Below are a few examples of Stephanie's Name Tribute Collection

She also has a celebration collection of painting celebrating the creation of life.  Below are a few of my favorites.

Aren't they all just beautiful!

Stop by Carried Through Grief and Beyond Words Designs and leave Stephanie and comment.  Thank you Stephanie for sharing Amelia with us and your beautiful artwork!


Jill said...

I love Stephanie! She is so talented and offers amazing support to the babyloss community.

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