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 expect...al​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!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Remembrance Jewelry



I wanted to share a company that I love Silverlime.  I have one of their beautiful silver stamped necklaces with all of my children's names on it.  The necklace means a lot to me, and was a wonderful gift I was given after Devon passed away.  I wear it all the time.  I wanted to share what Silverlime has to offer for their remembrance jewelry.  The great thing about Silverlime is you can help create something customized to your liking and they will work with you on completing what you'd like.

Here are a few of their remembrance pieces...







this piece was made to help those who are dealing with the loss of a loved one through death.  this necklace comes with the story of the dragonfly (shown below). 

sterling silver round tag and dragonfly on your choice of chain. 

please expect variations in spacing and lettering-that’s what makes your Silverlime so
unique



The Dragonfly Story
by Doris Stickney

Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

"Look!" said one of the water bugs to another. "one of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?" Up, up, up it slowly went....Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn't return...

"That's funny!" said one water bug to another. "Wasn't she happy here?" asked a second... "Where do you suppose she went?" wondered a third.

No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. "I have an idea". "The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why."

"We promise", they said solemnly.

One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn't believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings...The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!

Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.

The dragonfly remembered the promise: "the next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why." Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water...

"I can't return!" he said in dismay. "At least, I tried. But I can't keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I'll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they'll understand what has happened to me, and where I went."

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air.......

We'll always remember your special waterbug who left the pond to fly.....


This is the necklace that I have.  I love it.  


Here's what they say about custom pieces...


can i mix and match different pieces?
absolutely!  that is what we are about!  just email us and we will give you a price and help you design your own creation.

can i really create my own?
you bet!  use our contact page and email us with your ideas or questions.  we are happy to create a unique creation just for you.  something that you are PASSIONATE about.

i like a piece of silverlime but would like to change the wording, is that possible?
well, of course!  your silverlime needs to be about 'you'!  just use our contact page to let us know what you would like- we want to make sure we can fit your wording on the space!

Stop over at Silverlime and check out all the beautiful jewelry they offer.  Have a custom piece made, design something yourself...and share it with us all.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ethesis

I happened across this blog entitled Ethesis.  It is authored by Stephen Marsh a father of 5 daughters.  3 of his daughters have tragically passed away.  After reading his daughter's stories and reading a few of his articles and blog excerpts my heart was truly broken.  Stephen and his wife Win have lived a nightmare.  I can only imagine their magnified grief and my heart goes out to this sweet family.  I have enjoyed reading Stephen's grief articles since they are from a male perspective.  You don't often get to see grief through a man's eyes and heart.  

Recent picture of the Marsh Family 
Taken from Ethesis Stephen's Blog

I want to share Stephen & Win's story of their 3 beautiful daughters that have passed on.  
 Jessica, Courtney & Robin 







Stephen also has a website called Living Beyond Loss.  It is a great resource of articles, blog posts, journal entries, and talks that they have given about grief and loss.  

I wanted to share part one of Stephen's journal entries.  To read them all click here.

September 16, 1997
It is incredibly difficult.  I just want to fade away and die, but I can't.


Jessica's death was a matter of raw grief.  Courtney died before we had worked through the process and created a jumble of issues and responses.  We were finally starting to live again with the hope we had in Robin.  With her, our lives were reborn.  It was a terribly difficult pregnancy, with Win restricted in many things she could do (eventually she wasn't even able to take light duty at work and was pretty much homebound), the last semester of nursing school and everything else.
Robin's birth was like the light at the end of a long and difficult journey.  Then the light went out.  



Thank you Stephen for sharing your precious daughters with us.  My heart aches for you and your family.  

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pregnancy Loss ~ Question of the Month at StorkNet's Pregnancy/Infant Loss cubby

I wanted to share a great article written on Storknet.com about grieving the loss of an infant.  You can access the article directly or read it below....



Question of the Month
My mom has always made comments to the effect that I'm lucky my baby died as an infant and that it would be worse if he had been 4 or 14 or 34. This makes me feel like my grief isn't valid and that I'm crazy for feeling so sad. Is there anything I can say to my mom to stop these hurtful comments? I'm not very strong when it comes to sticking up for my feelings.


Ann DouglasFrom Ann Douglas . . .
Despite what some people would have you believe, there's no "right" time to lose a child. The fact that you lost your child in infancy doesn't make your loss any less painful than it would have been if you had lost your child in an automobile accident at age 18 or to a heart attack at age 45 -- or much later on in life, for that matter. While parents of older children grieve the loss of shared memories, you grieve the loss of the memories that will never be.
I would encourage you to be open with your mother about how her comments make you feel. Have a heart-to-heart discussion or, if it's easier, write her a letter explaining your feelings. Sometimes people who haven't had first-hand experience with the death of a child simply don't understand that their efforts to try to cheer us up by telling us how "lucky" we are not to have experienced some other sort of death don't make us feel better. Instead, they make us feel that the other person is trying to minimize our loss. Once your mother has a chance to see things from your perspective, hopefully she will stop making insensitive comments.
Ann Douglas


Marilyn HeavilinMarilyn Heavilin
Since I have lost two babies and a teenage son, I can certainly relate to the question. First, grief cannot be measured. Please give yourself permission to grieve. My definition is grief is the process of facing the death of a dream. Your dream was just as real as one who lost an older child. I have noticed that people around us want to do anything they can to help us get "over" our grief. We know that we will never be "over" it, but our friends and family will most likely always hope they can talk us out of being sad or of hurting so much.
I think the best thing to say to your mother is the truth, "I feel like you are trying to minimize my loss, and it doesn't help me. Please validate my loss and my grief by just giving me time to work through this at my own pace."
I have learned that the hardest thing about losing a little one is you don't have a stockpile of memories. I have also learned that the hardest thing about losing a teenager is you have a stockpile of memories.
Much love,Marilyn Heavilin


Sherokee IlseSherokee Ilse
She is rationalizing - trying to explain why you hurt and she hurts. Or maybe she wants so badly for you to not hurt that she wishes you would believe that it shouldn't hurt so much, then maybe it wouldn't. Or she has bought in to the age old, but slowly changing belief, that babies are not as real as 4 year olds, that one should be able to get over them faster.
In all cases no one, not even your beloved mom, knows exactly what you are feeling. She and others may not understand the importance of grieving and mourning, which are the key to your healing over time. Putting the loss down, pretending or hoping it was not so "significant" does not make it so. You are right to feel what you feel. That is not crazy, it is grief. According to pastor and author of Don't Take my Grief Away, Doug Manning, "Grief is not an enemy; it is a friend. It is a natural process of growing, standing up to the pain and others and saying, 'Don't take my grief away from me. I deserve it and I'm going to have it.'"
He's right - if you can't say it, write it. Send your loved one a note explaining what helps and what does not. You may do this as kindly and lovingly as you can, but be clear. You could write something like, "Comments such as those do not help and in fact hurt more. Please let me feel what I feel and do what I must do in order to live through this horrendously painful tragedy. No one will replace this baby. And besides, is it the length or the size of the body that determines how much love is present in one's heart? Does the degree of suffering and support correlate with how long you have known someone? Or is love just love - as deep as the sea sometimes, from the moment of falling for someone - even a baby we never met physically but longed for forever. When we love someone no matter how long, our deep sadness and anguish cannot be measured, just as our love for them cannot be measured. Please, don't take my grief away from me. I deserve it and I'm going to need it in order to heal."
Blessings,Sherokee



Laura Randolph
Telling someone with a broken leg that it would hurt worse if both legs were broken does not make the leg that is broken hurt any less. Unfortunately, some people use a similar reasoning when trying to comfort parents who have lost a child by telling them that it would have been worse if the child had been older. Whether or not that is true is irrelevant. It simply does not matter. What does matter is your pain and sorrow. No one has the right to tell you when it is acceptable to grieve, or when the loss has been enough to warrant pain and sorrow. Only your heart knows that answer.
One possible approach in dealing with your mother's comments would be to tell her that you know she is trying to help, but those comments are hurtful. You do not expect her to understand your grief, but even though your child died as an infant it still hurts. Even if it would have been worse at 4, 14, or 34 that does not matter. All that matters is what you are feeling now and how your heart is broken. The fact remains that the child you love dearly is gone.
Perhaps you could also mention that you wish you had all those years of memories to hold onto instead of just the ones you have. (A mother who lost a 27-year-old daughter told me that she wished I had more memories of my son instead of just a few days of them. She expressed how glad she was that she had 27 years worth of memories of her daughter.)
Unfortunately, there is the possibility the comments will continue even after you tell your mother your feelings about them. Some people continued to make similar comments to me even after I tried to explain how hurtful they were. I decided that I could not control their statements but I could choose to walk away, ignore them, or explain yet again why it still hurts. It has been four years since my son died and occasionally someone will comment I am lucky he died as a newborn and I am in the position again where I have to make the decision how to respond. It is not an easy decision to make. My thoughts are with you as you grapple with the issue.
Laura Randolph

Pregnancy Loss ~ Question of the Month at StorkNet's Pregnancy/Infant Loss cubby

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Honoring your Angel at Christmas Time





Holidays can be such a difficult time of year for those grieving the loss of a child.  I have found personally that I am able to enjoy the holiday seasons so much more when I include my daughter in our holiday celebration.  Here are a few ways that we include our angel daughter in our holiday celebration......


*We hang a stocking for Devon and fill it with notes and thoughts about her.  We will often read them together as a family and then I save them in a folder.
*We have a few ornaments on our Christmas tree to honor Devon.
*We put a wreath or poinsettia plant on her grave every year.
*We light a candle in her honor.
*We pick a few service projects or opportunities to do in honor of her life.  This year we used the service cards from the Honoring Our Angels service project here.
*We take a family picture and I photoshop a little butterfly on the picture to represent Devon.  That way she is always a part of our family pictures.

What do you do to include your child during the winter holidays?  What traditions have you enjoyed most?


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Story of Emma & Chase


Meet Jill, the amazing woman and a mother to twins in heaven.  Jill runs the blogs Footprints in our Hearts, Journey of Love & Hope, and Vermont Angels.  Jill tragically lost both of her twins Emma & Chase after they were born prematurely.
Below is a piece of Emma & Chase's Story.................

August 12, 2009

At 24 weeks 5 days gestation, Emma (my first born) was born at 1:06 am and was 1.75 pounds 12.5 inches long. Chase (my second born) was born at 1:08 am and was 1.7 pounds and 13 inches long. They were rushed off by the NICU team to be cleaned up and stabilized. I wanted to see them right away, but I had to go to recovery first. At 2:30 am I was allowed to go back to my room and sometime around 4:30 am they brought Emma and Chase in isolates so we could see them. They told us statistics on our babies surviving. My husband and I never even thought we could lose our babies at this point. Now we are hearing statistics that we may lose them. It just didn't seem real. They were so tiny and beautiful. They were our precious miracles.
The NICU took our babies to the other hospital and were estimated to arrive at 6:00 am. I stared at the clock until 6 am when they were supposed to call. At 6:10 am they called and said they arrived safely. The only complication they had was Chase needed to be resuscitated along the way, but he and Emma were both stabilized by the time they arrived at the hospital.

At 8:30 am my doctor came in, sat down, and with tears told me that our boy had passed away at 8:10 am. They said he had respiratory failure and was just too small. Our world came crashing down as we just lost our beautiful baby boy. My husband and I held one another and sobbed. We were heartbroken and lost.
Mark packed a bag and went right to the NICU to see Chase and Emma. He called me when he got there and sent me some pictures from his phone. It wasn't until after 4 pm that I was finally able to be transferred to where my babies were. Family came to hold Chase and say their goodbyes. Mark and I held Chase and admired him. He was so perfect and beautiful. Just born too early. How could this all be happening? That is what ran through my mind over and over. It was hard knowing that we had to say goodbye to our boy. We said our final goodbyes and then tried to muster any energy we had for Emma. She was alive and fighting for her life. She needed us.  


We spent every minute we could at Emma's side. She needed a few blood transfusions and had some complications. All we could do was be there for her and hope and pray that she would be okay. Emma had the most amazing nurses in the NICU and every single one of them loved her. We would sit with her every day for as long as we could. My husband would read to her and I would just stare at her precious hands, feet, lips, and nose.

August 13 - 15, 2009

Each day seemed to bring on new complications although we still had hope. Her 2nd day in the NICU we were allowed to take her temperature and change her diapers. Emma's diaper was the first diaper I have ever changed. They were the smallest things I have ever seen. We enjoyed her changing times and touched her any chance that we were able to. We would reach in her isolate and hold her head and feet so she could feel comfort.  We took pictures when we could and even have a few videos.

August 16, 2009

This is the first day that I was allowed to hold my baby girl. I didn't get to hold Chase till after he passed so I was thrilled to hold Emma. She was connected to so many machines so the process of allowing me to hold her was a little tricky. I cannot even describe in words what it felt like the moment we touched, skin to skin. It was simply amazing. Emma's heart rate had been a little high most of the day, but as soon as she touched my chest, it went down. Emma knew she was safe in mommy's arms.

I held Emma for as long as they would allow. She made me so relaxed and holding her felt so natural. I loved kissing her on that sweet head of hers and telling her I loved her. I wish I could have held her forever. Later that day Emma passed at 5:36 pm. I think at that point I was in so much shock. I could not believe that I lost both my babies and that this was my reality. It didn't seem real. We had more opportunities with Emma after she passed as we were not offered the same things with Chase. Now that I know more, I wish I could go back. I wish I had videos and more pictures of my baby boy.

Emma had a lovely nurse named Kyleigh on her last day. Kyleigh helped us give Emma a bath and called a NILMDTS photographer to come. We wrapped Emma in her pink blanket and made some final handprint and footprint molds. I am so thankful to have these to remember her by. I would do anything to have the same for Chase. The nurse also took a small locket of Emma's hair and made us a little scrapbook with some of her things. It really touched our hearts and we are forever thankful to her. She has given us memories that we will always treasure.
August 17, 2009

This was the day we left the hospital with empty arms. It was the worst feeling in the world. We felt so alone and didn't know how to continue living without Emma and Chase here with us. We literally were just so lost and were trying to figure out how we learn to walk again. The thoughts of planning a memorial service and having them cremated turned my stomach. No one should ever have to make those decisions. Our children are supposed to outlive us. It all seemed so unfair and cruel. 

This is also the day we found out that the premature labor was due to circumvallate placenta. This is thought to be caused from deep implantation of the placenta. Because of the deep implantation, the placenta covers more than half of the fetal sac. The result of this is the placenta separating from the uterine wall. The odds of this happening are very rare. Once again I was crushed. I lost my babies due to a rare condition that I was told happens to one in a million. 


You can read the entire story of Emma & Chase here.

Jill also runs the website Vermont Angels where she photographs pictures of your babies name in nature settings in Vermont.

Jill writes....
In honor of my sweet angels, Emma and Chase, this site is dedicated to making memories for other parents of angels. I know that a big smile comes over my face when I see a picture of my babies names. This is my way of giving you a piece of Emma and Chase's home. A picture of your babies name(s) written in Vermont.


Below are some pictures of names that she has photographed for other parents' angels.  




This wasn't for my Devon but I love seeing it.


Finally Jill also has another website Journey of Love and Hope.  This is what Jill says about Journey of Love and Hope....

This blog is my journey of love and hope. It is a diary of pregnancy after loss written from the heart.  My feelings are there, they are true, and at times they consume me. I never thought I would be here. Experiencing all these emotions of becoming pregnant after losing my precious miracles. You can read more about Emma and Chase here

These weekly diary entries are to document my pregnancy, thoughts, and feelings. I want to have a place that I can share and maybe I can help others know that they are not alone. 

We found out we were expecting on Friday May 14, 2010. The expected due date is January 21, 2011. 

This is my journey... 





Thank you Jill for sharing your sweet angels Emma & Chase with us!  
Thank you for all that you do to give to others in honor of your children.  
This world is a better place because of it!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giveaway Winners and Some Tragic News

I decided to give both blankets away and chose 2 winners!  I did this in honor of my 2 sweet nephews that were tragically killed in a car accident on Saturday.  Right now I'm broken hearted and in mourning and I contemplated canceling my giveaway with Tina earlier but I wanted to do something in my nephews honor so I decided to continue on.  So the winners are...............


#5 Brigette
#18 Melissa


Make sure you email me your angels' name how you'd like it on the blanket.  I will mail them out on December 27th after I've had time to embroider them.

I want to share my nephews with you.   We lost Bridger and M'Gwire on Saturday, December 18th in a car accident.  I feel blessed to have been able to say goodbye to Bridger that evening before he was taken off of life support.  Bridger had such personality and spunk and M'Gwire was a sweetheart and so tender.  Life will not be the same without them.  I will miss you both incredibly.  I hope that those that see this story will prayer for their sweet family that are in the depths of mourning.  Till we meet again.

Love,
Monica

                              M'Gwire age 7                                          Bridger age 10


To see the news story click here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Honoring Our Angels Give Away!


I am so excited to be able to host one of the giveaways this holiday season!  Today I am giving away a baby blanket either pink or blue and I will embroider your angel's name on the blanket you choose.  To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment today December 21st until midnight and make sure to include your email address.  State whether you'd like the pink or blue blanket in your comment.  Once the winner is chosen from random.org then I'll have you email your angel's name so I can embroider it.  

Good Luck!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Still Life 365


Today I'd love to spotlight another website Still Life 365.  I love this website and truly believe that art can be a medium for healing.  Here is what Angie the founder of Still Life 365 says about her site.....


About Still Life 365
still life 365 is a unique art project for, about and by mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. still life 365 posts a piece of art every day by a poet, artist, photographer, crafter, musician, collagist, paper artist, filmmaker, painter, sculptor, fabric artist and ordinary person exploring grief through creativity. each piece is an expression of grief, survival, sadness, love and hope. still life 365 is intended to be a safe space for creative expression. still life 365 is open to anyone affected by pregnancy loss not simply parents.


still life 365 does not subscribe to any specific religious, philosophical or political agenda. we respect and welcome all points of view and ask that you do as well. still life 365 and the artists represented here appreciate feedback and discussion about the work through the comment section of that day’s post. please keep comments respectful and kind and they will not be erased.



About Angie
my name is angie. i am a mother. simply. after many years of working in a corporate marketing department as a writer, editor and creative coordinator, i decided to stay home with my first daughter beatrice. after my second daughter was lucia paz was stillborn at 38 weeks on winter solstice 2008, i began exploring my grief through poetry, painting, craft and art. grasping even a few minutes of focus during making a piece of art became a form of meditation and calm.

my poetry has been published in several on-line and print magazines including mothering magazine, literary mama, exhale and the now defunct in the rearview. since lucy's death, i have maintained a blog called still life with circles, dealing primarily with mothering and grief. i also am a regular contributor for the website glow in the woods. for 2010, i have undertaken the creative every day challenge, art every day month and nanowrimo, which i chronicle at still life everyday.

when i am not writing, maintaining blogs or mothering, i paint and illustrate mizuko jizo and other subjects dealing with babyloss, pregnancy and parenting at my etsy shop the Kenna Twins. i currently reside outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with my husband, children beezus and thor, and jack the dog.

still life 365 is a project conceived out of the sincere desire to create a safe creative space for grieving parents and family members to explore the different aspects of life after loss. my hope is to post a piece of art or writing every day this year. sharing my art and creations with other babylost mamas, and conversely seeing their art, helped to explore the different elements of my grief and journey. i hope it does the same for you.



I wanted to share a few of my favorite art pieces with all of you.  Be sure to stop by Still Life 365 and leave Angie a comment.  Thanks Angie, your website is beautiful, touching and healing!  Thank you artists Rachel & Amy for your permission to share your beautiful artwork!


my new mantra
watercolor  & pen






about the piece.
Now that I'm 10 months out from Lyra's death, I think people expect me to have mostly good days, and be back to normal. But my grief has not worked that way. One day can be good, and the next I feel like I'm kicked back to the ground. Some days when my grief or worry feels really overwhelming, I just have to keep telling myself to take a day at a time...or an hour at a time even.

about the artist.
Rachel lives in Kansas with her husband of four years and a gray cat. They lost their first child, Lyra, at 30 weeks due to placental abruption on December 18, 2009. Rachel maintains a blog called Curls O Fred.


Tree.
Photography.
Altered on computer by adding Sepia tinting



about the artist.
Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two greyhounds. Amy describes her journey, "Our only child Liam was born alive and apparently healthy on September 25, 2007, and was the joy of our lives. Our son Liam died soon after birth due to unexplained/unknown causes, shattering our world and our hearts. Art is an expression and release of my grief, and a way to honor the memory of our little man who is missed beyond words." Amy maintains a blog showcasing her Creative Everyday Challenge at Surviving the Day Every Day.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Exciting News!

I'm excited to announce that Tuesday, December 21st I will be hosting a giveaway as part of the 25 days of Giveaways.  Just giving ya'll a heads up to check in on the 21st to see what you could win!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Baby Dekar



I’d like you to meet Marge and Dekar.  



Marge is the author of the blog Baby Dekar and Dekar, her son, is the reason for the website.  Below is Dekar’s story.

Who is Dekar?
 (The name Dekar is pronounced “decker”.  We found his name at a website that had an exhaustive list of biblical names–we chose Dekar because it was a unique name which fit in well with the rest of our children’s names.  His name means “pierce”.)

Dekar Ezri Schmidt was due to be born on July 1, 2008. At approximately 32 weeks into the pregnancy he was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 and hypo-plastic left heart syndrome.  It was unknown whether Dekar would make it to a live birth, but if he did live, he was not expected to live long. 


After receiving the call from the doctor, I went off and prayed.  I told God that if this was His will, I would accept it.  I asked Him for strength to carry out all that was before me.  I dedicated myself to carrying Dekar to term, cherishing each moment that I had with him.  Every kick and jab was a welcome sensation.  
During a scheduled c-section, Dekar was born live at 10:46 am on June 27, 2008, and met the eyes of Jesus at 7:10 pm the same day.  He passed peacefully in my arms, surrounded by his eight siblings and father.  
He weighed 4 lbs 14 oz, 18″ long.  He was precious and beautiful.  You can read the full story of his birth and short life on this post.
I created this blog to share his life with others–Dekar gave us a lifetime of love and now we are sharing him with you. 
His short life is worth remembering, so I felt Remember the Life was a fitting title for a blog created in his memory. 

After getting the news that Dekar would not live, I had prayed that God would somehow get glory in a tragic situation. I have been questioning, how God can get glory in the death of a little baby? I admit that I have been looking for some huge firework display, but now realize that He has been and will be getting glory in the many, individual little sparks.
I’m blessed that I was able to hold Dekar and experience his life.  The term that I often heard was “incompatible with life”.  That term must have originated by somebody who doesn’t believe in God and His power.  Dekar’s life was TOTALLY compatible with my life, no matter how short it was and I thank God for him.

Marge posted her birth plan on the site to help other families facing the possible loss of a child before, during or after birth.  She also has a collection of sample infant obituaries for families to view, hoping that it aids them in the difficult process of putting together their own obituary.  
Thank You Marge for sharing Dekar with us!  His life has touched so many!



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Free Printable Graphic

I have always loved this saying and thought I'd share it with all of you.  Feel free to use the image as you please.  Simply do not claim it as your own and credit is much appreciated.  If you'd like to share it with others please send them a link to the site and they are free to take the image.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Infant Loss & SIDS

I wanted to spotlight the American SIDS Institute.  Every year over 2500 infants in the U.S. will die due to SIDS.  With so many public campaigns and education programs SIDS deaths have been decreasing over the years but there are still too many unanswered questions and more research is still needed.  Here is what the American SIDS Institute says about it's mission and SIDS education....

Founded in 1983, the American SIDS Institute, a national nonprofit health care organization, is dedicated to the prevention of sudden infant death and the promotion of infant health through an aggressive, comprehensive nationwide program of:

  • Research about both the cause of sudden infant death and methods of prevention.
  • Clinical Services assisting pediatricians in the medical management of high risk infants.
  • Education about prevention methods aimed at the public and medical community.
  • Family Support providing crises phone counseling, grief literature and referrals.

What is SIDS?
SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history. (Willinger et al, 1991).

In a typical situation parents check on their supposedly sleeping infant to find him or her dead. This is the worst tragedy parents can face, a tragedy which leaves them with a sadness and a feeling of vulnerability that lasts throughout their lives. Since medicine can not tell them why their baby died, they blame themselves and often other innocent people. Their lives and those around them are changed forever.



U.S. Annual SIDS Rate per 1000 Live Births



Source: CDC and National Center for Health Statistics



What Can Be Done?
Unfortunately, we cannot expect to prevent all SIDS deaths now. To do so requires a much greater understanding of SIDS, which will be achieved only with a commitment from those who value babies and with a considerably expanded research effort. However, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of SIDS.

To read more about ways to reduce your risk of SIDS click here.

The America SIDS Institute is hosting an event called Spring for SIDS: National Fundraiser and SIDS Awareness Day which will be held Friday, April 29th, 2011.  They are currently looking for people throughout the country to host this event.  Last year they raised over $162,000 dollars!  Here is what they have posted on their site.....


The American SIDS Institute is looking for people to host Spring-for-SIDS Day events to be held in April. This national event will raise awareness about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and will raise funds for research. We are asking companies and other organizations across the country to join us in our fight against SIDS by encouraging their employees to participate in Spring-for-SIDS Day. Each employee who donates $5 will be provided with a Spring-for-SIDS sticker and will be allowed to wear his fun casual spring outfit to work that day.
 Volunteer to be a Spring-for-SIDS Captain at your company, school, store or other organization. A kit will be provided to all Captains, including posters, stickers, donation cards and sign-up sheets - everything you need to coordinate the event. Everyone will have fun and will feel good about being part of this effort to end SIDS. To learn more about Spring-for-SIDS, or to volunteer, go to www.springforsids.org.

Are you interested?  
Want to find out more....go here.

Would you like to make a donation?  Click here.

Honoring Our Angels Service Project

Honoring Our Angels Service Project
Click on the card to read more about the project.
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