Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SIDS FACTS

What is SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant under one year of age that remains unexplained after the performance of a complete postmortem investigation, including an autopsy, an examination of the scene of death and a review of the medical history.

Facts About SIDS
 SIDS claims the lives of almost 2,500 infants in the US each year  that's nearly 7 babies every day. 

 SIDS is not caused by "baby shots." 
 SIDS deaths occur unexpectedly and quickly to apparently healthy infants, usually during periods of sleep. 
 SIDS is not caused by suffocation, choking, or smothering.
 SIDS is not caused by child abuse or neglect. 
 SIDS is not contagious. 
 SIDS occurs in families of all races and socioeconomic levels. 
 SIDS cannot be predicted or prevented and can claim any baby, in spite of parents doing everything right.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Karinne Claire



Today I'm excited to share another spotlight with you!  It's a beautiful blog written by Kara in honor of her sweet angel Karinne Claire.

Below is part of Kara's story of Karinne. 
To view the full story (and I really think you should) click on the link to Karinne's Story
(I'm sorry for the strange layout of the story but I could not get it fixed no matter what I tried!)

Karinne's Story

 How does one tell the story of their beloved child gone to heaven at birth in just a few paragraphs? It seems that would be impossible. But I will try to tell her story as briefly and yet beautifully as possible so that newcomers can get to know her.

My husband Curtis and I found out in October 2009 that we were pregnant with our 4th child. At the time, our older children were a 7 year old daughter DaNae, a 4 year old son Noah and a 2 year old son Ian. We were so excited to hopefully complete our family with another daughter. And we were naive enough to believe that nothing could possibly go wrong with that dream. We shared with family a few weeks later that "One More Makes Four - Coming June 11th 2010!!" We had so much to look forward to. 

Our doctor recommended a sonogram at 12 weeks, which was earlier than we had ever had before. The following night after this sonogram, our doctor called to tell us that there appeared to be fluid on the baby's brain and that we needed to have another sonogram with a maternal fetal specialist. We were very scared and the week up until the 2nd sono was very difficult. But we still didn't have any idea JUST HOW serious things were and didn't even tell most of our family because we didn't want to worry them until we knew something for sure.

On December 9th, we traveled four hours on snow packed roads for our sonogram with the specialist in Wichita, KS.  That was the day that our world surrounding this precious new life came crashing down as we first heard the word - Acrania. We were in such a state of shock as we were told the words "fatal" and "incompatible with life" and as we were told and shown that the top portion of our baby's skull had not formed properly, leaving her brain tissue open and exposed to the amniotic fluid.  It was FAR WORSE news than we ever could have imagined.  We were devastated!

As they showed us these findings on the sonogram screen, we decided to ask if they could tell the baby's gender.  They told us - "It's a Girl!"  And we instantly broke down sobbing in each other's arms.  The reality hit us - we were going to have another daughter that we had prayed for and dreamed of - our precious Karinne Claire.  BUT she was NOT going to LIVE.

The doctor was kind and compassionate as she gently explained our options.  I am SO THANKFUL to this day that she did not deceive us with ugly stories and push us toward termination as so many parents are falsely directed by their doctors.  As  Christians and as her parents - who loved her unconditionally and deeply desired to hold her in our arms - we decided without hesitation to continue the pregnancy. And we hoped and prayed with all our hearts that we would be blessed to have precious moments with her after she was born. 

At first, one might expect that the following months would have passed by so very slowly and agonizingly.  But when you consider that the remainder of the pregnancy was our daughter's LIFETIME - you'll understand that the time passed by FAR TOO QUICKLY.  

We told our 2 older children at the end of January about Karinne's diagnosis.  We had dreaded sharing the news with them, especially with as much as they were hoping for a baby sister.  We slowly and carefully explained that the bones in the baby's head had not grown right and because of this, the baby wouldn't be able to live very long after birth.  As the words sunk in, DaNae just buried her head in Curt's lap and cried.  And  Noah asked many good questions including "Will the baby go straight to heaven?"  

We were truly blessed to be put in touch with a perinatal hospice group called Choices Medical Clinic in Wichita, Kansas. Part of their mission was to help families who had been given a poor prenatal diagnosis.  They offered counseling, support, someone to make difficult phone calls and arrangements, and best of all - free 4D sonograms as often as we could get there.  Throughout the pregnancy, we were able to have 3 of these sonograms.  It was SO amazing to be able to see so many aspects of Karinne and to get to know her while she was still in the womb.  We began to call Karinne our little dancing girl after seeing her beautiful little feet appearing to dance around. 












In the early morning hours of May 10th - at 35 1/2 weeks - I was waking up every hour to go to the bathroom and realized that the contractions that I had been having were not going away during the night as usual.  I woke my husband, called my doctor (who was out of town and wouldn't be able to make it back in time) and we left for the hospital around 5:30 am.  We called our parents on the way to the hospital and put them on alert. At the hospital, we soon discovered that I was truly in labor and was dilated to at least 6 with the bag of water bulging. Karinne was coming whether we were ready or not. We knew we still wanted to do the c section to give Karinne the best chance and to give ourselves the most peace of mind. Fortunately the doctor who was planning to be the primary surgeon was available.  He said – “9 or 9:30 surgery – can your families, friends and photographer be here by then?” So we made the calls and got everyone on their way. As scared and as sad as we were, an amazing peace began to come over us, knowing that today was HER day.

They prepped me for surgery, we said some prayers, we shared some hugs and tears with family and friends who had arrived, and we listened to Karinne’s heartbeat with the older children one last time. We had held off as long as possible – time to go in for surgery. I felt Karinne’s sweet kicks as well as the contractions for the last time before the epidural took effect. Someone came in and told us that our parents had arrived. And it wasn’t too long before they told us it was time and they lowered the curtain so we could see her birth.

Soon Karinne was gently lifted from my womb and entered the world here on earth. We watched and listened as the nurses tried to get her to cry or take a breath. We saw her legs and arms move, but could tell that we wouldn’t have long. They brought her to us and we marveled at her tiny and special beauty. She squeezed our fingers and I pray she saw the love on our faces as her heart took its final beats for about 10 minutes. I remember thinking as she lay in my arms the line from the song – Come to Jesus – “Fly to Jesus - - - Fly to Jesus - - - Fly to Je-sus – and LIVE!!” And shortly thereafter – she did just that – she “danced” peacefully on to meet Jesus.

We spent the most beautiful, sorrowful, and yet peace-filled day marveling at the beauty of our precious daughter. I know the Lord’s presence was in those rooms as we shared Karinne with our other children, then our parents, my sisters and brothers (in-law), our closest friends, our beloved babysitter, and my nieces and nephew. Brooke and our friend Rhonda took such amazing photos of the day that poignantly tell the entire story. Our children were such a blessing to us throughout that day, each in their own special way. And when the time came, nearly 12 hours after her birth, to let Karinne go – we were still filled with a heavenly peace as the sweet man from the funeral home carried her off in a beautiful bassinet. Other than to have had more time with Karinne alive and to have had my sister Krista there that day, I couldn’t hardly have asked for a more special and loving day to have spent with Karinne on the day of her birth.

Our precious Karinne Claire danced, kicked and wiggled her way through 35 1/2 weeks in her mommy's tummy until her birth by c section on May 10th, 2010 at 10:20 in the morning.  She spent 10 precious minutes in our arms before she "danced peacefully on to meet Jesus."  She weighed a tiny 3 lbs. 3.7 ounces and was just 15 1/2 inches long.  Karinne will forever be a precious part of our family and although her life was far too brief, she made an eternal impact upon our hearts.  We look forward to holding her again in heaven for all eternity.






Kara also gives back to other families by doing these beautiful impressions for other families that have lost a baby.  I know that this means so much to these families!  (I so wish I would have done this for Devon!  I just didn't even think about it, my mind was a mess)  This is what Kara has to say about Karinne's Lasting Impressions...








I wanted to share today about a special opportunity I had last week to help another family who recently lost a baby.  Over the summer, I began thinking about meaningful ways to carry on a legacy in Karinne's honor.  What could I provide to other families that was unique and that may be overlooked in the shock and devastation of a sudden loss?  I thought about the special mementos that we were blessed to be able to gather since we knew ahead of time that Karinne would not be able to be with us for long.  Those special items mean so much to me now that she is gone.   But for so many families - the loss is unexpected - and the time to gather memories is SO fleeting!  So, back in August I came up with the idea that I wanted to offer to make 3D hand and foot moldings and impressions for bereaved families.  We were so blessed when Karinne was born to have a kit for this from String of Pearls and also to have our friends from Choices Medical Clinic come and create these mementos for us.  So, I ordered the supplies and discussed the idea with a few people including Brooke, the NILMDTS photographer who took photos of Karinne.  And then - I hoped and prayed that no one would need me - but if they did - that I would be "prepared" and "able" to make it happen.

Last week, through Brooke, I had the opportunity to do just that.  I don't think it's necessary or appropriate to share details of the sweet baby boy who went to heaven last week.  But I just wanted to share that I am so glad that I followed my heart and the direction that God has been leading me in starting this ministry.  My dear friend Rhonda and I were able to go and make the 3D moldings and impressions and everything came out looking great - despite our nerves, our emotions, and our lack of experience.  It is my sincere prayer that these precious impressions will bring some measure of comfort to this baby boy's family.  And that through these tiny mementos, Karinne's life and her story will continue to make a lasting impression as well.  

Please remember this family in your prayers as they mourn the loss of their tiny, beautiful son!
Kara made a beautiful garden for Karinne.  I just love it!  As I said yesterday, this is something I so want to do.  What a great idea to have people bring perennials to the funeral to plant in a garden.  I just love that idea!




Karinne's Garden

In writing Karinne's obituary, we came up with the idea of asking people for perennial and annual flowers that could be planted in a garden in memory of Karinne.  We wanted a special place that we could go to reflect, relax, and remember Karinne.  The idea took on a life of its own as MANY friends and family donated live flowers and plants.  Following the funeral, our porch began to look a bit like a greenhouse nursery!  It was so beautiful.













 Before

 After







Kara, Thank you so very much for sharing your beautiful blog and tribute to Karinne.  I am so touched by what you have done, and are doing to honor your beautiful angel!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Infant Burial and Funeral Resources

I wanted to share a wonderful resource for miscarriage, stillbirth and infant burial/cremation.  The company is called Heaven's Gain.  I know in my state of Utah it is required by law that parents of a stillborn infant are required to bury or cremate their child's remains. Consequently all funeral homes carry burial/cremation items for preemie sized infants.  However, I never thought about those that have an earlier loss and how they might struggle finding these items.


Heaven's Gain also has a few memorial items that can either be placed at their burial site or perhaps at a memorial garden.  That's one thing on my to do list this summer is to plant a butterfly garden in our yard for our Devon.  I'd love to put a few items that are memorable to us and perhaps a statue or engraved stone.  You can view their memorial items on their site as well as a list of books they recommend.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Peace of My Heart


One mom's journey from burying a piece of her heart with her infant daughter to finding the true peace of her heart with her Savior.

I'm excited today to spotlight Kim from Peace of My Heart.  Kim has dedicated her blog to her sweet angel  Kristen.  Meet Kim....


I'm married to an amazing man and am blessed to home school two sweet daughters. Our littlest one waits for us in Heaven, and I thank God for the 3 months we had her here. His grace is truly amazing.

"Blessed be the Lord, Who bears our burdens and carries
us day by day."
-Psalm 68:19
Kim's sweet Kristen and background for her story....



 Kristen's story is best told through the journal entries of the CaringBridge site we set up in early 2009.  It started before she was even born and chronicles the ups and downs of my pregnancy, her delivery, the day in August that forever changed my life, and the weeks that followed.  Peace of My Heart (this blog) picks up where the CaringBridge site left off.

Click here to access a static copy of our CaringBridge site. You can maneuver through it and read all the journal and guestbook entries, if you like. There are also a few pictures.  You can no longer leave messages on it, however, as it has been deactivated (well, it will be soon, but please leave messages or comments on this blog NOT on the CaringBridge site!).  The journal entries themselves (February through November 2009) have been copied over to the home page of this blog, as well.  The archives down the right side of the home page will lay out all the entries for you.

A friend of mine wrote the following poem the night that Kristen died. It summarizes Kristen's short time with us so beautifully, and I am grateful to Colleen for sharing it: 

BACKGROUND STORY

In October 2008 we were blessed with news that we were expecting. The morning sickness (such a misnomer!) was pretty much all day every day for weeks. About the time I started to feel better, my doctor told us he found "soft indicators" for Down's Syndrome on an ultrasound. We had earlier opted not to do the screening for Down's, but after this news from the ultrasound, we went ahead with an amnio in early December. (This decision was based on the fact that any associated complications would best be handled in Wichita vs. Great Bend. No result would have ever changed our minds about having this baby!) Thankfully, we found out right before Christmas that our little one was as "normal" as an Eckels can be! In early February, I went in for a regular appointment and another sonogram. The doctor came in and told me that he found something he had never seen before (in 20 years of delivering babies)...our baby's right lung was significantly smaller than her left. He made an appointment to see a subspecialist in Wichita. We waited an agonizing 2 weeks to get in to see her. On a very early Thursday morning we trekked to Wichita, leaving the girls off at Will's sister's house near Little River. She had a full day of fun planned for them, leaving us to concentrate on what we needed to. Dr. O'Hara explained to us that our little one had a CCAM (congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation). Basically, it is non-functioning lung tissue that is displacing her right lung, therefore not allowing it to form as it should. This mass could resolve itself (which is the best outcome and what we continue to pray for) or it could grow and cause hydrops (abnormal fluid build-up that is very serious and would require immediate intervention) in the baby. If the CCAM doesn't cause her heart or other organs any problems, it would be removed after birth and her right lung would be just fine. So as of late February, I'm going in for weekly sonograms at my doctor's office in GB. They are faxing the results to the specialist's office in Wichita, and I'll see her again in April. I'll most likely be delivering in Wichita, possibly Kansas City, but exactly when will have to be determined. The waiting causes some anxious moments at times, but we know that God loves our little Kristen even more than we do and will bring us through whatever we will be facing. We so appreciate all the many prayers that have been and continue to be lifted up for Kristen and for us.

You can continue Kristen's Story by clicking on Journal Entries



Kim has also found a way to give back to others through The Bear Project.  This is what she has to say about it....
My Great-Aunt Pearl tried to teach me how to knit when I was 8 or 9 years old.  It didn't go very well at that time, which was no reflection on Aunt Pearl (she was an AMAZING lady and avid knitter, crocheter and quilter).  I just didn't have the patience at that age to stick with it long enough to figure it out.  As a way of dealing with the death of not only my infant daughter, but my mother as well, I took a knitting class with a friend through our local recreation commission.  It gave my mind something else to focus on for a time, and it gave my fingers something to do.  I can't tell you how many days I just felt restless and out of sorts.  Being able to sit down and knit for a while seemed to at least give me a small break from the reels of "movies" that seemed to play endlessly in my head.

I made a lot of dishcloths and a couple of scarves...and then I found a pattern for a little stuffed bear.  As I read in Psalm 68:19 about God bearing our burdens, I knew that a bear would be just the right reminder.

The journey we began in August 2009 was certainly never in our plans.  It was a detour we didn't expect, one we definitely didn't want to take, but it was only a detour in our eyes.  It's part of a greater story that will only unfold fully for us when we get to heaven.  I wanted to dosomething for other parents who find themselves on a journey like ours.

In February 2010, I spoke with one of the chaplains at Children's Mercy Hospital, the same hospital where Kristen had her surgery. She said they would be glad to distribute the bears to families who had lost a child.(They do an amazing job of staying in contact with bereaved families every few months. We've received beautiful notes from some of the nursing staff and priceless memory items as well.)

My dear sister, Melody, (okay, she was Will's sister first, but she's been mine for nearly 20 years now!) started her own graphics design business and graciously worked with me to create a logo. As we were brainstorming ideas for names one afternoon at my kitchen table, I said, "Piece of my Heart." Mel was writing as I was talking and said, "P-E-A-C-E, right?" I said, "Actually, I was thinking P-I-E-C-E, but I like that it could be both!" When Kristen died, a piece of my heart went with her. I know that piece will be put back one day, but in the meantime, God has granted me a peace that only He can.

What can anyone do to ease a parent's pain of losing a child?  In my experience, not much.  There are no words that are adequate.  Being present in their lives to lend whatever support they do need is very helpful, but the pain can only be soothed by the love of our Heavenly Father.  If I could, however, use a little bear to reach out to a hurting family and let them know that someone cares, I would.  More importantly, I would let them know that God cares.  That was the point at which this blog became so very important to me.  Prior to that, it was just a place where I could express my thoughts and chronicle my very personal journey.  I was the only one who had access, so the thought of opening it up to the world was a little overwhelming at first.  However, if sharing myself and what I've experienced through my relationship with Jesus Christ will further God's kingdom in any way, I'll do it.  The address of this blog is included in a note that accompanies each bear.

What began as "The Bear Project" later grew into "Peace of my Heart."

I have to say, I just love doing these spotlights because I always come away inspired by everyone and what good they do.  Thank you so much Kim for allowing us into your world and for sharing your precious Kristen with us!  

Monday, March 21, 2011

GriefShare

I wanted to post about another resource out there for those grieving, it's called GriefShare.  This is what their website says about the organization.....


How GriefShare Works

It may be hard for you to feel optimistic about the future right now. If you’ve lost a spouse, child, family member or friend, you’ve probably found there are not many people who understand the deep hurt you feel.
This can be a confusing time when you feel isolated and have many questions about things you’ve never faced before.
GriefShare groups meet weekly to help you face these challenges and move toward rebuilding your life. Each GriefShare session has three distinct elements:

Video Seminar with Experts

Each week your GriefShare group will watch a video seminar featuring top experts on grief and recovery subjects. These videos are produced in an interesting-to-watch television magazine format featuring expert interviews, real-life case studies, dramatic reenactments and on-location video.

Support Group Discussion with Focus

After viewing the video, you and the other group members will spend time as a support group, discussing what was presented in that week’s video seminar and what is going on in your lives.

Workbook-Based Personal Study and Reflection

During the week you will have the opportunity to use your workbook for further personal study of the grieving process and to help sort out your emotions through journaling. Your group will spend time discussing questions and comments from the workbook study.

If you are interested in finding a GriefShare group you can go to their website, input your zip code and see if they have one available.  Can't find one in your area?  Consider starting a GriefShare group.

The other great thing that GriefShare offers are daily emails/devotionals of encouragement, inspiration and hope.  You can sign up for their "A Season of Grief" Daily Emails and below is a preview of Day 1.

Day 1 - Understanding Your Grief

Grief is not an enemy or a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human. Grief is the cost of loving someone.
Since grief comes to everyone, why do some people seem to work through it better than others?
“Some people think that going through the losses or crises of life are the exceptional times,” says Dr. H. Norman Wright.
“I see it differently. I see the times of calm as the exceptions. Life really is going through one loss after another, one crisis after another.
“Instead of avoiding talking about these times, let’s do our homework. When you know what to expect, you’re not thrown by them as much, and you’re going to be better able to recover.”
Join us each day for the next year as we walk with you on your journey through grief, strengthened and enabled through the Lord Jesus Christ.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Lord God, teach me to embrace my grief and not fight it, so that I may experience the true healing that comes from You. Amen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Celebrating Your Angel's Birthday


I wanted to share a list of ideas for celebrating your angel's birthday.  Just because they are no longer around physically, does not mean that this day can no longer be celebrated.  I know some people are a little surprised that we celebrate Devon's birthday every year but most are very understanding.  It's a very personal thing for each person, family and circumstance. However, it has been a wonderful and meaningful tradition for our family.  Below are a few ideas for ways to celebrate and honor your child on their birthday.

1. Have a party.  Make it complete with cake, ice cream and the works.  Sing Happy Birthday to your child.  You can make this party a celebration of your child's life.

2.  Make and watch a slide show of pictures of your child.  Talk and reminisce about them.


3.  Have a balloon release in their honor.  You can have each person release a balloon or you can release the same number of balloons as the age of your angel.  You can write special messages to your angel on the balloon or attach a note if you'd like.


4.  Plan a service project in honor of your angel.  Print off a service card to give to those your are serving.  A few ideas for service projects are...... donate to a food bank, donate to the NICU, help at a food kitchen for the homeless, bake cookies for your local police/firemen, help out an elderly neighbor with yard work or shopping, donate a bear to another angel family, donate to a cause or foundation that is meaningful to you in your child's name, give books/stuffed animals to your local children's hospital, dedicate a day to random acts of kindness in honor of your angel, donate gifts you would have been purchasing for your child to a child in need of the same age.

5.  Visit the your child's grave or the location where you spread their ashes and sing them Happy Birthday.  Leave a note or memento for them.  Decorate their grave with balloons, stuffed animals, or other meaningful items.

6.  Keep a journal for your child.  Every year on their birthday make an entry.  Tell them how you are feeling, how much you miss them, what you think they would have been doing at this age, what is going on in your life, etc.  


7.  Go somewhere special or meaningful to you and your angel for their birthday.  Perhaps a cabin on the lake, camping in the mountains, sitting on a special beach.

8.  Participate in a 5k, 10k, triathlon, or marathon around your child's birthday.  Make a t-shirt stating you are running in memory of your child and personalize it how you'd like.  Invite others to come and run in honor or your child.  Make them identical shirts too.


9.  Plant a tree, flower, or flowering shrub in honor of your child.  Make a butterfly garden, or plant flowers that will bring hummingbirds.

10.  Create a work of art for your child.  You don't have to be an artist to do this.  Write them a poem, paint a picture, sculpt with clay, make them a blanket, a photo collage.  Express your feelings of both joy and grief through art.

What do you do on your angel's birthday?  I'd love for you to share and I'll add it to the list if it's not already on there!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eli's Valley


I'd excited to share another wonderful blog and story with all of you!  Jennifer is the author of the blog Eli's Valley: A Journey of Perfect Love.  This is what Jennifer shared on her blog about Eli's story.....


The Beginning

For those of you who are not familiar with Eli’s story, I wanted to start at the beginning, just to bring you up to date.

Jamie and I discovered that we were going to have our fourth blessing in August. We were so excited. We had our first ultrasound at the beginning of September. Everything was normal and the pregnancy progressed with each visit. We heard the heartbeat at each visit and I began to feel him move around 15-16 weeks. He was a very lazy baby at that point. We were to go on November 30th for our 20 week ultrasound. We decided that we would take our other children with us to this appointment. They could not wait to find out what this baby was. Everyone had their ideas about whether the baby was a boy or girl. The boys wanted another brother and of course Jamie wanted another boy. I secretly or not so secretly wanted Lucie Rose to have a sister, but would not be at all disappointed with another boy either. I don’t know why, but the 20 week ultrasound is almost as exciting as birthday. We couldn’t wait to take a peek at out little blessing. I left school early that day and picked up Jay and Cooper from school and then Lucie Rose from Mama’s. Off we went, everyone so excited, to the doctor. We met Jamie there and waited to find out….

Finally, it was our turn to go back. Michelle came and got me and we got settled in the dark ultrasound room. Me on the table, Jamie holding Lucie Rose and the boys beside me.

As Michelle began our ultrasound, she got this look on her face. Then she asked me if I had noticed any fluid leakage. Of course I answered no and asked her why. She told us that the fluid surrounding the baby was really low (3cm to be exact). You could literally have heard our excitement come to a screeching halt in that room. The baby had a strong heartbeat, the growth was normal….there was just little fluid. I felt the greatest sense of doom at that moment. We were unable to get a good enough picture of the baby to tell if it was a girl or boy because of the lack of fluid. What was to be an exciting family moment for us turned into what I would call a nightmare. The next hour or so is almost a blur to me. I remember walking into the lab where Mrs. Jerri was to weigh me and take my blood pressure and the look on her face told me everything I needed to know. I could not longer hold back the sobs I felt welling inside me. Bless Mrs. Jerri, she just held a broken mother and cried with her. I remember Dr. Kouri explaining what the possible problems were and crying more. I remember walking out of that office, getting into that car with my little girl, telling Jamie that I was alright to drive home and God driving the car that afternoon. Jesus literally took the wheel for me that day. I couldn’t see through the tears and sobs to make it on my own. Two days later we went to Birmingham to a Fetal Anomalies specialist and he confirmed that our baby has polycystic kidneys. There is no kidney function and as a result there is no fluid. Fluid in pregnancy is so very important. It is responsible for lung development and without it, well there is none.

There has never been a question with Jamie and I as to whether or not we were going to carry this baby. If it was not God’s will to give us this child, he would never allowed us to become pregnant in the first place. This is the most difficult thing we have ever done. We continue to see the doctors on a regular basis and pray for a miracle. The news at this time is unchanged. We were able to find out that our baby is almost certainly a boy. His name is Elijah Griffin Hill. There are so many people praying for him. I can not thank you enough for every single prayer that is said for Eli and our family. God has provided amazing strength to Jamie and me both. Eli has gotten very active and we cherish every single wiggle. We all talk to Eli and tell him how much we love him. We all rub him and we all cry over the prospect of handing him into Jesus’ arms before we are ready. He has become such a part of our lives…

I often wonder who he looks like. Does he have a lot of hair like Cooper and Lucie Rose or no hair like Jay? Are his eyes blue or brown? Does he have gigantic feet like Jay did? Is he tiny like Lucie Rose was. Would he be fat and have rolls like Cooper? No matter what, I know that I love him endlessly. He is such an amazing little fighter already. My heart breaks all of the time. How do you prepare yourself to say hello, I love you, I am your mommy, this is your daddy, these are your older brothers and sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and GOODBYE at the same time…How do you prepare your mind for the fact that Jesus will see his first smile, first steps, hear his first words…Oh God, I can not give up on a miracle…




Jennifer has also put together a beautiful slideshow of her angel Eli.  It is so touching.  I love that she has so many quotes, sayings and scriptures on her blog.  One of those that I just love is...

I SAMUEL 1:27-28

For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 
Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord.

I also love Eli's Name Gallery!  Below are a few pictures from the name gallery.






Thank you Jennifer for sharing your sweet Eli with us and for all you do to honor him and give back to others!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May luck smile upon you!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Time

Time is too slow for those who wait,
too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve,
too short for those who rejoice,
but for those who love,
time is eternity.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What is an Appropriate Sympathy Gift?

I came across another article I wanted to share.  What were some of the best gifts that you received?

What is an Appropriate Sympathy Gift?
By Sharae Taylor

When a friend or loved one is grieving, it is hard to know what to say or how to show your support. When you want to provide comfort and support and show your concern for a family member, a friend, or an associate, a personalized gift is always an ideal choice. The best gifts are those given and chosen from the heart. It says that you really care and have taken the time to think about the time after the initial grief of losing a loved one ... during the alone and lonely times.
Here is a list of some elegant and comforting gifts, that are simple and appropriate expressions of sympathy for the family and are alternatives to the standard flowers ...

• Angel Painting ... personalized
• Jewelry ... pendant or bracelet
• Music CD
• Book of Poems or poem written by you
• Gift Basket personalized to the family
• Photo Album or Scrapbook of good times shared
• Plant a Tree
• Favorite Photograph Framed
• Memorial Garden Stepping Stone or Bench
• Angel Suncatcher
• Journal for Memories
• Angel Candle and Votive Holder
• Memory Box
• Table Fountain
• Bible or Rosary

Remember, there are no words when someone has experienced the loss of a loved one and when flowers aren't enough to express your caring ... an elegant way to comfort the heart ...personalize it for the family or person you want to bring comfort to ... a continuing expression of love and support with loving thoughts in sympathy ...

In the following weeks be sure and stay in touch with the family or individual by making personal contact with them. Plan a trip or outing if the relationship is a close one. The gift of continual caring and friendship is always appropriate and well received if given from the heart. Sometimes it is the intangible gift that is most appropriate and lasting.

Sharae Taylor of AngelsbySharae.com - http://www.angelsbysharae.com is a well known Intuitive Angel Artist whose paintings are in world wide collections and published author in magazines and ezines. To view Sharae's Angelic art and for further information about the "Angel of Comfort", one of many personalized Angel paintings, visit her website at: http://www.angelsbysharae.com/AngelofComfortGallery.html

Friday, March 11, 2011

There Is a Sacredness in Tears


Feel free to share, a link back to Honoring Our Angels is always appreciated!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reaching out to others

I wanted to share with you all a great video about a program that helps bereaved parents receive support from other bereaved parents.  I love these kinds of stories!  It always restores my faith in humanity.  I am truly amazed by all of you and how much you do to reach out to others in need.  We need more news stories like these!

I tried to embed the video on this post but for some reason it wouldn't show up whenever I posted it, so here is the link to the video
Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coping When a Child Dies

I wanted to share this article with you from the newsletter of Alive Alone in 1997.  It's written by a bereaved mother and I think shares the raw pain of loss....


COPING WHEN A CHILD DIES

Rosemary’s son, Arthur, 9, was hit by a car while waiting on his bicycle to cross the street at the end of the driveway on Dec. 7, 1986.


The first few days I went through the motions of preparing for Arthur’s funeral. Then I went through the phase of not sleeping and eating. I would wake up at night and think, “ Maybe he’s alive.”

I went to a therapist but he didn’t know what to do with me because he had not experienced the death of his child. He finally suggested Compassionate Friends where I met people who could help me with the grief process.

I had a “screaming-meemees” crying fit about four months after Arthur died. I think if any of the neighbors had heard me they would have called the police to have me committed. Then I remembered someone saying at the support group that they had this experience and when it happens you should just go with it. It really did release the pressure.

All the big days became a source of renewed pain - Christmas, Easter, Halloween, the first day of school, birthdays, death dates and to this day I go away on Mother’s Day.

I began to hate going to the supermarket. If I went down the cereal aisle, I would encounter the Cheerios Arthur used to eat, and in the cookie aisle it would be the Oreos he dunked in his milk at night.

After taking a fall my doctor said, “Ro, do you understand you might have permanent paralysis.” I replied, “I’ve been through the worst, nothing else can happen to me.”

By spring I was angry. Daffodils were emerging and Arthur always brought me my first daffodil of spring. I wanted to stomp on the daffodils! But this time I dug up the daffodils and took them to Arthur at the cemetery.

Whatever the season or stage of grief the support group was there, a place to talk about your feelings, how one can break down in tears for no apparent reason, and how to respond to questions about your child.

We really have a need to talk about our children who died. My biggest fear is that people will forget my child. I really appreciate getting cards and/or phone calls near Arthur’s birth and death days.

I recommend belonging to a support group as the bereaved parents become your extended family. You make a lot of friendships there with people who are sensitive to your feelings. You learn that crying is OK.

I also recommend that newly bereaved parents try to do a project in the name of your child. I bought a bookcase for the library of the middle school where Arthur would have attended and had his name put on it. Each year at Christmas or on his death anniversary I ask relatives and friends to purchase books and make donations to his library.

You may want to plant a garden in memory of your child. Do something positive in memory of your child.
ALIVE ALONE AUGUST, 1997

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