Friday, October 29, 2010

Mom to Dillan Jesse P. Leombruno
September 17th, 1999
12:20 a.m. - 1:52 p.m.
Clifton Park, New York

Dillan's Life.....
It's been a little over 11 years since my Son returned to Heaven. I decided to re-write his story....this time from a point farther down the road in my grief journey.

Two Miscarriages 
Baby 1- Ectopic Miscarriage at 10 weeks, Death March 16th, 2010
Baby 2- Ectopic Miscarriage at 10 weeks, Death June 9th, 2010
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

My name is AmyLynn.  I lost my first baby due to an ectopic pregnancy.  I was given a needle that would force by body to miscarry the baby. We had been trying to get pregnant for 3 years, with nothing, then all of a sudden I was in the hospital and it all happened so fast. 

Mom to Gabriel Michael
Born and Passed Away February 27th, 2007
Louisville, Kentucky

This is my story.. the story of my son and how my life changed after this day..

Before I start I was told I would never be able to carry babies because at 16 I had cervical dysplasia and they had to cut off some of my cervix, which is why my kids are preemies.

Mom to Allison Hannah
Stillborn on October 29th, 2006 at 33 weeks 3 days
San Diego, California

In March of 2006, my husband and I got pregnant with our first child just a few months after getting married.  We were very excited.  At the 20-week ultrasound, we found out we were having a girl.  I was a tomboy growing up and hated girly things such as dresses.  I knew that I wanted to raise my daughter as an athletic princess.  She could play sports and be a ballerina.  My little soccer girl would be tough and graceful.  She could wear cleats and be comfortable in dresses.  She would be like me, and at the same time, not like me.  This was my dream for her.  

Mom to Nathan Alin
Miscarried August 23rd, 2010 at 6 weeks 5 days
Edmonds, Washington

My name is Kathryn, I am 25 years old and I lost my baby Nathan at 6 weeks, 5 days on August 23, 2010. My pregnancy was completely unplanned and unexpected. I got pregnant as a result of a one-night stand with someone I barely knew. It was not my proudest moment and I agonized over the fact that my baby would grow up without a dad. But from the beginning I wanted my baby so much. I knew I was pregnant right away. I started dreaming about a little boy. I was so excited to become a mother. My family was not supportive of the pregnancy because I wasn’t married; it was really hard to have everyone receive my good news as bad.

Mom to Isaiah Christopher
Born and Died August 3rd, 2008
Petoskey, Michigan

I am a mother.

A mother to five beautiful boys.

Mummy to Lacey Jai Hughes
August 25th, 2010

When I found out I was pregnant, it was a big shock as I was just 19 at the time. I have grown up around young children and have always loved them.

Molar Pregnancy
December 10, 2008
Acworth, GA

I always wanted my children close in age. 2 years apart at the most. I was so excited when I got pregnant and found out they were going to be 21 months apart. PERFECT!! Everything was going well, I had early blood work (around 5 weeks) because I was spotting. I had low progesterone with my son so I was started on progesterone just as a precaution. My hCG was doubling like it should so I was reassured that the spotting was normal.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Story of HOPE

Kathy ~ Runner
Mom to Sebright babies: 3-1-10 and 5-21-10
My two babies were first trimester miscarriages, due to very low hormone levels. They were very loved and very much wanted.  
I have channeled my grief into running, sharing my story, and reaching out to others.  It has really saved me during the aftermath of my miscarriages.  I've always been a runner and have loved it, but it became even more important to me after my losses.  I have also been encouraging other women to run and not be afraid to talk about their own losses.  In addition, I have spoken out very publicly about my miscarriages.  
Running has helped me feel normal again.  I can return from a ten or fifteen mile run, feeling like I brought back a piece of my old self.  Running has been a constant in my life for many years, and really gave me something to focus on and throw myself into.   I started training for a 50 mile ultra-marathon after the second loss.  I also was chosen to be a fitness ambassador for our state recently and during the interview, I brought to light the story of my miscarried babies and how hard it was, how I consider them my children and that they count.  This in turn, translated into my article being printed in the local papers with a good size paragraph about the miscarriages.  I have had a few people that tell me it was a very gutsy thing to do and they were proud of me, to put myself out there in a running interview and let my real life be shown.  Miscarriage is so taboo for some reason that I just cannot understand.  I want to change that.  

My inspiration was loud and clear.  I've always wanted to run and encourage others to become runners.  But now I found an even larger group of people I want to help ~ other women that have lost their babies.  I speak with many women - women I see on a daily basis - that tell me of their losses after mine went so public.  I just knew I wanted to do something to help, so I started talking to people and telling them the truth.  The more I talked, the more other women talked to me about what had happened with them. 
I am running pregnant right now.  I am pregnant again for the 3rd time this year, but this time it all seems to be going well.  Right now, I am almost 5 months along and still happily running.  Considering the past, I didn't think I'd ever get here.  I thought something was broken and wrong and I wouldn't be able to carry a baby for 9 months.  I believed if I were to become pregnant again, I'd have to be strapped down to the couch.  
My inner critic can sometimes get in the way.  But more often, it is 'other critics' who get in my way.  Yes, I've experienced some negativity.  There are people that believe running caused the miscarriages, and I somehow deserved it because I was too selfish to stop running.  These are the same people that believe I will surely kill this baby too by running.  My doctor has reassured me that my losses were caused by a hormone deficiency, which is now under control and has told me to run to my heart's content.  

I have run many races.  Women who have seen my face and heard my story always tell me their own.  It is heartbreaking to hear how many women suffer in silence.  They don't tell friends or family because they feel ashamed and like a failure.  You'd be surprised by what a complete stranger will tell me!  I always encourage them to talk about it if they feel like it, and point them towards support groups, helpful books, and websites I've found.  If they want to talk about their loss, they should be able to without being judged and that is what I want to help change.
I am inspired by my son.  He is just two years old, but seems to understand more than he should.  While I cried at home after each loss, he would periodically come offer me a hug, which in turn would make me cry harder because I was so thankful to have him. Knowing how great he is and how wonderful our lives are because of him, I knew that we had to keep trying to have another baby. 

You can read more of Kathy's story on Faces.
Story of HOPE

Melisa ~ Wishing Tree
Mommy to Calypso 
6/14/07 - 7/7/07
Calypso was born at 29 weeks 5 days and lived for 23 short days.  I've started an Angel Wishing Tree.  I put the names of angels onto the tree when requested and post the photos on my blog and to their parents.  
This project has helped me heal.  I like helping other people remember their babies.  It makes me feel good to know that even if I am only one person at least I can acknowledge their existence and the fact that they were here and loved.  
My inspiration was like a blaring smack on the head.  I had been trying to figure out an ongoing project that would help others, besides my NICU Remembrance Page.  One day I was talking with a friend and she sent me a photo of a Wish Tree.
The history behind the wishing tree is an interesting one.  People would take paper, write their wish on it, and then tie it to a tree.  When the paper had worn away the wish comes true.  
In my way of thinking ~ all of our angel's represent a wish that we all held onto for far too long.  So, I write the name and date(s) of a baby angel onto paper and tie them to my tree.  At the end of the year those that have not faded away will be burnt so we can start anew with new wishes and new ways to remember our angels.  My wishing tree will be a yearly thing and everyone can request the following year if they want their angel back on the tree.
I am doing something that I never thought possible ~ living my life in grief.  I am striving to be so much more then I was.  I refuse to let myself think that because I am one person I can't make a difference.  I cannot do everything but I CAN do something!  I have also organized a rather intensive donation drive during a convention in Chicago, in  which donations are gifted to the ‘Lincoln Park Community Shelter.‘   I'm not sure how or if anything I do makes a difference in anyone else's life. I hope to God it does, and hope I have helped someone even just a little bit.  What I am doing makes me feel better as a whole, I feel like I'm making the world a better place for someone else to live in and that makes me feel great.  
I am trying to pay things forward.  I have had so many wonderful people help me.  When we were fund raising for a headstone people I'd never even heard of donated.  With their help I was able to raise over $2000 for Calypso's headstone
An inspirational saying that I have found helpful is:  
I am only one, but I am one.  
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.

To read more about Melisa please visit Angel Wishing Tree and  read her story on Faces.

Story of HOPE
Karen ~ Nursing Student
Mommy to Mason Maxwell 
Dec 9 2009 - May 27 2010
My 28 weaker passed at six months after many premature complications.  I am a nursing student now, hoping to one day make a difference in the NICU.  It has helped me understand that many families go through what I did, and unfortunately many babies are born in need of NICU attention. 
I hope to one day bring hope to all parents with sick babies just like I was given hope the whole six months my baby was alive and in the NICU.  In the meantime, I’m volunteering at the NICU's in my area and help with making 'threads of love for the babies.'  Threads of love can be anything that is sown by a volunteer. Whether it's a threaded hat, a threaded blanket, or a lovey (little dolls).  In the NICU it is important to keep a parents scent with the baby ~ these loveys are placed in the baby's incubator.

My inspiration was loud and clear.  I was my babies biggest advocate, doctors listened to my ideas and concerns. They knew how to handle things medically but no one knew my baby like I knew him.  I knew what worked more for him and what made him more comfortable.  I was also really involved in his medical care which inspired me to finally do something.
It has only been 4 months since Mason passed away.  As of yet I have experienced no roadblocks and am thankful that nothing has gotten in the way.  I am determined to not let anything between me and the NICU.  I will be there helping those babies no matter what it takes.  I promised my son and I really believe this is my destiny.
I have made friends from all over the world who have experienced a loss just like I have.  I have helped them get through this experience by sending positivity there way.  One day I hope to make a difference in helping to save some of these NICU babies. 
I have been impacted by all the groups there are on facebook and dedicated to parents who have lost a child.  I plan to start something similar in honor of my son.
A phrase that I would like to share that has helped me is:
“God give me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”

Story of HOPE

Amy ~ Writer, Editor and Speaker
Solomon died March 8, 2000  
Baby Z Abbey, m/c October 23, 2000  
Alison Rachel born August 14, 2001  
Adam Jeremy born March 28, 2003

My son Solomon was born at 19 weeks 6 days gestation after a full pPROM: preterm premature rupture of membranes.  
Something meaningful that I have done to channel my grief is to edit a book on Subsequent Pregnancy After Loss and continue to speak when invited at Pregnancy Loss groups and Pregnancy After Loss groups.  Giving back to others for me is the best way to help myself both to heal and to remember my son Solomon.  
My inspiration was loud and clear.  First, a mom spoke at my support group.  Then the first time I was asked to speak at a loss group, this mom was a co-speaker with me.  For the book, I just had to get it out - I had to write and share my story, especially my subsequent pregnancy stories.  I asked other moms like me to share too, and the book took shape.  Since publishing Journeys: Stories of Pregnancy After Loss in March 2006, I have continued to help when I can.  The whole experience has given me incredible strength and I believe has contributed to my playing a very active role in my children's lives.  
I am doing things that I never previously thought possible.  I was asked most recently to contribute a chapter to yet another book on Stillbirth.  I also host a website called Pregnancy Journeys After Loss (see link below). 
My inner critic gets in the way on occasion.  For example, I have been trying to write a novel for several years.  I am at the rawest part of my story and I have not been able to get past my feelings to put the words on the screen.  
I think I have made a difference in the lives of other moms like me.  Most notably, the first support group I ever spoke at, and at many of the subsequent support groups, I have inspired other moms to be speakers with me.  I see how my having the courage to share my story with the newly bereaved has encouraged other women to share their stories at support groups too.  My husband has nominated me (for my courage, strength and my need to make a difference) for two awards! 
I have been inspired through my grief.  When I was in labor knowing that I would I lose my child, my best friend’s mom called to speak to me.  She said, "Amy, do you know what a vitamin is?  It gives you strength.  I will be your vitamin for today."  Those words still come to my conscious when I need them the most.
A saying that inspires me is:  “What the caterpillar calls the end of life, the butterfly calls the beginning.”
A discount is being offered!  The coupon code at checkout "GAPS" offers a discount on the purchase price of Amy's book.

You can find the book Pregnancy Journeys After Loss and Amy's BLOG by clicking either link.
You can read more about Amy's story on Faces.

Story of HOPE

 Sarah ~ Emma and Connor’s bags of LOVE
Anna 2/14/06 - 4 years old
Baby "spec" lost to miscarriage 08/31/07 
Emma - 3-13-08 born to Heaven  
Connor 4-14-09 born to Heaven 
Wyatt born 4-4-08 adopted forever 6-25-10
I had one miscarriage and our son and Daughter (Emma and Connor) both had the birth Defect Anencephaly and were born still.
I have done several things in order to help work through my grief.  I wrote poetry for both babies and I counsel other moms who are carrying their babies to term.  I put our story on a blog.....Our story of Emma and Connor are under the June postings.  I was given a bracelet with my babies names inscribed on it ~ it meant so much to me and I have done the same for two friends who lost their babies.  I was also counseled through Prenatal Partners for Life when I was carrying my son to term and now I counsel moms like me.
I also started a bag/toy drive for kids in Foster care.  It is called “Emma and Connor's Bags of Love.”  It has helped us do good in their names and has allowed us to share their stories.  It has been wonderful to be able to talk about my babies...I am proud to be there mom!
So many times when a baby is lost people want to ignore the baby all together.  Using their names for this project has brought their lives into so many others!  We have collected over a thousand bags which have been donated to kids in foster care and a few have even been used to carry medical supplies on mission trips.  We are now joining forces with a foundation who helps older children in foster care as they age out.  
I am doing something that I never thought possible before.  We started training for the foster to adopt program and adopted our son.  I never imagined we would adopt before we had Emma.  Now that Wyatt is a part of our lives I could never imagine life without him.  
Unfortunately, when we were in foster classes, we found out that most kids who are taken into custody are only given a garbage bag for their belongings.  I couldn't get this out of my head, so I went to work and began Bags of Love.  I started out just asking friends and family and then went on to ask the local schools.  Now we even have a logo!  
Having babies born with birth defects changes your perspective on everything.  I remember my husband and I praying for our son Connor to "just have" spina bifida.  When doing the characteristic check list of conditions we were willing to accept in foster children I think we were much more accepting than we would have been before.  
  You can read more about Sarah's story on her  blog.  

Story of HOPE

Michelle White ~ Audrey's Little Light
Mommy to Audrey 
Born Sept.10th died Sept.11, 2009
My daughter Audrey was born at 25 weeks due to pPROM.  She died in the NICU as a result of infection and severe prematurity.  I started a little blog business making customized memorial candles for other baby loss families.  
It has helped my healing process by stepping out there, being vulnerable and believing that ~ even in the midst of such sorrow ~ I have something to offer others.  It has given me something to put my hands to work and to see something tangible come together.
Last year, in October, I wanted to light a candle in memory of Audrey for 'International Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss Memorial Day.'  I searched the stores for a candle that just looked like 'her.'  My loss was still so fresh and nothing I found seemed good enough.  So many of us baby loss moms associate certain symbols or colors with our babies, and I just hadn't determined what reminded me of her yet.  So, I bought a plain candle, went home and in a scrapbook fashion, I cut up her funeral program, obituary, some card stock and scrapbook paper.  It was then that my first memorial candle came together. 
I actually found joy in making something for her, this shocked me. I couldn't stop so I bought more candles and made them for our parents and other family who saw them and wanted one. 
My inner critic has been speaking too loudly most of my life.  With this project, like so many others I've felt 'called' to, it took me months to go for it.  I guess you could say that I'm naturally an artist, but because of this loud inner critic I always have this idea of what my creations should look like.  In the end, if they don't turn out exactly like I envisioned, I often feel like I'm not good enough.  As a result, I haven't shared the many different mediums (sketches, painting, sculpture) I work in with the world.  Slowly, I'm silencing this voice.  Now ~ more than ever ~ I need to express myself in the arts in order to get me through the pain of losing Audrey and to thrive, not just survive.  
So many in this community have inspired me and impacted me deeply.  It's hard to narrow it all down to one so I'll name a few.  Still Life 365 has really inspired me to share my paintings.  I love everything that site stands for and Angie has such a beautiful way of expressing herself through word and imagery.  

Another inspiration to me is Small Bird Studio.  I have watched as Franchesca's site grew by leaps and bounds.  She is so talented, has such a heart for our community and that is essentially how I decided to open up shop with my candles.  I'd like to make a small fraction of the impact she's made in this community.  She also happens to be the first follower of my first blog.  This is only the beginning for me, I have other creations up my sleeve.
I'd like to share a piece from Bob Bell's book entitled Drops Like Stars. 
"We are going to suffer.  
And it is going to shape us. 
We will become bitter or better.  
Closed or Open.
More ignorant or more aware.  
More or less tuned into the thousands upon thousands 
of gifts we are surrounded with every single moment of every single day. 
This too will shape me. 
The only question left is, how?"

**********GIVEAWAY ALERT**********

Michelle will be giving away a custom scrapbook candle from Audrey's Little Light!   These are so precious, made with loving care ~ and an artistic flair.  I personally have a candle that was made for Amelia and it is very special to me!  (Stephanie ~ Carried Through Grief)

In order to participate, simply write a comment regarding something you've done to make a difference in the world.  A winner will be chosen randomly and announced.

You can read more about Michelle on Faces.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baby Jelly Bean 
Lost January 5th, 2006
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I had a miscarriage on January 5, 2006. I was fourteen weeks. One day in late October 2005 while at work, I felt dizzy, figured it was just stress or exhaustion. On the way home, I picked up a pregnancy test. You know, just in case, not really expecting a positive. My husband wouldn’t be home for a couple hours so I took the test. Three minutes later, the two pink lines popped up. I was shocked! I just went to my room and sat on the bed leaving the test in the bathroom sink. My shock turned to worry then to panic. I was only married for a year, working full time, and going to college full time which was why I took my birth control religiously. I had no idea what we were going to do.

Mary Beth
Mom to Reese Aleyna Lowell
August 24th, 2010
Everett, Washington

We decided sometime in the summer or fall of 2009 that we wanted to start trying for our second baby. I recall thinking it took a long time to get pregnant, but in reality, it was probably only a few months. When you’re ready, you’re ready and anxious.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mom to Identical Twin Boys, Michael & Brendan, Stillborn May 2005
7 week loss September 1998
9 week loss July 1999
4 week loss January 2000
Complete Molar Pregnancy April 2000
Plainfield, Illinois

Where do I begin? First of all, as you read this you may think “right, no way all of this can happen to one person.” Well, I wish it hadn’t, but it did. Also, it takes a lot to explain all of this loss so you may need to read in segments. I swear, I could write a book.

Mom to Kensley Angel
Born Sleeping May 28th, 2010 at 20 weeks
Fort Worth, Texas

My husband and I found out we were expecting on January 24, 2010.  Scheduled our first doctor appointment for February 5, 2010 where we found out I was six weeks along with an expected due date of October 6, 2010.  We were very excited as our oldest was 5 and ready for him to have a sibling.  I was very sick this pregnancy, and completely drained of any energy I had early on.  I started leaning towards a girl because I had all the "textbook" signs of a girl.  In mid April, we went in for our routine 16 week checkup and opted to do the QUAD screen.  It all started going down hill from here. 
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