Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for February, 2008

Even with the oxygen mask on my face, I felt like I was suffocating. “We can’t seem to find a heartbeat, so we are giving you some oxygen,” said a frantic nurse. “Sometimes the baby likes to hide and we can’t always hear the heart right away,” another nurse mumbled. I was frozen in my own body. In my heart I knew he was dead because in all of the previous appointments, Tanner’s heart beat was very strong.

The sonogram techician rolls in her machine and all the nurses cleared the way for her. She was a young girl with short blonde hair and slender build. I don’t remember her even saying hello to me or my husband. My guess is that she was previously informed that this could be a very grave situation.

On went the cold jelly upon my protruding stomach for the instrument to slide across and find my son’s little heart. I do remember the 2 previous appointments with sonogram technicians and they did not hide the screen from me. This woman positioned the monitor so we could not see Tanner.

I was so scared and felt so helpless. I truly wanted my mother with me at this point. She was tucked away in the warmth of her bed not even knowing that Tanner was coming and not knowing the thoughts in my head. She couldn’t even be there if I cried out for her, living 700 miles away.

I know all through these tense moments my husband didn’t even know what was really happening. He did not accompany me to my prenatal appointments, so he most likely thought this was the norm for having a baby. I had that damn mask on my face that prevented me from talking to him so I used my eyes instead.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

Read Full Post »

My husband and I could not believe Tanner’s heart wasn’t beating. When did he die? What do I do? Where do I go? Who am I supposed to talk to?

September 28, 2003 at 1am the contractions started. This was my husband’s birthday and apparent Tanner and Todd would share this special day, how wonderful. We have 3 dogs and I was worried about leaving them for a length of time, so I called my best friend Ev to dogsit. She arrived in a flash but didn’t understand what my intentions were for her. She was very excited to accompany us to the hospital, so I said what the hell. I would just send Todd back to look after the dogs if we were gone too long.

We were off to the hospital and I was on top of the world. Tanner would be in my arms in a few hours and everything was going to be perfect. I can even remember what I was wearing, polyester blue pants and a gray victoria’s secret t-shirt with sneakers. We registered or checked in prior to this day to make this part effortless. Within a few minutes we were led to a small examining room while Evelyn stayed in the waiting area.

This is the room where our lives would change forever. Flourescent lights and white sterile walls are what I remember. A heavy set  nurse checked my cervix and then I was hooked up to a fetal monitor to record contractions. 2 nurses quickly turned into 4 nurses.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

Read Full Post »

Bereaved parents of pregnancy and infant loss have many options for obtaining the support systems needed to heal and move forward after the loss of a baby. Families of similar tragedies can share their personal grief, pain, and hope. Grieving parents must know they are not alone in this journey.

  Types of support groups for different grieving styles

  • Once a month meetings (face to face)
  • Once a month craft workshops for grief (face to face)
  • Weekend healing retreats (face to face)
  • One time meetings (face to face)
  • One on one meetings (face to face)
  • One on one phone calls (private)
  • Online guestbooks and message boards (private)
  • Online chat rooms and forums (private)
  • Paid counselor meetings (face to face)
  • Paid life coaching-phone calls (private)
  • Yearly services (face to face)

Private refers to the ability to stay in the comfort of your own home if you are not ready to venture out.

Face to face refers to those willing to meet other people in person to share experiences of baby and pregnancy loss.

I participated in several of the above support settings because talking and listening to other parents helped me understand that what I was going through was normal. I looked forward to the once a month meetings for several years. I felt validated talking to other women about my stillborn son Tanner and hearing their stories. I became very good friends with the founder of, Haven of Hope and Healing and still attend the yearly Memory Tree Service for our angels.

A one time meeting or pow wow was orchestrated by my mother-in-law. Several women from her church lost babies years ago and wanted to share with me their pain and their hope. The ages ranged from 45-70 and all had such different stories. After going around the room with each woman telling their painful stories, I declined to share mine. This pow wow was held only months after the stillbirth of my son and I was unable to share. Several unlit candles were centered on a table in front of us, one for each angel baby. We then lit the candles and prayed together. I did enjoy our time together, even if I wasn’t actively participating.

I also worked with a Life Coach years after the death of my son. My son died and it was my job to walk on this horrible road to heal my soul. After some time I accepted Tanner’s death as his gift to me. The passing of my son has opened many doors for me to live a much better life on a spiritual level. Yes, it is a job because it’s hard work and absolutely draining to grieve. I realized through working with a life coach that my friends and family members did not have to work, they did not have to accept his death and maybe still thought I was cheated. We were not on the same page. I had a terrible blowout with several friends and thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown, so I called a life coach to help me. She certainly helped me swim through rough waters and my friendships are thriving again.

Online guestbooks and message boards are a gentle start to connecting with other bereaved families hurting too. It is very theraputic to journal and document how our little angels kissed our hearts. I wanted the world to know about my son because he is real and part of our family. It felt good to write his story and my feelings for him. Please visit the Just a Cloud Away Guestbook to write about your sweet child.

I seem to remember trying a bereavement chat room for those grieving pregnancy and infant loss and didn’t care for it. I am a visual person and need to connect on that plane. I wanted to be able to hug someone or be hugged. I wanted someone to pass me a tissue, give me a sympathetic look or touch my knee to let me know my tears will not always be so painful.

I also attended a weekend healing retreat with my husband. I loved that immensely. The facility was peaceful and serene. The interior decorating catered to those seeking a quiet in their hearts. There were no televisons or telephones in sight. Retreats are found online, through churches or funeral homes.

Monthly craft meetings are offered through support groups and other organizations to introduce various art activities focused on memorializing deceased children. I attended a crochet workshop (don’t have the patience for that), scrapbooking crops, jewlery making, and others. These meetings are perfect for me to use my restless creativity gene to compose beautiful memorials for my angels.

supportgroups.jpg

Yearly services are also very supportive like Memory Tree Services at Christmastime, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Walks, or any other event bringing awareness to the world about our children in heaven. I participate in all of them. Since October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, it is a busy time for us. It is so nice to be surrounded by people who have walked in similar shoes. Other family can also attend these type of events to support us.

I hope this will give grieving families a better understanding of all the types of support groups and organizations available. The objective is to choose one you feel comfortable with. Over time you may want to explore other groups in a different setting.

Peace Love and Hugs form Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

Read Full Post »

torn-10.jpg 

The art of Scrapbooking should be relaxing and therapeutic. Documenting pregnancy loss and other baby related deaths through scrapbooking is an activity bringing people together to share thoughts, feelings and love for children always in our hearts.

torn-9.jpg

If you are not an avid scrapbooker, these freestyle techniques and ideas may motivate you to start a few pages for your little angel. The craft of scrapbooking will allow you to connect with your inner most thoughts and compose a unique piece of art honoring your baby. Try to get the hang of it first by scrapbooking some favorite images of your animals or vacation pictures. Torn pieces of paper can come together creating masterpieces forever treasured.

torn-3.jpg

Here is my deformed 6 legged spider my husband laughed at. Tearing paper may help us figure out the proper anatomy of bugs.

torn-2.jpg

Poinsetta flowers and leaves were torn for Christmas scrapbook pages and then inked.

torn.jpg

You can create beautiful, 2 page scrapbooking layouts just by tearing  craft paper.

torn-5.jpg

Here are some red roses made from crumbled paper and then inked with white for added dimension. How fun is that and it’s so easy your husband can participate too.

torn-8.jpg

Simple frames can be torn so you don’t even need a straight edge or scissors.

torn-6.jpg

The green torn strips provide a unique area for my comments and journaling. It gives the entire page more depth and interest.

card11-c.jpg

I made a “Thinking about You” card for my friend who miscarried her much wanted baby. Patterned paper is also wonderful to incorporate into your tearing sessions.

Let’s rip and tear scrapbooking paper today! I say scrapbooking because that is the technical term for paper acid and lignin free to last generations. I really could care less because if I like a paper enough I will use it regardless of its properties.

I do not throw any little bit of paper in the trash. It can be used somehow on a handmade card, scrapbook page, a framed picture, or in an altered book. Torn or ripped paper adds dimension and texture to your artwork, plus you can do this watching HGTV (my favorite channel), this really is so easy, try it.

Not only is the art of ripping or tearing paper a stress reliever, it creates unique and one of a kind designs. You can rip:

  • Frames
  • Backgrounds
  • Animals
  • Clouds
  • Grass
  • Flowers (love this one, wonder why)
  • Shapes to journal on
  • and anything you desire

To add even more interest to your torn pieces, try inking the feathered ends because the frayed surface loves the ink, adhering nicely. Pastel chalk is another option to create a softer appearance around the edges. Since I was an art major 18 years ago, my acrylic paints come in handy to soften my torn edges. No it hasn’t dried up after all these years, probably because you pay for what you get, $$$$.

To further add texture, crumbled the paper, straighten back and then apply ink. I love applying ink using the thimble like applicator with a sponge on the tip. This thing a ma jiggy puts the ink directly where you need it, so there is acurracy and no waste.

Pregnancy and infant loss are devastating. Take time to think about how your precious angels have touched you and your family. The season your child passed is also a significant time to include in your scrapbook pages. Zodiac signs and symbols, music and  other ideas can also help you create beautiful tributes honoring the baby always in your hearts.

Beginner scrapbookers need to start somewhere. Let your heavenly children guide your pages, expressing yourself through them. One of a kind memorial pages can be created to honor the precious lives sadly missed.

Sympathy Card

Peace, Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

Read Full Post »

homeless.jpg 

A zip-lock bag full of crackers, juice and cookies lay on the back seat of my mother-in-laws car. My 10 year old vehicle broke down again, so my husband’s mother loaned me her zippy little car for a few days. I thought, “What a great idea, snacks and a beverage for when she’s stuck in traffic.” Think about it Diana, we are in Greensboro, NC, not Atlanta, Georgia.

I decided not to think about it and the subject came up in her bible study class anyway. A friend of my mother-in-law stated that she was rather uncomfortable giving money to homeless people. It may have something to do with the odor of alcohol, the lit cigarette or being looked at through blood shot eyes. Whatever the case the vote was unanimous that we all had similar thoughts of uneasiness.

My in-laws pack up these goodies for the homeless people working the intersection we pass everyday going into Greensboro.

I love the idea of helping out the less fortunate in this”out-of-the-box” manner. I decided to participate. It makes me feel good and I hope to add a little nourishment for someone less fortunate than myself. Then I thought of the Kindness Cards offered by The Miss Foundation. The cards say, “This random act of kindness… done in loving memory of….”

Giving back to the community in this fashion may touch the heart of a homeless person in a positive way. One never knows when they are making a memory, but it’s worth trying. This act of kindness gives me the opportunity to write my stillborn son’s name over and over again loving it even more.

This Random Act of Kindness……

Done in Loving Memory of Tanner Lee

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

Read Full Post »

ribbons-10.jpg

If you have lost a baby or early pregnancy loss, spreading awareness is recognized by displaying pink and blue ribbons. I will show you how to create magnetic handmade ribbons, honoring your precious baby.

This craft is not difficult and could  be given to grieving parents as a remembrance tribute or Love Memorial™ for their baby.

Materials needed:

  • Cardboard
  • Trace paper or thin paper
  • Soft pencil
  • Something to cut on
  • Exacto blade
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • White, Pink or Blue yarn
  • Stickers (blue and pink)
  • White paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Glitter (blue and pink)
  • Decoupage

You will find that other materials will work just as well. These are just suggestions. This craft project will take no more than 2 hours, not including drying time.

ribbons.jpg

On your piece of trace paper, sketch out a ribbon. You may even find one to actually trace, being the desired size. It doesn’t have to be perfect, we can adjust later.

ribbons-2.jpg

Now darken the ribbon, outlining the shape.

ribbons-3.jpg

Flip the trace paper over onto your piece of cardboard or another sturdy board. Go over the ribbon with your pencil so the image is now on the cardboard.

ribbons-4.jpg

Lay the cardboard on a cutting surface. Gently take your exacto or razor blade to cut out your babies ribbon. Don’t worry about rough edges.

ribbons-5.jpg

Take a nail file to smooth the edges. It won’t really matter because we will cover it later. I am just a perfectionist at times.

ribbons-7.jpg

This is where we personalize the ribbons for our children. Yes, the colors should be pink and blue pastels, but doesn’t need to be a solid color. The season your child passed, their zodiac sign or gemstone, the nursery color, and other elements can help you choose stickers reminiscent of your precious baby. Make sure half is blue and the other pink. Let the stickers hang over the sides, we’ll fix it. Turn the ribbon over and take your exacto blade or scissors to trim off any excess sticker.

ribbons-8.jpg

Place your ribbon on a paper plate of your choice. I favor the elephant style plates. This is done to catch any excess glitter, not to waste an ounce. You may want to place a small amount of glue on the plate and mix in a drop of water. This consistency is easier to work. Any areas not covered with a sticker, paint with glue. Only do one color glitter at a time so they won’t mix. Both the glitters I have used are mostly white with hints of blue or pink. Sprinkle the glitter and gently tap off into the plate and return to glitter container. Now do the same for the other side.

ribbons-9.jpg

Now choose a yarn that is thick enough to completely cover the edges of the cardboard. You want to start this process when you have uninterrupted time. Begin the yarn at an intersection, shown above. Carefully glue and push the yarn onto the glue. This will take a few minutes.

ribbons-10.jpg

If you want to seal the ribbon for protection, paint on the decoupage substance and let dry for a few  hours. Turn your beautiful ribbon onto the reverse side to glue on magnets.

ribbons-11.jpg

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, with the 15th being the actual day. If creating this craft is not possible, ribbons are available for purchase on the Internet.

Enjoy making your angel baby’s ribbon. We are  creating the awareness our children deserve.

For other simple crafts visit Easy Scrapbooking Ideas for Memorial Pages.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana 

Read Full Post »

daf-5-c.jpg 

Some time after the stillbirth of our son Tanner, we were invited to a Pro-Life ministry meeting. The members of this group specifically asked us, knowing we had suffered a loss. I suppose they were curious about obtaining a different perspective on the issue. My husband and I went to the meeting with some anxiety, not knowing what to expect, for my life is touched by abortion.

I was approximately 7 months pregnant with a subsequent child, another little boy.  We were kindly greeted and shown to a couple of chairs around a boardroom type table. The issues were very political and did not appeal to the right side of my brain. I felt my thoughts drifting and could not focus. My husband and I did not contribute one word until they discussed where the year end party would be held.

As the meeting came to a close, a friendly woman approached us introducing herself. She happened to be a deacon’s wife. That title meant she was a good woman with good morals and probably knew how to speak kindly to others.

The deacon’s wife said she was sorry about the loss of our baby. I said thank you. She then looked at my pregnant belly and asked how far along I was and what the sex of the baby was. I told her it was another little boy. She then says with a grand smile on her face, “So this is your first baby?”. Did I hear what I think I heard coming from a deacon’s mouth? I just told her that we had a stillborn baby. I didn’t hesitate to make her feel as uncomfortable as possible for that appalling statement. Am I in a Pro-Life meeting? Doesn’t the meaning of Pro-Life recognize and acknowledge every little embryo as a precious life? Not only did I have a precious embryo, I held mine, took pictures of him and had him cremated.

I don’t think there was 1 minute of silence on the drive home from this abominable meeting. Granted she meant no harm, but considering her position it was a very inappropriate statement that warrants a post on my blog.

Online Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support sites have compiled long lists of ridiculous comments, statements and advice from those that haven’t a clue. Most are excusable because we don’t want anyone we love to know exactly how much it hurts to loose a baby.

Please don’t mimimize our deceased children or us as parents of angels. The love lasts for eternity.

We never attended the year end party or another Pro-Life meeting.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

Read Full Post »

Big Mistake!

When we found out I was pregnant and going to have our first baby, searching for a female OBGYN was my mission. I was nervous and scared about the months ahead of this new experience. A female doctor was going to put my mind at ease and she would make everything comfortable for us. Wrong!

I found Doctor Insensitive in a practice with 5 other male doctors. I made my first appointment when I was 6 weeks pregnant and could not wait to meet this woman. We chit chatted a bit and because we shared northern accents, found that she attended the college from my hometown of Buffalo, NY. GREAT! We had an immediate bond and from then on I knew she would take great care of me.

When she began speaking to me about my pregnancy, the words sounded like a recording. She kept talking about how things were going to work and what I needed to do. I then had a question regarding something she said, so I asked the question. She just glared at me and said, “Let me finish”. I knew then I was just a number and the bond I thought we had was long gone.

My follow up visits were with the 5 other doctors within the practice, so I was under the impression that Doctor Insensitive may not deliver my baby anyway. I felt so alone. At one appointment another doctor  indicated to me that he was tired and had been up all night with one of his young sons. He then told me, “Just wait, you will feel the same way when your baby comes”. First off, I think it is very unprofessional to disclose your sleep deprivation and to a new mother or anyone. Second, I never had the chance to be deprived of  sleep because Tanner was born still. I think he was fired a few months later.

Doctor Insensitive did not deliver my baby nor any other person. Tanner was born still when he was ready to come. I had a wonderful nurse and the doctor on call was amazing too. I had met him previously at a routine appointment when I was covered with poison ivy. He was very concerned about how I was still working outside in the hot sun in areas infested with poison ivy and other things. So I liked him already.

After the tragic event of loosing Tanner at the hospital we returned home to silence. A few days later we received 3 red roses in a vase with a card from the doctors expressing their sympathy. Obviously the receptionist signed for all of the doctors because the signatures were identical. I never once received a phone call from Doctor Insensitive, my primary OBGYN. I thought that was really crappy business etiquette.

My point being, word of mouth referrals are the best. Unfortunately, all of my friends were pregnant at the same time and hadn’t gone through the entire process with their own doctors yet.

Years later surfing the Internet I ran across several forums where mommies to be would talk about local issues, including selecting OBGYN’s. The forum for my area is TriadMommies.

Not all women are nurturing.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

Read Full Post »

starmagnolia2-w.jpg

If a child died early in pregnancy or as an infant, think about planting a Star Magnolia Tree in their Memory Gardens. Some bereaved parents may have chosen the star as the theme, symbolizing their precious baby. Even if a memory garden is not considered, this memorial tree to honor a little angel can be planted alone.

Star Magnolias (scientific name-Magnolia Stellata) are small deciduous (loose their foliage in the winter) trees growing 10-15 feet in height and 7-10 feet in width.

1starmagnolia-w.jpg

This dainty and open tree has white, strap-like petals forming star-shaped blooms in early spring. There are other varieties being developed in order to escape early frosts like “Royal Star”, also having fragrant flowers.

starmagnolia-w.jpg

This is a perfect plant to place alongside of a patio, providing dabbled shade and one of the first blooms for your enjoyment.

Overall care for Star Magnolia trees are minimal. The tree is  slow growing, prefers sunny areas, requires little to no pruning, and a moderate supply of water. When this plant has all of its foliage, it is considered a very course textured because the individual leaves are 3-4 inches in length. The foliage also turns a yellow/brown color in the fall.

I personally love the short period of time the flowers start to emerge from the bud. A soft and fuzzy casing gently opens to reveal the pinkish colored flower petals shown below.

starmagnolia3-w.jpg

This beautiful process occurs early in spring and is a taste of other transformations just days away, like warmer temperatures.

starmagnolia4-w.jpg

If spring is a significant time reminiscent of your angel, install other plant material with early blooms beneath the tree. Since the Star Magnolia has such a course textured leaf, think about planting something with a fine texture for contrast. some f my suggestions are; crocus and daffodil bulbs, creeping phlox, or pansies (depending on your plant zone). Other plant with evergreen foliage that would work are; candytuft, dianthus or lemon thyme.

If you are thinking about buying a Star Magnolia tree for greiving parents of pregnancy or baby loss make sure they have a place to plant the tree, soil and mulch. This remembrance gift will be located at your local nurseries but before purchasing make sure the plant can be lifted out of the container with ease. It should not have roots sticking out and the soil should not fall apart when lifted. The limbs should not have any injuries and leaves should not have black spots. I love this plant for its ease and what it offers.

Plant a Star for your Angel.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above   www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

Read Full Post »

helleborus-w.jpg

Helleborus niger or Christmas Rose is a beautiful plant for memory gardens honoring a baby that has died early in pregnancy or other tragic loss. Sympathy giftsare sometimes difficult to fathom for a child that is supposed to be here. If you know the grieving parents would love an outdoor plant to honor their deceased child, purchase a Helleborus plant for their garden.

helleborus-t-w.jpg

Helleborus was used in our son’s memory garden and did quite well in the hot, scorching sun. They are the creamy blooms flanking the entrance. Typically, they favor an area with part shade and protected from wind, yielding a  long lasting cut flower. Helleborus come in creme or mauve colors and can be pressed and dried for scrapbooks. They stay nice and compact and the foliage is dark and evergreen. This is considered a very coarse plant which will add nice contrast next to plants of different textures like daffodils. This is one of my absolute favorite plants to use in my landscape design projects.

Helleborus can grow in zones 4-9 and they bloom when there is little color within the landscape, making it a very good choice for winter interest. Other plants offering early blooms are crocus, jasmine nudiflorum, star magnolia, flowering apricot, camellia japonica and daffodils.

If you know your baby’s gender and would like to create a Memory Garden, visit Gardens for Angels  and Pregnancy Loss Gardens Blooming White to help you on your gardening journey honoring your precious angel. A tipsheet is also available providing helpful information on how to start your babies’ garden. If your sweet little baby died early in pregnancy visit, Zodiac Signs for Pregnancy Loss to give ideas on elements for your gardens and scrapbooks. These ideas will also provide you with more tangible keepsakes to work into your journals, shadowboxes and other places remembering your baby.

helleborus-2-w.jpg

The nodding flowers are so gorgeous, the small size of the plant and how beautiful it looks in the winter are all positive. If you know of anyone who grows these plants, ask if you could have one or two because they transplant well.

helleborus-w1.jpg

Above is a past landscape design project where I used Helleborus as an edging plant. When this pretty plant is in prime bloom the display is spectacular brightening this rather dark space.

If you have any questions about memory gardens or scrapbooking for your children in heaven, please feel free to inquire.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.