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Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy loss’

Jewelry, pins, and ribbons have new meaning after the death of a baby. Bereaved mothers and fathers are walking memorials for their babies in heaven. We don’t have a favorite t-shirt or teddy bear with our children’s scent to hold onto at night. We have memories and trinkets to adorn our bodies, representing the everlasting love for sweet babies gone too soon.

My jewelry box is now filled with butterflies, angels,hearts, gemstones, charms with the letter “T”, pink and blue ribbons, a perfume vile holding my stillborn son’s ashes, and pins reflecting hope and faith.

When I was a teenager waiting tables at a restaurant, a woman named Agatha would come to my section once a week for coffee. She noticed a stone charm on my necklace and commented on how lovely it was. She then asked me what it meant. I told her it didn’t mean anything and that I bought the stone because I liked it. She sternly looked at me and said, “Everything you wear should have meaning”. I would have a different response for Agatha today.

My mother is an avid QVC shopper and always finds deals on jewelry for me. Years before Tanner was born still she would find charms with hearts, heart earrings or heart pins to give me throughout the year. I was very frank with her about my dislike of girlie heart-like jewelry, not particularly my personality. So my mother stopped giving me gifts with heart themes. My experience of losing my sweet baby has changed my feelings toward hearts and I now gladly accept them.

Only after the passing of my son Tanner was I told by my grandmother’s sister (Veronica) that her mother (my great grandmother) had a stillborn baby girl and named her Veronica. It is rather strange that a tombstone of her daughter reads Veronica and she also had a living daughter with the same name. Pregnancy loss was much different 80 years ago. I wonder if my great grandmother had special trinkets in her jewelry box for her deceased child. I don’t think the concept of jewelry with meaning has changed, but maybe the jewelry in itself has. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month has been established since 1987 by President Ronald Regan, helping to recognize the grief of losing a baby or early pregnancy loss.

My mother is now going through my other grandmother’s jewelry box and handing down these treasures to me. I wonder if anything means something I am unaware of. She has Alzmeimer’s disease now and I would be unable to ask her.

It is very difficult to part with anything from a jewelry box because there may be an angel remembered from long ago.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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I loved him before he was conceived and his name is Tanner. My beautiful son was born still and 2 days before we would know of this horrific news, I decided to nickname him Tanner Nanner. His name was determined the day we found out he would wear blue and his name stands at the entrance of his Memory Garden.

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Hearing Tanner’s name, writing Tanner’s name and seeing Tanner’s name is important for me to move forward on my healing journey, with him in my heart.

My husband constructed a name plaque for Tanner’s Memory Garden. It is a simple memorial craft you and your spouse can create for your sweet angel baby. Materials needed:

  • Piece of pressure treated wood, 2x4x whatever length you need
  • A router tool
  • Copper pipe and fittings (connectors)
  • Strong adhesive, I think he used gorilla glue
  • A hacksaw
  • Table saw
  • Vice grip
  • Letter template to trace onto the wood

This project took a few hours because my husband needed the sign for Tanner’s name to be just perfect. He traced the letters onto the pressure treated wood and placed it into the vice to hold it still while he used the router tool to cut the letters. He then cut the access wood with a table saw. With the router tool he made a grove around the perimeter of the wood for the copper pipe to rest nicely. With a hacksaw the copper pipe was cut and fitted around the wood and connected by 90 degree elbows. Gorilla glue was used to permanently bond the pipe. We gently hammered Tanner’s name plaque into the ground and after a few months to dry (pressure treated wood needs to dry for months before you can stain or paint it) we will paint the letters. At the base of his name plaque are beautiful helleborus plants.  A name plaque can even be created for a memory garden at church.

This could be an activity for a grieving father. My husband didn’t talk much and just wanted to fix things with his hands. The mortared stone benches in Tanner’s garden, the name plaque, and the shadowbox were all his way of comforting me and also helping himself on his healing journey.

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Naming a deceased baby loved before conception helps family and friends by enabling them to purchase mementos when they feel helpless. My brother and sister-in-law bought us a wind chime for Tanner’s 1st angelversary with his name and heartfelt words to blow in the wind, making angel-like music for our ears.

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Several girlfriends and women I have met through support groups have named their miscarried and stillborn babies. There are also bereaved families that chose not to give their children names. It is a personal decision.

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Another way to add your child’s name to their memory garden is on an engraved memorial brick.

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The names chosen for my children who have died are just as important as my living child for the mere fact of my belief and faith in heaven and the opportunity to hold my children again someday.

“While we were dreaming of your baby ways

God was planning your heavenly days”

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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Native wildflowers are very good choices for memory garden plants because they are already acclimated to our temperatures, soil structure and rainfall. Plants incorporated into memory gardens should be very durable and able to withstand harsh climatic conditions, ensuring survival. If you are placing your child’s memory garden into a natural area, or roadside, this is a wonderful location to incorporate wildflowers indigenous to North America. Most are drought tolerate, pest and disease free and attract butterflies.

I will only discuss those wildflower perennials available at your local plant nurseries. The first wildflower is Goldenrod or the scientific name, Solidago. Many people are familiar with this autumn blooming flower, usually found along roads. The color is golden yellow and brightens up the garden in September and October. “Golden Fleece” Goldenrod is sold at plant nurseries in 1 gallon pots. This plant will reach 18 inches tall with a spreading habit. The flower heads make great cutting or pressed flowers.

Giant Goldenrod

The next wildflower appropriate for memory gardens in natural areas is Black-Eyed Susan or the scientific name, Rudbeckia hirta. This perennial is different than the one commonly sold. This species grows on roadsides, fields and meadows reaching a height of 2 to 3 feet, much larger than Rudbeckia fulgida. The plant is spectacular in bloom and are also make wonderful pressed and cutting flowers. The yellow blooms are perfect for a touch of sunshine in your memory gardens.

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Another wildflower able to grow in adverse conditions is Amsonia tabernaemontana or the common name, Blue Star. This delicate wildflower bears star-shaped blue blooms in the spring. It will grow 2 to 3 feet in height and 3 feet in spread. Not only does this native flower have blooms of blue, the fall foliage turns a golden yellow lasting until early winter.

Amsonia nadrenska Amsonia ...

The last indiginoues wildflower I highly recommend is Baptisia australis, or the common name, False Indigo. The plant reaches a height of 3 feet and spreads to 4 feet. The beautiful purple blooms occur in April through August.

The False Indigo (Baptisia) is ...

All the above plants are sun loving and tough perennials for your memory gardens in natural areas and locations along the roadside.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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 Suggestions to help you, your spouse and your heart on this journey many couples face dealing with infertility.

Charmaine Purdum

Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality Coordinator

1203 Maple Street 3rd Floor

Greensboro, NC  27405

Phone:  336-641-6775  Fax:  336-641-6971

Creating Futures, One Baby At A Time”

Infertility Survival Tips

Be as informed as possible during your journey with infertility.  Doctors don’t always have the answers! Research your condition online, but be careful to get your information from reputable sites.

Decide your limits (morally, physically, spiritually, and financially) before you go for treatment.  Put them in writing and share them with your doctor.  This will help you stick to your limits when the pressure is on.

Don’t take everything others say to heart.  People will say the most awful, stupid, hurtful things.  Expect it, and remember: they (like all of us) are doing the best they can.

Make sure you understand your insurance coverage and the state laws that apply to coverage of fertility treatments.   

 If you’re not happy with your doctor, change right away.  You need to be understood, be able to ask questions, and not feel threatened or challenged.

 Find support.  Your family and friends are important, but they can’t replace the value of sharing with other couples who are facing the same fight against infertility.  Seek our support groups in your church, community, and on the Internet.

Don’t let life pass you by while you are waiting to become a parent.  It would be better to cancel plans at the last minute than to let opportunities to enjoy your life, and your spouse slip away while you wait. 

Laugh when you want to laugh and cry when you want to cry.

Give yourself the freedom to grieve.  The inability to have a child is a loss.  It’s okay, even healthy, to grieve that loss.  Don’t allow people to stop the process by telling you to stop making a fuss.

Try to have your husband or another support person with you at doctor visits.  You never know when you might receive upsetting news, and it helps to have someone there to comfort you.

If your marriage suffers because of infertility, get help early!  My husband and I found that our infertility problems were tearing us apart.  Getting professional help was the best thing we’ve ever done for our marriage.

Be selective when telling others about your infertility.  Many of us have lived to regret making our struggles common knowledge among family and friends. 

Take 400-800 milligrams of ibuprofen an hour or so before an HSG or endometrial biopsy.  It really helps lessen the discomfort.

Don’t waste time being treated by a gynecologist who claims to also treat infertility.  The only doctors who have the extra years of training in infertility treatments are reproductive endocrinologists.  Go straight to the specialist.

Try to rest in the Lord and wait for his timing and will.  Remember to enjoy life right now.  Take a walk, and see the beauty and the gifts God has bestowed upon you.

Don’t feel bad about feeling bad.  Infertility is lousy.  It’s normal to hurt.

If you need to stay home from a family gathering, baby shower, or even a birthday party, do it.  Don’t feel guilty.

Hold onto the Lord with all your mind, body, and spirit.  Honestly, he’s our only hope!

Remember, this is not a sprint, but a marathon. 

 Keep a prayer journal to express your hurt and frustrations.  And read good books that will help develop you maturity during this tough time.

Remember, there is a bigger picture that we aren’t capable of seeing just yet.  Though the pain is real and heartbreaking, the rest of the story will be glorious and beyond our comprehension.

Unless someone has experienced or is experiencing infertility, don’t pay attention to their cliches or simple answers.

Include your husband in the grieving process.  Open up to each other regarding what each of you are going through.

See a fertility counselor if you can.  This wonderful woman kept me from losing my head.

The dreams have shattered, but not the spirit.  Allow God to comfort and support you.

Consider infertility like other trials we face in life – know God has allowed it (Job 1:6-12); don’t be surprised by it (1 Peter 4:12); and remember that it’s working in you an “eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

The above excerpts are taken from Empty Womb, Aching Heart  (Hope and Help for Those Struggling with Infertitlity), by Marlo Schalesky

Infertility is another type of grief minimized by soceity. These helpful suggestions are provided by a women whose heart has been broken several times and also pieced back together by love. Couples experiencing infertility issues may also have had to endure another type of grief-pregnancy loss. Infertility and pregnancy losses should not be minimized because those children were very much loved long before trying to conceive.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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The green satin memory box was filled with “things” I could touch while waiting for my Tanner to quietly be born. Nurse Tara brought this small box to me when I asked her what I should be doing while waiting. A booklet filled with support groups for pregnancy loss, options for Tanner’s body, a personal story of a couple’s journey having a stillborn baby and other information otherwise never thought of was to keep me occupied for hours. This was top secret information the nurses had hidden in the supply closets, only to be seen by bereaved families of dead babies.

I like to have my days planned out and needed to know what my next steps were going to be. I don’t like surprises and this was the ultimate surprise of my life.

Our room was very quiet and I don’t remember hearing any noise in the halls. I could really focus on the reality of what was happening, but didn’t. I found myself picking up the literature, reading a few minutes and then putting it on my lap to stare off into space. I never read anything in its entirety because my mind would easily wander and some other thought would distract me. This was my routine for the many hours of laying in that hospital bed.

The other items contained in the green satin memory box were generic keepsakes. I remember the 2 silver heart charms, an infant cap with a small piece of blue yarn tied to the top, a baby-sized tape measure and a very small comb. Was I supposed to use this comb on Tanner when he was born? Just like the reading material, I would look through the memory box and then set it on my lap, until I had the energy to look at it again. Over and over again, it was a very obsessive behavior completely out of my hands.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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Sympathy gifts given to comfort bereaved parents after the death of a baby usually have images of  sweet angel babies’. 

When our first son Tanner was stillborn I was obsessed with Heaven and if I’d be able to hold him again. Years later I am wondering about Angels, how they came about and why so many baby angel gifts are available. After Tanner died many sympathy gifts and cards had images of baby angels on them. I loved the pictures because they offered a beautiful visual of what my baby may look like.

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Angel decorative plates, angel statues and figurines, angel frames, angel jewelry, angel candles, books and music about baby angels, stuffed angel animals, angel ornaments, outdoor angel monuments, angelversary garden flags (found at http://greensborogardens.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/angelversary-garden-flags-for-pregnancy-loss/), 

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and angel pictures and paintings. The theme of our pregnancy and infant losses are usually that of a baby angel and what society chooses for us. Maybe it’s because the angel images are so sweet and innocent, like our Heavenly children. It was comforting to see these small children with wings, living in a place too glorious for words.

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I have been very curious about the evolution of angels and why baby angels are appropriate gifts for pregnancy and infant loss.

The word “Angel” comes from the Greek word “Angelos”, meaning messenger. So an angel is a “being” sent by a Divine Individual carrying a message. Christianity, Judaism and Islam all have references to Angels, where their significant function is directly related to the Divine. The word “Angel” does not describe physical features or traits, only their intended function.

The earliest documentation of the existence of angels were in the book of Genesis. Adam and Eve were escorted from the Garden of Eden by angels. However, these angels called Cherubim were celestial animals with wings having human faces.

Looking through art history books, an early vision of a baby angel was created in the 15Th century. An Early Italian Renaissance fountain piece of a young angel holding a dolphin was sculpted by Verrocchio. Maybe the change in the physical form of angels were influenced by this poetic era, newly embracing the physical world. It could have been a combination of political, social and religious changes that prompted artists to create such picturesque angelic images.

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We do know that the word angel is a “being” who is sending a message and a “being” directly in contact with our Divine. I would like to think that my Divine God allowed our stillborn son Tanner to send many messages to us. Our angels do give us signs and these messages are never taken for granted or thought of as coincidences. Open your hearts wide and receive your sweet angel messages.

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Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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Many Churches will allow members and parishioners to select a small piece of Church grounds to create a memory garden. This is ideal if you live in a town house, condominium or an apartment and have no land to plant. Most Churches welcome these gardens because great care is taken in nurturing them. This will also help cut down maintenance costs for the church

Shortly after the stillbirth of our son Tanner, we joined St. PiusX Church and also their garden committee. We then got started creating Tanner’s Memory Garden in a high traffic area that had an existing holly tree in the middle. 

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We planted several different plants testing which varieties perform the best without being irrigated. Winecups, Lamb’s Ear, Dianthus, Lenten Rose (for winter blooms), Daffodils, Lavendar, Boxwoods, Garden Phlox, rose Campion, Anenome, Pincushion Flower, Candytuft and Salvia. After a severe drought in Greensboro last year we know what plants will work best.

Not only did we plant his garden, we installed a mortared stone bench perfect for a child. It was very difficult the first several months seeing other children running through Tanner’s garden, stepping on plants and pushing to sit on the bench. I have eased up quite a bit, however it still annoys me having to pick up cigarette butts and trash from his garden.

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Greensboro, NC is located in planting zone 7 , so we are able to grow annuals throughout the year providing year round color in Tanner’s garden. We plant pansies in the winter and periwinkle, marigolds and begonias in the summer months.

4 years after the creation of Tanner’s memory garden, many members are now aware of the reason for its existence. Life is so incredibly precious even in physical absence.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above  www.justacloudaway.com

Diana

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