This blog is about love despite a prenatal diagnosis, grief & healing after baby loss, hope, faith, pregnancy after loss and Hydrops Fetalis awareness.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Capture Your Grief 2016





October is here again!  I love Fall season, its colors, the apples and the pumpkins, the fresh air...and of course, since 2012, Capture Your Grief, a project that started as a photographic challenge designed to be a mindful healing project for those of us who are grieving the loss of a child.   October has been Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month since Ronald Reagan, former U.S. President signed Proclamation 5890.  It was a blessing in my grief journey to have someone like Carly Marie, speak openly on social media about baby loss and promoting creative projects that helped the healing of my heart only a couple months after my loss.  

So here we go, I will share here each day about the daily subjects, through captures of my daily reality.   I am so happy to be participating again this year!


Day 1 -- SUNRISE DEDICATION

" My LORD is the same yesterday, today and forever"  Hebrews 13:8



The forecast for this first day of October was cloudy so I slept in this morning.  I had some much needed sleep to catch up.  Unlike last year and the year before, I couldn't sneak out of bed and leave my house, even for 5 minutes, because I needed to stay close to my littlest.  I decided to capture the "sunrise" from my bedroom.  As I opened my window, I got to breathe and feel the fresh air of the morning, I captured the cloudy sky and the changing colors of the leaves in the trees.
During this month, I intend to savor this legacy of creativity and to keep speaking her {Lily's} name.


Day 2:  WHO THEY ARE

" Children are a gift from the LORD..."
Psalm 127:3



Lily is the baby I had after my fifth child and the one that came before my last two children. What she brought to our family is unique and priceless and so is the memory of her presence among us. She would be 4 years 1/2 now had she won against Hydrops Fetalis and survived the womb. Not a day goes by that I don't wonder who she would have been and what she is like in Heaven.


Day 3: WHAT IT FELT LIKE

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid... for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6




Today Carly Marie Dudley shared that she was currently going through a miscarriage not knowing she was pregnant. Since this happened to me also almost 19 years ago, I know all too well the feelings of sadness, guilt, love and wonder that she described in her FB post, this is indeed just a very strange place to be in and what it felt like. I had no one except my husband to talk to about this loss. I felt very alone.


When we learned that Lily was very sick with Hydrops Fetalis, it felt like a ton a bricks had just hit me, like I was falling down a cliff, falling down very far from the safe and beautiful and perfect place I was before. It often felt like people didn't get it! She was not going to get better! She didn't get better, she died. Doctors didn't get it, no, I was her mother, I was not going to kill her, I was going to protect her and carry her until her natural death. Was that too hard to understand and support?


When Lily died, it felt like time had stopped but it hadn't. It felt like it should have stopped. How could I go on, how could anyone go on? My baby had died. Once again, many times I felt alone but not as much as I did 19 years ago because of those people like Carly Marie who break the silence and share about their own losses. Thank you brave and beautiful mamas.







Day 4: SUPPORT CIRCLES




"And my God will supply every need of yours..."
Philippians 4:19







Preparing to loose Lily, I was looking for a song for her memorial video and I found a new friend through the link of her blog that was in the description below the memorial video of her son Noah. I was new to FB and didn't know how much support I would find through it in the months following my loss. My friend was a priceless support to me. I needed to "talk" to someone who had been there and she had... she knew that grief inside and out.

But now, I find that support circles are very much present on the web. Here are the links to the support pages, websites and FB groups that I found helpful:




On Facebook:

Hydrops Fetalis https://www.facebook.com/groups/hydropsfetalissupportgroup/

All That Love Can Do https://www.facebook.com/groups/allthatlovecando/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/178220002236486/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/553447908108057/

Rainbow Babies Sent From Heaven https://www.facebook.com/groups/225754510784023/


Websites:


http://allthatlovecando.blogspot.ca/


http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/


http://hydropsfetalis.blogspot.ca/




Day 5:  UNSPOKEN




Day 6:  EMPATHY

Today when I opened my FB my friend had posted about today being the birth day of her son Owen.   He would have been 5 today.

Empathy: the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings

This journey gifted me with more empathy and I am grateful for it.

Happy Birthday in Heaven Owen... you are missed, loved and remembered.  Big ((hugs)) to my friend Sara.



Day 7:  MYTHS



There are so many myths about grief... I found a page that listed 64 of them!  I chose only one for today's topic:

You grieve less when you know in advance someone is going to die.

I was told Lily would pass for sure because of the severity of Hydrops and Cystic Hygroma.  The built up fluid in her body kept her lungs from developing.  God knew what he was doing when he allowed me to prepare to lose my baby.  I am someone who does not cope well with changes.  I was spared the trauma of the unknown and for this I am grateful.  But it did not lessen the grief.


Day 8:  BEAUTIFUL MYSTERIES



Day 9:  SURRENDER & EMBRACE




Day 10: SYMBOLS & SIGNS



Day 11: CREATIVE HEARTWORK

Day 12: LEMONS + LEMONADE


Day 13: DEAR WORLD

Day 14: BELIEFS + SPIRITUALITY


Day 15: WAVE OF LIGHT


Day 16: FULL MOON RETREAT


Day 17: SACRED SPACE

Day 18: HEALING THERAPY



Day 19: GRIEF RITUALS

This ladybug was hiding in my store bought lettuce...it reminded me of the ladybug birthday theme we had for Lily 's 3 birth day.  Having a theme to remember and celebrate Lily on the day of her birth I a tradition.

Day 20: GRATITUDE


Day 21: RELATIONSHIPS

It is really amazing the new friendships that form after baby loss.  That support is priceless!

Day 22: PEARLS OF WISDOM

Let it be.  Do not fight or ignore grief.  Let it be. 

Day 23: SOUNDS, SEASONS + SENSE



Day 24: CONSCIOUSLY BECOMING

Before and after is surely how I see myself and our lives. Now I see tomorrow as another day.  Every day has enough trouble of it's own.  ( Matthew 6:34)  I feel like I am accomplishing more and going forward by slowing down and breathing.  I feel confident in God's grace and mercy to help me pick up where I left the day before or to leave it all in His hands.


Day 25: I AM






Finish these 5 sentences


I wish ..._that all my children would have met and held her._


I remember... _the pain of grief but also the moments of joy.________


I could not believe ..._how irrevocably our lives were about to change.________


If only ..._we would have asked for an autopsy.________


I am... __grateful.___________________





Day 26: #WHATHEALSYOU



I love the idea of asking "What Heals You" instead of asking "WHY".  I have always tried to stay away from asking "why me" or "why now" because frankly, I am not the first or the only one to have lost a baby.  I was thinking, why not?  Why should I be spared?  Death and grief sadly are a part of life in this beautiful but broken world.  Asking why is something normal but I think that I needed to stay away from it because it would have made me bitter.
I always loved photography and I know that it became a passion of mine, it is part of What Heals Me.
God's Word is surely somewhere I find healing in too.





Day 27: FAMILY IS FOREVER



These are all our currently worn shoes even those that Lily would be wearing if she was here.



Day 28: SELF COMPASSION




In the early days of my grief,  a dear friend told me I needed to listen to my body and take it easier.  Slowing down and taking the time to grieve and do only what basically needed to be done, allowing a lot more time to reflect and talk or write about my grief has proven to be good for me.  I don't think healing would have been the same for me had I kept the same pace as before loss.


Day 29: GIVE AWAY YOUR LOVE



I took this photo for my friend Rebekah on her son Cameron's Birthday while we we away camping on August 2015.  Cameron passed away of SIDS on October 30th 2011.  Tomorrow, I will post this photo on my friend's timeline to honor Cameron's life & memory.





Day 30: MY PROMISE TO YOU




Speaking for the voiceless is my promise to you Lily.


Day 31: SUNSET DEDICATION






The sky was grey and there was no sunset colors in the sky whatsoever tonight.  However, this is the time at which I lightened our carved pumpkin.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Celebrating Lily year 4





The inspiration came to me many months ago.  It was so easy for me to imagine a 4 year old little girl in Heaven, looking like a princess, wearing a beautiful dress with sparkles all over it, with long & stunning blond hair...never before had I been able to imagine my daughter so clearly.  I don't remember where I saw the quote "Princess, Daughter of the King'' at first, but it is very common and easy to find graphics of it on the web.

So this year I once again created a Facebook event where I offered to bereaved parents to write the name of their child on a graphic so they could be remembered too.  I wrote over 40 babies names hoping to bring some kind of comfort to their parents.


Thanks to all who supported me, it was an honor to remember your child by writing their name!

My beautiful sister also sent me that sweet photo she created with this year's birthday theme!  I am so grateful!

"Remembering Lily today... and praying for you! Much love! xx"

These were posted on my Facebook personal page from my friends...

"Oh dear Lily, a Happy 4th Birthday to you, precious girl! I wish more than anything you were here spending your birthday with your family. But please know I am grateful for you as I never would've met your sweet mama otherwise. Praying for you Naomi and family during this bittersweet time. And know that we are remembering and celebrating your precious Lily with you!!!" 
--Jenn, Noah's mom





Émoticône heart






                                          "For Lily...Thank you Naomi for remembering my girls.." 
                                                                                       --Claire, Molly&Grace's mom




From Lynsey, Lilly's mom




"Happy 4th Heavenly Birthday Lily Hope"
Souphaly, Amelia's mom




From Yvette, Ainle and Fintan's mom










From Valerie






"Saw this in Amelia's garden this evening
and thought about your sweet Lily...
remembering her with you always" 🐞




"Thinking of you while we remember your sweet Lily" 
--Candace 

"Thinking of you and sweet Lily 
💕"
--Cindy

"You will be in my heart this week sweet mama."
--Jenny

"Happy 4th Heavenly Birthday, Lily! ((Hugs)) Naomi! "
--Rebekah

 "A special thought for you all. Happy Angel Anniversary... Happy Birthday Lily Hope."
--Heather

"Sending hugs! Thank you for opening to us!" --Jeanet

"Thank you so much for remembering my Amelia on your daughter's special day. I can just see Amelia and Lily singing, dancing and eating cake together. Happy 4th Birthday to your precious Lily Hope...Thank You Father God for calling us Yours!!!"
--Souphaly






We were given 2x 10kg buckets of "Porcelain Doll" squash already cut and pealed.  Our more than generous friends had too much of it!  Needless to say, it saved me a ton of work for many many meals and I also decided I would make Lily's cake with it!  It was delicious! We actually had cake on the 7th this year.







SQUASH CAKE

1 cup pureed squash
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 3/4 cups four
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup walnuts

In a large bowl whisk together  5 first ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Fold in walnuts.  Add and mix the dry mixture to the big bowl mixture.  Scrape into 9 inch floured cake pan.

Bake at 350 °F for about 35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool on rack for 15 minutes.  Let cool completely before icing.  This cake is delicious with or without icing!

** Recipe inspired from "Pumpkin bread or cupcakes" in "Whole Food for the Whole Family" from International La Leche Ligue cookbook.






The next morning, getting out of bed was challenging,  I felt so heavy, like physically heavy, not only emotionally.  Kids had school, so I really had no other option than to carry that burden of grief.  The LORD, in his grace and humour, knew my children would make me smile as soon as I saw them.  My 6 year old kindergartner had prepared a special gift for his student teacher that was leaving their class that same day.  He had used a really cool Spider-man gift bag!  All morning I smiled and wished I could have been there to see her reaction as she received her gift!





My 9 years old daughter made this beautiful card for her sister...beautiful words from a loving big sister...




“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
                                                                                                       Psalm 139:13-14


Babies are, by God’s grace, in Heaven and are royalty, daughters and sons of the King of Kings. Created by Him and forever loved.


1 Peter 2:9, 


2 Corinthians 6:18

“I will be your Father.
    You will be my sons and daughters,
    says the Lord who rules over all.” 













"Children are a gift from God, babies are a reward." Ps 127.3