Tuesday, October 14, 2014

3 Years at Home!

Happy Home-iversary Cohen! After 130 long, grueling days of ups and downs, we finally got to walk out the hospital doors with our son as OURS. Those last few weeks were tough, not some of my finest moments we wanted so badly to be out of the hospital to finally start our lives as a family. It felt like we were stealing Cohen as we packed up all his things, said goodbye to our best nurses who had become like family, took down all of his momentos and packed up our hotel room that had been our "home". We got home to find the house decorated by mom Carol and Karen, and Cohen's room decorated which was much needed since we had basically just up and left over 5 months before. It was bittersweet as we had left our house back in May, having the room set up to bring two babies home, but we were SO excited to bring Cohen in and show him his house (he was thrilled). Everything was exciting...his first diaper at home! His first bottle at home! His first nap at home! Danny and I were laughing the other night about how much easier it was to bring Cohen home, even with his oxygen and feeding tube, than Ezra. We already knew Cohen, he was 4.5 months old, we could just hook up his feeding pump at night and he never cried. (We should have known he was just storing it up for when he turned 3  ) Cohen James, we love you so much little buddy! You amaze us, challenge us, and make us better people. We are so very thankful for you and can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

My Friend's Baby Died, How Can I Help?

I get contacted frequently about someone who has a had a friend or family member lose a baby and they want to know what they can do. It's heartbreaking how often I get asked this, but I am so glad that people are asking how they can help. Pregnancy and infant loss is real and those friends and family members need support, so thank you for reaching out!

What Can I Say?

So often we want to be able to fix or explain away the pain. In the situation of losing a child, you just can't. There's no reason or answer that is going to make the heartache stop.

- I'm so sorry.

- I don't know what you're going through but I'm here for you.

- Tell me about him/her (use the baby's name)

- When/if you want to talk about it, I want to listen (don't force, just being with someone in the silence is okay too)

- I know how you feel (Unless you have lost a child and truly do know how they feel)

- I'm thinking of you/praying for you

Things that are better left unsaid...
- "God needed another angel" or "God needed your baby"
- "You can have more kids"
- Anything that starts with "At least..."
-  Be thankful for the other children you do have
- Try to refrain from telling your own story (or your brother's aunt's second cousin's), just listen and be there. This is about them.

What Can I Do?

Be present. Listen. Even if you are listening to silence or tears. Probably THE most important thing you can do is to just be there. You don't have to have the right words and you can't fix it.

- Don't judge. Grief is impossible to explain to someone who hasn't been there. Don't judge words, actions or reactions. There may be anger, sadness, laughter, or happiness. Every journey is different.

- Give a small gift (see below)

- Use the baby's name, remember the important dates (due dates, birth dates, date they passed away)

- Instead of saying "call me if you need something", offer to do practical, specific things. For example, "I'm coming over Tuesday to do your laundry", "I will bring you dinner Saturday evening", "I will call you tomorrow". And follow through!

- Keep checking up on them. Baby loss is very lonely. The rest of the world keeps moving while your world has stopped and it's a LOT to deal with. Other people get to go on with their lives while we struggle to figure out our new lives.

I want to give a small gift, do you have any ideas?

- Anything with the baby's name (a small handkerchief, blanket, stuffed animal or personalized necklace)

- Willow Tree angels

- Christmas ornaments with baby's name

- Personalized necklace with the baby's name or all of their children's names (on etsy search "personalized necklace")

Do you have any resources I can point them to?

NILMDTS - An organization that will come and take photos of the baby and family, all FREE. The photos we have are some of my most treasured possessions.

The TEARS Foundation (Specific to certain states) - Helps with financial assistance for funeral/burial expenses

This is an awesome little card that I ran across here. I've never seen anything else like it, but I think it's so wonderful.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 2: Heart

Day 2: Heart
From the day I knew about each of these boys they have been in my heart. I never knew how much I could love before these boys, or how deep sorrow can be. I have lost greatly because I have loved greatly. While I get to carry my other boys in my heart and my arms, Carter will always be in my heart. Always.