Showing posts with label Honoring Addy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honoring Addy. Show all posts

Precious Moments Memorial

Monday, August 10, 2015

She was, she is, and she will forever be with us. My Addy.

As her momma, I will forever be grateful for the ways in which my family and friends have found to honor and celebrate her precious life. 

Each unique. Each personal. Each meaningful. 

For what would have been Addy's 2nd birthday, my maternal grandparents had a brick placed in the Memorial Garden at the Precious Moments Chapel

It is a place I remember visiting with them as a child. 
It is tranquil and serene and peaceful.


 She existed, she matters, and she is forever missed.
Long may sweet Addy's memory live on. 



Celebrating Addy's 2nd Birthday...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Last year, I had a big party for Addy's 1st Birthday
I needed a party. I needed purpose in planning and the distraction of the details. 
But mostly, I needed to know that she was remembered.

My divorce was finalized just three weeks before her first birthday and I needed to know that she wasn't lost or overlooked in the chaos of the demise. So I planned, mailed out invitations, made decorations, baked all the desserts, hired a photographer, agonized over what to wear, and friends and family faithfully drove across the state to attend. It was perfect. And so, so needed. 

What I have learned over the course of the past two years is the multitude of ways in which those near and dear to me have found to honor and celebrate and remember my Addy. Big, personal, unique, and intentional ways to reflect the impact of her life.  She mattered and she matters. 

So this year, her birthday looked different. Rather than one big celebration, it was week of small yet intentional ways to remember. As her momma, my heart is filled by the love for her. 

She is deeply love, oh so wanted, and forever missed. 

----

 First was a trip back to the KC Zoo for the third year in a row. Nostalgia.


Thank you to these beauties who have gone with me two years in a row. True love. 


And a whole lotta cookie baking and decorating. Because thanking the people who had a role in guiding my pregnancy and bringing Addalyn into this world will never get old. I'm forever grateful.


And The Cheesecake Factory. Oh yes, cheesecake!
When I was in labor, my dad brought us lunch from The Cheesecake Factor.  I have eaten the very same meal on 3.18 for three years in a role...including the potstickers which I don't really even like. But not ordering them was not an option. 

And a special thanks to my dear friend for dining with me. I adore her.


And a little balloon sent high into the sky at 7:49am on 3.19.2015 for my Addy from her momma.  She changed me in ways I can't even put into words. I miss her every single day.


And a visit to the L&D Department where I delivered.  Going back to the only place my Addy ever physically was is needed. It is healing and being greeted by birthday and butterfly balloons made the visit all the more special.

{I'll be back to visit again...so sorry I missed some of you!}


 And a small family dinner on the evening of 3.19. A perfect night with my dear family.


Lynli, my niece, took on the role of blowing out Addy's birthday candles.



And to round out the week, another birthday cake made by my grandma and lanterns sent sailing into the clear blue sky. My grandma has made all my birthday cakes and now a cake for my Addy too. She picked the design...a bright yellow sun that says "You Are My Sunshine - Happy 2nd Birthday Addy." Be still my heart. 



Oh Addalyn, you are loved. Deeply and fiercely.
And forever and ever you will be celebrated. 

Happy 2nd Birthday. 


----

And in case you are wondering, the answer is yes. 
Yes, I wore the same outfit almost every day this week. The shirt arrived in the mail from a very dear friend and I could not think of anything better to wear...everyday...but I did wash it.

Happy 2nd Birthday Addalyn Lane:

Thursday, March 19, 2015
video


Addalyn's birthday will forever be a day that brings the greatest joy yet the deepest of sorrow.  

She is well celebrate and will be forever. And ever. 
Happy 2nd Birthday Addalyn Lane. 

Addy Lane Creations

Monday, December 1, 2014

Abby and I recently participated in our first craft show!  She spent many hours on the sewing machine making headbands and ear warmers and I spent many hours trying on all her designs! 

The craft show was extra special for me because we partnered with Addy Lane Creations. Say what? That is right, there is a little business named after my beloved.


Addy Lane Creations, was started by a crafty mom and daughter duo. The mom of the pair was a former co-worker of mine turned great friend. On what would have been my Addy's first birthday, the duo gave me a personalized light-up block.


 The joy that came from that very block was their inspiration to start a business and asked if they could name it after my beloved. And so, Addy Lane Creations was formed. 

 To say I was touched would be an understatement. With each purchase Addy's memory lives on, her story is shared, and her momma’s mission for Addy to be remembered fulfilled.


They make custom blocks for wedding, baby, or birthday gifts. 
They also made super cute fall pumpkin blocks, snowman themed blocked, and blocks supporting various sports teams. They are great for decorating or as a nightlight like mine. 

I adore the duo and the blocks they make. 
I love the passion they have for crafting and their way of honoring the life of my Addy. 



Running With The Sas {Our First Half}

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ladies and Gents...We Did It!


In May, Abby {or 'The Sas' as she is affectionately called} and I ran our first 5k
We enjoyed running together so much that we decided to dream bigger and began training for a half marathon. Neither of us fancy ourselves to be runners nor did we even think in our wildest dreams that we could run for two solid hours, but we did!


 We didn't follow a set training schedule nor did we set out to obtain any records, we just wanted to prove to ourselves that we could run a Half Marathon. 


We had pretty perfect running weather and the best fan club we could have asked for. 
They were loud and encouraging and it made me smile to see them.

{Abby really did enjoy the run, not so much this particular incline.}

And with us always, my beloved daughter. 
She has made me stronger than I ever knew I could be.


I am pretty darn proud of us. 
I could not have asked for a better sister/roomie/running buddy! 
She keeps me grounded yet motivated and I adore her. 

Off to train for a marathon {just kidding Sas}. 
I am just giddy that we ran 13.1 miles...check that off the Year29 Bucket List!



Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
And, I am not alone.

 http://www.blog.ocwalktoremember.org/pregnancy-infant-loss-the-numbers/

I stopped counting the number of momma's that I know that have lost babies when all my fingers were full. That is a lot of mommas just in my life who have felt the pain of loss whether that be a miscarriage, still birth, or infant death. Knowing that I am not alone, I turned to my fellow grieving friends and asked them to share their deepest struggles and what they desire for others to know. 



Our stories are different...expected loss opposed to unexpected loss or stillbirth in comparison to infant death, just to name a few...but this day is to recognize each baby who is longed for. Forever their absence will be felt.

----- 

"The obvious answer to the question of what has been the most difficult is the moment we were told that our beautiful daughter would not be with us for long.  No matter how long she did stay, it would never be as long as we wanted.  But we found that was just the start of a different part of our lives, the end of “Before-Maisy” time.  So within our new journey, the hardest choice for my husband and I was how to balance the desire to tell others (family, friends, etc.) about Maisy’s progress without getting the extreme reaction.  We chose to carry her and were blessed to have almost 9 months with her safely cocooned in our love.  We wanted to celebrate her milestones even if they were always shared with an asterisk, *yes we know she is still very sick but today was a good day in perspective of all the possibilities*.  We often didn’t get that chance.  If we said she sure was moving a lot or she was super cute in her ultrasound pictures people would respond with either the “she’s still sick right?” or they would change the subject.  We talked about her every day in our little family and hardly at all outside of that, our little way of protecting her from people’s thoughts or comments.  It evolved into not letting others inside our small circle and not having enough support when we really needed some extra strength shared by those around us.  I would tell my best friend how much I appreciated her asking the “normal” questions about the pregnancy and Maisy, not because she wasn’t aware of what the bigger picture was, but because she had so much faith in things bigger than any of us here on earth that she just assumed none of us really knows what will happen the next day and therefore we can simply enjoy the moment we’re in, we can live just that moment.  Our other children were so innocent in their understanding and their acceptance, we truly envied this.  They would pray with us every day that we would be blessed with meeting our little girl and yet they accepted that this might not happen.  Sharing each milestone with them was nothing but joy because there was no asterisk for them, it was just what their little sister was doing that day. 
 
Looking back now this is also the one thing that still greatly bothers me, not sharing more of her earthly journey while I carried her.  We all want to shout from the highest point about our children and our love for them.  Choosing to be quiet then has lead me to be louder now.  I bring her or her name or anything about her up whenever I have the chance.  I make sure to always celebrate her now, even though I didn’t always know how to do it then."

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One of the most dearest people whom I have met through Alexandra's House, like me grieves a daughter but her journey is so very different than mine. Her daughter, Mia, was healthy yet stillborn as a result of a full term cord injury.

"Acceptance that it was real was the hardest facet for me. One minute I had a perfectly healthy baby and the next she was dead. When I got to the hospital, they took me off to a quiet part of the maternity ward. I wanted to be with other momma's. In hindsight, I'm glad I wasn't. I was upset they didn't hook me up to heart rate monitors. I mean, what if they were wrong. What if the sonogram was wrong. Even when holding my baby who wasn't breathing and didn't have a heart beat, I thought this just couldn't be. She was FINE yesterday. How did this happen?"

"What I want others to know is that just because I have another baby, doesn't mean I have moved on or forgotten Mia. I have three daughters even though you only see two. She will always be a part of me and it will always be hard to watch the baby grow up as I will forever think I never got to see this with Mia."

----  

"One of the most difficult aspects of being pregnant with a son who's life was expected to be limited was finding the balance between grief and hope while Jack was still with me. But proving more difficult than that was watching my baby die in my arms. He was born alive and he died. My child whom I had just given life to, died in my arms. And when the time came, we had physically gave my baby over to someone else never to see him. Never in this lifetime will I hold him, touch him, or see him again."

"In the days following death, the pain changes as it morphs into grief. Questioning how the reality of having a deceased child will effect my life forever and trying to come to terms with the new person I have become coupled with the doubts about the decisions made seeping thru. In the face of it all, trying to remain brave and strong when I am not, yet sensing others discomfort when the walls crumble and my true feels surface. There is the struggle to embrace healthy babies, baby shower invitations, and everyday conversations centered around the reality that others with healthy children face...lack of sleep, a fussiness, or the cost of child care. What I would have given to be fretting over 3am feeds, a stretched budget, or having to rock a inconsolable child. Resentment built when it was expected for me to 'get better' and my faith wavered as I tried to grasp God's plan through it all. One minute, I felt ok and the next I was anything but. Sometimes I put on a front just to try to convince myself that I was making it but my heart was never fooled. Despite how I appeared, I was broken, I was empty, and I am anything but whole."

"What I want, is for people to never pause in mentioning him.  I want to talk about him just as I talk about my other children. I want him to be remembered."

-----

For me, the most difficult aspect of my pregnancy,  were the 11 weeks I carried her knowing her prognosis. If I could have hid from the world, I would. In the comfort of my cocoon, I relished my pregnant body but with the obvious came questioning from strangers. Good willed at heart, the innocent questions posed toward a pregnant woman stung because my heart didn't know the excitement of an expected life with a healthy child. Coupled with the difficulty of just being pregnant were the what seemed like never ending decisions that had to be made.  Burial or cremation, whether to wear the heart rate monitor during delivery, the funeral home that would collect her body, the songs to be sung at the memory service, and the selection of the only outfit ever to be worn. How could I decide when I didn't even know what I wanted for myself? What I wanted was to be preparing for my daughter's life not to be planning for her death.

The day of her birth was one of the most incredible yet one of the most unbearable days of my existence. She was born alive and laid upon my chest just like in the movies. She made me a momma and in the blink of an eye, I was handing over her lifeless yet perfectly swaddled body. A moment that will forever be etched into my memory. Was I ready was the question posed. Was I ready for them to take her body? How could I have been. I felt it in my heart as she was carried out the room, a part of my heart left in that moment and it will never be remade whole.

What I want others to know is that it is okay to talk about her and to ask questions. Bringing her up isn't going to make me sad, I already am. Bringing her up acknowledges her existent. I carried her, I birthed her, I held her in my arms, and forever I will mourn her. I just want her to be remember and her life celebrated.

---



"If you know someone who has lost a child or lost anybody who's important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift." - Elizabeth Edwards



 

Butterfly Festival

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I discovered a little treasure in the Kansas City Area today!
  Powell Gardens is Kansas City's Botanical Garden and it is beautiful!


 The first and second weekend in August is their annual Butterfly Festival.
It was complete with lots of activities, education, and crafts for kids (storytelling, flower pot painting, face painting, butterfly wing coloring, and antenna making).



 Among the perfectly kept gardens and beautiful flowers were lots and lots of butterflies in the butterfly conservatory and the caterpillar petting zoo.








My mom, sister-in-law, niece, and I had a great time.
And, we made sure our Addy was with us. 

I can't help but smile each time I see a butterfly. 




"Baby Addy's Legacy"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Can I tell you about something that sends my spirit to the moon with joy?

"Baby Addy's Legacy" is being featured on the Operation Smile blog! 
It is one thing for me to share on my little slice of the internet or on my IG feed (@sookiejane) but something so much bigger on an international blog.




I have said since the day that I held that precious little babe in my arms, that I want her memory to live on. This momma's heart is so full seeing just that. 

I don't share for recognition, friends this isn't about me. 
This is about a Little Sunshine who's life, though ever so short, matters. 
And, it is about a glorious God who heals in incredible ways.



Operation Smile: Davao

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It is 3am and I cannot sleep.
10 flights, 60 hours of flying, and a 12 hour time change in 12 days sent my body into crazy jet lag.  But well worth it it was!  I had the most incredible time and I don't know that words will ever do justice to the goodness of my first Operation Smile mission.

Being wide awake has given me time to scroll through pictures and replay my journey. 
I don't want to forget any of the details. So much joy, so much love, and so much hope all rolled into one incredible trip.


250 volunteers from 19 countries gathered in Manila and then dispersed to six different sites spanning the Philippines for the "Gift of Smiles" mega mission.  Combined, 1152 infants/children/adults were screened and a grand total of 750 patients were given the gift of a smile! Incredible.

I journeyed to Davao along with others from across the US, Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, Vietnam, India, Kenya, Thailand, and the Philippines.  Our team was comprised of nurses (Pre-Op, OR, PACU, and Post-Op), pediatricians, a pediatric intensivist, anesthesiologists, plastic surgeons, dentist, speech pathologists, a medical records team, biomed, child life specialists, a research team, and three high school students and their sponsor.


Saturday was screening day and each patient was evaluated by all medical entities.
Parents traveled long and far (one walking from 7am to 10pm with two children in tow). They waited long hours, withstood extreme heat, and some even slept outside for the opportunity to have their child evaluated. But, there was never a single complaint. They are fiercely dedicated parents who were so gracious, loving, and appreciative. Each time I stopped to scan the room, I stood in awe at their perseverance.




In Davao, we screened just under 300 patients.
Each was given a priority level and those with the greatest need went first.
By the end of the week, 143 patients underwent surgery.

The need was tremendous and it broke my heart to know that some of the kids were turned away. There was simply not enough time to care for them all. But Operation Smile will return. They are committed to their mission of seeing every cleft repaired.




After the screening was completed and just before surgeries were scheduled to begin, we took time to take in creation by island hopping to Samal Island. It was simply serene. I swam and snorkeled, drank the juice from a just picked coconut, ate fresh grilled tuna, and devoured the juiciest and most divine mangoes! It was as if I stepped into a dream.



But come bright and early Monday morning, the real work began.
Nerves set in as I walked into my job on the post-op ward. As a newbie to Operation Smile, I began to doubt my ability to provide for the patients. As I stood in the ward second guessing my decision to come, I heard the tune of "Amazing Grace." I walked outside and down the stairs and there was a room full of Filipino people being lead by a pastor in a unison singing "Amazing Grace"...in English. In a place where the primary language was Tagalog the familiar words soothed my worried self .


I worked alongside two Filipino nurses and two pediatricians (one from Texas and one from India) to oversee care for the patients after their surgery until they are able to be discharged (most staying either one night or two depending on their surgery). 

It was the place where a small cot and a plastic chair for the parent became a humble abode. Where ice cream was consumed, bubbles were blown, pipe cleaners were twisted into crowns, pictures were colored, new stuffed animals were cuddled, and stickers were as good as gold. 

It was the place where medications were given, vital signs assessed, surgical tape removed, and incisions cleaned. 

Where tears were shed by overjoyed parents as the fear of a life of bullying and rejection was laid to rest. It was the place where a seven year old held tight to her baby sister as she slept. And where a five year old little boy stroked his little sisters head each time she began to whimper. And the place where a twin teenage boy sat arm in arm with his brother helping to hold a cup of water to his just repaired lip.  

It was the place where a mirror took on new life as self admiration was felt for the first time.


It was a place where I was humbled to have the opportunity to witness such vast outpouring of love and pride and hope and thankfulness.


And it wasn't just babies or preschool aged kids, there were teenagers and even a patient my age.  I watched as she slyly took in her new refection. What is must feel like to see oneself in a whole new light. 

When I learned of Addy's cleft, it wasn't a matter of if she would have surgery, but of when. 
But for these parents, finances were tight, access to medical care limited, and resources scarce. Surgery wasn't a given and without Operation Smile, most likely not possible. 

A rather quick surgery was so much more than cosmetic, it leads to better nutrition and speech. It was a chance to raise self esteem, to aid in ending embarrassment, rejection, and social shunning. It can give a child the courage to attend school and the opportunity to dream big for their future.


My heart was so full. 
 The love and dedication of the parents, sibling, and grandparents was deep. 
They were so grateful and so, so appreciative.


But, they had no idea the healing they provided my heart.

Laying on one of the cots was a 15 month old little girl. After coming back from her surgery, her momma perfectly wrapped her in a yellow and white blanket over her grey hospital gown. As I looked down at her, I fought back tears as I envisioned my Addy. This is what she would have looked like. I bent down, stroked her head, kissed her little cheek, and told her momma just how beautiful she was.  It was yet another moment of peace for me. I never got the chance to see my Addy through her repair but for this child I did. It was where I was destined to be. 

I carried my Addy's picture every where I went and shared her story with anyone I could. 
I hope she knows the impact that her life is having.



If it was not for her, I would have never embarked on an Operation Smile mission.
 I am so unbelievable grateful that this opportunity arose. 

And a big, yet unexpected bonus of the trip were my teammates. 
They embraced me and allowed me to share my Addy with them...pictures and all.
 They were welcoming, loving, and compassionate. They supplied me with all the things I forgot from a magical Mary Poppins bag. Together we laughed, took every opportunity we could to take advantage of the $6 - 60 minute messages that were only a tricycle ride away, did our best attempt at singing karaoke, and they embraced my need to order pizza over all the fresh seafood.  As much as I tried, tails, shells, scales, and tentacles were not my thing. 

Different food preferences aside, we had deep and real conversations about life, my most favorite kind. It has become a great passion of mine to get to know people at their core simply because I want you to know who I am at mine. I may not know their favorite color but I know their dreams, there life struggles, and their hopes for the future. Fast and fierce friends we became.  

 



Words are not enough to share the gravity of my experience. 
The most precious patients, the devoted and grateful parents, my embracing team, and now forever friends. It was simple more than I could have ever dreamed. 

This trip far surpassed my 'Year 28 Bucket List' dreams and I know my Addy would be proud. 
It was healing, it was humbling, and it was rejuvenating. 
And so begins the quest for my next mission because hope does not disappoint. 

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Just a little sidenote, I took 3 cameras and almost 600 pictures but I wanted to be respectful with what I posted. Most of the patients had a cleft lip repair and their little lips need time for the swelling to subside and the sutures to dissolve. The transformations were dramatic and honestly amazing but out of respect for them, I didn't share any fresh post-op pictures which given where I worked were the majority of my photos. This thing called the internet is huge and it's not my place to share such a pivotal time of healing for all the world to view.


 
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