Friday, April 30, 2010

March for Babies 2010

Last Saturday was the March for Babies.  And it rained.  Boy, did it rain.  And storm.  And tornado sirens too!

But dispite the rain, we had at least 200 people.  Maybe 300.  Not bad at all if you ask me.  Team Shyla Joy had a total of 19 walkers and we raised over $1000!  (Pretty awesome considering our first goal was $280!)

So we marched.  We took the event indoors to a gym and we marched in circles. 

As the ambassador family, we were given the opportunity to tell our story again and to talk about the support group.  After we spoke, we lined up to begin the march. 

Then, the emcee asked for a moment of silence to remember Shyla.  For that minute, everyone in that room bowed their head and silence and thought of her.  Thought of her life.  How blessed I am to know that others were, even if for only that moment, thinking of my child.  It was a beautiful moment I will never forget.

Here are some photos of her day.

Shyla's Memory Board.

Ethan, her board and her footprints.

The memory boards on the wall in the first turn.

The back of our shirts held Shyla's footprints!  I love that they could do that!  Actual size and shape...we had a little trouble with the ridge lines, but it's her footprints!

After speaking.


College Friends.

Family Friends.

Co-worker Friend.  (She brought her husband, three kids and nephew too!)

Ethan on Daddy's shoulders.

On Mommy's shoulders.



And more Walking!  We did 10 laps in the gym and everyone there was so great.

All in all, it was a good day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

International Babylost Mother's Day

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This is the designated day for International Babylost Mother's Day

Here is what Carly says on her website about the day. 
United in grief, we find love and strength.

IBMD recognizes babylost women all over the world as mothers. Just because a woman loses her first baby does not mean that she is not a mother anymore. She will be a mother for the rest of her life.

On this special day in May we come together to celebrate our connection, our children and our hope for the future. IBMD is a day for love, peace, remembrance and recognition.

If you know a babylost woman why not tell her today that she is a beautiful mother.

If you know of a mother who has had a miscarraige or experienced any kind of pregnancy and/or infant loss, please take a moment on Sunday to let them know you are thinking about them.  It could be anything, from a phone call to an email with a photograph of their child's name, to something that says you are thinking of them and their baby(ies).

If has been 3 weeks or 30 years since their loss, they may appreciate just knowing you are thinking of them and that their baby's life will be remembered.

Heaven's Seashells

I want to thank Misty at Heaven's Seashells for taking these photos of Shyla's name on these shells.  Thanks Misty!!!

Waterfall Angels

I want to say a great big thank you to Lisa at Waterfall Angels for taking these photos of Shyla's name in Florida at Rainbow Springs State Park.  Thanks Lisa!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Easter Weekend - A Pictorial

Sunset- Good Friday at the family pond.

Shyla's flower for family pictures.

We had a little 1st birthday party for my neice, Gracie, who will turn one in May.  They live in Oklahoma, so her party had to be a little early with us while they were here for Easter.

I made her a tutu and a flower clip.

Saturday was family photos.

Sunday was Easter.

And the Easter Egg Hunt at my Grandma's house.
Ethan, Gracie and seven of my cousins kids all running around together.  It was so much fun!

I love my Grandma!  She can be so silly sometimes.  She really loved having her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids all around her for Easter.

We went for another walk and found 7 goose eggs on the shore of the family pond.

Ma and Pa Goose were not far (you can see the mother goose behind the brush).

We had a cookout on Monday and I just had to write Shyla's name in the forsythia blooms before they all went away.

Then had a short photo session with Gracie in the tutu and flower clip I made her.

She reminds me so much of how my brother looked when he was a baby.  Well, without the pink and the flower and the tutu...

She let me know when she was done taking pictures.

Then another walk to the family pond.

Mother Goose was not happy to see us.

We ended the weekend (on Monday) by saying goodbye to my brother, sis-in-law, and neice that night so they could start their long drive through the night.

The weekend went well.  Sunday was a little hard at church.  Seeing all the pink, frilly dresses and feeling a little left out and like part of me is missing.  It was nice having my neice here.  My brother and sis-in-law even let her sit with us for a while during church.  I hate to admit it, but I really couldn't focus during church.  I kept wondering what it would be like with Shyla here. 

I know this post is a little late, but I just wanted to share our Easter weekend with you all.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Impromptu Radio Appearance

As I was driving to work on Friday I was listening to my normal radio morning show, Doug and Kim in the Morning.  Every Friday on the morning show is Love on Your Kids Friday.  I usually listen and smile as I hear parents call in and talk about how great their babies, toddlers, young kids, pre-teens, teens, adult children and even grandchildren are.  It makes me smile.  But last Friday, I was thinking about our journey as parents and how both of our children have touched our lives in different, but equally important ways and decided to call in and love on my kids.

I have never called into a radio station like that before.  I thought I would probably not even hear the phone number before I got to work, but if I did, I would call.  Immediately after that thought, the number was given. I did a big no-no and dailed while I drove. 

I thought surely I would not get through and I would just get to work and go in as usual.  After the first ring, I was greated by Doug saying, "Hey!  You wanna love on your kids?!"  I said yes and he said they would be right back with me when they finished the news.  So I was put on hold.

When they came back, they asked for my name and for me to tell them about my kids.  I told them about Ethan, my incredible (almost) three year old son who just happens to be the sweetest little boy I know.  I told them how he constantly amazes me and inspires me to be a better mom.  I bragged on him big time.  Then I told them about my daughter.  That she was stillborn at 28 weeks last September. (I heard them gasp in condolence).  Then I went on to tell how because of her, I was motivated to seek out and create support in our area where none previously exsisted.  I told them about us being the March of Dimes Ambassador family because of her and that the next day would be the walk where she would be remembered.  I told them that there is now a support group here and that eventhough her life here with us was short, the effects of her life will be very long lasting.  Kim said that she could identify with that kind of loss (it was then I remembered that she had lost a baby).  She also said that it was great that we could turn something tragic into something that may help someone else.  We chatted for just a minute and then they said they would get that on the radio soon.

I had been sitting in my van in the parking lot at work while we talked and I debated on going in or waiting until I heard it on air.  I decided that I could probably get into the office and find the station before the end of the song that was playing, so I rushed in.  When I got in there I plugged in the stereo and found the station, but it was full of static and kind of hard to hear.  I turned on my computer so I could find the website and listen live online.  I called my hubby and told him to turn on the radio and get Ethan where he could hear it.  Just as I was able to hear it online, it aired.  It wasn't until then I got kind of emotional.  It was one of those moments when you hear the words coming out of your mouth that you never expected to hear.  So surreal.  I'm a mom to a baby girl in Heaven and a little boy on Earth.  I love them both.  They both have amazed me.  They both have made me want to be a better mom...a better person.  They both have filled my heart more than I thought possible.  So I will hold onto Ethan tight and I'll continue to speak Shyla's name.

I just love to love on my kids. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Anchored by Hope

I just have to say a BIG HUGE Thank you to Kristie and Katy of Anchored by Hope for sending these beautiful gifts for Shyla.  I just can't say enough how much I love them!

See how beautifully Shyla's name is written on the wooden box?  AND the perfect little dragonfly?!

Just beautifully perfect!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

From Tragedy, a Mission of Hope

From Tragedy, a Mission of Hope

Woman whose child was stillborn now with MOD, helping others cope with loss


Commonwealth Journal

Mattie Wells began suspecting something was wrong with her unborn daughter when she stopped kicking and moving in her womb in late August 2009.

A visit was scheduled with Mattie’s doctor, and on August 31, Mattie and her husband Ben discovered what Mattie had begun to fear when Shyla Joy Wells had suddenly stilled.

“As soon as they turned on the ultrasound, I could see there wasn’t a heartbeat,” Mattie said. “That she had already passed.”

Shyla was nearly 28 weeks along when she died. Shyla’s older brother, Ethan, who is nearly three years old now, had to be told that his little sister had gone to be with Jesus. He wouldn’t be able to watch his sister grow and become a part of their family.

Doctors began running tests on Mattie — who had experienced a normal pregnancy with Ethan — to determine what may have gone wrong.

“We didn’t know why it happened,” Mattie said.

Mattie was told she would have to carry Shyla for two days before going into surgery. The family, numb, went home to await the surgery in which doctors would deliver Mattie’s stillborn daughter. It was during those two days that Mattie began searching online for resources for mothers who have gone through the loss of a newborn child.

“There’s kind of a network for women who have experienced loss,” Mattie said.

It was all Mattie could do as she mourned the death of Shyla, who she still carried.

On September 2, 2009, doctors at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital delivered Shyla via C-section, and Mattie and Ben took some time to hold their daughter and grieve her passing. The tiny baby measured 13 inches long and weighed in at one pound, 11 ounces.

“I don’t think it was really real until they ... wrapped her (Shyla) in a blanket and handed her to him (Ben),” Mattie said.

Shyla’s funeral would follow only four days later, and there, Mattie and her family released 28 pink balloons — one balloon for each week Mattie carried Shyla. Instead of flowers, the family asked that baby items like blankets, clothes and toys be donated to the local pregnancy help center in Monticello.

“He (Ethan) said ‘Bye bye, Shyla. I see you later,’” Mattie said about her son, noting that he knew he’d lost a little sister. “He understands more than I thought.”

Items poured in for the help center, and Mattie began thinking about reaching out to other mothers who had experienced a loss like hers.

“Unless you’ve been there, you can’t imagine the devastation,” Mattie said.

Four weeks later, the family discovered what had happened. A blood test showed that Mattie tested positive for Factor V Leiden, a hereditary blood coagulation disorder that increases a person’s risk of developing a blood clot.

The disorder hadn’t presented during Mattie’s pregnancy with Ethan, but it had led to the death of Shyla.

One blood test would’ve pinpointed the disorder, and Mattie said an anticoagulant regimen would’ve prevented Shyla’s death.

“A simple blood test could prevent death,” Mattie said.

The blood test specifically developed to pinpoint Factor V Leiden is not required for pregnant women, but Mattie is working with the March of Dimes, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research into pre-natal and post-natal health for babies and their mothers alike, to help advocate making the test a requirement.

But Mattie’s work with grieving mothers is also immensely important. Mattie said she was shocked to discover there wasn’t a support group for mothers dealing with the loss of their newborns in the area. She said much of her healing came about with the help of other mothers she connected with on the internet who had lost their own children. But there was no local network to help her through her loss.

So she’s set about to changing that, with the help of the March of Dimes. Mattie serves as a head of a support group through the March of Dimes meant to provide a network of resources and support for grieving mothers and mothers who have delivered premature children.

One mission of the March of Dimes is to reach out to bereaved families after the loss of a child, and to provide support for mothers and their families who currently have premature babies in prenatal intensive care in hospitals.

While traumas such as a loss of a child have been discussed more openly now than in the past, Mattie said more dialogue is necessary for grieving families to truly heal and move on. One of the most common sentiments Mattie said grieving mothers with other children run into is the idea that they still have their other children — and that they should move on quickly for them.

“That doesn’t take away the grief of losing my daughter,” Mattie said.

And Mattie takes comfort in the few items that remind them of Shyla — the few pictures taken of her and her family before she was whisked away, the blanket she was wrapped in, and pink Gerbera daisies, which were used in her funeral.

“This is all I have of her,” Mattie said about those precious items, as she touched a locket she often wears that features a print of Shyla’s tiny foot prints.

The Wells family was asked recently to serve as the Ambassador Family for the 2010 March of Dimes March for Babies, and Mattie said she jumped at the chance because she saw it as another tool to let families know that a support system does exist.

And there are families out there who need that support system. Mattie said that just last week, she was told about two families in the region who are struggling with the loss of a baby. Mattie, a social worker at Monticello Independent School, has made herself available to those families, and she has started putting together care packages for families who have been suddenly faced with the loss of their child.

“It’s just a very different kind of loss,” Mattie said. “There’s nothing you can compare it to.”

With Mattie’s involvement, this year the March for Babies, scheduled for April 24 in downtown Somerset, will feature boards decorated with the keepsakes, pictures and names of babies who have passed on. Those parents who have lost babies interested in participating in that project can stop by the March of Dimes Somerset office, located at 44 Office Park Drive or call 606-679-6514.

The boards will be set up at the start and finish of the walk, at Rocky Hollow Park.

“We’re celebrating the premature babies who have survived, but we’re also remembering the ones who didn’t,” Mattie said.

And Mattie is also spearheading a “Pages for Preemies” fundraiser for mothers and families who have lost newborns. The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 10. Participants can bring pictures of their children and supplies for scrapbooking to create memorial keepsakes of their lost loved ones. It’s $15 to participate and all proceeds go to the March of Dimes.

Mattie will always remember the daughter that she only knew in the womb, and while she and her husband haven’t yet begun to try again to expand their family, she said they will soon.

But she’ll always grieve the loss of her child, and she said she’ll continue reaching out to those who have gone through the same thing her family did — because there’s nothing more comforting in your darkest hours than knowing someone who has gone through the same thing.

“Just hearing these stories is encouraging for women who have been there,” Mattie said.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Newspaper and Radio

On Good Friday, I had an interview with a reporter from the Comm.onwealth Jour.nal, the daily newspaper in a neighboring county.  The interview went well I think.  When the paper came out, the "story" made the front page complete with a photo of me holding Shyla's footprints and little crocheted dress in a shadowbox and a photo of Ben holding her that out NILMDTS photographer friend took.

The local newspaper saw the article and requested permission to reprint.  On Tuesday, it ran front page of the Outl.ook.

The article can be read here and I will post the article in a separate post for when that link expires.

Then, one week later, I did a Community Connections radio segment that aired on three local FM stations and two AM stations one week ago today.  Last Sunday, before church, Ben and I sat on the couch and listened to this hour long radio program.  Sometimes it was hard to believe that was be on the other end of the radio.  "Is this really my life?"  It seemed so surreal. I really wish I would have recorded the program.

I have been given all of these opportunities becuase of the wonderful people at the March of Dimes who took a chance and asked my family to be the ambassador family this year.  They asked me to share our story of loss and give a voice to the bereaved.  I am honored.  I pray that every word I spoke pointed people to the Healer and Comforter and brought some peace to their hearts.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Names on the Sidewalk

Thank you so much to Names on the Sidewalk for writing Shyla's name so colorfully on the sidewalk!  Such a creative way to see her name!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vermont Angels

I just want to say a huge thank you to Jill from Vermont Angels for taking these wonderful pictures of Shyla's name in Vermont!

She even got a pink gerbera for my girl!

Beautiful!  Thank you so much!

They touched my heart and came at such a perfect time (April 2, the day of the interview with the newspaper reporter and appointment with the OB).