Sunday, January 27, 2008

Missing you xoxo

I haven't been able to post in awhile mostly because I'm not sure what to say anymore. It's a strange place to be in - not sure how to move on, not wanting to move on, not wanting to forget, wanting to forget the pain and empty space.
I've been told not to hold it in and sometimes I'm ok to cry and scream, but I always have this aching pain in my chest and lump in my throat. If I smile one moment there are tears and sobs right behind it. This is my family now.
I find myself thinking how to respond to questions like - "how many children do you have?" I can't say "one son", but I also know saying "two children" will bring on me having to tell them Alexandra is in heaven and I can hardly say the words without bursting into tears and the lump in my throat getting bigger and bigger.
Don't really know why I am posting this as I know it's not interesting reading for anyone, but maybe it's therapy for me.
Alexandra I miss you everyday and I love you so much. I saw a saying the other day that really touched my heart and just put into words how I feel about you my little peanut. "Before you were conceived you were wanted, Before you were born you were loved."
I pray everyday that you are safe and peaceful and can feel the love that Mommy, Daddy & Tommy are sending to you.
Hugs & Kisses Peanut Butter. xoxox
Mommy

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Certificate of Still Birth: CA

Copied from the Modesto BEE

for the full article click here.

Posted on Wed, Jan. 16, 2008

Legislation allows parents to obtain a stillbirth certificate
By KEN CARLSON
kcarlson@modbee.com

Stephanie Gray keeps memories of her son, Noah, on a shelf in the family's Modesto apartment, complete with picture books, a plaque with little footprints and a candle that is often lit.

The only thing missing is a certificate acknowledging his birth. She and her husband, David, received only a death certificate after Noah was stillborn Sept. 21, 2002.

"We had dreams, hopes, everything for this baby, and in a blink of an eye, he was gone," Stephanie Gray said.
Under a new law, effective Jan. 1, parents of a stillborn can receive a type of birth certificate through a county office of vital records or the state Department of Vital Statistics.

California, which is calling the document a "Certificate of Still Birth," joined 20 other states that issue the documents to parents who request them. Formerly, any kind of birth certificate was denied these parents because the pregnancy did not result in a live birth.

In California, a fetus must be beyond 20 weeks of gestation for the parents to receive a certificate. The cost for that document is $20.

An estimated 26,000 stillbirths occur in the nation each year, with birth defects, infections or accidents with the umbilical cord among the most common causes. Often, all appears well within days of delivery.

Nurses couldn't hear heartbeat

Supporters of California's Missing Angels Act say the certificates are a tangible memento after a grieving mother. According to the Arizona-based Mothers in Sympathy and Support Foundation, which supported the laws in different states, the documents also are a genealogical record and help the parents to heal.

Gray, 25, said her first pregnancy was going well, then at six months she had episodes of premature labor pains. During each stay in the hospital, she was given drugs to stop labor and sent home, she said.

Everything appeared to be fine during a checkup three weeks before her due date. When she and David went to the hospital for the delivery two days later, however, nurses who put a monitor to her belly couldn't hear a heartbeat.

An ultrasound determined the boy had died.

"I just remember yelling and screaming; it was like an out-of-body experience," Stephanie Gray said. "It's like someone else stepped in, and I lost it."

Stephanie gave birth to the 5-pound, 14-ounce Noah at 12:40 a.m. and pulled herself together to spend precious time with him. For seven hours, the parents held Noah, caressed his brown hair, bathed him and dressed him.
Noah had his father's hair and chin dimple, and long fingers for playing the violin like his mother. Stephanie snipped a lock of his hair and took his footprints as keepsakes.

The cause of death was never known, although their doctor said the placenta was small and might have stopped providing oxygen.

When the funeral home gave the parents a death certificate, Stephanie said, her first thought was about getting a birth certificate. She called the hospital and was told she didn't qualify for one, she said.

In 2002, a state bill to officially acknowledge stillbirths failed to pass, because of fears it could weaken abortion rights and foul up the state's birth records.

Senate Bill 850, sponsored last year by state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, was amended to alleviate the concerns. The stillbirth certificates will be issued only to parents who ask for them and they are not counted as live births.

Parents need to request a form

Gray said she wrote letters to Gov. Schwarzenegger and state legislators, urging them to approve the California law. She said her desire for a certificate is part of dealing with the worst crisis of her life.

She didn't want to eat, see people or look at young children, she said. She went on to have two boys, Cameren, 4, and Jayden Noah, 2.

The parents said the Stanislaus County clerk-recorder's office in downtown Mo- desto wasn't aware of the new certificates when David inquired early this month. Stephanie was able to get assistance from the Department of Public Health office at 820 Scenic Drive, which also handles birth records.

Dr. John Walker, county public health officer, said the health department will issue a Certificate of Still Birth for local parents who who had a stillbirth after Jan. 1.

Parents need to submit a request to the state Department of Vital Statistics for stillbirths before that date. Stanislaus County public health can give parents the request form, which must be completed and mailed to the state office, or parents can call the state vital statistics office in Sacramento. Certificates will be issued even if the stillbirth occurred many years ago, the law says.

Stanislaus County had 51 stillbirths in 2007 and 50 in 2006. As of Tuesday, three people had requested the new certificates, officials said.

Stephanie Gray said she was told it'll take 12 weeks to get the two certificates she ordered, one for framing, the other for Noah's baby book. On holidays and his birthday, the family has celebrated Noah by going to Monterey or taking a boat ride under the Golden Gate Bridge to throw flowers on the water.

"I am not in so much pain as before," Stephanie said. "I think of him but don't hurt as bad as I did."

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or 578-2321.


How To Apply For Certificate
Stanislaus County parents who lost an unborn baby after Jan. 1, 2008, can request a Certificate of Still Birth from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from county Public Health, 820 Scenic Drive, Modesto. Call 558-8070. Parents who lost a baby prior to Jan. 1, 2008, can get a request form from county public health or call the state Department of Vital Statistics between 8 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday at (916) 445-2684. Parents in other counties can inquire at county vital records offices or call the state number.

Edited to include Addtional articles:

Inside Bay Area.com


More info on the Missing Angles Bill and how you can make changes in your state.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another Day

My Dear Alexandra,
Today we started putting away our Christmas decorations, which I have been dreading. I look at your Christmas stocking that I never got to fill with little presents and my heart breaks. I don't know where to put all the presents I had bought for you....... I feel lost without you my sweety.
I think about you all the time and don't know how I'm suppose to move on. Right now I feel like moving on would mean I'm forgetting about you and I could never so that. Everyone keeps telling me it will get better, easier, things happen for a reason, I don't understand this. I would rather have my daughter in my arms giggling, smiling, than being an angel in heaven. Can you understand?
Maybe one day I will find out the reason you where taken to heaven, but I hope until then you can feel how much I love and miss you. Please give me strength to go on. You are my little girl and I will always love you more than I can ever express in words.
Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Everyday Life

Today I am struggling with what my everyday life is going to be.......I will never be what I once was. That lady who never knew the heartache losing a baby could bring. Ignorance is bliss. I think I'm jealous of 'that' lady.

I've have a couple of really bad down days lately and today seems 'a little' better. I believe I got my first sign from Alexandra this morning and it was beautiful. It made me calm to think that she was close to me. If I can't hold her in my arms then I'll carry her in my heart. Some days that helps, others days, well, I'm still a Mommy missing her baby girl too much I think my heart is going to stop. Alex must have known I needed to see from her today. Thanks Peanut!!

I seem to find that writing about my little peanut is helping, which I find strange because I'm not the type of person who usually enjoys writing. I think it's because I'm sharing her with the rest of the world. Thank you for reading.

I know I've tried begging, pleading, anything I can do to get my peanut back and as we all know - it hasn't done any good. Maybe it's the realization that these things aren't going to bring Alexandra back to me that have made me so sad these last few days. So now I turn to the strength of my new friends I have found here to help me learn to live with my angel, and hopefully I can help a friend too.

Alexandra's Mom

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Strength and Courage

Strength and Courage
Author: Sylvia Kelly


It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubts.


It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to share a friend's pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to hide your own pain,
It takes courage to show it and deal with it.

It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.

It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.

It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.

It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on a friend.

It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.

It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.

more about memorializing

I knew i had more links and here they are.

this site has a few different pages and tips that i liked i found their site easy to navigate which when you are crying can be very helpful. the right hand side navigation of their site has links the follow list of use full tips in categories so you can refine you search quickyly.
After Loss events
Coping
Father´s Loss
Funeral services and details
Grieving
Helping Parents Cope
Journaling
Memorializing Your Child
Miscarriage
Relationship after Loss
Siblings Loss
StillBirth
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Support
The Grandparents Loss
Funeral FAQs

The church of the holy innocents

this is a catholic parish in NYC that has a Book of life where your child name can be entered you will receive a certificate via email that you can print for you record.


Emily Post's Advice on Funeral etiquette
I found this excerpt from Ms. Post's book on Etiquette to be a through look at bereavement from a different perspective. I have included an excerpt of the opening paragrah

Chapter XXIV
Funerals

AT no time does solemnity so possess our souls as when we stand deserted at the brink of darkness into which our loved one has gone. And the last place in the world where we would look for comfort at such a time is in the seeming artificiality of etiquette; yet it is in the moment of deepest sorrow that etiquette performs its most vital and real service.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Memorializing our baby

saying goodbye to your child is an important part of grief work. all the experts tout that the ritual of burial and memorial services bring closure to a loss. I am not sure i agree entirely when it comes to the burial of babies, but i do agree that to an extent Burial rites do bring closure to some aspects of grief.

that being stated i would like to share with you my thoughts on the matter. I am not a professional griever by any means, i am just a mom that lost her baby and as such i was forced to make some kind of plans for our daughter's interment and memorial. Our daughter was buried less than a week after her birth, so all of our planning and arrangements took place while family was still arriving from out of state and just the day after i was release from the hospital.

our pregnancy was very public as a result so was our loss, many many people were aware that we were about to have our baby. We never even thought to have just a private funeral we went about our planing as if someone other than us would want to come to the funeral. we had aprox. 75 attendees more than we had even thought and everyone of them said that it was important to them to come because they needed to say their hellos and goodbyes. To me/us it was the only opportunity we would have to parent our child publicly, it gave everyone including family a concrete proof that Lucy was real, she does matter and always will.

For Lucy and for us we did the following:

At her birth:
  • Watson was raised Catholic so she was baptized.
  • I was raised Mormon so she was given a name and a blessing.
  • she was held and kissed an photographed and held and kissed some more.
  • her footprints were taken.
  • we made a shirt for Watson with her actual foot prints on the chest.
  • we let our family that was present hold Lucy. this was only my mom and our nurse friend
  • those that were not present were notified by phone in as safe a way as possible.

Preparing for her funeral:
  • met with the funeral director and explained our wishes
  • arranged a private & public viewing, memorial service and graveside service & burial.
  • we selected memorial card for the funeral attendees and ourselves,we have since ordered more.
  • chose her outfit right down to her purple cloth diaper and a receiving blanket to be included.
  • we asked that her casket spray NOT have just pink & white flowers but they they be colorful and joyful like she was
  • we placed an obituary in the local paper. I knew without a birth certificate this would be one of the only ways genealogist would be able to "find" Lucy, i also thought it would reach some people that might not have gotten the email and it did.
  • we looked at the local Cemetery's children's garden to be sure it was where we wanted to bury our daughter.
  • we tried to arrange for a priest that knew us to say the burial rites this was not possible but it was something that was important to us.
  • we asked a few close friends to get the info out by way of email. We composed a master Email with the pertinent information. after we spoke with our selected friends on the phone we sent them the info and they handled sending it out. we also sent out the email to our entire email address books. (we still missed people believe it or not)
  • We asked family members to notify extended family so we would not have to make all those phone calls.
  • We posted all of this information on our blog so that it would be easily accessible from all over the world and we continue to have it there.
  • We arranged for our favorite children's charity to receive donations in Lucy's name in lieu of flowers.
  • we asked that family and friends light a candle for us and our daughter and that they send up prayers and words of comfort for us.
For the Memorial Service
  • we made a CD of music to be played during her viewing.
  • chose the people we wanted to help us remember our daughter to participate in the service
  • selected poems, and passages to be read at the service.
  • asked a few musician friends to play & sing "You are My Sunshine" with my brother and father, for Lucy.
  • asked family members to to read the selected poems & passages and give prayers.
  • I asked one of my sisters (Lucy's God Mother) to read her a book that she selected.
  • I asked my other sister to read the Poem by W.H. Auden which was adapted by Watson
  • My brother and Watson created a slide show of Lucy's Journey which played during the viewing.
  • Family members were asked to write Lucy a letter, which was included in her casket, along with a toy, some candy, a pacifier from her youngest cousin, pictures of all of her family. we kept photo copies of each letter to be included in her memory box here at home
  • we also gave a portion of the services over to those that attended that they might be able to say what was on their hearts and minds.
  • Watson and i spoke
  • everyone was invited to join us for lunch after the graveside service
There are a few helpful site that have more about how you can memorialize your babies. Here are some of their links

March of Dimes

SIDS Austraila

The TEARS Foundations

Personal thoughts on funeral planning from another parent.

i will post more links as i find them. Watson and i read a lot of this stuff after we had made plans for Lucy. It was sort of natural to us to want celebrate rather than mourn Lucy at her funeral.
~Christine

Friday, January 4, 2008

My Peanut.





I thought I would post my picture of Alexandra on here as I'd like her to be remembered, and this is a safe place for me to do it. I tried to post it on the Baby Center thread but I can't seem to figure it out. I'm so glad the hospital took pictures of her for us, I thought I wouldn't want pictures but I feel so different now.

Alexandra I love you so much and miss you more than I ever knew I could miss someone. I hope you hear my voice when I talk to you telling you how much I care. My heart aches for you to be peaceful, safe and know that we will be together again one day. Take care my sweet angel, hugs & kisses, Mommy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Lucas Emmett

Lucas Emmett Nettles
August 20, 2007
6 lbs. 13 oz 22" long
My baby boy was due August 10, but as the days past we had no idea what was in store for us. On Sunday the 19 I realized the last good movement I felt was Saturday, I was worried but kept thinking he is 9 days over due he is just getting settled. I had a NST the Monday and Thursday before and had no problems through my whole pregnancy. Finally Sunday afternoon the reality I had been trying to avoid hit me. At 4:30pm my Robbie and I went to L&D. As the nurse put the monitor on, we knew right away something was wrong. His heartbeat was always so strong and she put it right where his back was. As she searched, our hearts broke more and more, there was nothing. She called the midwife and she did an ultra sound, but stood where I couldn't see the screen but Robbie could. She told us she couldn't find it but she isn't qualified to do ultra sound so she called a Dr. and bless his heart. I could see how bad it hurt him to tell us. It was like we were in a dream; there was no way this was really happening. Thankfully my mom had an intuition to turn around on their way to church and come to the hospital instead of waiting for us to call. So my parents were there and shortly so was the rest of my family and so many friends and a lot of people from church. They gave us unlimited visitors and people were standing in the hall. It was such a blessing. It was the boost of love I needed to get through the night. They gave me cytotec to induce labor around 9 and I got an epi around 12. My nurse was amazing and so sweet. Some of my good friends stayed with us until 2am and brought me some jolly ranchers and a soft monkey for me to hold on to. One also crossed my right leg for me when I needed to since it was completely numb! By 7:30am my epi was completely wearing off on my left side but the midwife wanted to see if I could push him down some so we pushed for about 5 min, the pushing helped the pain. My contractions were right on top of each other. She said I could take a break and get more epi or keep pushing and be done in 30 min. I kept pushing. It was painful and when the pain set in so did the reality that my baby wouldn't be crying. A tiny piece of me wanted to give up but I felt like I had to finish my job of being Lucas' s mommy. As bad as things were, they were on the best side of bad. Robbie and I both felt the delivery was nice and peaceful and it is something nice we will have to remember. Lucas was perfect. He looks just like his 3D us pictures, we are so glad we did them now. They cleaned him up and swaddled him and put a little hat on and handed him to me. I never thought if this happened to me that I would want to hold the baby. But, that was the best thing for us. He is our son, and he needed to be real to us. They took me off that floor as soon as they got me up to get away from the other babies, which is normal practice I guess. We left the baby with them until a local photographer came that does free photos of stillborn babies. We didn't know how we felt about it, but the photographer gave my mom some good advice. He said the choices we make now aren't for today or tomorrow but months and years from now, so we don't have any regret. They brought Lucas back to us dressed in the clothes and soft blanket I had my mom bring for him. More of my family got to see him and Robbie's parents made it from VA in time to see him until it was time to send him back. That little boy did a lot for us in his short time in my belly and I wouldn't give up those 9 months and 9 days for anything! He brought Robbie and I closer together. We will never know why our little boy didn't get to come home with us. All of my test came back fine, and he, the plecenta and cord were perfect. In this sadness I only want to hold on to the good things, because there are. He will always be our first-born. God has wrapped his hands around us and has sent so much help our way. I'm not mad at God, just severally heartbroken. Lucas has his own little place in my heart, and always will. He has brought a love to me I never knew exsisted and I am hoping for the day I can share that love with our children one day when we finally bring home a crying baby!
Gwen Nettles

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Missing my Angel

Well Hello 2008. Can't say I'm sorry to see the end of 2007.
Woke up this morning hoping for some miracle, change, hoping to feel different in some way. But of course the pain and sorrow is still here. I said Good Morning to Alexandra and hugged and kissed her urn letting her know how much I miss her, and hope that she is peaceful & safe.
I am really going to try to think differently about things. I need to try to stop the 'what our life is suppose to be like' thoughts - like 'I'm suppose to be changing diapers, feeding a baby right now, I'm suppose to be playing with my daughter.....'
I need now to believe that Alexandra is watching us and wants us to be happy and be a good family. I will always have her with me, and embrace the day we will be together again. I need to be thankful for what I have and hope that the future blesses us with another miracle.
I wish thinking like this would take away all the pain and heartache.

Alexandra's Mom