Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Still living is something I guess we must do, but during the grieving process "to still live" is not want we want to do. Not waking up each morning to the realization that our babies are no longer with us. I really wish there was a way I could bring Jaylin back to be here with me.
I miss her terribly and really, really, really long to hold her near me and love her for the rest of my life.
Know words can bring back the child I once carried
Know words can take away the pain, the grief and sorrow
I know you are in heaven, and smile for me each day
Knowing a time will come for me a child to bear, and sure it will be sometime tomorrow
Sunday, January 20, 2008
for the full article click here.
Posted on Wed, Jan. 16, 2008
Legislation allows parents to obtain a stillbirth certificate
By KEN CARLSON
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Cant believe the hopes he's granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we'll keep you close as always
It wont even seem you've gone
cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong....
Friends by Michael W. & Deborah D. Smith
For me packing Kenna's belongings was almost like closing a chapter and really accepting her death and reaching a point of understanding that it was up to ME to keep her alive in my heart.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…
Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…
I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
My Grief is Real
From the moment of conception, she's a baby. If she lives to be 80 or dies at 31 weeks in the womb, she was a person, who was really loved and who will be truly missed. Unfortunately for you, you didn't have the honor of meeting her, but those of us who did should not be expected to get over the loss the way a person gets over the flu.
My baby, like every person on this planet, was unique and irreplaceable. I am fully aware that I can try to have another baby. While it's kind of you to try to help, telling me I can have another baby is not productive. Think of it this way: if someone loses a 2 year old, would you tell that child's mother "You can have another child"? The age of my baby does not dictate how much grief I am allowed to feel over her loss.
There are going to be times when I am sad and depressed. It's OK for me to cry. It's OK if I don't feel like laughing, or even smiling. Let me be depressed. Let me cry. Let me be sad for weeks or months or however long I need to be. Don't you get it? My baby DIED! I'm sorry, but I can't help it if my grief makes you uncomfortable. I have bigger problems to contend with than to try to ease your discomfort.
Have some decorum, some sensitivity, some decency. Remember that I'm a woman in pain, a mother who lost her child. I know it's hard to know what to say or do. But please don't pretend like nothing happened. Something HUGE happened and we all know it. I would like to be treated with the compassion and dignity you would give any person in grief.
The baby was real. My grief is real.
The day my child died, I fell into the pit of grief. My friends watched me struggle through daily life, waiting for the person I once was to arise from the pit, not realizing "she" is gone forever.
The pit is full of darkness, heartache and despair, it paralyzes your thoughts, movements and ability to ration. The pit leaves you forever changed, unable to surface the person you once were.
Some of my pre-grief friends gather around the top of the pit, waiting for the old me to appear before their eyes, not understanding whatís taking me so long to emerge. After all, in their eyes, I've been in the pit for quite sometime. Yet in my eyes, it seems as if I fell in only yesterday.
Not all of my pre-grief friends are gathered around the top of the pit. Some are helping me with the climb out of the darkness. They climb side by side with me from time to time, but mostly they climb ahead of me, waiting patiently at each plateau. Even with these friends I sometimes wonder if they are also waiting for the pre-grief me to magically appear before their eyes.
Then there are the casual acquaintances, you know the ones who say, "Hi, how are you?" when they really don't care or really want to know. These are the people who sigh in relief, that it is my child who died and not theirs. You know...the "better them, than me" attitude.
My post-grief friends (and a rare pre-grief friend) are the ones who climb with me, side by side, inch by inch, out of the pit with me. They are able to reassure me when I need reassurance, rest when I need resting, and encourage me to move forward when I don't have the strength. They have no expectations, no memories and no recollection of how I "should" be. They want me to get better, to smile more often and find joy in life, but they also accepted the person I've become. The "person" who is emerging from the pit
2. I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my baby's name. My baby lived and is very important to me. I need to hear that she is important to you also.
3. If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my baby, I wish you knew it isn't because you have hurt me. My baby's death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my baby, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.
4. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.
5. I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my baby, my favorite topic of the day.
6. I know you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my baby's death pains you too. I wish you would let me know those things through a phone call, a card or note, or a real big hug.
7. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my baby until the day I die.
8. I am working very hard on my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my baby, and I will always grieve that she is dead.
9. I wish you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it" or to "be happy." Neither will happen for a very long time, so don't frustrate yourself.
10. I don't want to have a "pity party," but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.
11. I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I am feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.
12. When I say, "I'm doing okay," I wish you could understand that I don't "feel" okay and that I struggle daily.
13. I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So, please excuse me when I'm quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.
14. Your advise to "take one day at a time" is excellent advice. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle an hour at a time.
15. Please excuse me if I seem rude, certainly it is not my intent. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast and I need to get off. When I walk away, I wish you would let me find a quiet place to spend time alone.
16. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my baby died, a big part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was before my baby died, and will never be that person again.
17. I wish very much that you could understand - understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain BUT, I pray that you will never understand.
This is now what "normal" is...
Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.
Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine's Day, July 4th and Easter.
Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable with a funeral than a wedding or birthday party...yet feeling a stab of pain in your heart when you smell the flowers and see the casket.
Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.
Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly.
Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.
Normal is having the TV on the minute I walk into the house to have noise, because the silence is deafening.
Normal is staring at every baby who looks like he is my baby's age. And then thinking of the age they would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.
Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.
Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".
Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child's memory and their birthday and survive these days. And trying to find the balloon or flag that fit's the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.
Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special my baby loved. Thinking how he would love it, but how he is not here to enjoy it.
Normal is having some people afraid to mention my babies.
Normal is making sure that others remember them.
Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.
Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.
Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.
Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.
Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.
Normal is disliking jokes about death or funerals, bodies being referred to as cadavers, when you know they were once someone's loved one.
Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of your child.
Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how you feel with chat buddies who have also lost a child.
Normal is feeling a common bond with friends on the computer in England, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and all over the USA, but yet never having met any of them face to face.
Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.
Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this because..." I love God, I know that my baby is in heaven, but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why healthy babies were taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.
Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food.
Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have two children or one, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my baby is in heaven. And yet when you say you have 1 child to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your baby.
Normal is avoiding McDonald's and Burger King playgrounds because of small, happy children that break your heart when you see them.
Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours and asking if there even is a God.
Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.And last of all,
Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".
------ author unknown ------
I wish you would not be afraid to mention my baby. The truth is just because you never saw my baby doesn't mean it doesn't deserve your recognition.
"There are two responses to trauma: to hold onto it in all its vividness and remain its captive, or without necessarily "conquering" it, to gradually integrate it into the day-by-day."
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
This is my personal favorite along with a video link to a slide show that I did for my daughter, Kenna, to tell her story...
How to Say Goodbye by Michael W. Smith
Tell me when the time we had slipped away
Tomorrow turned to yesterday
And I don't know how
Tell me what can stop this river of tears
It's been building up for years
For this moment now
Here I stand
Arms open wide
I've held ya close
Kept ya safe
Till you could fly
Tell me where the road ahead is gonna bend
And how to harness up the wind
And how to say goodbye
Tell me why
Why does following your dreams
Take you far away from me
And I knew that it would
Tell me how to fill the space you left behind
And how to laugh instead of cry
And how to say goodbye
Here I stand
Arms open wide
I've held ya close
Kept ya safe
Till you could fly
Tell me where the road ahead is gonna bend
And how to harness up the wind