Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amethyst Butterfly Winners

The winners of my Amethyst Butterfly Giveaway are:

Kyla Ann's Mother

Colleen H for Maggie

and Taya's Family

Congratulations :) Please send me an email at carlymariedudley@gmail.com so that I can email you Kyla's, Maggie's and Taya's Amethyst Butterflies to you.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

With love,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Amethyst

When I was a little girl I used to collect rocks and semi precious stones. My absolute favourite crystal was Amethyst. I remember lying out in our back garden holding my Amethyst stone up to the sun. I marveled at the colour that would shine through the stone and all the cracks inside it. I couldn't believe the earth could naturally create such pieces of magic.

Last night while I was at the beach I watched the sun reflect through the crashing waves. It reminded me of the times I would look at the sun through my Amethyst crystals. I drew this butterfly with the sweetest of childhood memories in my heart. She is now in my collection at my Butterfly Gallery.

I have named her Amethyst.

Today I am giving away 3 Amethyst Butterfly Tributes. If you would like to enter this giveaway please leave your choice of name/s for the butterfly in a comment below. To all my sweet friends on facebook who usually enter on my page, due to regulations on facebook I am no longer able to hold giveaways on there. I only read the rules late last night! Apparently whole businesses that conduct giveaways on facebook are having their pages deleted so that was a good enough reason to change my giveaways to my blog!

You can enter your name into the name/url option in the comment section. If you choose to post as anonymous please remember to leave your name as well as your childrens :)

Good luck everyone :)

Much love and many blessings,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Story of Christian

Have you ever seen the childrens animation Surfs Up? Well if you haven’t there is a scene where Cody the main character who happens to be a surfing penguin gets dumped by a monster wave. Every time he makes his way back to the surface of the water there is another wave crashing down on him. This continues until he finally cracks his head on a rock and passes out.

If I could explain to you the feeling of losing a child it would be the above paragraph only I am neither a penguin nor a pro surfer!

On the 17th of January 2007 I went for a routine ultrasound to check the health of my unborn baby. It was the day that first wave came crashing down on my family and I.

I was getting Scarlett into the car to go when I was stung on my hand 3 times by a black wasp. I recalled only weeks before when I had bought Scarlett and the new baby a Christmas angel each. I broke the new baby’s angel. It cracked at the neck. I knew it was a sign. Kind of like God warning me to prepare myself for something big. This wasp was horrid looking, not overly big but strong enough to cause me a great deal of pain. I knew this was a sign that something was not right.

We arrived at the hospital and only had to wait a little while. A lady called my name and we all went into a little room where she slapped that cold jelly over my now quite big tummy. There our baby was! Wriggling around! Breathing.

I noticed the lady was looking at our little ones head for a long time. Sam asked if everything was okay. She didn’t say “Yes everything looks fine” she said “I still have to look at a few more things” I knew something was wrong. After a few long minutes the lady said she had to check something and she would be back in a few moments. A couple of minutes went by and then 10 minutes passed. I said to Sam if she walks back in with another doctor something is very wrong. 5 minutes later she walked back in. . . With another doctor.

The doctor sat down and put her arm around me. I felt all this heat rush to my face. “We are very concerned about the size of your babies head Carly” She went on to explain that she thought our baby had a condition known as Hydrocephalus and that it looked serious. I asked her what the sex of our baby was (We had previously decided not to find out the sex) as I knew in my heart that this was going to be very bad and I wanted to name them. The lady who conducted the ultrasound said your having a little boy. The doctor would not tell us anymore only that my obstetrician would call me tomorrow and she sent us home.

I held it together until we got to the car. I cried all the way home. Sam was silent. He drove home with one hand and held my hand with his other.

I called my Mum. I told her we were having a little boy but he was very sick and I didn’t know what was going on. My parents drove straight over to our house. Sam’s Mum and Dad were down south about 2 hours away. They came too. We all just sat around in shock. The unknown ahead of us was excruciating.

The next morning I remember calling my obstetrician Susan, a beautiful caring woman. I asked her what Hydrocephalus was and she said that it was “water on the brain”. Susan said that this didn’t necessarily mean that our little boy was going to die only that he would have to be born by c-section and would have to have a big operation when he was born. He would hopefully live a relatively normal life.

Susan said to me that she had organized an appointment for me to see a fetal medicine specialist the next day to see how severe the hydrocephalus was. I remember getting off the phone feeling so much better. I was given some hope. . . even if it was only going to be short lived.

Saturday morning came. Sam’s parents and mine came over to look after Scarlett for us while we went for the appointment that would devastate our lives.

All I wanted to do was fast forward time. I wish at that point I could have been shown this photo on the left. . . a glimpse into what would be my beautiful future. Something that I didn't know would be possible.

We waited in this tiny little waiting room for 45 minutes. Then a voice from down the hall called my name. Sam and I rushed in and I met two doctors. The lady diagnosing our little guy was named Jan and she was lovely. As I looked up at my little boy on the screen I thought to myself “is this the last time I will see you alive?” The doctors were very quite. Before I knew it the ultrasound was over and they wiped my tummy with a towel.

Jan asked us both to step into another room. As she opened the door for me I looked at the room. . . I knew this was the room that they tell people that their baby was either going to have very special needs or that their baby was not going to survive, as the room was filled with big comfy couches rather than your average table chairs.

Jan sat us down and said “This is very, very serious. Your little boy has the most severe case of hydrocephalus that I have seen in my career.” My heart sunk. I asked how bad it was and she went on to tell us that there was a scale from 1 to 7 (1 being minor and 7 being severe) our little guy was on 15.

Jan told us that our baby would never open his eyes. There was a part in his spine that was completely missing and it had caused a lot of fluid to flow into his skull where the brain should be. He did not have a stomach as there was not enough brain matter to tell him to swallow. If he was to survive the rest of the pregnancy he would be kept alive on a machine and would be known as a bean bag baby.

As these words were spilling from her mouth and smashing in my ears I felt completely numb. It was the worst case scenario. I held it together and so did Sam. We were in shock.

Jan told us our options. A: we could wait for him to die or B: she could interrupt the pregnancy. She wanted to do an amniocentesis to find out the cause but I was not interested. I just wanted to go home. We were given a DVD of the ultrasound and some photos. I dropped them as I was leaving. I remember everybody in the waiting room staring at me as I tried to hold the tears. I got out as quickly as I could while Sam paid the bill. The second wave came crashing down.


On the way home we decided to name our son Christian. It was a name that we both loved. I remember asking Sam how we would tell our parents. I prayed the rest of the way home for God to give me his strength for the days ahead and especially then when I would have to deliver this devastating news to our family.

We pulled into our street and I just started taking deep breaths. We walked into the house and our parents all stood up from where they were sitting and stood around us.

My hands were shaking and in a weak voice I told them that it was the worst case scenario, there was no hope for him and that it was only a matter of time before he dies. I told them that we had decided to name him Christian.

I remember the sigh from Gloria (Sam’s Mum) as she put her hand over her mouth. My Mum (Annie) held my hand as her eyes welled up with tears. My Dad put his arm around me. I remember thanking God for giving me the strength to tell them without completely collapsing in my sorrow.

Our family and friend’s were called and before we knew the house was filled with concerned people.

The following days were precious to me as I knew that the time that Christian and I had together was limited. Waiting for your baby to die while you are still carying them in your womb is something no one should ever have to go through. I noticed that his movements slowed down to the point where I was only getting a few kicks a day. I was keeping count. Over those days I held it together really well. I wanted to look strong in front of my family even though I felt far from it, but it all got too much and I completely lost it. I sat on the floor and whaled as I hadn’t slept in days and I just couldn’t believe this was happening to me and my little boy. Sam left the house and drove to the hospital to get me some sleeping tablets. He came back quickly with the medication and I went to bed. I felt like I was going to drown in my misery.

We received so many well wishes. One woman from my Mothers Group named Katherine came with a box of presents for us. There were blankets to wrap Christian in, a teddy bear and beautiful candles. I remember showing them to my Dad, he couldn't even speak, but his silence said everything.

The last time I felt Christian kick was 11am on Thursday January 25th 2007. I was admitted to hospital. Jan came to see me along with the head midwife. We had a talk about the events that were about to take place. They wanted to know my wishes and concerns.

I was calm but at the same time I was dreading the labor. Scarlett’s labor was 36 hours long and I just didn’t know if I could bare that or not. The Hospital Chaplin came to visit us. He was a gentle soul and had much sympathy. He explained our options for Christians remains. We decided we would have him cremated at the hospital.

I was induced by a drug called Misoprostol. They told me that I would deliver Christian any time from 2 hours up to 2 days.

The hours past and my family came in with Scarlett to visit me. I didn’t say much to anyone. I felt so sick, so sick of life, sick of this situation, sick of being me. I think my family went home around 7pm. I had an epidural placed in my spine to make it physically painless. I was not going to deliver a child that was breathing so why should I have to endure the extra pain of childbirth?

I noticed as the hours were passing that the pain was getting worse. I shouldn’t have felt anything with the epidural. We advised the midwives that I was in pain. They tried everything. My body was pumped full of pain meds but nothing would work. It was 12:30am and I was screaming. . . I don’t mean like just raising your voice. . . I was screaming with every inch of my body. The pain was excruciating. At 2:08 am I gave birth to Christian. He was breach. I remember Sam praying to God to take his son to Heaven and to send us Angels.



Sam cut Christian's umbilical cord and the midwife wrapped him up in a blanket and passed him to me. There he was, my beautiful little sweet heart Christian. He was lovely and pink. He had a button nose just like his big sister. I remember the love I felt at that very moment but that love was flooded by heavy sadness. I could not believe that he wasn’t alive. He looked like he was just sleeping, but he was never going to open his eyes. He would never look at me. And yet again more waves came crashing down.

I gave him to Sam as my placenta would not come out, that was the last thing I needed. The midwives were getting me to do all sorts or weird things to try and get it to come out. I was completely humiliated. They advised me that I would need surgery to have it removed. I remember looking over at Sam. He was sitting in the rocking chair with Christian. He was just staring at the wall. He looked completely shattered. I knew the last thing we needed right now was me to be rushed off into surgery so I just prayed. God answered my prayer and my placenta came out. It was over. I felt like my heart had been ripped out, stomped on, run over and then thrown back in my chest.

Sam and I sat in the dark together with our son. Sam sang a song by U2 to Christian as he rocked him in the chair. It was a precious moment. He gave Christian back to me and I placed him on my chest and closed my eyes. I just lay there. Still. I didn’t speak or pray. I just lay there holding him. I knew that this event in my life would shape and mould me forever. I knew that I could take either 1 of 2 paths. I could let this ruin me and my life or I could let this be the beginning of something beautiful. A different life.

As I opened my eyes I saw a blue light flash out of the room, like there had been a blue light on in the room and as I opened my eyes somebody switched it off. I really can't explain it. I believe it was his guardian angels. I prayed to god that he would let us keep one of Christian's angels here with us so that we could hold a part of his presence forever.

So at 3:40 am I called my parents. I could hardly speak. My grief was so intense at that point that I could barely string a sentence together without pausing for long moments. They were so quite on the phone. Heartbroken, they told me that they loved us all.

I knew that I was not in control of this situation but took peace in the knowledge that I was surrounded by angels and that God was in control.

Soon enough the sun began to rise. It was a warm amber glow in the dark forest that I was lost in. The midwives brought in a bassinet for me to put Christian in. I had the epidural removed from my back and I sat on the end of the bed and looked at the little lifeless body in front of me. Sam organized with the midwife Carole to give Christian a bath and take his hand and foot prints.

In came Carole with a bath of warm water, some ink pads, paper and a camera. I sat on the bed and watched my beautiful husband bathe my little boy. Sam's eyes were filled with tears and so were Carole’s. I just sat there in disbelief crying. Sam took Christians hand and foot prints. I remember Sam and how gentle he was with Christian it was almost like he was frightened of breaking him. What an honor it was for me to witness such a beautifully heartbreaking moment between a father and his beloved son.

It was 11am and I could tell that Christian was starting to lose the colour in his face. I said to Sam that it is time to say Good Bye. I wanted to remember him as the lovely little pink body that he was and not the little grey body he was becoming. We advised Carole that in about half an hour we would like her to take him for us.

Saying Goodbye to a child that never got to hear Hello is wrong. Just wrong. I remember kissing him on this head and praying. I felt so many things. It was pure heartache and sorrow at its strongest. Letting go of him was the hardest thing I will ever have to do in my life. I whispered good night into his ear and I gave him to Sam. He said his goodbye and then the moment came. As Carole took Christian from Sam’s arms we cried and held each other tight. We watched her walk out of the room with our son. We would never see him again. Another wave came crashing down on us.

We laid on the hospital bed in each others arms and just sobbed. Shortly after this my Mum called. She was downstairs with Dad and Scarlett. I left my room and started walking down the hallway in my turquoise satin robe and bare feet. I saw the lift open and there was my little sweetheart Scarlett and she was walking! She was 11 and a half months old and of all days to start walking she decided her brothers birthday would be the best! I felt blessed to have her. I gave her the biggest hug that I ever could and we all walked back to the room. As I opened my door I noticed there was a big blue tear drop sticker on the front of it. They must place them on the rooms of woman who lose a baby so that people know before they enter.

After a few hours of our parents visiting us I decided that I needed to leave the hospital. I was still very weak from giving birth but I just wanted to be at home in my own bed. I told Carole and she went and organized my memory box. Carole was the most amazing woman. Her heart was as big as the ocean. She cried along with us. It wasn’t just a job for her. I was blessed to have such a gorgeous woman as my midwife.

After a few hours she came in with some paperwork for me to sign and a box of memories. Inside were his birth details, a beanie that Christian wore, some little clothes, a small album of photos that the midwives took for me, his hand and foot prints and some information about grief counseling.

Sam packed up the car and we walked out of the hospital with a memory box instead of our baby. I remember walking out the front doors and the heat hitting me in the face. It was 42 degrees a real typical Australia Day. I was faint and weak. I remember looking back at the hospital, we had left our son in there. It felt wrong . . . it felt so wrong.

We spent the night with my family. We had a birthday cake pavlova for Christian and from memory there was a bottle of champagne. I remember collapsing in a chair and balling my eyes out to my Mum while Sam sat in our room with his Dad. Our situation was completely hopeless, there was nothing anyone could say to make us feel better. We were empty.

At about 9pm Mum and Dad left. They took Scarlett with them so that we could just go straight to sleep. I will never forget waving good bye to them out the front of our home it was still 41 degrees. We went inside and got straight into bed. The day was finished. It was over, Thank God.

The following Thursday was Christians Funeral. It was held at the hospital chapel. I wore a new white dress and frangipanis in my hair. I remember walking in to the hospital with a racing heart. We got there early. I walked into the chapel and saw a tiny little box with a blue butterfly on it. I knew that Christian’s ashes were inside. At that point it hit me that I was attending a funeral for one of my children. It was too much for me and I had to get out. I wasn’t going to be able to sit in there and wait. So I went downstairs with my Mum to give some ‘Thank You’ cards out to a couple of the midwives.

When I came back up, most of the family was there and I went in and sat down. The funeral was truly gorgeous. Sam read out a letter that he had written to Christian earlier that week and I asked the Chaplin to read out mine as I was unable to be brave. We played some beautiful music including the song by U2 that Sam had sung to Christian when he was born. The Chaplin read a passage from The Prophet (my favorite book) titled Joy and Sorrow.

I remember looking over at my Mum, Dad and Brother. Mum was rubbing Dad’s knee. He was just staring out the window. His face was full of anger. I don't think he could believe that this had happened, and the thought of his face still breaks my heart. The last thing I wanted him to be was angry.

During the week Sam and I had bought a piece of jewelry to give to each other in Christian’s memory at the funeral. We exchanged the gifts. Sam gave me a gorgeous gold ring with a stone that reflects all the colors of the rainbow. I gave Sam a crucifix with Christians name and date of birth on the back of it. I haven't taken my ring off since that day.

As the funeral came to an end the Chaplin gave me Christian’s ashes and I walked out of the hospital with my son.

That afternoon Sam's parents held a wake for Christian in their beautiful back yard. All the family came. Sam and I gave out frames to everyone with Christians hand and foot prints in them. We were so blessed to have such a loving family. Everyones support was nothing short of a miracle to us.

This experience has brought Sam and I closer together and at times further apart. It has been hard on us as a married couple but we stand strong together with LOVE in our hearts.

Since Christian was born I have learned incredibly intense, beautiful and heart breaking lessons that could only be taught to me through the loss of a child. We now have two more daughters. River Eve and Ocea Marie. We are blessed beyond words.

I thank God every day for all 4 of my children. I am not angry now, but thankful that my son has given me this beautiful life that I live today. I know that the place that Christian is in is so incredibly amazing. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. I thank my angels for helping me to rise above my sadness. I thank God for sending Christian into my life even if it was only for the shortest stay.

I found my way out of the dark forest and I am now living in the amber glow. Life is rich. Life is precious. Life is beautiful.


Friday, March 18, 2011

What helped me most on my journey with grief.

Losing Christian is hands down the hardest most incredible life changing event to occur in my life.

In the early days just out from losing him one of the things that helped me the most was gardening. Digging my hands into the earth was so good for me. I worked hard in my garden. By working hard physically I was able to let out my anger out and at the same time I was creating something so beautiful. A garden for him. A garden for my family.

Something else that played an integral role in my healing process was listening to music. I am a huge lover of music and of many different genres. I found that the first few weeks after having Christian I could not fall asleep at night. I hated taking sleeping pills as they made me feel unwell the next day. So I started playing music softly before I went to sleep. Just orchestral pieces. I found myself visualizing Christian in a beautiful place just before I would fall asleep. Before when I did not play the music all I could envision was his death and his lifeless little body in my arms.

Having many friendships on the internet with other women who have lost children is by far the most helpful thing for me. They understand what I am feeling and I understand what they are going through. We are there for each other in good and hard times.

What has helped me may not work for you. We are all different. Therefore we may grieve differently. If I can say anything on a way to help you heal it would be to find yourself a hobby. Something that you love, let it be an outlet for your grief. It may be painting, exercising, singing, writing or reading. Whatever it is, if it makes you feel good, then do it. Take some time each day just for you.

Never feel weak for seeking professional help. Although counseling was not for me, it may be for you. I know a lot of women who have seeked professional help and it has been wonderful for them.

Lastly, never feel guilty for laughing. Never feeling guilty for enjoying yourself. I have read so many times that women feel they are not honouring their child because they felt happiness for a moment. If you feel happy, that is a wonderful thing. If you want to laugh then laugh as much as you want. You are not dishonouring your child, you are honouring them.

Siblings and Grieving

In our circumstances Scarlett was under the age of 2 when we lost Christian. She did not understand what had happened. All she saw were that things had changed and that her parents were upset. We did our best to keep to our normal routine and made extra time to show her she was loved and safe.

If your child is over the age of 2 they might understand more than you realize. It is okay to speak to them about what has happened. Allow your child to express their grief and tell them that whatever they are feeling is okay and that they can talk to you about it. If you are concerned about them never hesitate to seek professional help.

We are currently in the process of explaing Christian's death to Scarlett. It can be done in such a gentle way.

There are some fantastic books available that help explain death to a child. Some of these are listed below. They have been recommend by Babylost parents from all over the world.

Waterbugs and Dragonflies


The Dragonfly Door

When Dinosaurs Die

Someone Came Before You

Something Happened

We Were Gonna Have A Baby But We Had An Angel Instead

Planning a Memorial Service or Funeral

Planning a funeral or memorial service is an incredibly emotional experience. It is an integral part of the healing process and it will be a day that you remember for the rest of your life.

There are so many decisions to make and it can be very overwhelming. Choosing whether to bury your child or have them cremated is a very personal one. Having your child buried in a cemetery will mean that you will always have a place to visit when you feel you want to be close to them. Especially on their birthday and anniversary. Having your child cremated means that you are able to keep their ashes in your home. You have the decision on whether you would like to scatter them or not. Nowadays you are even able to have some of their ashes placed within a piece of jewellery.

Planning their memorial service may be exhausting. Ask family and friends to help if you need it.

Here are a few ideas for your childs special day.

Choose a special song to be played. Make sure you listen to the song carefully before you make a decision on it. Read all of the lyrics. Click here if you would like to see some songs suggested by other bereaved parents.

Choose a special outfit for your child to wear.

You could have them wrapped in a special blanket.

Place a special toy with your child.

Write them a letter.

If you have other children do not be afraid to involve them in the service. They may want to write a letter or draw a picture for their sibling and have it placed with them in their casket.

Have a balloon release wherever the service is.

You might like to think about having a candlelight service. These are generally held at sunset. The parents light the first candle and everybody who is attending comes up to lights a candle too. This is such a warm, even magical way to say good bye to your precious child.

Pregnancy After Loss

Pregnancy after losing a child is hard. I can't lie. I wish I could tell you that your baby will be born healthy, safe and alive. I want that for every mother mourning the loss of their baby.

I do not believe there is a wrong or a right time to try for a baby after you have lost one. For me, my yearning for a baby outweighed the worry of if it was going to happen again. If you are wanting a baby so much that it outweighs your fear of losing another child then I believe you are ready.

My pregnancies with River and Ocea were a whirlwind of emotions. I felt anxious, worried, excited, hopeful, fearful and paranoid. I could not picture my baby being born alive. But they were. They were born screaming into this world.

What helped me the most was having a close friendship with other babylost mothers that were on the same road as myself. In particular there were three other women who's babies were all about the same gestation as my baby. We shared everything together through emails. We held each other up on the bad days and we were able to find the positives and beautiful moments in all our pregnancies. Our friendship has continued since all our babies were born. I can honestly say that having this friendship with women that completely understand what I had been through was the single most thing that got me through my latest pregnancy. You may want to have a look on the internet for forums to do with pregnancy after loss. There are women out there who can support you and you will be able to return that support to them just by being a friend.

If you are pregnant there might be other babylost mothers that warn you of things to look out for during your pregnancy. They only have your best interests at heart. Try not to concentrate on all these things. There are so many things that could take your baby from you and if you concentrate on all of them you are only bringing about unnecessary stress to you and your precious baby. Try to focus on positive beliefs.

During my last pregnancy with my daughter Ocea I kept an online journal. You can read it here week by week.

If you are trying to conceive after a loss I wish you all my peace and love. If you are pregnant I hope this has been of some help to you.

How family and friends can help

Thank you for wanting to help your friend or family member through their loss. The biggest thing you can do to help is to acknowledge that loss. Below are some helpful points on what you can do to be of support to your friend.

Acknowledge

This loss has irrevocably changed your friend or family members life.
Be there for them. As hard as it may be for you to do that, what they are going through is harder. Sending a card, flowers or making a meal for them shows them that you care.

Speak Aloud Their Child's Name


Do not be afraid to speak the child's name. Hearing their child's name come from the lips of someone other than themselves can be so comforting. It shows them that their child matters and is thought of.

Listen


Know that just listening can be so helpful to your friend. Giving out advice at this time may not help at all. Allow your friend or family member to speak there heart. Do not change the subject quickly if you feel awkward. Be honest with them if you do not know what to say. Let them know that you are there for them. Ask them to tell you about their child.

Help In Practical Ways

Take the family around a bag of groceries. You could cook them a meal. Ask them if there is any errands you could run for them. Helping the family in these small ways will actually be a huge help to them because everything will seem to hard at this time.

Things Not To Say Or Do

Do not compare their grief to anything else.

Saying things like "God needed another angel" may seem like a comforting thing to say but in so many cases this will only upset your friend.

"It wasn't meant to be" Telling this to someone who has lost a child will break their heart.

Do not suddenly change the subject if they start talking about their child. You may feel a little awkward but your friend has shown that they feel comfortable talking to you about their child.

Never tell your friend or family member to "Get over it" This is not something they will ever just get over.

"Everything happens for a reason" will not help. What could that reason possibly be? You could never make any one feel better by saying that when they are in the depths of grief.

If you do not know what to say.... Tell them that. Tell them you are sorry that you can't say anything o take away their pain. That will mean more to them than silence.

Do Something To Honour Their Child's Memory

This could be anything. It does not have to be something grand. You do not need to go and spend a lot of money. You could release some helium balloons with the childs name on them. You could donate to a Charity that would be significant to your friend. You may want to plant a special tree. You could donate some blankets to the hospital that your friends baby was born at. You can visit Christian's Beach or Rory's Garden and have the childs name written. This is a gorgeous idea and their is absolutely no obligation to purchase the photo if you do not want to. There are endless ideas on what you could do.

Accept and Allow


Accept that this loss may change your relationship with your friend or family member. Allow your friend to cry, to scream, to get angry, to be unreasonable. They have had their world ripped apart and right now that is all that their life is about.

Mark The Dates

Mark down their child's special dates so that you can remember them for anniversary's. Remembering them on their anniversary will mean the world to the family.

For Christmas time, Mothers Day and Fathers day, remember to mention their childs name in cards. It is as simple as writing "Remembering Christian today" and this will mean so much.

Help Them Find Us


Send your friend or family member the link to The Grief Effect so that they may have a look around and be able to find help on the internet. The internet is a wonderful place for grieving families looking for support. They can find it with out even leaving their front door.

Thank you

Thank you for coming in here to find out how you could help your friend. Just by doing this you are being a good friend. Be gentle on them. Give them time. Allow them hibernate if that is what they need to do. It is not about you, it is about them.

Grieving Fathers

Often the Dad's are put to the side when a child dies. They are even forgotten about. What a terrible thing.

Dad's grieve too.

You may want to read my husband's blog entry From A Fathers Perspective which is about the death of our son.

Below are some helpful links for grieving Dads.

Blogs written by Fathers



Grieving Dads.com Project

A Blog For Fathers When A Baby Dies

Kayleigh's Story


Lazy Cat Farm
(maintaind by mother and father)

Elm City Dad


Cries For The Silent (maintained by mother and father)

klepsydra
(maintained by mother and father)

My Baby, Emma


Irishdad's Blog

The Newborn Identity



Books Written By Fathers

When A Man Faces Grief - By James E. Miller


Tender Fingerprints - By Brad Stetsen

Tuesday Mornings With The Dads - By The Dads Group



General Grief

Matt Logelin's
Blog is wonderful. Although he is not writing about the death of his child, he writes about grieving the loss of his beautiful wife Liz who died the day after she gave birth to their daughter Madeline.

Grieving Differently To Your Partner

Sam and I grieve differently. Although at times it can be difficult that we do not grieve the same it is okay. I like to talk about Christian and mostly Sam does not. This does not mean that he doesn't love his son. We have both accepted the fact that we are different and therefore we will not grieve the same. We both respect each others journey of grief. It is all about communicating and being honest with each other. Accept that your partner will grieve at a different stage to you and respect how they have to grieve. Allow them that right.

Grief Book List

Information For Healthcare Professionals

Firstly I would like to take the time to thank you for coming in here to read about how you can be the best of help in the situation where you will be looking after a newly bereaved family.

Whether you know it or not you will be remembered by this family for the rest of their lives. There are so many things you can do to make this experience as beautiful and gentle as possible.

Things You Can Do:

Treat the baby as if he or she were alive.

Call the baby by their name. They are still a person.

Ask the family what their wishes are.

Encourage the family to hold their baby.

Encourage the family to have some skin to skin time.

Place a 'tear drop' next to the patients name on the door of their room. That way anyone entering knows that they have suffered a loss.

If possible have the family in a room that is not on the same level as the rest of the maternity ward. Hearing babies cries will be a knife in their heart. If this is not possible gently let the family know that they may hear other babies cries and that you know this will be hard for them.

If possible under hospital regulations ask the family if they would like to take their baby outside under some sunshine, or even take their baby home with them over night.

Let the family be angry. If they snap at you, try not to take it personally. They have just had their hopes and dreams for the future brutally shattered.

It is okay for you to show emotion in front of the family. It shows that you really care.

Take photos of the family with their baby

Help to bath the baby.

Take hand and footprints.

Take a lock of hair if possible.

If the photographer services are available such as Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (USA) and The Australian Community Of Child Photographers please ask the family if they would like these services.

Offer hospital services if they are available like grief counselors and Chaplins.

Send the family a card after they leave hospital.

With everything thing on these lists of things to do please ensure that the family gets some quiet time together with no interruptions by staff, family or friends. At the least a solid hour. Advise the family that you want to give them some time and that if they need anything to call the midwife.



Things Not To Do Or Say

Do not be overly happy around the family. While this family does need positive energy, being cheerful is not appropriate at a time like this. They need a gentle voice.

Do not say things like "The baby needs to go back to the freezer now"

If you need to take the baby out of the room for any reason, make sure the family sees that their baby is wrapped and warm. Even though the baby cannot feel anything at all, the family wants to know is that their baby is warm and secure.

Do not tell the family that they are young and they can try again. Do not mention the possibility of another child at this time. This little one cannot be replaced.

Never tell the mother or father not to cry.


For 6 week postpartum checkups:

Advise the receptionist staff that the patient lost their baby and to be compassionate towards them.

If you have a spare quiet room they could wait in that would be so wonderful as seeing other women come in with their newborns could be heartbreaking for the patient who as no baby to care for.

Do not rush through the appointment.

Ask the woman if their was anything she felt the hospital could have done better.


We thank you for taking the time to read this information and if you are ever in the situation where the family you are caring for has lost a baby, know it is a great honour for you to share this experience with them even if it is completely heart breaking.

Photographers For Those Final Moments

These two organizations below are made up of professional volunteer photographers who will come and photograph your child for you free of charge.

They create such beauty and the photos are yours to keep and treasure for the rest of your life.

If you live in the United States of America please visit
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

If you live in Australia please visit
Heartfelt

Dealing With Comments And Questions

Comments That People May Make

There will be times in your new life that people will say things that do not help. In fact they may even make you feel worse.

People will tell you that your child is in a better place, that this happened for a reason. They may tell you that God needed another angel. People may say that it was for the best. These statements may make you feel awful. It is more than likely that this person is trying to help you. They may not have been in a situation where a child has died before. They are more than likely very clueless. This does not make them a bad person they just simply do not understand what you are going through.

It has been years since I lost Christian now, but there is still always somebody who just says the wrong thing. In the very early days it seemed as though it would happen on a daily basis. Recently at a party somebody asked me if we would try for a boy since we had three girls. I explained to this woman that we had a little boy and that he died the day he was born. The woman was shocked by what I told her and she said she was sorry. She then let out a nervous giggle. Some people just have no idea how to handle these situations.

I found that if I focus on the silly things people say to me about losing Christian I end up in a deeper hole of grief than I actually need to be. As hard as it is try to let clueless comments roll off your back, try not to focus your precious energy on them.

If somebody is clearly being insensitive, like telling you to get over it and it is time to move on, do not be afraid to tell them how what they have said has made you feel. The death of your child is not something you can just get over. I honestly believe I will never get over Christian dying as to me that would mean that I will stop loving him.

Questions You May Be Asked

How Many Children Do You Have?

This question will affect me for the rest of my life and it will affect you too. I do not believe there is a wrong or right answer here. Whatever you feel comfortable telling that person is just fine. Do not feel guilty if you feel you can't mention that you have lost a child.

In most cases now I say that I have 4 children. Sometimes I don't even tell people that Christian died. He is still my son. I gave birth to 4 children and I am proud to say that is how many I have regardless of how many are living here on Earth with me.

Facebook, Twitter and other social networks

These places can be wonderful in your healing process. But in saying that there will always be people on your friends list that may upset you with their status updates. Whether it is them whinging about their living children or just being plain silly. Try to remember that these places are for people to have fun. While you are mourning the loss of your precious child life still goes on for others. If possible try to join some support groups on whatever website out you are using. This way you will be able to find other friends who understand what you are going through and you can use these websites to help you rather than upset you.

If people are upsetting you on your friends list there is nothing wrong with culling your list. You may even want to write to the person to tell them about the place you are in at the moment and that it is of no offense to them.

All in all I am a big lover of Facebook. I have many connections on there and this has been wonderful in my healing process.

Creating a space in your home for your child/ren

Since Christian died we have had a special place in our home for him. He will never have a room of his own. He will never draw on the walls. We will never have a seat at our dinner table. He will never add his clothes to the washing. He will never argue with his sisters on who's turn it is to clear the dinner table. He will never ride a bike outside or jump on the trampoline with his little neighbour who is the same age as him. In saying all of that he still deserves a place in our home. He is our son and brother and he is a loved and remembered member of our family.

We have what some people might call a shrine in our home. It is his place. It is in full view for everyone to see. It is made up with a framed photo of his name in the sand, seashells, his ashes, candles, a mirror and a dragonfly painting. It has treasures from people who live all over the world. This place is quiet and beautiful. It is in the very front room of our home which happens to be my studio. You can see it as soon as you walk in the front door. Creating a shrine for your child is a beautiful and ongoing experience. You will forever be able to add things and change things. A friend of mine collects pieces of sea glass when she visits the beach, another friend collects treasures that her and her son find on the forest floor.

There are so many things you could do to create a sacred space in your home for your child. I highly recommend this as it has been a step forward in my healing process. These sacred spaces give you a place to reflect and just be however you need to be. They are also wonderful if you have other children. They are a gentle and safe way for your other children to remember and honour their sibling. Let them add their own touches to the shrine. Whether it is a painting, drawing, a letter they have written or a treasure that they have found on a walk in the park.

I wish you a beautiful healing time in creating a space in your home for your child/en.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

I have always found that the lead up to Christian's birthday/anniversary of his death was so much harder the actual day itself.

In the lead up to his first two birthdays I felt physically ill just thinking about it. The day itself has only ever been beautiful. Sad of course but very beautiful.

If I can recommend anything to help you on your child/ren's birthday/anniversary it would be to plan ahead.

Here are some ideas of things that you could do.

Have a balloon release.

Having a balloon release is a beautiful way to celebrate and remember your child. They are incredibly emotional but very healing. If you have other children you could attach letters from them to the balloons. I would recommend doing this at a special place if you can. Some where that is an open space like a park or the beach so that you can watch the balloons fly off into the horizon.

Plant a special tree.

Planting a tree whether it is at your home or a place that allows you to plant a tree is such a special way to remember your child. It also gives you a special place for you to sit and visit at. Especially if your child/ren were cremated and they do not have a final resting place.

When choosing a tree look for one that will suit the environment that it will be planted in. Choose a strong healthy tree.

Take Photos.

Anyone who knows me, would tell you that I take a ridiculous amount of photos. On Christian's birthday I always photograph the sunrise and sunset. I keep the photos in his birthday album.

Donate a memory box.

In the lead up to your child/ren's birthday/anniversary you could contact the hospital your child was born at (if your child was born at home, you could contact the hospital of your choice) and find out whether or not they will accept a memory box from you. Creating a memory box will give a newly bereaved family something to take home from the hospital.

Things to put in the box:

Two blankets (one for the baby to be wrapped in and one for the family to keep)
A small photo album
A Teddy Bear
A candle and candle holder
A card to say that the memory box was donated in loving memory of your baby.

Have a special dinner.

I found in the past we failed to plan anything for dinner time. We planned our day well but we had nothing planned for the night. The night time for me was the hardest part of the day. I recommend doing something in the evening. Have a special dinner, enjoy some good food and even have a cake for desert. Have people over to be with you. People who have comforted you in the loss of your child/ren.

Have some quiet time.

Light a candle for your child/ren. If you can on the evening of there birthday sit outside and look up at the stars. Play some music. Write down your feelings. Let the tears come out.

I hope that these ideas have sparked an idea of your own heart. I wish you all the love in the world for your child/ren's special day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Butterfly Moment Giveaway Winners

The winner of our Butterfly giveaway is

Kelly Lynn

for her beloved son Gabriel.

Congratulations Kelly! Please send me an email to carlymariedudley@gmail.com so we can organize your butterfly gift :)

The runners up for a Butterfly Moment Dedication Jpeg are

Kristen Merritt Hilliard
For Karis

Kathryn Bonnet

For Seth

Fiona Todd
For Bailey

My Life Without You

Congratulations ladies :) Please if you could send me an email to carlymariedudley@gmail.com along with the exact name you would like on your butterfly dedication. Your child's full name is welcome :)

Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway.

We wish we had time to give everybody something.

Wishing you all healing love and light.

With love,

Carly and Sue

xxx