Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First Memory Boxes - Missing Malachi

Today I delivered the first two memory boxes.  A girl in one of my loss groups (yes, I belong to more than one) just lost another baby, and she lives nearby-ish, so rather than letting the hospital give her some randomness to choose from, I decided she needed a memory box made with love especially for her.  I already feel so connected to her.  She has 3 children in her home, lost one baby in her second trimester back in January, and is delivering her 16 week gestation angel-boy today.  Sound familiar?  Sounds exactly like me!  3 kids in my home, lost Taylor in the second trimester in January, and delivered my 16 week angel-Seth just 6 weeks ago TODAY.  I haven't been able to stop thinking about her, her husband, and her angels.  I'm not typically a hugging kind of person, but I wanted to hug her husband as I gave him the memory boxes, and I want to hug this girl so badly, I can't hardly stand it.

I wanted to share the pictures of the boxes with you because so many others helped to make them happen.  Somehow I didn't take a picture of the actual baskets we used, and I hate that I didn't because my friend, Barbara C., really painted and decorated them up cutely!  I did two - one boy and one girl - because I had expected to deliver a girl but it ended up being a boy, so JUST IN CASE, I wanted this sweet mama to have the right stuff.

In the GIRL box/basket, we included a purple 8 1/2 x 11" purple binder with scrapbook pages inside.

Lynnette P. and I spent several hours making these pages used in the girl scrapbook.
We worked hard to make sure there were journaling spots, photo spots, and places for any more embellishments a mom might want to add to it.
I included hand and foot print stickers, silver script letter stickers, and tear/rain drop stickers.  Plus, thank you cards.  I had been so touched by the people who did so much for us that I just HAD to get cards out to each of them.  Of course, I only got the first batch out.  The second batch was to family for flowers and a gift.  I texted them.  Does that count?  If I had been really on the ball, I would have put stamps on the envelopes, too.
In the BOY box/basket, we put these 12x12" scrapbook pages inside a book donated by Tracy A.  Actually, Tracy donated the baskets, too!!  And these pages were donated by Lisa P.  THANK YOU LADIES for your help!!
Yvonne W. made this set of two blankets, 2 gowns/shirts, and 2 diapers using the Teeny Tears pattern
This was the BOY set.
This yellow set of shirts/gowns, diapers, and blanket was also made by Yvonne W. 
Barbara C. and I made the bracelets.  This was the GIRL set.
This is the boy set of bracelets that Barbara C. and I made.  The baby bracelets will be HUGE but they'll figure it out.
This BOY burial outfit, hat, booties, and blanket was made by my friend, Vicky N. of Paper Angel Designs. 
The pants velcro on the inside so that they'll come completely open.  Tiny babies can be very fragile, so the arms and legs of an outfit might not be possible.  Her clothes come completely open so that they can be laid on top of the baby, then tied on in the back.  Most of the boy outfits come with long legs that can be trimmed or folded as needed.
This is the GIRL burial outfit, hat, booties, and blanket made by Vicky N. of Paper Angel Designs. 
She makes fantastic tiny clothes!
In the GIRL basket, I added this journal, two bunnies (one for mom, one for the casket), two packs of tissues, and
the Scentsy travel tin (Sweet Pea & Vanilla for the little sweet pea) was donated by Natalie D.
In the BOY basket, there is a journal under this blue/yellow moon blanket (Vicky N.), two bears (one for mom, one for the casket), two packs of tissues, and a Scentsy travel tin (Thunderstorm scent during a thunderstorm in life).
This is the boy basket, made with so much love, especially for angel baby Malachi Dexter Allred
If somehow the ultrasound was wrong, and this sweet mama ends up having a little girl instead, her basket was still made with so much love JUST FOR HER.  If it goes unused today, it is being left at the IHC hospital in Riverton, UT for another sweet angel gone too soon.  Ashley A., know that you are in the hearts and minds of SO MANY PEOPLE today.  I hope you get the opportunity to spend some time with Malachi.  I know that time will create some of the most treasured memories the mother of an angel baby could have. 

I am so happy to have helped put all of this together for Ashley, Josh, and their sweet Malachi all in remembrance of my angel babies - Taylor & Seth Micah Harvey.  I love you both and I hope you are honored by the work being done in your memory.  Find Malachi and help him as he comforts his mother through this heart wrenching week, month, and year.  

P.S.  Diapers made in memory of Seth were featured on the Teeny Tears blog this week. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grave Stone

Just ordered Seth's gravestone. The cemetery has regulations for stones in the infant section of the cemetery. It's a tiny 8x16 and online, the stone only was $189.  Setting the stone will be around another $200, plus another $150 for the vase to be set into the cement border (required by the cemetery, the cement is, not the vase, but I want the vase), plus the city charges $100 when you set the stone.  Just under $650 for the whole thing compared to some local companies that charge more than that just for the stone itself!  Really, we only saved about $200 going the online route, but anyway...

As you know, Ben and I had two Star Trek names picked out to use for the baby, once we found out the gender, until settling on a real name at birth. As we went in that day for the ultrasound at 19 weeks, we were going to find out if we were going to be calling our baby Worf (boy) or Sito Jaxa (girl) for the next 20 weeks until s/he was born. Instead, we found out our baby had died. The u/s tech was sure it was a girl, but at birth we found out our little one was a boy. We had wanted to put the Star Trek emblem on the stone, but despite several emails and being guided and directed to different people in different departments, I
never heard back from the final person. So I ordered the stone today without the emblem. I'm kinda sad about that as it was going to be our little happy moment when visiting his grave. Instead, we got a teddy bear graphic, foot prints hopefully sized to his feet (2cm heel to toe, not HIS footprints, but the right SIZE anyway), and a heart corner-piece with a stemmed rose.

I wish we could have gotten that emblem on the stone.  But we didn't want to wait a long time before getting the stone set.  I want his grave marked properly.  Right now, I have pictures of who is buried around him so I don't lose his unmarked spot.  :( 

What a bittersweet day.  I'm happy to have it ordered, but it really sucks having to buy your son's grave marker.
Here is a preview of the stone:

Sunday, September 2, 2012


First, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has decided to help make these memory boxes!  I hope it can be an ongoing project of love for years on end!  I am so humbled by how quickly so many of you have jumped at the chance to help out!  Some of you have said you don't really have anything to donate, don't have a crafty bone in your body, or are far enough away that you don't know how to help.  So, I've made an amazon wish list so that everyone who wants to can help out!!  I have it set up so that my address is entered in for shipping.  Some of the items are not from amazon, but other sites - if I can find something similar on amazon, I'll post it on there also.  But the other sites had better prices.  Not sure how the other sites part actually works.  Anyway, it's there and THANK YOU for wanting to help in this endeavor!!

Now, for today:
If you're unfamiliar with my religion, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or LDS/Mormon.  Every month on the first Sunday, we fast (go without food and water for one day or two meals while praying for guidance, for help for ourselves or someone else, or some other reason, but we fast while praying with a purpose), and then we go to church and hold a Fast & Testimony meeting rather than the regular meeting of talks given to uplift, guide, and support each other.  Today was a Fast & Testimony meeting Sunday.

Several people had gone up and shared their testimony already, and then it got really quiet.  That rarely happens in our ward as we are filled with some of the most amazingly spiritual and loving and faithful people I've ever met.  But it was quiet.  And I began fighting back tears.  It was quiet because I needed to go share my testimony.  Except I'm a great big chicken, and I was fighting tears before even standing up, so how in the world was I going to speak?  So I didn't.  I'm a little ashamed that I didn't, but I promised myself I would share it here instead.

I wanted to share that, although I'm still suffering through losing two babies so far this year and my emotions are a mess, my faith is not.  My faith is still strong.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.  I know that my Savior, Jesus Christ, loves me.  They know ME.  They know MY trials, MY sufferings, MY joy, MY desires, MY heart, ME.  And they care and love ME.  This love is expressed to me through the wonderful outpouring of love and support I've received from so many people, including some that I haven't seen in a long time or haven't even talked to in a long time or that I didn't think ever even noticed me!  But people have noticed, and they care.  And I appreciate it so very much.

Even when life presents us with trials as harsh as burying your child, remember that it's not because we deserved it, because we are hated, because we did anything wrong.  Instead, remember that our Heavenly Father and Savior are both there to help us as we endure it.  Losing a child isn't something anyone ever "gets through" or "gets over" because it stays with us forever.  Every single day, I think of my Taylor and my Seth, and I miss them.  Don't ever be afraid of bringing them up because I'd rather talk about them than think no one else remembers them or cares about them.  Bringing them up *might* make me cry, or hold back tears as best I can, or I may smile - either way, the tears and the smiles are out of love for them and appreciation that you cared to speak their names. 

Although I already believed that every life had meaning, I've learned that belief comes from the mind while a compelling faith comes from the heart and soul.  Now, my heart and soul have a pure faith in the truth that every life has meaning, no matter how brief that life may be.  I'm learning this more and more every day as people are moved to volunteer to help with these memory boxes.  One lady donated enough pre-made scrapbook pages for 8 scrapbooks (4 double pages each).  Another lady donated a box FULL of scrapbooking supplies (had to be a good solid $100 worth) along with baskets and wooden boxes with frames on the top.  Another donated fabric, which I promptly took to yet another lady who is sewing gowns, diapers, and blankets/pouches.  Another is helping me search for donations.  Another is donating her time and talents to crocheting, knitting, and sewing burial outfits, hats, blankets, etc.  Taylor and Seth are both being honored as everyone helps me make these memory boxes for other grieving parents and their lost babies.  Their lives have meaning, despite how brief they were, because I was introduced to a need that I am now able to help fill along with the help of so many others.  Their short lives inspired love and kindness from others in SO VERY MANY forms. 

So, I testify to you that our Heavenly Father and our Savior both know and love each of us individually.  I testify to you that They show this love through the kindnesses of others, as well through The Comforter, the Holy Ghost.  I testify to you that every life, no matter how brief, has purpose.  And I encourage everyone to pray more, get to know these loving heavenly beings, and allow yourself to open your heart and mind to being instructed and directed to show kindness to those around you.

Again, I am so humbled by the outpour of love shown by those around me, and by the compassion shown by all those who are wanting to help with these memory boxes.  They are going to bring a bit of love and comfort to families going through one of the hardest moments of their lives - the death of their child(ren).  Thank you for getting involved, no matter if it's with my project or any other.  Thank you.