Friday, August 21, 2009

My Lunch Date

For the past 2 months I have been trying to meet up with Monica. I'm gonna bet that most don't remember who Monica is so I'll let you know. She works on the Mother Baby Care Unit at my hospital where I work and where I also got Carleigh's diagnosis and delivered her. Monica was my first nurse the day I went in for my induction and she is the nurse who has the most bereavement training and is in charge of that area.

We had been emailing back and forth at work but always missing each other until today when we were finally able to meet up. It was a busy day for her up on the floor but she made time to meet me for lunch and I'm very glad she did that. We both usually don't eat in the cafeteria but we did today and it was weird! lol

Monica asked how I was doing and I told her pretty well and we chit chatted a little more. I asked her what keepsakes they provided for families and we went over all that. I told her I wanted to be able to provide families with a baby book as that is something they may not know exists and regular baby books just aren't appropriate. Let's face it, grieving parents do not want to flip through a baby book and see pages that will never be filled but should. That's just too hard.

I told her about Kelly and Sufficient Grace Ministries and talked to her about the Dreams of You memory book and the Comfort Bear. I want to provide my hospital with these 2 keepsakes for as long as I'm alive and able. Monica was really interested in both of these keepsakes. She thought both would be things that families would want. She really liked the idea of the Comfort Bear. She knows how empty arms can ache.

We talked about other things too. I was surprised to find out that there are families that do not want any keepsakes at all. No footprints, no pictures, nothing. I have a difficult time comprehending that as I can't imagine not having any keepsakes for Carleigh. Her keepsakes mean a lot to me. Perhaps that's because I never want her memory to fade. I guess some families just want to put it behind them? They have some keepsakes that are still waiting for the parents to pick them up. Monica said that they will keep them forever in case some time down the road the family would want them. I think it's great that they do that.

Monica tried to get a support group going but it never really panned out. One person came once and that was it. I thought more people would want to be part of a support group but I guess not. I am certainly open to being a part of one if there comes a time when somebody shows an interest. I know it would be good for whoever needed it to have people there.

I asked Monica if there were any other families that ever knew ahead of time that their baby was going to die. Apart from me, there has only been 1 and that family only knew right before they went in to deliver.

After we finished lunch, we set that I would come up to the floor in a few minutes so that she could show me their 'angel cart' where they keep all the keepsakes. I'd also get to see the memorial quilt hanging in the hall. It's a quilt where parents can have their babies' names stitched on if they died. I had them put Carleigh's name on the quilt. So after I checked in with my department I headed on up to the unit and once I went through the doors I saw the quilt. So I went over and I looked at it and I found her name in the lower left corner. It's always good to see my daughter's name.


After looking at the quilt for a few minutes I went to find Monica. I waited for a few minutes while she tended to a patient. It sure was a busy day for them up there! When she was able to spare a few minutes she took me down to the nursery to the angel cart. She showed me the memory boxes, baby bibles, impression kits, gowns, quilts, cards with the baby rings and lockets of hair. They have a great collection of stuff for families. I know I am thankful they had the impression kits as the one we had didn't work out at all.

She said that they wanted to do more for me but I already had everything planned out and ready. lol Yeah, that sounds like me. :) I pretty much had every single detail planned out. We talked more about the memory book and comfort bear. I'm going to make sure they have at least 3 of each ready for families. She mentioned losses seem to come in three's. I've heard that before. When she asked about paying for the book and bear I told her that I would take care of it. It's something I want to do.

After my visit on the unit I went back to my department and emailed Kelly about getting the memory books and bears. Kelly blessed me by telling me that she would give me the books and the bears I need right now at no charge. You are just so generous Kelly and I love you to pieces! I know that the families that will receive these special keepsakes will cherish them and be thankful.

Later when I got home I got into Carleigh's keepsake tote so that I could get her prints to make a copy of them and I found my own comfort bear and memory book that Kelly had given me. The memory book is still not filled out but I will do that some day. I guess I don't feel really rushed since her small baby book has everything in it. I did pull my comfort bear out of the tote to keep out. I think I would like to snuggle with it and I don't know why I haven't done it before. So I snuggled with my bear while I read through Dreams of You and got teary-eyed. I wish I didn't even have to fill the book out but I also know that had I not walked this road the good things that have and currently are happening might not have happened at all.

19 comments:

Monica said...

that is truely beaeutiful. Im glad that you got to meet her! When I first started reading and you said "I finally got to meet with Monica"...my heart jumped, I was like...no we didn't! haha thank you again for sharing!

My Very Own Angel said...

Holly you are amazing and Kelly is too. I'm so happy that you are staying involved with the care team that took such very good care of you and Carleigh,and I'm also so happy that you are paying it forward. I can't believe some families actually want to leave without any keepsakes. It was like a buffet to me, I was going back for 2nd's just in case,lol.

MommyIvy said...

I was thinking Monica(From CM) at first also. LOL Its good you finally got to meet up with her.

chris mitch travis cana said...

hey there...i think we've posted back and forth before but it's been a while since i've shared with you. I attend a support group here in houston called M.E.N.D. (you can google it, i think it's mend.org) but
we had 27 last night. The numbers grow each month. unfortunately....
but something i wanted to share with you...the bear, adorable..and one of the mom's shared that it had been 4 years since she lost her caleb, and she has other children, and one subsequent, but their christmas photo, for their christmas card, they always include a bear they had for caleb. So that "he" is always in their family photo to send out. I found comfort in that...wanted to pass it on.

My Forever Child said...

That's great that you kept in touch with your care team, I still do with my hospital's social workers that helped us after our loss. The quilt is beautiful! So nice that they do that for the families.

Regarding the hospital keepsakes, some parents just cannot deal with the thought of having any tangible reminders of what they lost. Some choose not to hold or look at their baby. I believe studies have been done on this, and that those who did not want those things had a longer and more difficult time healing, despite that they thought it would be more painful to have those things. Like you, I wish I had more!

National Share Office specializes in infant loss and has support groups across the country. Here's the link to see what's in your area: http://www.nationalshare.org/Groups.html#anchor_35
But I don't think it's complete, as I know my group in NY is not listed.

Katrina said...

I also can't believe that parents wouldn't want at least one keepsake of their child. I just can't fathom... I'm glad you were able to get all you could of Carleigh so we could all remember her. I have a photo album dedicated just for her and it has her footprints in there too. I am glad I have the pictures I do because then when Audrey and other siblings are old enough to understand, I can show the photo album of Carleigh to them. They will definately know their cousin! She will ALWAYS be loved by us!!

croleyc69 said...

So great you finally got to catch up with each other. I think it's great what your doing, there does need to be more support in that area. I wonder why some parents don't want something from there child. I remember leaving the hospital when I had my micarriages & feeling so empty. I have been talking to my kids especially Ridge & getting a hold of Kelly to get a bear for him to cuddle. Ever since our last chat about our losses I can see the pain. I'm also glad your staying involved it will help you & others. Carleigh has been such a blessing to so many. We love her very much & pray for all of you daily. HUGS
Caroline

Elizabeth said...

That's wonderful. God Bless You!

Once A Mother said...

thank you for sharing the images of the quilt, what a beautiful way to have your daughter forever honored there. i think it is wonderful what you are doing, we were fortunate to receive many random acts of kindness at our hospital because of people like you. you are making a difference in her honor, and will help so many through your kindness. at that initial point of loss you dont think, or i didnt, of things like footprints and locks of hair. i am so grateful that someone else had thought of it for us so that we are able to have these things with us forever.

Just Breathe said...

That is a beautiful idea. I love the quilt, what an awesome way to show people the angels in Heaven.
I pray that all people who pass that quilt will say a prayer. I know that it will do your heart good to help others going through the same journey you have been on.

April said...

What a wonderful thing that you were finally able to meet up with Monica. I know her time and compassion with you means alot. I am so touched that you want to provide the hospital with such wonderful keepsakes, Kelly really had a an amazing idea with her memory book and comfort baby, so nice that she is donated some to the hospital. God has done great work in giving us friends who care so much.

Good for you, Holly - for paying it forward!

April said...

What a wonderful thing that you were finally able to meet up with Monica. I know her time and compassion with you means alot. I am so touched that you want to provide the hospital with such wonderful keepsakes, Kelly really had a an amazing idea with her memory book and comfort baby, so nice that she is donated some to the hospital. God has done great work in giving us friends who care so much.

Good for you, Holly - for paying it forward!

April said...

LOL sorry about the double (now triple) comments...

Linda said...

Holly, you are so special. God's little worker,...that's you!!!

Hey do you know how Myah is doing?... is that her name? She had the little baby (Faith?) with anenchephaly that lived several months. I was just wondering about her and hope she is doing ok.

I am praying for you and for all of your efforts to reach out and help others.

Love, Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

Lucy and Ethel said...

I'm so glad you were able to have lunch with Monica!

I LOVED our hospice nurse and was so sad to learn her family was moving WAY off. It was several years after Jeffrey's death, and I'd only seen her at Walmart(!), but still, it was sad. There are so few keepsakes from our Jeffrey days, I've tried to hold on to the ones we have... and I considered the hospice nurse one :)

I also can't imagine anyone's not wanting keepsakes, but I've seen that with a few families dealing with SMA, too. Since working with/for SMA is what I'm doing for Jeffrey, I'm not about to stop!

Sounds like you have some terrific plans for other families.

Lucy

Mom Putnam said...

That quilt touched my heat and brought a tear to my eye. I too have 2 photo albums of carleigh and now creating a little memorial for her on top of the piano, below your family pictures, so you are all together. loved and never forgotten.

Emily said...

How wonderful!

Stephanie Scales said...

WOW! really..it is just amazing how strong youa re and what a wonderful gift you offer...you are such an insoriation...Whee i lost my twins to misscarriage i was devestated but always told get over it thousands of wemen have miscarrages every day...I dont think anyone can just Get over it..
Your amazing and the gift Carliegh has left behind in her mothers heart will keep her alive in so many many ways...she is indeed a gift from god.
You have inspried me and I wonder if you could share with me how I might be able to help...weather its to send donations or to offer my hospital some of the dame things you are doing...I feel such a calling to help and I really want to do what i can...Please email me at mah_cks@yahoo.com and let me know if you have any advice or suggestions on how I can help with your simply amazing cause.

Danielle said...

((Hugs)) The world needs more people like you and Kelly in it... If there is anything I can do to help, all you have to do is ask!

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