Monday, June 28, 2010

My Words at Janessa's Memorial (Video)

When we were planning Janessa's memorial service we decided we would stand up & say a few words. I fretted over if I would be able to get up there & what I was going to say. I kept postponing writing my words down. I did this all the way until the morning of the service. I knew that had I started writing it a few weeks before the service I would end up with a novel. There was just so much I wanted to say to everyone. So many thank yous & so much I wanted to explain. I managed to keep it to a minimum. Although I watch it & think of all the things I wish I would have expressed, I am content on what was said.

I have never been a public speaker & have avoided it all costs. I worried I would be so nervous. I have to tell you on that day I didn't feel any of that. I was overcome with strength & the day was very peaceful for me. Since the one year mark I have felt more at peace. The piece of closure the service gave me is incredible. I still have my days & moments where the grief knocks the wind right out of me. I do not believe those days will ease for quite some time. They are now just farther apart from each other. I still think of Janessa each day, many many times a day. She is never more than a second from my thoughts. I still shed tears. Many of them. I always will. I still feel her absence each day but that intense pain has eased some. Its there, I feel it, but I push on. I keep going. For my son, my husband, for Janessa & this new little munchkin on the way & for me. Because I need to. Because she would want me to.


To watch other videos from her service click the links below
Full Memorial Video    Vocal Performances    Butterfly Release   Janessa's Story

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Janessa's Story

When Janessa's one year anniversary was approaching I decided to update her video that tells her story. I had put the original one together only weeks after she had passed. It came out nice but after doing so many for other families through Every Life Has A Story, I got a tad better at creating them. I also wanted to add in some of the pictures we had acquired over the last year. It came together so nicely. We showed it during her memorial service.

For those who watched the full service video you have already seen the new version. I understand not everyone can sit for an hour to watch the service in its entirety. I have been breaking the video down into parts. Below is Janessa's life story.


To watch other videos from the service click the links below
Full Video  Butterfly Release   Vocal Performances   My Words at Her Service

Saturday, June 26, 2010

March For Babies

This past April 17th we walked in the March of Dimes March For Babies. A very kind friend, Kim, created a team in Janessa’s name. When she sent me the link I was taken back by her gesture. We of course signed up for the team & I soon began raising money. What we were not prepared for was the outpouring of generosity that was given in Janessa’s name. We were also not expecting to have so many friends, family & acquaintances sign up to walk with us. We ended up raising a team total of $2,525.00. The day of the walk was cold & rainy & required way too many layers of clothing but in spite of that we had about 40 people show up to walk on Team Janessa.

To try & explain how much each donation & each person signing up to walk in memory of our little girl meant to us would be impossible. It brought me so much comfort to us that so many people supported us. To have her life acknowledged in such a way definitely brought me some healing.

It is such an amazing cause. The money raised gives hope to the more than half a million babies born too soon each year. It helps support programs in your community that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. It also funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten our babies including preeclampsia & stillbirths. If you have never participated in March For Babies & are interested in taking part & making a difference, click here for info & to find a location near you.

Thank you Kim for doing such a special gesture for our family. I also thank each person who donated & everyone who showed up on such a dreary day. You all have such big hearts. I wish you could fully know what you did for mine.

I am looking forward to next year & hope everyone can make it out again.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Beautiful Sound

On Tuesday we had our first visit with the doctor since learning we were pregnant. We had been in once for an early ultrasound around 6 weeks due to spotting & we also had our nurse visit in the beginning of June. We had met our perinatologist once before, a few months after losing Janessa. We had scheduled a consultation with her so we could know what to expect for future pregnancies. We seem to like her so far. She is calm & relaxed which is refreshing when we obviously find it difficult to be.

For the nurse visit we met with one nurse who told us she was filling in for the day & she usually works with the woman who struggle with infertility. On Tuesday the same nurse greeted us & brought us into our room where another nurse was already there. They took my pressure which wasn’t great. 140/82. On the way to the hospital I decided to stop at a pharmacy & take my pressure & it was 122/72. I wanted to test out this theory of “white coat syndrome”. So I either have it or all the pharmacies machines are off on their readings. When I check myself my reading is always a under 130/80. The doctor’s office is another story. Thankfully I have a blood pressure cup on its way to my house so I can closely monitor it.

That day I gave half my blood supply & more urine then I could ever imagine they would need. I also learned I had protein in my urine. I am too early for it to be preeclampsia so we have to figure out why its present. I will be doing a 24 hour urine catch on July 1st. How lovely.

After that the nurse who greeted us got out the doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. She said “Since its still early it may take me a few moments to find it.” It then clicked that she was training, which explained the other nurse in the room. The last time I had a doppler placed on my stomach was May 13th, 2009. It was the day they could not find Janessa’s heartbeat. To try & explain the emotions I felt when she placed that doppler on my stomach would almost be impossible. She tried for a few moments & then the other nurse started giving her pointers. “Make smaller circles, start on one side then go to the other”… I explained to her about the last time I had this done & the other nurse quickly took over. This time around I cannot be a training case. I just don’t have the ability to deal with that. The second nurse found it rather quickly & what beautiful sound it was. I wish I had been able to see my husband’s face. The nurse was positioned right in front of him. I’ll never forget his expression when we heard Jayden & Janessa’s for the first time. I knew he was pretty tensed up from the amount of time it took to find the heartbeat. I told the nurse I had forgotten our camera & we planned on recording it. She asked if we had our phone & it had slipped my mind that we had a video camera on there as well. We were able to record this clip.

We went on to meet the nurse practitioner. She stressed to us to call with any concerns & she even gave me her email address. We talked about Janessa’s pregnancy & what will be done differently this time. She explained about all the many many ultrasounds we will be getting & eventually the non stress tests. When the doctor came in the room they spoke about how we would stay very on top of things & they tried to be very reassuring. I left there feeling pretty good.

We have an ultrasound scheduled for July 2nd. This will be the Nuchal translucency test aka the NT Scan. This test scans the fluid under the skin at the back of the baby’s neck. This is used to identify the risk of down syndrome. I never had this done with JJ or Janessa. Because this pregnancy is considered high risk (for my risk of abruption & preeclampsia) I was offered this. This is just one of the extra tests & procedures offered when dealing with high risk pregnancies. We opted to do it to get a peek at our little one & to be alerted if there was a problem. Our risk of down syndrome is not very high but as we have learned we can be that “lucky” one out of a ratio.

I cannot lie & say I won’t be nervous for the scan after everything we
have been through but I am eager to see our little munchkin!

To learn more about a NT Scan click here

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We Walked & Remembered

This past weekend my husband, son & I walked in the Relay For life. We have always wanted to take part but had never pursued involvement. They started hosting the event in my town while I was in high school. This year one of my friends, Gina, from school put together a team. She created this team in honor of her mom who is a breast cancer survivor. Gina also walked with us in the March For Babies walk we did in memory of Janessa.

Denise & Gina
Not the greatest quality pic, I left my camera at home & had to use my phone.

Jonathan, JJ & I were there to walk in honor of Gina’s mom & also of my maternal grandfather whom I never met. He died 2 years before I was born from intestinal cancer. We also decided to walk in memory of a dear friend, Kristin’s daughter, Peyton Elizabeth. Peyton was born with infant leukemia & lost her battle when only 28 days old. Kristen has become quite special to me over the past year. Her & Peyton’s story has touched & moved me tremendously. I was glad to have spent International Babylost Mother’s Day with her & another mom, Stephanie. I have shed many many tears for Peyton & her parents. We felt honored to walk in her memory.

I purchased a luminaria bag in Peyton’s memory & created an image on the computer to put on the bag. I also made stickers to wear on our shirts.

It burned long into the night. So many people stopped & looked at her precious little face as they walked by during their lap.

They also had a silent remembrance walk after they lit the luminaria bags. It was so touching to take part in.

As we left the field the last day they had raised over $185,000 & final tallies were not in yet. It was such a wonderful experience & it was put together so nicely. If you have never participated in a Relay For Life you should think about researching one close to your home. Click here to find one near you here.

We joined the team last minute. I had been feeling so ill with being nauseas that I wasn’t sure I could participate. I am so happy we could. Thank you Gina for allowing us to be part of your team. We look forward to next year!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To My Husband on Father's Day

To the amazing man who shares my life & heart. To the one who has given me the most precious little boy. For the father that you are to him & husband you are to me. We are blessed to have you in our lives.

To the only one in this world who knows my soul, my happiness & my pain. The only one who shares & carries this grief in the sense I do. The only one who misses her with the deep ache I feel. We have carried each other the last 14 months. I thank you for allowing me my grief in any way I felt the need to grieve for our child. I appreciate the support you have provided. I hope I have done the same.

In your arms I find comfort & love. I find acceptance of everything I am. I find her. The piece of her that is in you.

Together we will carry her for the rest of our lives. She will live in us.

I wish we could've have witnessed what it would have been like to raise our daughter. What it would have been like to see you with your little girl. How she would have had you wrapped around her sweet little finger.

I am sure she is looking down & is proud to have you as her Daddy. I know JJ feels that way.

I have loved you for over 12 years now. I always will.

Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What is a Rainbow Baby?

For those who are not familiar with what a rainbow baby is I will explain with a little help from Susan at A Rainbow on the Horizon.

A rainbow baby is a baby who is born after a parent loses a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.

"It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Our Little Secret

We found out on May 5th that we are expecting! I am 9 weeks & due Jan 14th-18th. Still waiting on a definite due date. Here is a pic of an ultrasound we had done when I was measuring 5 weeks 6 days.

I woke up spotting old blood & they had me come in to check everything. We were relieved to see the heartbeat. I spotted for a week & a half but then stopped. I had not spotted with my son or Janessa so I was worried.

We waited until I was 6 weeks to share the news. Partly because we needed some time to soak it in & mostly because Janessa's memorial service was coming up. We were afraid that we would recieve well intended but misguided comments..."Well now you have another one on the way."..etc. We didn't want the pregnancy to take away from the meaning of Janessa's service. Our biggest fear is that people will think we are "all better" now. This pregnancy has no effect on our feelings towards Janessa's death. It doesn't make it less painful. It doesn't take away the everyday emotions of not having her here. Our sun is not magically shining now. Those who have stayed clear of us this past year have already started coming back around & that is extremely difficult to deal with on top of the flood of emotions we are dealing with.

We are waiting until after our 12 week ultrasound to share the news with our son. Although I have never had a miscarriage before we are staying on the cautious side in case we could save him from the fallout if that was to happen. We are trying to be positive & excited but we are scared.

At my first nurse visit the first week of June my blood pressure was high. 140/82. I was extremely upset at the reading. Honestly it scares me so very much. Scares me that we'll lose this baby & for my own health. I did have to fill out paperwork & info regarding Janessa right before they took my blood pressure. I may have what they call "white coat syndrome" where the docs makes my anxiety go up therefore increasing my blood pressure. I am getting a cup to keep at home to check daily & if need be they will increase my medication. That was a tough day emotionally for me. It was a taste of what we will be dealing with for the duration of the pregnancy.

I have my next appointment on Tuesday & this will be the 1st one with the doctor. Looking forward to getting some answers & having some "plan" for the pregnancy.

Morning sickness has always been cruel to me & I have had my share. Compared to my last two I shouldn't complain but its just awful! lol

I am debating if I will continue to post my pregnancy blog posts here or if I will create a seperate pregnancy blog. I may turn this one into a blog about our life after loss in general instead of splitting up the posts. Still unsure.

I have read so many posts about rainbow babies on the way. Congrats to all the mommies expecting. I am glad we will have each other on this journey. I am also thankful for the ones who have been down this road ahead of me. I will need your support.
For those who are not familiar with what a rainbow baby is I will explain with a little help from Susan at A Rainbow on the Horizon.

A rainbow baby is a bay who is born after a parent loses a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.

It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Big Brother's Love

The other day I sat at the computer desk in the living room & was editing Janessa's memorial service video. JJ was playing a video game behind me on the couch.

He said "Mom, we painted my playroom for nothing." I turned around & looked at him for a moment. I replied "Well it wasn't for nothing, JJ." He said "Well it was for Janessa & she is in heaven. Now no one is going to live in that room." He then went on to say "I hope the next one is a boy." I asked "Why do you want a brother so bad?" He replied "Well I already have a sister." I smiled & said "Yes you do JJ, yes you do."

It amazes me each time at how much he loves his little sister he never met. There is something to be said about the pure innocent & uncomplicated love that children posess.

As much as my heart breaks for JJ he also warms it when he speaks of his love for Janessa. I just wish I could have both my children together to share their love.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Janessa's Butterfly Release Video

A few days ago I posted the video of Janessa's memorial service. It is an hour long & I know as a mommy it would be hard for me to find that hour to sit & watch. I broke it up into parts to make it easier to share. If you would like to see the full video you can see it here. I also created a clip of the 3 song performances & you can view that here.

Below is the clip of only the butterfly release after the service was done. It was beautiful!! I will always remember it. It was such a special touch & I am so glad we did it.

Have a watch!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Service Vocal Performances

I realize that not many have an hour to sit down & watch the full video of the service at once. I will be breaking it up into parts & sharing the clips for those who wish to watch. If you would like to watch the full video you can view it here.

The 3 songs that were performed have touched me & helped me on this road of pain & loss. "I Will Carry You", "Held" & "With Hope" were performed. Below is the clip of only the 3 performances. It was beautiful to have these performed for Janessa & us. Thank you Amy, Jared & Idalia so very much!


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