Saturday, June 11, 2011

Team Janessa 2011

I tend to do these March For Babies posts late. Both years I have had to wait for the MOD to post the team pics up on their website. We bring a camera but for some reason we never seem to get a team pic with ALL the team members in it. There are always a few that sneak off to the bathroom!

We had another AMAZING turnout with both team members and donations. We had 45 team members make it to the walk and together we raised $3,035.00! We surpassed last year's total by $510.00!

Thank you to everyone for your support. Doing this in Janessa's name means so much to us. The money we raised will possibly prevent another family or families from experiencing the death of their child(ren). To spare a family the pain we carry, I would walk endless miles.

My friend Amy came the day before to help me do all the last minute preparations. She was such a huge help and I appreciate everything she did.

We did up some new shirts this year. Jonathan needed a new one and so did JD, as well as all the new team members that joined. We even had a surprise team member or two show up at the walk. This time we made her footprints her original size, added the pregnancy and infant loss awareness ribbon, and on the front of the shirt put her Butterfly Footprints.

JD wearing his big sis' team shirt
We made up buttons this year for the family and anyone else who wanted one to wear. I brought the extra ribbons from her one year memorial service to pin on as well.

My cousin, Jen, surprised us by having bracelets made up for all the team members. They have her name on it as well as white butterflies. Each time I see a white butterfly I think of Janessa. She only wore two outfits and both were white. The symbolism of the butterfly is why I created Butterfly Footprints. The bracelets also happen to be the color of the March For Babies.

The weather was slighlty better than last year. We are hoping that we will get lucky one year with sunshine! It would be nice to take it a bit slower and be able to take in the day for what it is. A day to help all babies have a chance at life and a day to pay special remembrance to our baby girl.

The place we walk is very nice. There are three different location MOD walks in our state and we choose this one. Last year we had many of our team members express how much they enjoyed it. This year quite a few members inquired to us about whether or not we were doing it in the same spot and we're glad we chose to do so. This will probably be the location we use each year.

 As you complete the walk they hand you a sticker and when JJ approaced the finish line, the gentleman asked him who he was walking for. JJ told him that it was for his sister Janessa. The man then asked if she was here. JJ told him "No, she is in heaven." That volunteer gave JJ both a sticker for him and one for Janessa. He has it in a bag ready to bring it to the cemetery for her.

Riding three miles in a stroller really works up your appetite.

Miss Mikhaila here was due one month after Janessa.
Isn't she a doll?

And wipes you out.


We did a small balloon release before we left the park. We wrote some messages to her on the balloons. Thank you Kim for bringing those for us.

After the walk, some of the team joined us for lunch. It was nice to spend some time with them.

I remember sitting at my computer the morning of the day before the walk. I checked the team page and the emotions took over me. I sat and I sobbed. I was so touched by the generosity that our friends and family were doing in Janessa's name.

Her life may have been brief but she continues to impact this world.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

I was going to write a post going over the play by play of my most recent doctor visit with my new primary care physician. Instead I am pasting the letter I wrote to her. I get sick to my stomach each time her words replay in my head. You will all get the main idea of my unbelievably awful experience.

I am unsure why I have such bad luck with doctors. I had such a horrible experience with my previous primary care doc right after Janessa died. (You can read here) I wish my high risk ob could be my one and only doctor so I could spare myself these encounters.

I hope my next doctor works out.

Below is the letter with only a few small changes of personal information.

June 4, 2011

Dr. X,

After I left your office on Friday and had time to sit with my experience with you, I knew I had two things to do. First was to switch primary care doctors and second was to write this letter. The visit to your office on June 3rd, was a horrible experience and one I do not wish to repeat.

I understand you have never experienced the death of your child and unless you have carried a child, loved that child, and then had to bury that child, you couldn’t possibly understand. I would not wish that on any parent. What I would wish for everyone, is to possess some compassion. Something you seem void of. I understand as a doctor you have learned to separate your emotions from your work. I agree in some cases that it is necessary. I also believe there is a time to call upon your human emotions while dealing with your patients.

While expressing my struggle with anxiety and the death of my daughter with you, I teared up. It has been only two years since our little girl passed and I still experience moments of sadness and grief. Her two year anniversary was only two weeks ago and emotions are currently raw. Telling me I should have only grieved for one year was insulting to me and would be to any loving parent. You may have read in some text book somewhere about a one year grief timeline but the pain and grief of losing a child does not have a time limit. We did not wake up on the day after her one year anniversary and suddenly feel healed. Grief does not work on a schedule or have a cookie cutter mold.

Grief is not something I enjoy. I wish she had not died and was here with her family, but she did and that is a part of me forever. The grief will ease on its own timeline, not mine - or yours. It has already eased some and I am sure it will continue to do so as the years go on. I am NOT having a “prolonged grief reaction” as you stated. My reaction is a perfectly natural response to loss of a child. Her death was unnatural,  and losing a child is traumatic. The bond between parent and child is unlike any other. It is completely unrealistic to think that losing a child is so easy to “get over”. You never get over it. You grieve, you deal, you accept what has happened and it becomes intertwined into your life, for the rest of your life. I think about my daughter each and everyday and will do so my entire life.

I have worked hard on my grief. I succumb to it and worked through it to be at the place I am today. I raise my two boys and function daily. I feel joy each day. I have learned to enjoy life again. Not quite like before but I am sure that will return in time as well. Grief does still sneak in but how can it not? That is normal. One of our children is not here with us. Feeling sad about the death of a child only two years later is NOT abnormal as you seem to think it is. In fact I will grieve the loss of my daughter my entire life. That won't change. Only how I grieve will.

When you told me, “It is time your new baby starts erasing your pain.” I was appalled. He has filled our lives with additional joy but he did not come here with a job. We did not bring him into our family to rid us of grief. We had him to join our family. To share our love with. Not be a cure or eraser of our pain. To have him be born with a “job” would be extremely selfish of us.

I was also insulted at your suggestion we adopt a little girl so we could have a girl in the family. I would not adopt a little girl to replace our daughter. I could never imagine putting a little girl in such a position. The thought of having her grow up and learn about her sister’s death and think she was there to fill some void breaks my heart. Imagine how she would feel. Another little girl would not be a fix to our daughter’s death. Children are not replaceable and should not be adopted to fulfill a purpose imposed on by their parents. They should be adopted because you want to open your heart and share your love and family with them.


Maybe you should do some research on the process of grief. Educate yourself in an area you seem to have little understanding or compassion of. Possibly brush up on your mental health information as well.

I hope this letter wakes you up to your poor bedside manner. I hope that you think about your words before they exit your mouth. I hope you can dig down deep and pull out some empathy when the situation calls for some and help you fulfill the oath you took to heal. What my biggest wish is for, is to possibly spare another grieving parent the additional pain you have caused me.

- Malory
Grief, the most profound form of sorrow,

demands the support and compassion
of our fellow human beings"
-Alan D Wolfelt

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