Baby Loss Memory Boxes

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SPONSOR A BABY LOSS BEAR or MEMORY BOX or MISCARRIAGE GIFT BAG :
Gladly accepting any amount, however a $20 donation
is asked to sponsor a Memory Box in memory of a child.
I also offer Baby Loss Bears and Miscarriage Gift Bags.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

It’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally put together information about the baby loss memory boxes I’ve been making in memory of my children in Heaven. Many have been asking for details so here they are! I’m excited to share this with you.

I don’t have the words to fully explain what it’s like to give birth to three beautiful children and watch them die in your arms. Mommy misses you Alice, Elliot and Alexis. This is a pain nobody should have to endure and yet too many do. Although I received some of the most beautiful clothes and blankets for my children (thank you Threads of Love) not everyone is blessed with these gifts for their children. I’m forever grateful for what I received yet after meeting other loss parents I realized that there were so many resources that could have helped me during the most painful time of my life. I wanted to give back in memory of Alice, Elliot and Alexis and try to fill the empty arms of other parents leaving that silent hospital room.

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It started with five bags donated on my triplets’ first birthday. I knit a blanket for each similar to the one I had received. I added some soft kleenex, a candle and a few beautiful loss books. Months later I found a sale on photo boxes at Michaels. I had purchased a similar box for my babies’ keepsakes before their funeral. I filled my cart with boxes. I stumbled upon some beautiful ceramic birds and had to have them. I added ribbon, stickers, flower seeds, photo albums and candles to my cart and checked out of the store that day with a mission and hope that I could help another grieving heart.

I started building my boxes and was blessed with help from my friends at church. We gathered one evening and put them all together with love and prayer for each life that those boxes represented. I was able to include the loss book Empty Arms thanks to a donation from author Sherokee Ilse (thank you!). I donated fifteen boxes (including several for multiples like my children) to the hospital where my babies were delivered in time for the one year anniversary of their due date.

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Months later I kept knitting and gathering supplies for more boxes. My sister-in-law Amy graciously offered to make flannel blankets and purchased many of the supplies for the next donation. I came across a video that another beautiful loss mom, Carly Marie from Australia made to show how she makes her memory boxes. Feel free to watch if you’re interested in doing this in your area! She had moisturizer on her list of items to include. What a beautiful idea to have a scent connected with the memory of your child (for me it’s the soap my dear friend had given me for the hospital room while I was on bed rest).

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I reached out to Emilie, creator of Baby Loving Mama and JOHNSON’S® BABY CARES Council member. She contacted Johnson & Johnson with a request for small lotion bottles in their lavender scent. I was so honored to learn that they’d be willing to send a donation for my memory boxes!

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Not only did they send small lotion bottles, they sent some of their disposable washcloths. I didn’t feel like they were quite right for my boxes so I had the opportunity to donate them to our local Lutheran Social Services Crisis Nursery here in Duluth, MN.

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The LSS Crisis Nursery is an early intervention service committed to keeping children safe by providing support services to families and emergency care for children during times of family crisis.

Thank you to all of the family and friends who have helped me put these memory boxes together. Thank you Johnson & Johnson for giving the gift of a beautiful scent to the memories of these grieving parents. I hope you’ll consider continuing this beautiful gift in the future.

Make A Difference : How You Can Help

Tax Deductible Donations:

Have you suffered the devastating loss of a child? I’m so sorry if you have. If you’re able to give $20 (or more), I’d be honored to create a memory box to be donated in memory of a child/ren you’ve lost. Consider making a donation below with a simple click and include the name of your child in the notes. Lindsey Henke from Stillborn and Still Breathing sponsored the beautiful box below for her daughter Nora and even sent a hand written card to be included in the box.

SPONSOR A BABY LOSS BEAR or MEMORY BOX or MISCARRIAGE GIFT BAG :
Gladly accepting any amount, however a $20 donation
is asked to sponsor a Memory Box in memory of a child.
I also offer Baby Loss Bears and Miscarriage Gift Bags.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

BlessedWithMore_MemoryBox

This project is fiscally sponsored by Star Legacy Foundation (a non-profit dedicated to stillbirth research and education) and your donations are tax deductible! I’m hoping to include grief resource books in the future if you’re willing to consider a larger donation for this. Of course if you’re more of a hands-on person you can make some memory boxes of your own and contact your local hospital to drop them off. It’s been a beautifully healing process for me.

Materials Donations:

If you’re in touch with other sponsors (such as the Johnson & Johnson lotion) who might be willing to donate materials or items for these boxes please contact me. I’m also looking for the following items to be included in boxes. Each box is unique but please consider buying in quantities.

  • Good quality photo boxes (I buy mine at Michaels and try to chose a beautiful pattern appropriate for loss. I love the butterflies!)
  • Hand knit/crocheted baby blankets, hats and burial gowns of varying sizes from about 20 weeks to full term (Here is more information from Star Legacy as well as premie sizing and some patterns.) Keep them soft and flexible fabric/yarn. Consider a stretchy or rolled/folded edge on hats so they can be adjusted easily. Gender specific/neutral colors are welcome.
  • Flannel blankets. These can be either store bought or hand sewn. I include as small as 17″x17″ up to full term size. Keep them soft and thin so they can be swaddled and folded if necessary. Please keep fabrics appropriate with small patterns and soft colors so they don’t distract from baby in pictures. Remember this is likely the only item they’ll be photographed in apart from a gown.
  • Sturdy ceramic birds, wooden butterflies/dragonflies or memorial items such as angels.
  • Soothing or unscented candles. Please keep them votive size if possible and enclose in a plastic bag if shipping with fabrics.
  • Forget-me-not flower seed packets. *We’re heading into the winter months and I’m having trouble finding these right now.
  • Small photo albums to encourage families to take pictures.
  • Small stuffed animal.
  • Small soothing lotion.

Please contact me here if you’re able to make a materials donation of any kind.

Remember Your Hospitals:

I fully recognize this is about more than my children and the hospitals in my area. If you’re feeling inspired and want to give back, find a group of friends and consider doing this for a hospital near you! It’s often the smallest gifts that mean the most.

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Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. All thoughts remain my own. To read more about Emilie and Johnson’s Baby Cares council visit her blog Baby Loving Mama.

Alice Mae: An Angel Tale

Some of you know that I’ve had the opportunity to write for a mommy blog (Baby Loving Mama) and recently I reviewed an online source for fully customizable children’s books. None of the prewritten stories made sense for my little ones but the great thing about Trueberry Books is the fact that I could write my OWN story. (See Baby Loving Mama for the review and a chance to win your own Trueberry Book for a limited time only.)

Trueberry books’ beautiful little fairy was the perfect inspiration for the story I wrote (with the helpful editing eyes of my mom) about my little angel baby Alice Mae. I thought I’d share it with you!

I’m hoping it will help us talk about the babies with Nora now and as she gets older. Lately she’s been playing pretend and one of her pretend “friends” has been named Alice. It makes me smile.

All illustrations are ©Leyla Akdogan and Trueberry Books. All text is ©Janelle Wourms. Please respect these copyrights but feel free to share this post with your friends or others who have lost a child. Maybe this is a way that you could remember your little one as well?

(click on images to see them larger)

Alice Mae: An Angel Tale
By Janelle Wourms
Illustrated by Leyla Akdogan via Trueberry Books

In Heaven lives an angel.
Her name is Alice Mae.
Her family loves her oh so much
but watched her fly away.

When God made little Alice,
He knew she’d never run.
Now she’s flying in the warmth
of the evening’s setting sun.

He took her broken back and legs
and gave her wings instead.
She paints the sky with sunsets
while you rest your weary head.

She helps Heaven’s little children
send encouragement below,
back to saddened loves ones
who miss their babies so.

Alice Mae loves to teach
new angels how to fly.
She shows them how
to spread their wings
with a twinkle in her eye.

She paints the skies at sunset
and makes bubbles on the beach.
She flies above the water
leaving clouds of orange and peach.

When Alice misses loved ones
she sends joy from up above.
Butterflies, birds and dragonflies
help Alice show her love.

Playing hide and seek all day
is always so much fun.
Alexis counted up to ten,
now Elliot better run!

Alice Mae loves to play,
especially pretend.
“Won’t you come and join us now?
Remember, bring a friend!”

What fun to run in the grass
or playing in the sand.
Alice, Alexis and Elliot
always hand in hand.

Looking over her sister
at the end of every day.
Alice waits for bedtime stories
and joins us when we pray.

Happily ever after
is in Heaven up above,
forever spreading joy
and sharing God’s true love.

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 21

Day 21. Altar/Shrine/Sacred Space Share a photo of your special place in your home/garden for your baby/ies/child/ren.

My thoughts: I don’t know if I necessarily have a sacred place. Maybe their burial area will eventually feel that way to me. For now their ashes live here (they’re box is behind the picture frame in this photo). I have my trio of candles and the peace lily from my grandma’s funeral where I put the three little dragonfly garden decorations. I see them every day. I tried to hide this photo after the funeral but my daughter wouldn’t let me put it in the box, “No mommy we need to see the babies!” It ripped my heart out at first. I dodged this area with my eyes every day. Now I look at it with pain but mixed with joy. I can look at their features instead of just the pain they represent in the hole in my heart. I pause here daily. They are beautiful and perfect in every way and I’m thankful for this place in my home – the center of my home. This is the first time I’m sharing their picture and I do it with slight hesitation. The world wide web is a dangerous place at times so I post this with prayers that this image is respected to every extent possible. I share it with hopes that people can see how perfect they are and love them with us. (We love you Alexis Marie, Elliot Nathan, and Alice Mae Wourms).

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 20

Day 20. Charity/Organization Share your favourite charity or organization that has touched your heart on this road of grief. If you don’t have a photograph to share, just simply post the link to their website!

My thoughts: I have two organizations that have meant the world to me. The first is called Threads of Love. This is the group who made the beautifully handmade, perfect little gowns and bonnets for my babies. They also each had a flannel blanket and a hand knit blanket. I don’t know if those are from this group or if the nurses just added those for us. I can’t even put into words what these things mean to us. They are all I have that they touched and wore. I’ve typed this sentence three times and I just can’t put it into words. So I won’t try. They are priceless to me and I struggled washing them. I’m thankful for the love and care my mom took washing and pressing them – and for my dad’s phone call to remind me to ask for them from the funeral home. I plan to donate some of the money from the funeral to this organization. If you’d like to give as well there is a link on the site here. Please donate in their memory.

The second organization that has meant the world to me is CarlyMarie’s Project Heal names in the sand. The woman who hosted this conversation/inspiration blessed me with each baby’s name written in the sand at sunset and I cherish them as well. I made the print above for a canvas wrap and it’s on my bedroom wall. I love seeing their names together.

SIX YEARS AGO TODAY: Post ectopic surgery. Another friend’s wedding. Another bridesmaid dress taken out and still too small post-surgery. Thankful for the groom’s father who ordered the ushers to help me throughout the day. I sat through most of the ceremony and reception.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY = 7 weeks pregnant: Second ultrasound and meeting with the perinatologist. We refused selective reduction and she said this to us, “It would be terribly sad for you to lose these babies before 24 weeks (there’s a 15-30% chance of natural miscarriage up to 24 weeks which is the point of possible survivability for babies), but if they were born between 24-28 weeks and survived, you’d have 3 very sick babies to take care of for the rest of your life. Not one sick baby. Three.”

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 19

Day 19. Project Have you worked on any projects inspired by your loss? They could be anything from an art project to organizing memory boxes for a hospital. If you have not yet done a project you could share something that you would like to work on.

My thoughts: Today I ordered three little lamb blankets and a willow tree ornament for a woman who delivered triplets at MAYO – and lost one of her baby girls. She had GBG triplets as I did. She delivered where I would have if we had made it one week longer. It just felt right to reach out. God’s taught me to listen to those nudging words in my head and act instead of sitting on them. I pray it brings another grieving family peace and a moment of comfort. I want to do more but need to listen to my heart as we walk this instead of carrying a burden to do things that are still too hard for me. Someday.

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 18

Day 18. Your Family Portrait Take a photo of you with your family, work out a way to incorporate your baby/ies/child/ren who are no longer physically with you anymore. You could hold up photos of them or even just hold their names with you. What does your family look like now? Is it just you left here? Do you have a large family? Is it just you and your partner?

My thoughts: This picture was taken right after the funeral. I wanted a picture of our family that day even though it felt wrong to smile at this moment. I wanted to find joy for Nora that day. She is a reminder of all that we are thankful for in the gifts God has given us even in the midst of such pain. One little lamb for each of them.

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 17

Day 17. Anniversary/Birthday/Due Dates Share a photo of what you did for your baby/ies/child/rens special day. Did you hide away in bed? Did you have a cake? Did you have a party? What did you do?

My thoughts: Their due date, June 8th, was a hard day for me this year but not as I expected it to be at all. We had thought about burying them this day but it just didn’t evolve that way and looking back I’m ok with that. Instead I was in Rochester, MN at my brother’s house enjoying the summer sun with family. Nate wasn’t able to join me so it felt a little odd that day. We filled the day with fun in the water and my daughter, Nora, had SO much fun chasing bubbles. How could a day be sad watching that crazy, little girl? I’m happy I have a picture of pure joy from that day. I went to bed alone that night. A few months after we lost our babies I was feeling panicked about losing the few memories that I had of them. I still feel that way. I asked the family and friends who met them those two days to write a letter to me sharing their memories. To somehow help me put a patchwork of memories together to amount to something MORE than what I could recall. To help me replace the horrible memories I was shoving away with the ways that my children affected others. My mom gave me her letter that day and I read it before bed and cried myself to sleep. Not “ugly crying” as I like to call it. Just silent tears missing them trying to imagine what my children would have looked like at full term. I’m thankful for her memories and the sweet poem that she wrote for them (I love you mom):

Hide and Seek in Heaven
By Jane Neveau

After the three new little ones came

Jesus said, “Who wants to play a game?”

“I do”, “I do”, they were far from meek

“I’ll count” he said, “you hide and I’ll seek.”

Alice Mae ran for the choir loft

She loved to feel the robes so soft

Alexis was off to the director’s stand

She could hide behind and still wave her hand

Elliot loved the drums lively beat

It’s so easy to hide by the base drummer’s feet

Hiding and playing, they lost track of time

Until midst the music, came His call sublime,

“Beloved ——— Beloved ———-!”

“All-e, All-e….. all in Free!!!!”

I love you….. From Grama Jane