Sunday, July 25, 2010

Turning a corner

It has been awhile and I am trying to catch up with everything that has happened.  Things seem to be turning a corner.  I still have my sad moments but they are not taking over my life.  I have started doing some guided meditations for infertility and they seem to be helping, if nothing else, me to relax.  I also went and got one titled "Anger and Forgiveness."  It is helping me let go of some of the anger and resentment that has been taking over my heart for the last year.  We'll see if it really works with time, but I am hopeful.

So, there are some very exciting things that have been happening:

We finished our training to become Foster Care/Adoptive Parents through social services.  We are very excited about the addition of one or more children in our home.  Our goal for each child is to have them leave our home a little bit better than when they arrived, whether it's learning to say please and thank you or being able to make eye contact.  We are so excited to begin this journey!

My trip to DC yeiled some interesting turns of events.  Congressman Rob Wittman's office contacted me about what happened at Langley.  The result was filing a Congressional Inquiry to the Department of the Air Force in DC against Langley.  I don't know what will come of it, but I can only hope some policy changes.  I also made the difficult decision to file a complaint against the doctor's medical license in Virginia.  It took me a long time to come to that decision, but I felt it was the best thing.  She needs to know that her actions were wrong and had deadly consequences.  I know she will have to deal with God in the end, but her attitude and statements in the Patient Care Conference have really upset me and lead me to believe that she hasn't learned any lessons from Savannah or what happened.

I have been working on a summer project!  I am making Bereavment Baskets for Mary Immaculate Hospital, the local Catholic Hospital in Newport News, VA.  These baskets are specifically for those who come to the hospital for a seemingly routine purpose, but receive the same earth shattering news that I received ~ that they will be coming home without their baby.  I have received some donations, but I have a long way to go.  If you know of anyone or any business that would like to donate, please email me.  I would like to have these done by the end of August.

Here is a copy of the ad I made:

I am putting together baskets for Mary Immaculate Hospital to support parents of stillborn or neonatal death. When moms go in to be checked for insignificant things and realize that their baby has passed or has a condition uncompatible with life, their world changes forever. When this happened to me, I received a box with items that had nothing to do with my daughter. There was a pouch for a clipping of her hair that was never used, a resouce list that was not up to date, and nothing special that spoke to me or was meaningful.


Therefore, my goal is to supply MIH with 30 baskets specifically for parents facing an unexpected loss. These baskets will include:

* disposable camera

* handmade baby blanket for parents to keep (donated)

* special onesie

* candle & candle holder

* Forget-Me-Not Seeds

* Teddy Bear

* picture frame

* personalized card

* clay hand & footprint kit

* Remember Me Bear Certificate (donated)

* Certificate of Life

* current list of local and national resources

* autographed book "Hope for Parents Who Have Lost Children" (donated)


If there is anything that you or your company can donate to support this project, it would be greatly appreciated. Each and every day all across the world, parents leave the hospital with empty arms. Please support me in this project to bring a little bit of comfort to those in a time of great sorrow.
Also, I got my Junior League Placement for next year. I am so excited to be on the committee for the Girls of Excellence Program! Here is a little bit about the program:

Through our continued partnership with South Morrison Elementary School, the JLHR hosts events during the school year for 5th grade girls, who are enrolled in the Girls of Excellence program. The events focus on life skills, citizenship, and features the AJLI Kids in the Kitchen program. New this year, a separate women's health educational component for mothers and guardians of Girls of Excellence participants will take place, to allow trained community professionals to provide education around women's health and screenings. The most exciting event of the school year is the cotillion, held at the end of the school year.

So, I think that covers everything that I have been up to so far this summer. We are settling into the new house and getting ready for Jeremy's 3rd Birthday Party next weekend! It should be a great day and we are super excited! I hope that this blog finds you in good health and good spirits.

Until next time,

May 17, 2010 ~ Celebrating Savannah

This Sunday, May 17th, was so much harder on me.  I know her actual Birthday is May 18th.  That's the day I gave birth, but the 17th was a Sunday and that's when we lost her.  So this year, on her 1st Birthday in Heaven, it was fitting that the 17th fell on a Monday and the 18th on a Tuesday.  On that Monday, we decided to have a Birthday Party.  We got a cake for her, new flowers and a special spray that included lots of dollys and ballerinas.  For Jeremy's 1st Birthday, we threw a HUGE party with over 80 people.  We couldn't do that for Savannah.  I mean, who wants to have a party in a cemetary?

We arrived with everything despite the heavy rains.  We had planned a picnic but because of the rain, we opted to eat at the Olive Garden instead.  We headed out and visited with Savannah.  We left the cake we had gotten for her and her new flowers were placed lovingly on her space.  Jeremy was still in the car and with the windows open, we sang Happy Birthday.  Jeremy blew her kisses and it was done.  It was not the fancy HUGE party I had always wanted to throw my daughter, but it was fitting for the situation.

It's so hard because I am still so angry.  I don't understand why this happened or how it happened.  I don't understand why my doctor who is responsible for this gave birth to twins this month and I am here suffering 3 miscarriages following losing Savannah.  Not only is it not fair, but everyone else just gets to go on living their lives and I am here in pain and grief.

May 18, 2010 ~ Savannah's 1st Birthday in Heaven

Today was a very special day.  I travelled up to Washington DC to meet with leaders from the First Candle Organization, among others, in support of a Bill that is in front of Congress in support of Stillbirth Research, Education, and Awareness.  When I was invited to speak, I was honored and I felt very humble.  The date happened to be Savannah's 1st Birthday in Heaven and I could think of no better way to honor her or her life than to share her story and try to make a difference in preventing such a tragedy from happening again.

I left my house around 3AM.  The seminar started with a breakfast meeting at 7:30AM in the Capitol, and it was about a 3 hour drive.  I have only been to DC just a few times before and never by myself.  We had just recently moved to a new home so I was taking a route I have never driven before.  It was mostly rural and there were no major freeways until I got actually into DC.  It was dark and pouring rain when I left the house.

I arrived and was welcomed by everyone involved.  The speakers at the breakfast really opened my eyes about this bill and about so many other issues.  I know quite a bit about Stillbirth, because that was my experience.  However, I was shocked at how little I knew about SUID and SUDC.  SUID stands for Sudden Unexplained Infant Death.  This category includes SIDS and accidental suffocation.  SUDC stands for Sudden Unexplained Death in Children, primarily ages 1-4.  I had no idea that there were over 200 deaths per year in the US in children that were unexplained.  Probably not the best information for an already overprotective mom of a toddler, but I always said with Savannah, I wished I would have known better and I could have saved her life.  I met parents of all of these categories and I was shocked at how there is no collection of data or studies of these statistics in an effort to trace trends and work towards prevention.

Remember the SIDS - Back to Sleep campaign of the early '90s?  The rates of SIDS dropped dramatically within years because someone took the time to do some reasearch, study the statistics, and come up with an easy message to communicate to everyone.  And it worked!  Wouldn't it be great if preventing stillbirth was that easy?

Our large group broke and we met with groups from our State.  Then we were off!  First, we visited with Senator Jim Webb's Office.  It was interesting because right down the hall is Senator John McCain's Office.  I was a HUGE McCain/Palin supporter, and I almost was in shock and I walked past him.  I was so close I literally could have knocked him down.  You would have thought I was a teenager meeting N'Sync or some great movie star.  I had my camera in hand too but I couldn't register until I got into Senator Webb's Office.  I texted my husband and tried to re-focus on the task at hand.  I did peek back out to make sure it was really him.  It was.

The meeting with Senator Webb's office went really well.  I had done some thorough research into Senator Webb and his family.  Interstingly, he has a daughter who is 4, a very cute girl named Georgia.  How tragic to think that even his daughter could fall victim to a totally random statistic of SUDC.  Then we met with Senator Mark Warner's Office.  These meetings were fairly routine.  We talked about the Bill, then told our stories, and emphasized why becoming a co-sponsor was so important.  I tried not to think about how we were meeting with Democrats.  I have thick Republican Blood running through my veins but I had to put all that aside for the greater good of this Bill.

We had lunch and then it was off to meetings with the Congressmen.  We met with around 4 or 5 different offices.  The meeting with my Congressman, Rob Wittman, was the last one of the day.  Wouldn't you know that it was probably the most successful meeting AND I got a photo opp!

As I drove home (quickly so that Eric could make it to work), I thought about the day and all that had been accomplished.  I will never know if my making the journey did anything, but I know it did more than if I had spent the day at home crying in bed.  No matter what day it is or what's going on, I strive to be a good Mommy to Savannah and to make her proud.  She deserves nothing less.  While her death could have easily been prevented, so many others are not.  I just know if we could get this Bill passed, it would be a great start and doesn't everything have to start somewhere?

Please read this link to the Bill and email your Congressman or Congresswoman as well as your Senators and let them know how these issues have impacted your life.  Please urge them to support and co-sponsor this bill.  Every little bit helps make a difference.

Happy Birthday, Savannah.  You are so loved!