Infant & Child Memorial Service – June 13

Please join us on Sat., June 13, 2015 for the Infant & Child Memorial Service & Teddy Bear Tea at St. Matthew’s Parish - 16079 88 Ave., Surrey, BC (Canada).

TeddyBears

Shutterstock image

The Memorial Mass will start at 5:30 pm and the “Teddy Bear” Tea & Social hosted by St. Matthew’s Parish, Elizabeth Ministry and CWL will follow..  ALL are welcome, including children.

Please. email Ann, Elizabeth Minister at St. Matthew’s R.C. Parish annamsing@yahoo.com for more information.

Light of Life LLoH
“Light of Life” by Libby Dulac

Prayers will be included for parents & family members who wish to celebrate and honour the lives of children gone-too-soon, including toddlers and infants, as well as babies who have died during birth and pre-born babies lost during pregnancy.

*If anyone is interested in bringing snacks to share, that would be much appreciated!

Infant & Child Memorial Mass June 1

Please join us on Sun., June 1, 2014 for the Infant & Child Memorial Service & Teddy Bear Tea at St. Matthew’s Parish - 16079 88 Ave., Surrey, BC (Canada).

TeddyBears

Shutterstock image

The Memorial Mass will start at 2:00 pm and the “Teddy Bear” Tea & Social hosted by St. Matthew’s Parish, Elizabeth Ministry and CWL will follow..  ALL are welcome, including children.

Please. email Ann, Elizabeth Minister at St. Matthew’s R.C. Parish annamsing@yahoo.com for more information.

Light of Life LLoH

“Light of Life” by Libby Dulac

Prayers will be included for parents & family members who wish to celebrate and honour the lives of children gone-too-soon, including toddlers and infants, as well as babies who have died during birth and pre-born babies lost during pregnancy.

*If anyone is interested in bringing snacks to share, that would be much appreciated!

Click here for more information about past Infant & Child Remembrance Services.

Retrouvaille Vancouver – A Lifeline for Marriages

Sometimes when couples suffer the loss of an infant or child, their marriage can also suffer.  Retrouvaille is a “lifeline for marriages” that are in trouble.  I have personally met a number of couples who thought their marriages were over until they decided to participate in the Retrouvaille program.

Here is information on upcoming weekends:

With the pressures and demands of modern life and too little time, personal
relationships are often taken for granted. It is easy to forget that strong relationships
take work. Before we realize it, we have drifted apart and the gulf between us seems
insurmountable.
Sometimes married couples even experience what seem like irreparable crises:
indifference, hatred, infidelity, abuse, addiction, separation. They may think that there
is no hope for their marriage, and believe that the only way out of their misery is
DIVORCE.
We are here to tell you that there is hope. 
There is a better, more constructive way out of what seems like a hopeless situation. If
you can find the willingness to try repairing your marriage, Retrouvaille can help you
put the pieces back together and rebuild the loving relationship you once had – even
make it better than ever! The Retrouvaille program consists of one weekend and six
follow-ups. The couples who present the program are all volunteers who have
experienced the recovery of their own marriages through Retrouvaille.
There are Retrouvaille programs commencing 
the weekend of April 25 – 27, 2014 in the Lower Mainland 
and the weekend of May 9 – 11, 2014 on Vancouver Island. 
For more information about this transformational Catholic peer ministry,
visit www.retrouvaille.org or www.retrouvaillevancouver.com,
email Vancouverbc(at)retrouvaille.org, or call 60(four)-530-671(zero)

Owen’s Story – Infant Loss & Hope Amidst Heartache

I’ve known Owen’s mom for a couple of years now and we met because someone we both knew thought it could be a potentially healing experience for us to share our stories with one another.  I feel blessed to have people in my life who are willing to journey with me and who understand that our children are a gift from God to be loved and cherished, even after they have gone to heaven. 

There are many kinds of infant losses which are unexpected and sudden such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and SIDS for example.  But what if you were told by a medical expert that the miracle baby growing inside of you would surely die? 

“I listened as a stranger told us that our baby would soon die.  Listened as a stranger told us that we would have, at most, a few minutes or hours to hold our baby alive. But that far more likely, we would lose our child long before birth. That our beloved son was likely never to grow, and not to survive the length of my pregnancy. That we could lose our precious baby any day”.  (Owen’s mom)

When I first read the story of this little boy’s short life, I was moved to tears and knew that it deserved to be shared.  I will let this babylost mom tell you in her own words about how her and her husband loved their son letting God decide when it was time for him to go.  Owen’s life matters and has meaning and his story begins like this…

By The Brightness After Rain

My life is not what I ever imagined it would be. It is true that there has been far more pain than I ever could have fathomed. But that pain, though always present, rests now in the shadow of something far greater. That pain now resides in a quiet place, surrounded by blessing and beauty far beyond anything I’ve ever dreamed of. My life has been transformed completely – not into the life I once hoped for, but into one so much fuller and richer and deeper. And that gift of transformation and beauty has been given to me and to my little family by just one tiny person. Our precious newborn son Owen.  God’s perfect, transforming gift.

To read Owen’s full story, please click here.

Prayers for Maeve

This post on Carly Marie’s blog is truly inspiring.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Maeve and her twin daughters Aibhlinn and Caoimhe.

Carly Marie shares Maeve’s story on her blog and writes:

The memorial service for Aibhlinn and Caoimhe will be held this Saturday July 16th, 42 years and 3 months after they passed away. If you have a moment on Saturday, please send out some love and a prayer for Maeve.

It is never too late to name your babies.

It is never too late to hold a memorial service for them.

To all those who may be reading, who never named your babies or held a memorial service for them, we hope this story inspires you and helps you on your road to healing.

Thank you Carly for posting this and for encouraging moms and dads around the world with your beautiful words and projects.

Infant Bereavement Workshop May 30th – Details

If you know of anyone who might benefit from attending this session, please let them know!

HOPE & HEALING
AFTER THE LOSS OF AN INFANT OR YOUNG CHILD
 
Mon., May 30th 6:30pm – 9:30pm 

St. Nicholas Church – 20675 87th Ave., Langley (Walnut Grove), BC

SPEAKERS:  Denis E. Boyd, MA, Registered Psychologist & Donna L. Crombie, BA

This workshop is for those grieving the loss of a younger child, infant or baby who has died at birth, or during pregnancy as a result of stillbirth or miscarriage.  It is also geared towards caregivers and volunteers dedicated to supporting these families. 

Hear from an experienced therapist who works with bereaved families and a parent who will share her faith-based journey in search of hope and healing after the loss of her baby.  Discuss healthy ways to work through the grief process and ideas on how to honour your child.  You are not alone…meet others who understand what it is like to love and miss a little one.

Denis Boyd has been providing counselling for over 30 years.  He has special interest in assisting individuals and couples in areas such as grief, stress and marriage.  Donna is a Babylost Mom and coordinates events and workshops to help support bereaved families.Discuss ways to work through the grief process and ideas on how to honour your child.  You are not alone…meet others who understand what it is like to love and miss a little one.    
 
Who might be interested in attending?  Parents, adult family members and friends.  Professionals and volunteers who support bereaved families after the loss of a young life are also encouraged to attend.  Note that caregivers will be given the opportunity to hear first-hand the kind of support bereaved families need, as well as share ideas with one another in a group setting.  

Topics that will be covered include the following: 


·        Grieving a baby, infant or child
·        You mean I’m not going crazy?
·        Dealing with potential abandonment by friends & family
·        Healthy and unhealthy grief reactions
·        Differing grief patterns e.g. why does my spouse not understand? 
·        Coping strategies and getting better
 
Surviving the Loss of a Baby:  A story of Faith, Hope and Healing
 
·        The roller coaster ride of grief
·        Finding grace in grief
·        Towards hope
·        Healing as an ongoing process
·        Once a mom always a mom…where do I go from here?

Interactive Discussion & Group Work
 
·        Coping through ‘angelversaries’ and other significant dates
·        What has helped or hindered in the recovery after a loss whether it was an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant death, SIDS or the death of a child 3 +
·        Honouring and remembering your child
·        Effective strategies and resources to support help bereaved families

Cost:  $30/person or 2 tickets for $55.  After May 16th – $35/person or 2 tickets for $65.  Partial proceeds will be donated to organizations that support bereaved parents.

REGISTRATION

Pls. call: Denis Boyd & Associates at 604.931.7(two)11 to pre-register.  Email:  info(at)littlelightofheaven.com for more info.

The Birth of Our Little Saint into Heaven

Featured

My Faithful Search for a Doula

The Difference Sandy Made in Healing My Heart 

Excerpts published in “The Doula Spirit” Summer issue 2009 (printed with permission).

~ In Loving Memory of Baby Keaton, born into Eternal Life January, 2009 ~  

After being forced to wait for nine years, our miracle child was due January 19th 2009.  At first, I wasn’t sure about having a Doula at our birth; however, the more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea.  We were scheduled to deliver at the hospital, and it made sense to have someone else there to consistently support me and my husband as we were both ‘hospital-phobic’. 

We only had a handful of pre-natal classes left, and the instructor talked about the benefits of having a Doula, and I also just purchased a fabulous book, “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.”  After watching a few more birthing videos in class, and seeing how much support a birthing coach can provide, I now knew that hiring a Doula was the right decision.  It was already December, and baby was due to arrive just over a month later.  We realized that we made up our minds a little late, and securing someone for January was going to be nothing short of a miracle. 

In my heart I knew that for me to be completely comfortable, I wanted our Doula to be Christian, and if possible, Catholic.  Why?  I knew that I would likely be praying between contractions, and wanted my birthing coach to pray along with me, just in case I forgot the words!  I planned to have my rosary close at hand…

I went to the Doula Services Association website, said a quick prayer, and started my research.  I was specifically looking for practitioners that had web sites so I could narrow my search efficiently.  A few Doulas had dedicated email addresses thereby indicating that a related web site existed, and one of them was Sandy Lopez.  I was pleased to find that her web site handmaidendoula.com featured the tagline “One of God’s greatest gifts is motherhood.”  It is truly a gift that I was blessed to be a mother after having to wait for so long.  It turns out, Sandy was of the same faith, and after meeting with her several times, and speaking to her references, I was able to put my mind at ease.  In more ways than one, I am so glad that we chose Sandy as our Birthing Coach.       

Four days before our due date, I went into labour.  After my water broke, and between the contractions which were now only 10 minutes apart, I felt concerned and tried to connect with our baby.  “Talk to mommy!” I urged our son or daughter while rubbing my tummy.  Throughout the pregnancy, I would often ask our little one to “talk” to me.  Usually without fail, I got an answer within minutes and “Doodle Monkey” would respond with many kicks and jabs, but not this time.  At 1am in the morning, we sped to the hospital as contractions were down to about 6 minutes apart.  I felt in the pit of my stomach that something was terribly wrong.  “Please let our baby be ok…” I kept whispering under my breath.

When we finally got into the assessment room, the Nurses tried to find the baby’s heartbeat.  They searched and searched, but still could not find it.  I had heard the sweet and familiar “whoosh-whoosh-whoosh” sound of our child’s heart at the doctor’s office just two days before.  Pointing to the lower left-side of my bulging belly, I tried to be calm, and explained “the baby’s heartbeat is always right here!” and asked that the Nurses please check again.  I didn’t like the grave looks that they had on their faces.  An ultrasound wand was then placed on my stomach, but they could not detect any movement either.  After hearing this, I told my husband to call my parents right away and asked them all to pray.  I also urged him to call Sandy our Doula for her to come to the hospital.  My husband took my hand, made his best attempt at a smile, and reassured me that they were on their way…

I was now motivated to deliver our baby quickly so that the medical staff could do whatever was needed to save our son or daughter.  After only 45 minutes of hard labour, with Sandy and my mom at our side, our baby boy was born, but it was too late.  Our precious son had gently passed away only hours before his birth.  It turns out, he had his fist wrapped around his umbilical cord, and cut off his own circulation.  There was nothing the medical staff or I could have done to save him.  We were all devastated and it was clear that everyone in the room was shaken.   

The doctor gently wrapped our son up in a towel, and carefully placed him in my arms.  He was absolutely beautiful, and just looked like he was sound asleep.  Our son was born with such a peaceful look on his face; his lips formed a cute little smile reassuring us that he was happy, and that he had already soared to heaven.  I cannot even begin to describe how I felt as I cradled my son’s lifeless body for many, many hours.  I wasn’t at all ready to let my newborn go…We named our little angel “Keaton Dominic” and miss him terribly. 

 
 

Our baby boy at peace

 

We will always love and miss Keaton; however, we have not lost faith.  We were sent many caring people like Sandy to help us get through such a shocking, and difficult time.  It may be hard to believe, but I am at peace with Keaton’s death.  I know my son is in heaven which means he is being taken care of, and is very happy. 

I experienced firsthand the positive way in which birthing attendants can impact the healing process.  There are many things that Sandy did which helped us bond with, and take care of our newborn.  It was Sandy who prompted to us create meaningful memories by taking pictures of Keaton, suggesting that we unwrap, and take a good look at our son, and to dress him.  I have now come to realize how significant these gestures of love are in the grieving, and healing process.  The following letter I wrote to Sandy provides a clearer picture of what I mean: 

March 9, 2009

Dear Sandy,

It was great speaking with you today, thank you for all your encouragement, and support as well as your prayers.  As I mentioned, you were an important part of our pregnancy, and an integral part of the memories of Keaton that we now have to cherish.  As you know, we were in complete shock when I delivered our precious son; we likely would not have done some important things that I am so grateful to have done because of you.   Much of this precious time was a blur, but the suggestions that you made to us at the time have made all the difference in our healing. 

For example, I was afraid to even fully take a look at Keaton at first, but I am now glad you mentioned this, and encouraged me to do so.  We also weren’t sure if we wanted photos, and my hands were too weak to dress him myself…Looking back, I would have been heartbroken if I did not have those initial photos to remember Keaton by, cry over, and smile at.  I yearn for the chance to see, and hold my baby boy again which I cannot do until we meet him again in heaven.  The pictures you took are the only ones we have where I was cradling him.  I am afraid that had you not been there, I would have kept Keaton all wrapped up.  Thank you for suggesting that it was alright to take a look, and to dress him.  I have read other parents’ stories of how they were not given the opportunity to bond with their baby.  It is now tragically too late for them to do these important things that I was able to do.  

We are also very thankful for the care that we received from the Doctors, Nurses and Social Workers and we wish to help support them when they care for parents like us.  As a result of our experience, I am planning to create a short resource sheet meant for hospital staff to provide to patients.  This letter is specifically meant for future parents who have lost a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or shortly after birth.  If you have any suggestions that might help, I welcome your thoughts, and value your professional opinion.   I am working on this as I strongly feel a calling to do so in memory of Keaton’s beautiful life.    

I look forward to meeting with you again, to share our experiences and to hear in detail how you helped us deliver our blessed little angel into God’s hands.  I appreciate your offer to write down our birth story.  I hope this is not too much to ask…

If you have any thoughts or suggestions for us please let us know.  We will try to conceive another miracle child, and will be certain to give you a call as soon as we find out we are pregnant, but will give ourselves time to grieve our first born in a healthy manner before doing so.  We greatly respect you, and your experience, and we are so fortunate that God lead us to a Catholic Doula who shares our faith.  We will ask little Keaton to pray for you, and your family, and to also look over all the other mothers, fathers, and the babies that you help deliver.  Thank you again Sandy!

Peace & hugs

Keaton’s Mommy & Daddy

~~

Additional Note:  To find a Certified Doula, visit Doula International and you can do a search by location and area of specialty.  In BC Canada, visit the Doula Services Association of BC where you can also do an online search.

Goodnight Sweetheart…Prayer for Our Baby In Heaven

We started teaching our son prayers in utero and are grateful that we did!  From the very first day we were given the news that our baby existed, we spoke to, and prayed with our tiny Sweetheart. 

Throughout our pregnancy, I wrote letters to our little one, and then shared them afterwards with his Daddy.  Instinctively, these little notes often included a prayer.  Our day always ended with night prayers together as a family; “let’s pray baby!” we would say.  In our hearts, we knew our baby was listening no matter how small he or she happened to be. 

The following prayer is included in a book called A Treasury of Prayers (2010) which is published by the Parishioners of Saint Nicholas Roman Catholic Church.  We submitted this in honour of Keaton and to perhaps inspire others to remember their little ones when they pray.  

It brings us a lot of comfort knowing that although Keaton is no longer in our arms, we are still able to pray as a family each and every day, just like we did when we were pregnant and expecting the arrival of our first born.  We have faith that as we hold hands in prayer here on earth, our son also joins us with praises from heaven. 

Goodnight sweetheart, we love you…     

PRAYER FOR OUR BABY

Dearest Little One, may our Heavenly Father bless and protect you, keeping you safe wherever you may go.  Mommy and Daddy love you very much and always will.  We are so thankful to be given the gift of life from God, our Creator.  Pray my child, that Jesus will cradle you in His arms as you continue to grow in His peace and love.  May you be nourished spiritually by this love, remembering that our love for you is also never-ending.  We joyfully anticipate the day when we will be able to see you face to face, look into your innocent eyes and hold you in our arms together.  Amen