Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Babylost Mother's Day

May 2nd is a special day. It is International Babylost Mother's Day. It is a day that recognizes baby lost women as mothers. This is a question that any woman who has lost a baby struggles with....am I still a mother? Baby lost mothers can have a day to celebrate the connection with others who understand our pain, celebrate our children who are now our angels and celebrate the hope for our futures.

Still after all of this time I am often reminded that grief is part of me, part of this mother. It still catches me off guard for no reason. Sometimes the pain is back for a second or it lasts for the whole day. But it is still there deep within my heart. I thought as time went on it would heal this ache within my soul, but it simply is a dull ache that is always there. Just a forever reminder that my little girl isn't here with me. Forever a reminder that I am a baby lost mother.

At least I now have a day to embrace the fact that I am a mother. I am mother with grief in her soul, love in her heart and a baby that is a sweet angel. I have a day that I can still be sad and let grief grab me, because that simply means I loved unconditionally. It simply means that we are all beautiful mothers.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Marching and Bowling for Babies

This weekend Ryan and I are walking with our families in the March of Dimes March for Babies. The March of Dimes helps to give hope to families, like ours, who have babies that are born too soon.  Their mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. 

By walking this weekend and raising money we are helping the March of Dimes do research, offer solutions for babies born early or with birth defects, to educate women on things they can do to increase chances of having a healthy baby, to provide comfort and information to families with a baby in the NICU, and to help push for newborn screenings. We will be walking knowing that we are helping an organization that helps so many babies just like Ella's Halo does.
We also had another board meeting this past week and are working out the details for our own event, Ella's Halo Bowling for Babies. Many things are coming together with donations, sponsors, and guests. We are looking forward to bowling with our families and friends in memory of our little girl in addition to being able to help her friends in the NICU.


If you haven't registered yet for the event on May 15th, visit the events page on http://www.ellashalo.com/ to buy your tickets. If you are interested in sponsoring a lane or donating, please email us at info@ellashalo.com for more information.  Also, if you are coming from out of town, we have a block of rooms reserved at a nearby hotel for a reduced rate.  Contact Marriott Residence Inn Edina at (952) 893-9300 to book your room and don't forget to mention Ella's Halo to get the $75.00 rate. 

We walk for babies and we bowl for babies too! 

Monday, April 19, 2010

News Link

Here is the link from my news interview about donating to the milk bank. 

I just watched it again and it still brings tears to my eyes. The name of the story is called Moms Keep Giving Through Breast Milk Bank; Minnesota moms lost babies, but help feed others.  I have added the story courtesy of Fox 9 News below. 

MINNEAPOLIS - There's a lot of research out there about the importance of breast milk for a baby's early development. In fact, experts say a mother's milk can greatly decrease the risk for illness and other conditions like childhood diabetes.
Studies show breast milk is even more important for premature babies, and that's why two Minnesota moms overcame their own sadness to give a great gift.
Melissa Johnston and her husband welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world on July 17th, 2007. Audrey was precious, but the Johnston's little angel had Trisomy 18 --a rare condition that affects abut one out of every 3,000 births.
"Her life expectancy was a week," Johnston said. "And to have someone tell you that about your child. I can't explain it."
Little Audrey couldn't nurse. Her body was too weak. Still, Melissa Johnston kept pumping and saving her breast milk, hopeful her baby girl could one day tolerate it.
Audrey passed away in her mother's arms just 43 days after she was born.
"After Audrey passed away it was such a roller coaster," Johnston said.
Johnston had a freezer full of milk, and wanted to do something to honor Audrey. The nurses in NICU had told her about a milk bank. It's a first of its kind hospital-based human milk bank at Fairview-Riverside in Minneapolis that opened in 2004.
"It started as a response to a perceived need in the community," said Lora Harding Dundek, manager of Birth and Family Education and Support Services at The Birthplace. "The closest milk bank outside of this area is Iowa City and the next closest is Denver."
To make it easy for the moms, all they have to do, once they've passed the screening process, is bring their milk back here to the hospital. Someone comes down from the milk bank and the moms don't even have to get out of their car.
The milk is packed on dry ice and sent overnight through FedEx to a company in California that processes it and ships it to premature and sick infants across the country.
The milk goes to babies like Ella Jo Krumwiede, born 16 weeks premature and weighing only about a pound. On June 16, 2009, 83 days after she was born, Ella died.
"She had a spirit kind of like mine, but a temper kind of like her dad, I think," her mother, Taryn Krumwiede, said.
Taryn continued to pump even though her little girl couldn't take the milk. When Ella died, Taryn also wanted to keep her baby's memory alive.
 "I knew I couldn't throw it away, I knew I couldn't just let it go," she said. "I knew it was something that would help my baby and I knew it would help other babies."
Hundreds of babies are given a chance at survival all because these moms gave a great gift in a tiny little bottle.
 "It made me fell like I was doing something for other babies and it was a gift to Audrey," Johnston said.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

News Interview

On Thursday afternoon I was interviewed by Marni Hughes from Fox 9 News.  It was very exciting.  I was very nervous but so happy to be able to tell my story about donating Ella's breast milk to the hospital after she passed away. 

Donating milk to the Milk Bank at the hospital was not even a question for me after Ella died.  It was something I knew would help other babies and I knew would help me through the hard weeks after her death.  The need to give back was what kept me going and thus was the driving force behind Ryan and I starting Ella's Halo.  It helped us heal knowing that Ella's memory was living on.

The Fox news team came to our house to interview me. I am sure they got more than they bargined for when they asked me to talk about my baby girl. I could go on and on and I guess that is something us bereaved mothers have in common, the need to share our babies' stories.

It felt good knowing that I was helping to spread the word about a wonderful cause, the Milk Bank.  They help provide breast milk to babies, especially babies in the NICU.  I hope that more mothers like me who have recently lost a baby know that there are ways they can donate in loving memory of their sweet babies.  That giving back helps to heal our sad hearts.

Marni Hughes and Me after the interview

Check out the milk bank website at http://www.milkbanking.net/ and also check out Fox 9 News website at  http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/.  The link for the story hasn't been posted yet but I will update again once it is.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Five Weeks

We are five weeks away from the first Ella's Halo event. On May 15th Ella's memory will be in each and every bowler. We are so excited!

We have been receiving donations for raffle prizes and event and lane sponsorships, and are looking forward to many more in the next five weeks. The countdown is on to see all of these wonderful people who have donated, together under one roof at Park Tavern. It will be so special to see how much our cause means not only to us but to so many others too.

Tickets to our event on May 15th are selling, and there is less than five weeks left to purchase yours (if you haven’t already). We are anxious to see our friends and family bowling together in memory of our sweet little girl. Purchase your tickets online at www.ellashalo.com/Events or email info@ellashalo.com if you plan to pay at the door on May 15th.

Five more weeks until we all come together to help babies and families in the NICUs and Bowl for Babies.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Babies and Bowling

We celebrated Ella’s second Easter, our first without her. I can’t believe a year ago my little girl was just a couple of weeks old. Last year she was struggling to survive and this year we are struggling to survive without her.

This year I finally understand what Easter is all about. As we heard in church on Sunday, God has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus, so that we may walk in a new way of life. After losing Ella our pain and grief brought darkness and sadness but now we have hope for the future, a new way of life in which we will help others. Hopefully Ella’s memory will help other families so that they may walk a new way of life too.

I do not know why God wants any child to die and their parents to live life without them. But I do know that Christians believe that death is not the end. So as hard as it was to lose Ella, there is hope beyond this life. Hope that she is in heaven, that she is still with us watching over as our sweet angel.

So even though our Ella Bunny wasn’t here to be with us in a cute little pink dress on Easter day. Even though she wasn’t getting Easter baskets and candy filled eggs, we know she is still celebrating Easter by helping us find a new way of life. She is with us in building Ella’s Halo.

Finishing 40 days of Lent, we have a new 40 days to look forward to.  40 days until our Ella’s Halo Bowling for Babies. We are working on getting donations for our raffle, sponsorships for our lanes and having people purchase tickets. I never knew how much work, how much preparing and details went into planning an event. But each and every moment is spent with Ella’s memory in mind.

May 15th will be here in 40 days and I know a little girl who will be celebrating in heaven. So happy that so many people are helping a cause that will help her friends in the NICU. A cause that will be helping babies and families find their own hope!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wonderfully Remembered

I thank my God every time I remember you (Philippians 1:3).

We had a wonderful day celebrating Ella’s first birthday. It was a day of happiness, love, peace and remembering. We started the day off by going to the hospital to make a donation in honor of Ella’s birthday. We donated some more blankets and books in addition to CD players and DVD players. It was wonderful giving back to the people that have helped us this past year.

We also ran into one of Ella’s doctors before leaving the hospital. She is a sweet woman who helped Ella and us for two months when we were in the NICU. Tears and smiles came to my face when we saw her. She touched our lives with her devotion and compassion for our baby and others babies in the NICU. There will always be a special place for the NICU doctors and nurses in our hearts. They are part of Ella’s family. It warms my heart knowing that they still remember our little Ella.

After leaving the hospital we drove up north to the cemetery and spent time with our family. Ryan and I had time out at the cemetery by ourselves. We brought a pink balloon to release for her first birthday however while we were talking to her our balloon popped. Tears started rolling down my cheeks and Ryan just looked at me and said, “Ella is telling us she is here!” Of course she was, just being herself, full of excitement. So back to town for a new balloon and we finally got to release it up into the blue sky. It was just wonderful. One little pink balloon floating up to heaven for a little girl’s birthday celebration.

We had a nice dinner with our family afterwards. Everyone came to be with us, to eat pink cupcakes, and to remember a sweet little baby girl. I know she was up in heaven smiling down on us all day. I am sure she was so happy to have received donations in her honor, birthday cards and sweet little gifts for her parents by all of her friends and family who remembered her on a very special day.

And as we were falling asleep, Ryan sang happy birthday to Ella and we thanked God for having a wonderful day to remember our peanut. It was a perfect end to a wonderful day.  Remembering our Ella.