Friday, January 29, 2010

Hanging out with big brother, Nicholas

Don't they say a picture speaks a thousand words?

Hanging out with her brother, Nicholas. Staring wistfully at the Angel Wings...

Be still, my heart.

We're also trying to do a little sunbathing today. It's -14 here today, but the sun is actually out! Little Miss Sunshine needs her sunshine!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Appointment

So, we went to the appointment today to check on Madison's bilirubin levels. Being a new doctor to us, she had many questions, including medical history of our family. We went through the typical questions with the typical responses. And then the question of siblings came up. I said we have a 6 year old, a 4 year old, our youngest son passed away last year and, of course, Madison. She then proceeded to ask me whether our youngest son was born or was he just still born?

Excuse me??? How do you answer a question like that?

I was shocked at her lack of sensitivity (being a pediatrician).

I stuttered a bit and said... "well HE, Nicholas, was still born... but yes, of course he WAS born".


Other than that, she was very thorough with Maddie. She sent us over to the hospital for some more blood work and we will proceed from there. Poor little thing had to have a needle in her arm this time (previous times have been from a prick in her foot). She was trooper. Mommy... not so much.

We got to the hospital and waited and waited. Another mom came in with her little boy.... 7 week old, Nicholas. I had to catch my breath when I heard his name. I LOVE hearing his name.... when it's in context of talking about him.... but when it's another child... a living, thriving, beautiful, 7 week old. Wow, does that hit home. I looked at him and saw our Nicholas.... hard, definitely hard, but also heartwarming to see such a gorgeous, healthy baby in the arms of his Mama... just as it should be.

So now we just wait for results... I am hopeful that Maddie's levels are coming down and this is just a "normal" preemie thing. She is doing so well, it's hard to believe otherwise.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little Sister

Evan, Kyle and Nicholas' little sister....

Miss Maddie (drool on shirt and all!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Remembering Christian

Tonight, we remember Christian, Carly's sweet Angel who left us too soon.

Carly you have been such a beautiful, strong and precious spirit to so many of us. We remember with you...always.

Stunning Collages

Jessica at Forever Collages has created this exquisite memory collage for our baby boy. I just love it... it is breathtaking. Thank you.


Another Gift!

Thank you, Caroline at the Croley Gang for creating such a beautiful piece for Nicholas.... it has found a special spot on his table.



Maddie's bilirubin (jaundice) levels are coming down, but slowly. Too slowly for our doctor's liking. So, we go see a pediatrician on Thursday morning just to make sure we aren't missing anything.

I'm not worried...

Or at least that is what I keep chanting in my head.

Our doctor is fairly certain that the type of jaundice Madison has is called breast milk jaundice. If jaundice occurs or persists past the first week of life in an otherwise healthy and thriving breast-fed infant, the condition may be called "breast milk jaundice." It is probably caused by factors in the breast milk, which block certain proteins in the liver that break down bilirubin.

Great. My breast milk may be the reason she is jaundice.

Although it's irrational thinking... it's thinking all the same. As mommies we blame ourselves for the slightest "hiccup" in our children's life and I can't help but think that I am doing this to her.

Do I stop breastfeeding? Do I start her on formula right away?

Our doctor and all the literature says no. On the contrary, the best treatment is to nurse more frequently to increase her fluid levels and, in turn, can cause the bilirubin level to drop (which doesn't make much sense to me if it's the breast milk causing the high bilirubin levels in the first place?).

Maddie is nursing well and I have never had a problem with milk supply, so it's strange.

We look forward to our appointment on Thursday.... bring it on!

Will update.

Friday, January 22, 2010

No Words

No words... all cuteness...

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Footprints

Melissa at Raindrops has a beautiful poem posted on her website entitled, These are my footprints. She said that I could share with my readers.

Love to you all. xo. Lea

These are My Footprints

"These are my footprints, so perfect and so small. These tiny footprints, never touched the ground at all.

Not one tiny footprint, for now I have my wings. These tiny footprints were meant for other things.

You will hear my tiny footprints, in the patter of the rain. Gentle drops like angels tears, of joy and not from pain.

You will see my tiny footprints, in each butterflies' lazy dance. I'll let you know I'm with you, if you give me just a chance.

You will see my tiny footprints, in the rustle of the leaves. I will whisper names into the wind, and call each one that grieves.

Most of all, these tiny footprints, are found in mummy's heart, cause even though I'm gone now, we'll never truly part."



I have often wondered if I am overcompensating for not being able to protect Nicholas. I wonder if, subconsciously, I feel compelled to talk about him to perfect strangers, to buy things that remind me of him because I feel like I couldn't do enough for him when he was alive, inside of me.

Whether it be Angels, ladybugs or a toy that I would probably buy for him if he were here, I find myself drawn to these things. Drawn to the fact that, had he survived, had my body not failed him, I would be buying him treats and clothes and toys... so why not continue?

I'm sure a lot of these feelings come from the inescapable mommy guilt. The soul searing feeling that I let him down. That I didn't do what a mommy is supposed to do. That I couldn't keep him safe. That we had to let him go. I sincerely think that this is the biggest reason I hold on so tight. I hold on to his memory, his legacy with such force sometimes that I find I must step back and 'regroup'.

I have often been told that to "love from afar" is extremely difficult and challenging. It is to balance the beautiful memories with the horrific one's. It is to learn how to hold those memories close without smothering in them. It is to remember our babies with grace and class and to help others in our lives to do the same.

I am fiercely protective of Nicholas' memory. Just as I would be fiercely protective of him if he were here. Just as I am fiercely protective of our other children. But, again, there are times when I have to remind myself that Nicholas knows we love him. And he knows this without all of the hoopla. The hoopla is for me. The hoopla is to comfort my own heart, to soothe my own soul.

I wrote Madison's Birth Announcement yesterday. It took me a while as I wanted to get the wording just right. I found myself getting angry at the fact that I couldn't just sit down and write a plain, simple announcement. The wording is different when a child has died. When a sibling isn't here to welcome his sister...
I wanted it to be special. To include all of Maddie's brothers... but, to be honest, I think I went overboard and it took my dad, the voice of reason, to confirm what I was already thinking. Needless to say, I changed it a bit. Afterall, it is Madison's birth announcement. It is Madison's special day and she deserves for it to be about her and only her.

My husband and I have discussed, in great length, the possibility of Maddie feeling like she is a replacement child. That is absolutely, without a doubt, not what we want. That is not what she is. She is a precious, new addition to our family and she completes it perfectly. That is how we want her to feel. Like her own extraordinary person. A perfect little girl whom mommy and daddy are so grateful for and couldn't love more if we tried.

Nicholas has a strong presence in our family. He always will. We will always talk about him and include him in our lives. The other children will know about their brother and understand that our family is bigger than what is in our home.... but, our Earth Angels will also know just how special each of them are. Nicholas' memory will not overshadow them, it will just follow them all closely to make sure they are okay.

Here is Maddie's Announcement:

Reeves/Watkins - We've added another color to our family's rainbow...

Jim and Leanna Reeves are thrilled to announce the early, but safe arrival of their first daughter, Madison Nichole, born December 17, 2009, weighing 5lb 13oz.

Proud and very excited brothers are Evan, Kyle and Madison’s very own Guardian Angel, Nicholas, who was born sleeping on November 7, 2008.

Madison is also warmly welcomed by her Nana and Papa, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. An extra special thank you to our beautiful nurse, Linda M. at SRHC, who provided extra care and support when we needed it most.

Heaven has smiled down on us.

We love you, beautiful girl. You are the most perfect finishing touch to our family.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Maddie is 4 weeks old....

Just in case some of you wanted a "Maddie fix"....

We are so, so blessed. Thank you all for your kind words. I appreciate you all so much.

Some special Angel Wings...

Our Beautiful Family

Lisa at the House of Collinsworth posted a picture of a gorgeous wooden sign she had made for her husband just a few months ago. It really caught my eye and my interest. I decided to get my creative juices flowing and made one for my husband for Christmas. Thank you for inspiring me, Lisa!

Here it is...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sleep tight...

I have to admit that it is sometimes very difficult to watch Madison as she sleeps.... I so vividly remember her brother, Nicholas, sleeping soundly in my arms as we said goodbye... no matter how much we screamed, prayed and begged, he slept so soundly we couldn't wake him up.

She is sweet and precious and absolutely a gift sent directly from our very own Guardian Angel in Heaven.

Guardian Angel,
pure and bright,
guard me while I sleep tonight...

Love you, baby girl

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Gift

In Madison's birth story I mentioned the wonderful nurse who was present during my labour and ultimately the birth of our Little Miss Sunshine. She was a ray of sunshine herself. The gift I needed to help us through that last leg of the terrifying journey. She was truly a Godsend...

I just finished writing her a little note. A 'thank you' note of sorts. How can you just say 'thank you' to someone who undoubtedly brought such peace and serenity to a very emotional and anxious time...

January 8, 2010

Dear L-----,

I don’t think I could ever find the words to express how grateful I was to have you as my nurse during Madison’s labour. I truly believe that you were sent especially to us that evening.. .maybe we were sent to each other. I must admit that I was never a big believer in ‘signs’ or ‘fate’, however, since losing our Nicholas I can’t help but believe, wholeheartedly, that our babies send us subtle reassurances when we need them most. You were my reassurance. My light. My strength. I thank you for holding my hand. I thank you for your encouraging words. I thank you for your tears and your honesty. I thank you for trusting me with the story of your precious Angel, J----. Maddie sure was/is a lucky little girl. She has two very extraordinary Angels watching over her.

I wish so many things for you, L----. I wish you peace. I wish you love. I wish you hope. Most of all, I wish for you a little brother or sister for J-----. I know you said that you were trying to become pregnant again. Please hold onto that dream. Dream big. You deserve to add to your beautiful family and I am confident that you will.

The journey of becoming and being pregnant again after such a tragic, life-altering loss is such a difficult one. It is a pregnancy no longer filled with naivety and innocence, but it most definitely is one that is filled with hope and beautiful anticipation. You will get your happy ending and J----- will help you every step of the way, just as Nicholas did for us.

In the dark and tortures days that followed Nicholas’ death a very special friend gave us a pair of sweet, delicate Angel Wings. They now hang gently over his footprint and photo frame. I smile every time I look at them. As I have struggled to cope with our loss over the last several months I knew that I wanted to do something… anything to help ease the pain of not having my son in my arms. I decided to try to re-create the Angel Wings and offer some small, simple comfort to other families facing similar nightmares. I created two blogs. One to remember Nicholas. To write about my feelings. To be free to express the deepest, darkest emotions. And another to honour his beautiful, short life by offering Angel Wings to other parents of Angels. Below are the two links, if and when you would like to have a look.

I took the liberty of making a pair of Angel Wings for J-----. I hope you don’t mind. I truly hope that you can find a special spot for them in your home and that they can bring a small bit of comfort to your heart.

You are an amazing, strong, caring and beautiful spirit. J----- is a very lucky little guy to have a Mommy like you.

Lots of love to you,

Nichloas’ Touch -
Angel Wings Memorial Boutique -
My email address – (would love to keep in touch)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thank you, Dad

I got a phone call from my Dad yesterday. He called to say that he had been speaking with a business associate who he found out has suffered a full term infant loss as well. He said that they were talking about the Holidays, family, etc. and Nicholas' name came up....

I hold my breath, blink back the tears, try to clear away the lump in my throat...

Nicholas' name came up. Wow. Truly amazing.

I can't even begin to describe the feelings of pride and pure joy it brings me, as Nicholas' mommy, to know that others think about him, talk about him and readily include him as a part of our family.

Thank you, Daddy. I know how precious the time you spent with Nicholas is to you.

As K would say, it makes my "heart happy" to know that he is a part of your thoughts every day.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nicholas in the stars

Thank you so much to Amanda at Written in the Stars for writing our sweet, Nicholas' name. I just love it!

Amanda is a babylost momma who lost her daughter, Ireland, on March 14, 2009 at 14 weeks 4 days. Please take a moment and have a look at her site. It really is a beautiful tribute to her daughter.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


A very good friend of mine forwarded this to me recently... thought I would share.

Sometimes we all need a few reminders that we are not going crazy!


I Resolve:

That I will grieve as much and for as long as I feel like grieving, and that I will not let others put a time table on my grief.

That I will grieve in whatever way I feel like grieving, and I will ignore those who try to tell me what I should or should not be feeling and how I should or should not be behaving.

That I will cry whenever and wherever I feel like crying, and that I will not hold back my tears just because someone else feels I should be "brave" or "getting better" or "healing by now."

That I will talk about my child as often as I want to, and that I will not let others turn me off just because they can't deal with their own feelings.

That I will not expect family and friends to know how I feel, understanding that one who has not lost a child cannot possibly know how I feel.

That I will not blame myself for my child's death, and I will constantly remind myself that I did the best job of parenting I could possibly have done. But when feelings of guilt are overwhelming, I will remind myself that this is a normal part of the grief process and it will pass.

That I will not be afraid or ashamed to seek professional help if I feel it is necessary.

That I will commune with my child at least once a day in whatever way feels comfortable and natural to me, and that I won't feel compelled to explain this communion to others or to justify or even discuss it with them.

* I will keep the truth in my heart--the truth that my child is always with me in spirit.

That I will try to eat, sleep, and exercise every day in order to give my body strength it will need to help me cope with my grief.

To know that I am not losing my mind and I will remind myself that loss of memory, feelings of disorientation, lack of energy, and a sense of vulnerability are all a normal part of the grief process.

To know that I will heal, even though it will take a long time.

To let myself heal and not feel guilty about not feeling better sooner.

To remind myself that the grief process is circuitous--that is, I will not make steady upward progress. And when I find myself slipping back into the old moods of despair and depression, I will tell myself that "slipping backward" is also a normal part of the mourning process, and that these moods, too, will pass.

To try to be happy about something for some part of every day, knowing that at first, I may have to force myself to think cheerful thoughts so eventually they can become a habit.

That I will reach out at times and try to help someone else, knowing that helping others will help me to get over my depression.

That even though my child is dead, I will opt for life, knowing that is what my child would want me to do.

~From the Brooksville/Spring Hill FL. TCF Newsletter

* Added by Faith :)

Love you guys!

L xo

Monday, January 4, 2010

Our Story

When we decided to send Madison to the Special Care Nursery a few hours after she was born it was a tough pill to swallow. I remember staying awake with her all night, listening to her laboured breathing and trying desperately to clear the mucous from her chest. I held her close, skin to skin as the nurses suggested. I tried feverishly to nurse her, thinking that would help clear her passageways. She slept on my chest while I thanked God over and over for our true, true miracle.

In the early morning the nurse gave me the option of taking her to the Special Care Nursery for observation. As terrified as I was for her to leave me I quickly realized that it was the best thing for her. Our first son was in the Special Care Nursery at the same hospital, so I was familiar.

The nurse took her from my arms and took her down the hall... the silence in my room was deafening. The rational part of me knew where she was going. I knew that they would look after her. That they would call for me as soon as they needed me, but as I faded into an utterly exhausted state of sleep I was constantly thrusted awake by nightmares... Nightmares of the "quiet room". Nightmares of when we said our last goodbye to Nicholas before the nurse took him from our room... to the "quiet room". My mind, my heart was definitely playing tricks on me.

Because of the H1N1 outbreak the NICU was under strict orders not to allow children in under the age of 10... including siblings. Our boys were devastated, especially our 3 1/2 year old who didn't quite understand. I am certain that, in his mind, he couldn't see his new baby sister the same way he can't see Nicholas. As if my heart can break into any more pieces... that did it. He was hysterical. So, I decided to share our story with the Special Care nurse. She pulled some strings and K was able to come in for a couple of minutes. The look on his face was priceless and much needed by everyone.