Category Archives: Information

Neriah Grace & Bradford William…

 

Photography credit to:  Heather Bohm-Tallman

Wow… Where to begin this long story of the most terrible grief and the most healing love.  This journey started in August of 2014 when we found out we were expecting our “bonus baby.”  Our first two children, Annelie and Tripp, were difficult to conceive but Neriah Grace just happened. While surprised, I was in love from the beginning.  From the start her pregnancy wasn’t like the other two… There were complications from 10 weeks on and a general sense of caution and unease.  I knew had to enjoy every moment I had with sweet Neriah, I had to just love.  Love was all I could give her.  In November of 2014 my symptoms seemed to get worse and the weekend before Thanksgiving I felt quite ill.  That Monday, November 24th, I went into labor at 17 weeks and 3 days.  I begged and pleaded with the doctors to do something, but there was nothing to be done.  Neriah Grace was born alive, in caul, kicking.  We had all of two minutes with her before the Lord carried her home. Those two minutes changed our lives forever.  The nurse brought in a pink and rosette Holy Sews Layette to dress Neriah. That also changed my life.  Here was an outward sign that Neriah did exist… That she did matter…That because she had died, meant she had lived.  It was something we could see and hold, on a day we felt we had lost it all.

After her funeral, I had reached out to Holy Sews to see how I could help and that’s how I met Regina.  Her story of grief, love, and triumph was a big part of the glue that would hold me together over the next two years.  She knew the road I we were on…

The following spring, we decided to try again.  I wanted to end this season of my life on a positive note – not at a funeral.  After all, lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot, right?  Wrong… In July, we were thrilled to find out we were expecting again.  The joy, hope, and love came flooding back.  Like with Neriah I had another anterior placenta.  It was always hard to find this baby’s heartbeat but this time there weren’t any complications. We made it to our 20 week ultrasound on November 2, 2015, almost a year after losing Neriah.  By this point, I had enough ultrasounds to read the tech’s face and see her fear.  Our brains weren’t prepared for what we heard next.  Our sweet son, Bradford William was measuring 2 weeks behind, without fluid, and had calcification in his abdomen.  We were broken.  The prognosis was bleak but we tried to hold onto a little hope.  We lost a lot of that hope two days later during the amnio.  We could see his sweet heart was slowing down, his tiny body was tiring.  That evening our midwife came over with a Doppler and confirmed what we knew was coming.  He was gone. Blindsided with grief and knocked to the ground we went into the doctor the following day and shortly thereafter the hospital for induction.  I wanted to experience his labor – he existed too – he deserved it.  Bradford William was born perfect and sleeping at 20 weeks 3 days on November 5, 2015, less than a year after his sister.  He was blonde and looked just like his older brother, Tripp.

By now I had been helping Holy Sews distribute layettes to NY area hospitals and was able to choose Bradford’s layette before going into the hospital – it was surreal.  With Neriah we had a private, parents-only, funeral at our church but with Bradford we invited friends and family over to our house.  It was surreal to sit there, for a second time, while our Pastor Lee and Brother Paul conducted the funeral for our baby we would never have. 

By now, we were at the bottom of the barrel, grief stricken and angry.  People handle this is many different ways, I guess.  Many would give up and throw in the towel – my husband sure was ready to (I don’t blame him). Not me.  The Lord had put some fight in me and I channeled it into my own research of multiple late losses and subsequent successful pregnancies.  I visited with an optimistic Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist and a skeptical, but supportive, Reproductive Endocrinologist.  There was a spirit inside me that still burned, and now I realize it was the soul of our rainbow baby, Kirsi. It was like she was telling me, “Hold on Mommy, I’m coming!” With a team of doctors we threw everything we could medically at this last shot of a pregnancy. Around Brad’s due date we conceived Kirsi.  It was the most terrifying 9 months of my entire life.  Enter again Regina… She had known my road of grief-in-loss and also knew my road of terror and anxiety with this pregnancy.  She was a lifeline with a beautiful Southern accent.

 After a relatively uneventful pregnancy, I woke up on November 28th and knew something was wrong.  The Doppler a friend had loaned me showed a racing heart and later the same day, she was barely moving on ultrasound.  Turns out I had developed an extremely rare intrauterine infection and with a few more hours delay we would have had another unspeakable tragedy on our hands. Kirsi came via emergency c-section two weeks early on November 28, 2016. We both spent a week in the hospital together while they dosed her with potent anti-biotics and then the day came they told us we could take her home. I couldn’t believe those words.  It was the most surreal car ride ever.  I felt victorious and triumphant. I will never forget the grief that came with loosing Neriah and Brad however, that night I felt like love had won. Now, as I write this, I have a healthy 16 month baby biting my toes and making a mess. Kirsi Hannah smiles all of the time.  I am convinced God had a conversation with her, before sending her Earth-side, and told her to just to smile. 

I never share my story to obtain any attention or pity… I simply share it to bring hope to another family that might be on the road we once were.  It’s my hope that the our story of love, grief, and loss with Neriah and Brad and subsequent hope, love, and triumph with Kirsi may provide a little bit of light in a place I know can be so dark and lonely.

 

Holy Sews’ KATV Channel 7 Interview

Holy Sews is so pleased to provide the video footage from our interview and news story with KATV Channel 7.  Please watch and share!

Donations can be made through our website at www.holysews.org and click on Donate/Support.  Please consider giving to Holy Sews during our 2018 April Showers’ event.  

Click on the link below to watch the video!

Sunday, April 15, 2018 – Holy Sews’ interview with KATV Channel 7

Holy Sews on KATV Channel 7!

Holy Sews was honored to share our mission and story with KATV Channel 7 last night (Sunday, April 15, 2018).  Thank you to Nick Popham from KATV for coming to interview us at work day!  You may read about our story at the link below and as soon as the video coverage is posted, we’ll make sure that it is linked to our website as well! 

Click on the link below to read about our interview…

KATV & Holy Sews Story – Sunday, April 15!

 

My Paisley May…

“My Paisley May…”

Excited doesn’t even begin to describe our initial reactions to being pregnant with our third child.  We were so happy, elated and eager to see what life would bring to our family with this new addition.  Everything was going great from my first appointment through our 20 week anatomy scan when we found out that our baby was a girl and was so active – I couldn’t feel her movements because I had an anterior placenta but I could see her sucking her thumb and kicking her little legs on the screen. 

Our oldest son was so excited to have a sister – he had told us all along he wanted a sister this time, seeing as he has a younger brother already.  In the coming weeks we celebrated Christmas – New Years and just had a good time – although I felt that something was off.  I was still unable to feel Paisley moving. 

I googled (I should not have googled) all the things that could go wrong with an anterior placenta – reasons why I couldn’t feel her movements – things to do to make her move.  Nothing worked or eased the lingering feeling of something being wrong.  I would lay on a hard tile floor for long periods of time and think I felt her move when in reality I hadn’t.  Finally, my 24 week appointment came along on January 19th and I was so ready, I wanted to ease my anxious heart and hear that sweet heartbeat to make sure everything was still okay and I was just imagining things. 

My boys and I went in for my appointment – my doctor had a hard time finding her heartbeat but thought she had finally tracked it down, but to double check she pulled in the portable ultrasound machine – there was no flicker – there was no sound – there was no movement.  She could see my heart breaking and told me to go get a proper sonogram to be certain.

I was in tears and slowly falling apart at this moment but trying to hold it together because I had my sons with me and didn’t want to scare them.  The boys and I waited what felt like an eternity to get my sonogram and there she was lifeless, not moving, heart not beating and measuring far smaller than she should have been. 

She had passed away, our baby girl had died.  My heart cracked into a million pieces!!  I couldn’t hold it together any longer, I started bawling my boys all the time not understanding what has happened just yet but trying to console their momma.  I still recall this moment like it was yesterday and it breaks my heart all over again.  Having to go to the truck and call my husband and mom and let them know what had happened.  I was hysterical and we live an hour and a half away from my doctors office so I sat in the parking lot crying, crying so hard I couldn’t breathe well.  My oldest knew at this time what had happened to his baby sister and he was so upset as well.  It was the hardest day of all our lives thus far.  I pulled myself together and got my boys and I home safely.  I was told to come back in on the 22nd to get blood work and see what we should do. 

Going home knowing my baby girl was no longer living inside me hurt so badly, having to wait to deliver her and think about what I should have done, should I have gone in sooner – could they have done something for her, all those horrible thoughts we have when something has gone wrong in life. I initially hated the thought of going home with Paisley lifeless inside my womb but it turned out to be a blessing – there were community members who had lost babies that came and talked to me – we had a close friend make a beautiful blanket for Paisley – I contacted the labor and delivery nurses who put in me in touch with a bereavement counselor and she helped me so much and has continued to help me through this journey – and it gave us time to talk to the funeral home about Paisley’s arrangements.  The thought of planning her burial while she was still inside me hurt- oh how it hurt. 

My husband and I left our house while our boys were still sleeping that Monday morning – got to the doctors office, got the bloodwork done and waited.  Finally, my doctor saw me again and told me to go home and have her, and we both said NO and I was admitted by 11am that morning.  They induced me that morning and it crept at such a slow pace, going all that day – overnight and into the next morning when I had had enough and talked to a nurse who got another doctor to come up and place the foley bulb and gave me extra medicine to get things moving more aggressively. 

At 3:30 pm on the 23rd of January the bulb had fallen out and labor officially began.  Our sweet, tiny angel was born at 3:50 pm in her sac.  She was so beautiful.  We could tell what happened instantly – the cord was tightly constricted around her neck twice and her left arm once.  My bereavement counselor, who just so happened to also delivery our sweet Paisley, described her best – as a teeny tiny ballerina fairy that just wanted to dance.   

Summer took her to the nursery to bath, dress & photograph her.  Soon she brought Paisley back to us and we held her – hugged her – kissed her – cried about her – admired her, so many emotions all at once.  Our sweet baby girl was with the Lord now, she was beautiful, sweet, quiet, precious – so many words could be used to describe her but none do her justice. 

We left the hospital that night and got home to our boys – our oldest was sad and confused and had so many questions and our youngest was oblivious to what had just happened.  Honestly, I don’t know how mothers that experience this loss without other children are able to go home to cope – they have been my shining light through my darkest time and without them I don’t believe I would be in the place I am today on my grieving journey. 

We had Paisley’s graveside services on January 27th at 11 am.  Our oldest son picked a cute stuffy to give his baby sister and our youngest held onto me tightly all day.  It was so hard to say goodbye again, but we know she is with our Lord and watching over her brothers, her father, and me, her mother, from heaven.  Through this terrible loss, our family has drawn closer to God and that has calmed my soul. 

“There are no footprints to small too leave an imprint on this world.”

 

Paisley’s Big Brothers

 

 

Materials for Miles!

What we do at Holy Sews is no small operation…In 2017, Holy Sews provided 4,800 handmade layettes to hospitals and organizations all across the United States! 

Holy Sews would like to show you HOW much MATERIAL it takes to make 4,800 micro-preemie layettes…hold on to your seats and remember this is just one year’s worth of supplies…

Check out the picture on the right:  1,500 yards of fabric?  That means Holy Sews used fabric that would measure out to equal 15 football fields, and 3,900 yards of trim?  That means Holy Sews used trim that would stretch across 39 football fields!

All fabric, trim, buttons, etc., have been either donated to Holy Sews or have been purchased because of generous monetary donations from individuals, families, and corporations!  Every donation allows us to continue to provide handmade layettes at no cost to those in need.

At Holy Sews, April Showers is a month long event designated to give the opportunity for people to give back.  Donations replenish Holy Sews’ sewing material inventory, allows us to purchase our packaging, and pay for all shipping costs required for us to continue to adequately fill and supply the demand of layettes.

Whether you can donate monetarily or donate actual materials, we would appreciate and utilize either one or both!  Every bit helps Holy Sews provide these unique and handmade layettes to grieving families at no cost.

“Like” Holy Sews on Facebook!

Keep connected with Holy Sews!  Go to www.facebook.com/holysews and “LIKE” our page!  April Showers is a month of replenishment and spreading awareness about the mission of Holy Sews!

Holy Sews currently has 416 “Likes” on our Facebook page.  One goal for April Showers is to hit 1000 LIKES within a 30 day timeframe!  The more “likes”, the more we will be able to share the mission of Holy Sews!  

Click on either picture for a direct link to Holy Sews’ Facebook page – www.facebook.com/holysews.

 

 

It’s Time for April Showers!

Spring has sprung! SAVE THE MONTH! Holy Sews presents our 2018 April Showers! For the entire month of April, Holy Sews will promote, educate, share, thank, ask, appeal, engage, and inspire those who see any of Holy Sews’ posts, in hopes to spark a call to action for you to connect with us.

Prayerfully, we want to educate and effectively communicate the immense need to provide (for free) micro-preemie layettes to hospitals, perinatal bereavement programs, funeral homes, organizations, and individuals all over the United States who are in desperate need to clothe the tiniest of babies who do not survive after delivery.

Holy Sews is just one organization, if not the only organization in the entire nation/world, that has answered the call to help fill the unique and special niche of providing complete handmade layettes for babies born between 16-25 weeks gestation. We are growing at an exponential rate! For example, in January of this year, Holy Sews now provides layettes to almost 400 hospitals in all 50 states! We are humbled and honored to be able to fulfill this unique service. Our massive growth spurt has challenged us to identify areas of need and develop strategic plans to help Holy Sews continue to provide layettes to our current partners along with all the new partners we anticipate gaining!

Please keep watch for daily updates, testimonials, educational information, volunteer, and giving opportunities! Holy Sews hopes April Showers will provide you an opportunity to give back, and to give back specifically for families who are in the deepest stages of grief. We will share specific ideas in the next few days; yet, we encourage you to be creative and to share your “shower” on social media and then share your “shower” success stories! You will inspire others!

#AprilShowers18 #Heequipsthecalled #respectlifebyhonoringitindeath #buriallayettes #holysews