Thursday, February 25, 2010

A word about Granting Hope

These last couple of weeks have been a little insane for me.  I've been working on the Granting Hope blog, trying to improve it, and put more info in it. Work has also been keeping me busy; Jacob's teacher has been ill so I have helped out in that class; as well as putting in a little observation in the first grade so I can have a better idea what needs to be done when I sub for that teacher next month.  In the middle of all that we got some more painting done in our house, papered albums for the Granting Hope baskets, and working on more paperwork for the upcoming adoption.

Along with the busyness of our life here comes endless thoughts of our little one in Heaven.  It goes without saying that his presence is greatly missed in our house and in our lives.  The people I know who were pregnant when I was pregnant are celebrating first steps, first birthdays, and first words.  We, on the other hand, are faithfully taking flowers, and windchimes, and anything else we can think of to our little boy's grave.  We do this because it makes us feel a little bit closer to him; it helps us feel like we can still be a parent to him in some way. 

I'm sharing these things with you today because our ministry, or rather, Grant's ministry, has been hugely on my heart lately.  Every time I pass another milestone, or anniversary, I am reminded of the other mommies out there who are also going through this.  I came across some statistics this week that both saddened and angered me. Here are some of them:
  • There are approximately 6 million pregnancies every year throughout the U. S. 
  • Each year, approximately 2 million of these pregnancies are lost.
  • 600,000 babies are lost through miscarriage
  • 1,200,000 are lost through termination (this, to me, the saddest of all)
  • 64,000 are lost through ectopic pregnancy
  • 6,000 are lost throught molar pregnancy
  • 26,000 are lost through stillbirth
  • 27,864 babies will die before their first birthday (SIDS, chromosome disorders, etc.)
Since I have gone through a stillbirth, the stats on stillbirth completely disturbed me-
  • As stated above, 26,000 babies are stillborn in the United States each year. This means, that 70 babies are stillborn each and every day.
  • About 50% of these deaths occur at or near full term. 85% occure before delivery with 15 % occurring DURING labor and delivery.
  • About 2/3 of all stillbirth deaths remain unexplained.  Researchers feel that this is more likely due to a failure to investigate the deaths, rather than a medical mystery.
  • After a stillbirth, few hospitals offer an autopsy, placental exam, or clinical testing to the parents to determine the cause of death.
  • Mothers who suffer a stillbirth do not receive recognition in 25 out of 50 states!! (Arizona is one of these) There is NO certificate of birth- making these babies births "invisible".
The latter I can attest to- My husband was literally arguing with the doctor about doing the correct testing after delivery.  As far as a birth certificate- I had to look online and order Grant a "birth certificate".  Bottom line, is stillbirth is pretty well overlooked.  Translation- there are not enough people who really care.  And parents are sent home without answers, and with empty arms.  Mothers are told "congratulations" at their six week postpartum visit because no one cares enough to figure out how to set up a system of differentiating between moms who have healthy babies and moms who have lost their babies. 

As a person without medical credentials, as a MOM, I haven't much power to change all the problems. However, the things I can change, you better believe I WILL.  If it takes me to my dying breath I will work to change and to help where I can.  This is why I am so passionate about Granting Hope.  I cannot do the testing, or the autopsy, or authorize a certified birth certificate: I can't slap an unsuspecting receptionist upside her head so to speak in the doctor's office because of her ignorance;  but I CAN give these moms something to bury their baby in;  I can provide them with the resources they need to cope with their loss;  and I can give them beautiful boxes and albums to put their baby's precious memories in.  I can go to the hospital, be on the parent panel, and be available to speak about my experience as a mother who has lost a child so that these things can one day be improved, or in some cases- changed.  But I can't do it alone.  I need your help.  I need ladies who can sew burial gowns; I need ladies who will give of their time to put albums together; I need money to buy baskets, filler, scrapbooking supplies for albums and boxes, etc. (each basket put together costs about $20)  We need to deliver at LEAST 10 baskets and gowns per month, and this is just ONE hospital.  I hope one day to expand to every hospital in the Phoenix area.  The hospital I work with loses 10-15 babies each and every month- and that is just ONE hospital among many.

Death is an uncomfortable topic.  People do not like to talk about it- especially infant death.  I am here to tell you that it is a REALITY.  I would like to challenge you to take a few minutes and step outside of your comfort zone.  Imagine if it happened to YOU.  Imagine if it were YOUR child, or your grandchild, niece, or nephew.  What would you do? How would you feel? 

Here is a clip that was just created by a friend of mine, Carly Dudley.  Carly lost her infant son, Christian, not too long before we lost our son.  Carly has a beautiful ministry too, called "To Write their Names in the Sand."  Since August of 2008, she has written literally thousands of babies names in the sand in Australia.  The pain of child loss is so great, that mothers from all over the world jump at the chance to see their babies names anywhere and everywhere.
The pain of loss is so great, that an incarcerated teenage mother sobbed as she held one of our memory boxes to her chest- thankful for the chance to have something to keep her baby's memories in.

Please take a moment to watch this clip,  and if God should lay it on your hearts, please either donate or contact us to find out how you can help.  Thank you, and God bless you.
**You can scroll down to the bottom of this blog to pause the music so that you are able to hear/watch Carly's video**

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