Memory Making

Untitled
Adding details like names and dates to the memory making gave Tim & I something to keep busy the next day.
Memory making is an important piece of the saying goodbye portion of time after a baby dies.  Without many tangible memories of birthday parties, special days, and milestones sometimes what we miss about our babies is the dreams we had for them more than the realities.  Documenting their presence in whatever ways we can gives us something to look at and remember in the coming months and years.  These keepsakes are sometimes as painful as they are comforting, but they are tangible and real.

Because of Siena's history and uncertainty at the time of birth, we had something special and unique happen that led to an extra abundance of memories to take home.

At Mayo, the Family Birth Center and the NICU are in different hospital buildings.  Each department has their own standard set of resources for families who are facing the death of an infant. Because of Siena's circumstances, prior to birth we had met with the primary perinatal hospice (and other special circumstances) team at the Family Birth Center AND the Child Life Specialists at the NICU.

I didn't think there was anything unusual about this, but apparently it doesn't happen often that someone truly connects with both groups.  Because we had already connected with both, when it came time for memory making both groups sent over a representative!  The nurse and the child life specialist were actually somewhat entertaining, comparing their favorite techniques for making molds.  In a bit of a competition, we actually ended up with 3 very nice molds my favorite of which is Siena holding onto my finger.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

In addition to molds, the child life specialist had a huge stack of "gift" hand/foot prints for siblings and even a family project (which is already framed and hanging in our dining room).   Kylee especially, was really into the family tree...designating a "boy side" and a "girl side" and which colors Siena, Mommy, and Daddy could use.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Each group also had a different box or basket with books, resources, flyers, etc. for us to take home.  We have filled more than the trunk that Tim built for her things!  The NICU set even had a flyer for grandparents which was nice to have to pass on.  I have no idea if my mom or Tim's read them or found them useful, but I was glad to have them acknowledged/included!  One set included a set of charms, and the other set included information on essential oils and stress relief.  Towards the end of delivery day, I heard one nurse tell another nurse from the Family Birth Center, that she was going to start calling the NICU Child Life person for all of the baby loss cases she worked on!

Untitled

The last, but actually most important set of memories we made together are the incredible photographs we have.  We chose not to use Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep or the hospital photographer and invited our longtime friend, Nathan, to photograph sections of the day.  He took photographs almost continually for the hour or two after I came out of surgery.  Even during the most intimate or emotional moments, we never asked him to leave.  I've asked him to share his experience of that day from the other side of the lens if he would be willing sometime in the future, as I know that I would love to hear about it.

Untitled
The photo-grapher had his turn with Siena as well, which we aptly photographed for him.
In addition to the more action photography that Nathan took, Tim and I continued to take photographs during the rest of the time we had with her.  We made sure to take pictures of everything we could think of.  Casual pictures of each other, more posed pictures of her in special outfits or with special objects, memory making pictures, etc.  Some of my favorite pictures actually came from our more private bonding time, as I would take pictures of things I noticed specifically wanted to remember in the future.  Unfortunately that means, some of my favorite pictures were taken on my cell phone in low light at 2:00 in the morning when I couldn't sleep and aren't much use printed!

IMG_4810

Memories cannot and will not replace our daughter.

Memory making can and did, however, give us a set of things to call her own.

Things to touch, smell, and feel when we miss her the most and cannot touch, smell, and feel her sweet little body any longer.

4 comments :

Rita Buettner said...

So amazing. How beautiful. Of course, these memories can never replace Siena, but how wonderful that they give you something to hang onto as you wait to see your precious girl again in heaven.

Lisa Steger said...

I am so glad you have all these memories of her, for you and your whole family, and those of us who will remember her always.

Brenda G said...

I had never heard of this kind of service until Siena's arrival. So many amazing people came into your lives and their gifts and talents are obvious.
So many wonderful memories and beautiful keepsakes.

Sara said...

THose are very nice keepsakes. THank you for sharing all you've been through. I've been "talking" to my mom in my prayers, and I know in my heart that Great Aunt Agnes is watching over your babies.
And BTW - one of your boys really reminds me of David as a kid. I don't hink I've seen him since I was a teen, but that family resemblance is still hanging in there.
Sara Byron Jeffers