Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Vote for Me in the Butterfly Awards!

You can view my profile for the Author/Blogger International category at The Butterfly Awards, which celebrates those who make a difference in the babyloss community, by clicking here. Please vote (by clicking on the heart)! And be sure to check out the other categories and profiles! I'm honestly just so touched to have been nominated and shortlisted amongst some amazing people. Whether or not I win, this is a huge honor that I won't forget. 😊 💕 🌸 🌹

Here's what I shared in my profile:

I have been faithfully writing on my blog "Rose and Her Lily" (www.RoseandHerLily.com) consistently for the past 7 1/2 years. It is my safe space where I share glimpses into how I mother the legacy of my precious daughter, Lily Katherine, who was unexpectedly stillborn after a healthy pregnancy at 40 weeks 2 days on March 16, 2010.

I'm passionate about raising awareness for pregnancy and infant loss and being a voice for the babyloss community. I hope that in my openness, others are able to gain empathy and compassion for those who are walking this path.

Not only do I write to raise awareness for those outside of the babyloss community, but I also have the honor of being support and encouragement for those who are in it. My desire is that other mothers and fathers who have experienced the sting of loss will know they are not alone in their grief and will see that there is hope and joy to be found, all the while carrying their baby with them always. I share resources and ideas for how to honor their precious child, such as how to design a baby headstone and how to recognize special milestones without their child.

I've had the privilege of being involved at the hospital where Lily was born, working with the Perinatal Bereavement Committee to implement changes and help make the care the best it can possibly be when a patient experiences babyloss. I created comfort boxes which are filled with memorial items, keepsakes to gather while in the hospital, and resources to help the parents make informed decisions that will not be regretted later, as well as to help them in the days ahead. The hospital has now adopted the box program to provide them to each and every patient who loses a much loved baby.

I also speak at events around the country, sharing my story and Lily's life and legacy. I'm incredibly humbled and grateful to have been able to reach out to thousands of women over the past 7 1/2 years, whether in person, over the phone, email, or through letters. Throughout the year, I take on projects to remember the babies who I've grown to love along with their parents, whether it be writing their names on flower petals for Mother's Day, writing their names in the snow in the winter, or writing their names on the Carolina shore where I live. I also use my blog to connect with parents needing photo editing services to help make the few priceless photos of their baby the best they can be.

As a mother to only a child I'm not able to raise, I've had the time and ability to dedicate my entire heart and countless hours to all my endeavors to honor my daughter of Heaven and bring purpose and beauty to my pain and heartbreak. Because of Lily, I decided to get a degree in Crisis Counseling and am now pursuing my certification as a Birth and Bereavement Doula. 

Through the years and the different things I've been involved with, my blog has been my steady, like an old friend who I confide in, a place where I can mother Lily, a place where Lily is alive, a place where I heal and process, a place where I share all the things done in her memory, a place where others can remember Lily too and feel connected with their own baby gone too soon.

~What Others Have Said:

"She keeps a beautiful, inspirational blog and fearlessly speaks about her precious daughter Lily Katherine. It gives me and no doubt many other mothers the strength to keep sparking about their babies who have passed and for those of us who are religious the comfort to know God has a plan for us and for our babies too."

"Following her blog - and reading every post from the very beginning - has been and continues to be immensely healing. Her words helped me understand that in the midst of overwhelming sadness and heartache, there can also be great love and hope moving forward. I'm grateful for the support she has given me and for her willingness to share her story with others." -Shannon Armes

This post left me:

Grandparents Day

Sunday was Grandparents Day. Each year, it falls on a different date sometime in September. But I always think of it (I remember details and dates vividly) because it is right around the date that I first told my mom that she was a grandmother.

It was September 8th, 2009 when I called my mom on the phone and told her about our little Lily love. Over hours on the phone, the Lord restored our relationship and knit our hearts together in a new way, over our shared love for the precious wee babe growing in my womb. I was around 13 1/2 weeks gestation at that point. My mom says she feels like she was deprived all those weeks of knowing and loving Lily while she was here.

She is Lily's grandmother. Lily was her first-born granddarling. And she always will be. It takes a special kind of Grammy to learn to grandmother their granddarling of Heaven, with love that reaches across realms. Lily was my mom's only born grandchild for 6 years. Now she has my niece Harvest, who brings light into our lives. But there is always that Lily-sized piece missing... in every family photo and every holiday celebration. She will always hold her own place in the Allen family that time or new babies can never change.

my mom and Lily on March 16, 2010 🌸

I went to the Green Valley Book Fair in October 2009, when I was pregnant with Lily. I got my mom a Mary Engelbreight book called "When a child is born, so is a grandmother."

Now, because of everything that happened with losing Lily, I cringe a little bit at the title... because I realize that my mom became a grandmother, not the moment when Lily was born, but the moment she was conceived. She didn't lose her status as a grandmother because Lily died. It's still a special book, knowing I got it for my mom while Lily was here. I even have the dust jacket in Lily's scrapbook.

"Grandparents cry twice. They cry for their grandchild that died, and they cry for the inconsolable grief their own child has to bear." ~Mary Lou Reed

my sister, mom, and I when I was pregnant with Lily (March 2010)

My mom and I at her granddarling's special spot

Time, distance, and even death cannot thwart the love of a grandparent.

Though I miss my own dear grandmother, my Bumma, with all my aching heart, I'm incredibly thankful the Lord gifted me with nearly 28 years with her. My best friend, my mentor, my grief counselor, my sister in Christ. She is a treasure to each and everyone who knew her and I am somehow privileged enough to call her my grandmother and my daughter's great-grandmother. As so many people have told me since her passing, all of Crozet is missing her and feeling her absence. I'm convinced that all of Virginia, where she lived all of her 85 years, is missing her. ❤️

This post left me:

International Bereaved Father's Day

Carly Marie recently released a video in recognition of International Bereaved Father's Day, which was Sunday. It touched my heart, so I wanted to share it here. I wish Lily's daddy would have wanted to be a part of it.

This post left me:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

My 28th Birthday! 🎉

I turned 28 on August 12th! ❤️ 🎁 🎈🌹

It was a fun day... week... okay, let's be honest... month of celebrating! 😄 🎉

I want to share a few of the gifts I received that remind me of Lily...

This gift is from my friend, Ashley.

These are from my friend, Bex.

These are from my friend, Lissy. She told me that when she got them in Australia, the lady asked who they were for and she was able to share a bit about my story with her and the significance of butterflies to me. :)

This is from my friend/Bible study leader, Terri. You'd think my friends know I like butterflies or something. ;)

My friend Bethany wrote Lily's name in the sand on my birthday at Big Sandy Camp in McGregor, Minnesota next to her boy, Noah, who is friends with Lily. 😌 

She wrote, "Can't wait to see them in Heaven playing, laughing, and dancing together in the presence of Jesus! 💜 💙 "

My birthday cake! The strawberry cake from Whole Foods is my favorite! 😍 🎂 🍰 🍓

Virginia tulips from my brother, Joseph, and sister-in-law, Kala! 🌷 💐

A beautiful rainbow in Crozet on my birthday. Thanks to my sweet friend Elise for capturing this photo for me. I have so much hope and anticipation to see what the Lord holds in store for this next year of my life. 🌈

I spent my birthday in Virginia and loved being around friends and family. Several family members woke me up to sing "happy birthday" at 7:48 a.m. (my birth minute). It's tradition. :) My mom made us a yummy breakfast and my Aunt Ellie made me special birthday coffee.

We ate dinner at one of my favorite places, Blue Mountain Brewery. For one thing, the scenery there is breathtaking, and for another, I went there many times with Bumma, so it reminds me of her. 🍔

So for the highlight of my birthday... Anyone who knows me well knows how much of an impact Corrie ten Boom has had on my life. I don't think I've ever not quoted her when giving a speech. I say that even though she went to be with the Lord before I was born, I still consider her one of my closest friends and I greatly look forward to one day meeting her. :)

Bumma knew how much I love her and told me years ago about a book she wanted me to have, but she didn't know where it was. Bumma was friends with a gal from college who knew Corrie ten Boom well and actually travelled with her. She gave Bumma a signed copy of The Hiding Place, which is my very favorite book. She had no idea where it was though.

As we've been working on cleaning out Bumma's house a lot this summer, I thought of the book and hoped we'd somehow find it. I mentioned it to all my family and asked them to be on the lookout for it, but was honestly not very optimistic because Bumma literally owned thousands of books and many had already been given away. 

Well on my birthday, several boxes of books were about to be donated when my mom said she wanted to look through them first and what do ya know, there was the signed copy! Found on my birthday!! It made me tear up because it's something that means a lot to me and feels like a gift from Jesus/Bumma. Like it was just waiting to be found on August 12th. I know Bumma would be so happy I now have it. 😌 📚

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty." ~Psalm 91:1

Since I spent my day in Virginia, I was thankful I was able to visit Bumma and Lily's spot that day. I came across this photo of Bumma and I at my 1st birthday party. I sure missed two of the most important people in my life on my special day!

Also, I'm sure you heard about the recent events in Charlottesville that made international news. Charlottesville is actually the city of my birth and it unfolded on my birthday. We were just a few miles down the road. It breaks my heart for my home area to be known for this... it's actually a lovely and charming area. And most of the people there were not Charlottesvillians, fyi. We went downtown a few days later and it was crazy to see all the news crews.

Jesus, how this broken world needs YOU, for You alone are true love, true peace, true life, true healing, true restoration, true unity.

"The church, God's 'Plan A' for rescuing the world, should stand as a place of refuge for people of every color. We are one race - the human race - united under one Savior - Jesus Christ - with one problem - sin - and united with one hope - the resurrection." ~J.D. Greear

Thank to for all the calls, texts, emails, gifts, etc... You helped make my day truly special and full of the people and things I love! ❤️

This post left me:

Girl Cousins the Same Age, How Fun It'd Be

September 6th is ironically both Stillbirth Remembrance Day and Lily's cousin's birthday. She was born on Labor Day in 2010, meaning she is just a half a year younger than Lily, turning 7 today.

Her birthday reminds me of my little girl, who should be the same age. How would Lily look now? Who would she be? Would these two girls be the best of friends? How much fun would it be to have a girl cousin so close in age? I hope she will grow up knowing about Lily.

It's strange the days that can hurt like they do... today is one of those days for me. ❤️

Here is something I wrote on a blog post before:
Lily has three cousins that were born within just a few months of her. My cousin Daniel's son, Owen, was born three months before Lily. She also has two other cousins who I don't write about, a little boy who was born five months before Lily and a little girl who was born half a year after. They are Lily's father's niece and nephew. I never see or talk to them, so I don't know anything about their lives. But I have seen photos. I still know that they are out there and that they are Lily's cousins. There is a little girl who is now taking the place of Lily as the oldest granddaughter and niece growing up in that family. A little girl who will miss out on having a girl cousin close in age to share life with. It absolutely breaks my heart to think of this little girl, who Lily will never know and I will never know because Lily isn't here.
It breaks my heart even more wondering if the other half of Lily's family cares for or thinks about her at all. Is she out of sight, out of mind, almost as if she never existed? I can't stand the thought of them not ever mentioning her, not remembering her on her birthday each year, not visiting her grave every now and then, and not missing and loving her. Will they think of Lily as her girl cousin grows up through the years and wonder how Lily would have looked and who she would've become? Will they count her as part of the family? I hope they will remember her and learn to love her in the only ways they can.
This post left me:

Count the Kicks

Today, September 6th, is Stillbirth Remembrance Day. It is a day set aside each year to honor and remember babies that have been stillborn. Still born. For me and other moms who have had stillborn babies, every day is stillbirth remembrance day because we remember our babies each day, each moment.

Honestly, before experiencing stillbirth myself, I don't remember hearing about it or even knowing what the word meant. I certainly never thought it could happen to me. After all, I was fullterm in a healthy pregnancy with a healthy and perfect beautiful baby girl. Everything was great, I was simply awaiting Lily's anticipated arrival.

That is until everything came crashing down around me in the early morning hours of March 16, 2010... when I arrived at the hospital in labor, 2 days past my due date. Her heart rate couldn't be detected by the nurse, so my doctor brought in the ultrasound machine. And it was then that the devastating news was confirmed. Her heart had stopped beating. Just stopped. No reason, no explanation. At some point in the 5 days since my last prenatal appointment, where her heart had been strong as it'd always been, it ceased. Her perfect heart that created the most beautiful melody.

In the days that followed, others asked me how I didn't know, how I couldn't tell that she was gone? The best way I know to explain it, the way I've heard other stillbirth parents explain it as well, is that we simply thought our babies had run out of room. I thought Lily was big and therefore that is why I didn't feel her as much. And I did feel her, only now looking back, the only way I can describe that is that she felt like she was floating. That's a haunting memory.

You don't think stillbirth happens.

You certainly don't think it'll happen to you.

Until it does.

You play and replay everything leading up to the moment you heard the life-changing words that your baby had died. You wonder how you could have changed what happened.

26,000 babies are stillborn every year in the United States.

Each baby represents a family that most likely never thought it could be them.

"Stillbirth is known as the great equalizer - if you think it can't happen to you and your child, you're wrong. Stillbirth strikes all races, all religions, all walks of life. And it happens much more often than anyone likes to think about." ~Heather Fettig

Stillbirth throws families into a world of burials and headstones, and endless missing.

There are some ways to fight stillbirth. Pregnant mothers and those who know pregnant mothers: please take note of the importance of counting kicks. Become familiar with your own baby's unique movement pattern and be sure to be aware if the movements are not typical. This has literally saved babies lives.

According to the Count the Kicks Campaign, remember these two things:

#1 - Babies do not run out of room to move. They will run out of room for somersaults but they should be moving all the way up to and during labor.
#2 - Call right away if you notice a change in your baby's movement pattern. Even if you have an appointment scheduled for the next day, do not wait.

Listen to your gut. Don't let anyone make you feel like you are being a nuisance or dramatic. I don't think pregnant mothers should be wound up tight and constantly anxious about tracking their baby's movement, but it should be an intentional thing.

Once a pregnant mom is into the 3rd trimester (28 weeks) it's time to start counting.

Here's how you do it, as shared by Count the Kicks:

-Count the Kicks every day, preferably at the same time.
-Pick your time based on when your baby is usually active, such as after a snack or meal.
-Make sure your baby is awake first; walking, pushing on your tummy or having a cold drink are good wake-up calls.
-To get started, sit with your feet up or lie on your side. Count each of your baby's movements as one kick, and count until you reach 10 kicks. After a few days you will be able to see a pattern for your baby.
-Most of the time it will take less than a half-hour, but it could take as long as two hours.
-Log your recorded times using our Count the Kicks App or a kick chart.

For more information, visit the Count the Kicks website.

Honor the babies who were stillborn and protect your own baby by counting the kicks. If your baby was stillborn, I'd love it if you'd share their name and birthday in the comments. ❤️

My Lily Katherine
March 16, 2010
4:24 p.m.
7 pounds 9 ounces
21 inches
Perfect and beautiful, but without a heartbeat

This post left me:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Lily's Ready for Fall 🍁

A new Autumn flag for Lily! 💛 🍃 🍁 🎃 🍂 💚   

This post left me:
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