DeLanee's Story

10 years ago, Becky and Tommy, were blessed to be pregnant with their second child. Shortly thereafter they learned that they were going to be parents to a little girl, but the probability of their daughter living for very long was extremely low. Their daughter was diagnosed with a condition called Dandy-Walker Cyst. The doctors believed that their baby girl would deteriorate and pass away during pregnancy, but much to their surprise DeLanee developed until 28 weeks gestation when she was delivered and lived for three hours. As you can imagine, these 3 hours was precious time that they spent as a family with their daughter taking pictures, bathing, dressing and holding her until she passed away in their arms. Upon DeLanee's passing, the nurses brought the family a box to put their daughter’s belongings in to take home with them. Because DeLanee was born in January the nurses were able to find a leftover Christmas box. That Christmas box became extremely special to them and they clung to it and the contents inside that held their daughter’s precious belongings as they left the hospital without their baby. It was because of this box that the inspiration for Lanee’s Legacy began. . .

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Ultimate Gift

I can't believe that Christmas is just 6 days away. This past year has certainly flown by for me. I have a lot of memories that accompany Christmas. And it's interesting to me how Christmas changes for me a little bit each year.

As a child, it was all about the presents and the magic of Santa Claus. I was taught about the Savior's birth and true meaning of Christmas, but as a child I was focused on the material part of Christmas. Years later, I remember feeling let down as I realized Santa wasn't real but then excited to be my mom's elf to my little brother and sister. It was still about the presents though. Later, as I got married, it was fun to have my own little Christmas tree with my husband and create our own traditions. 3 years later, our first son came along and then it became ALL about him! That was so wonderful to experience Christmas through his eyes. It's truly a blessing to be able to see the magic come alive through a child.

7 years ago I was experiencing a very difficult Christmas. DeLanee was diagnosed on December 2nd of 2003. As a new mom, I was so full of excitement for the following Spring and the little life that was going to enter our family. In fact, I was so excited that I had already sent out my Christmas cards, decorated the house and bought presents - all before December. My anticipation of this little sweet baby growing inside of me had me very motivated!! There's just something about the promise of new life. On December 2nd all of those feelings were washed away and replaced with many others. My heart was filled with sorrow, frustration and even anger. I can't even describe the intensity of these emotions that I was feeling. They were overwhelming and all-consuming and any "Christmas spirit" that I was previously feeling was gone. To me, I no longer felt in the celebrating mood. I had a 3 year old at the time, so of course I had to "fake" my way through the month, but inside I felt like crawling in a hole until it all passed.

There is one particular Sunday before Christmas that stands out in my mind. On this day that I went to church, a sweet lady from our church was singing a solo called "Mary's Lullaby". Rebecca Barney has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I was already in such an emotionally fragile stage, but the beauty of the song along with her incredible talent melted my heart and I found myself sobbing. A friend of mine was sitting a little ways down and noticed that I was not doing such a good job of holding myself together and very subtly passed me a kleenex. I was so embarassed of my lack of composure and tried to do the best I could to hold it together, but the fact that she was passing me a kleenex made it apparent that I was NOT doing a very good job of it. I'm sure it wasn't pretty. If you haven't heard this song, it's such a sweet and tender song about Mary and how she felt about this most important little baby she had just given birth to. The part that always sticks out to me the most are the lyrics that say: ". . .for you are a king, but tonight you are mine".

When I hear this song, I think of Mary swaddling and holding her sweet baby, knowing how special he is and some of what is in store for him but not worrying about any of that for now, because. . . on that special night HE was HERS and that's all that mattered! I believe that she must have relished in that moment and the opportunity she had to love on him, sing lullabies and study every little feature on her sweet boy. Knowing what an important mission he had and that he would save the world must have compounded that love. I wish I had a download of the song I could share with you, but couldn't find a good version of it on the web. It's so beautiful. I love instrumental music and have been listening to a piano version of it on a CD by Marvin Goldstein called "The Greatest Gift". But Elise Adams also has a wonderful version of it on her CD and you can listen to a little snipit of it here.

Anyway, on that day, I couldn't help but think of my own baby and how I knew what was in store for her. I knew I wasn't going to keep her. I knew of her struggles and challenges that she was facing. . .but I too wanted her to be mine. . .if only for a short time. I wanted it sooooo badly and prayed that I would get to have some time with her. I feel so blessed to have gotten that opportunity. I know God must have known how important it was to me and I feel so blessed that I DID get a night with her. I will never forget how good it felt to hold her in my arms that night. I knew my time was going to be limited, but I was given the gift to hold her, love on her and have her be MINE for that night. It felt so good.

Today I went to church and again listened to this beautiful song. I was so glad that it was a part of the Christmas program because it has such a special place it my heart now and I love listening to it during Christmas. It was interesting though how today I sat in church and listened to this same song, but with a different ears.

This year has been a bit more emotional for me for some reason. It has been 7 years since DeLanee has passed away. Of course that first Christmas was extremely difficult, but each year has slowly gotten better. I'm not exactly sure why this one has been harder. I love everything about Christmas (except how hectic it can get). But what I love most is the opportunity to focus on the Savior and what His birth and life means to me. Actually, I think over these past 7 years I have developed a stronger appreciation and love for my brother, Jesus Christ, and what he has done for me and ALL of us. He paid the greatest price to give us the ultimate gift. . .eternal life. Eternal life and the opportunity to be with our loved ones again. Words cannot express how grateful I am to Him for this. So, now when I think of Christmas, I not only think of the Savior's birth, but his life and more importantly his atonement for the world which means that I can be with my daughter again. . .and not just for a night - but forever, and that is the ULTIMATE GIFT!

This is the knowledge that I find rest in. This is the truth that comforts me. I know the burden of grief and how it can bring us to our knees. It's my prayer that if you are feeling the heartache and loneliness that comes from losing a loved one that you may be able to to feel the gift that our Savior gave us and that is the assurance that life is everlasting. In that we can find peace and comfort.

John 14: 7: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Opportunity to Serve

We wanted to make you aware of an upcoming box assembly that will be taking place on this Thursday, December 16th, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.

Rebecca Smith, a fellow recipient of a box, has organized this project and has invited her friends and family but has also opened up the night to EVERYONE that would like to come and particpate. We would love to have you come and help us in this evening of service if you are able.

The project will take place at: 3580 E Houston Ave, Gilbert, AZ 85234. It is on Houston between Higley and Recker.

We will have everything we need to complete 40 boxes (20 boy/20 girl) on this night and it is not required that you bring anything to participate. However, if you would like to donate any items that are included in our boxes, we will have a donation bucket available and would love to have any support you are able to contribute to future boxes. If you would like to see a list of these items, you can find it to the right of our blog.

If you have any questions, just let us know. Hope to see you all there!

Monday, December 6, 2010

2nd Annual Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser

I can't believe it has taken us a month to get the pictures up of our breakfast! I'm so sorry it's been so long. Not only was our 2nd annual pancake breakfast a success, but the 2nd annual sickness in the Norris household was too. UGH! Last year after the breakfast I got REALLY sick and this year was no different. . .except the rest of my family got it as well. Anyway, between that and Thanksgiving and being out of town, this last month has just flown by.

Our breakfast was wonderful and the day was filled with fun, remembrance, celebration and reflection. There are so many people that made this day possible, from our sponsors, volunteers, business owners that donated items, caterer, emcee and many, many others. It takes so many people to make something like this happen and we appreciate each and every one of you that came and supported us in whatever capacity you did.

Here's some of the highlights from the day:
One of our super cute helpers, Brock Sherwood:
We displayed this poster at the ticket line. It shows which hospitals we currently serve - 18 total. It also says that as of the date of the breakfast we had donated 421 boxes totaling $10,525.00. Those numbers are already outdated and we continue to climb.

Here's our breakfast set up before everyone arrived:

Part of the breakfast crew:

We displayed some of our boxes that we have donated this past year:

Here's a few of the girls who helped us sell tickets and raffles: Summer Shiflet, Bekki Webb and Charlee Haueter. Thanks so much girls!!

Here's some pictures of our silent auction. WOW! We ended up with over 20 different silent auction packages. This was a huge success and help for our fundraising! Thanks to our business owners for donating such great items and for everyone who bid on them!

Our raffle was great as well with approximately 55 raffle prizes. Here's a few of them:
Thank you to the Mesa Fire Department for bringing their fire truck and contributing to our event! Love you guys!!

We were so honored to have Kevin Burdick as our emcee and performer this year. What a great person he is! He has a HUGE heart and such a spirit of giving. We were certainly blessed to have him with us that day. Not only that, but he is SUPER funny! We were cracking up at him all day!

Here he is performing his song in honor of his daughter, Dempsey Burdick, called "Too Good For This World". Beautiful!

We heard from both a bereaved mom and a bereavement coordinator at our breakfast. We appreciated their words and support.

This is Jamilyn Craig. We just love her. She does so much within the baby loss community to support and give back. She so beautifully shared the story of her sweet boys (2 losses - 9 years apart) and her experience. We appreciate her so much and her willingness to open her life and let us be a part of her story.

Karen Lee represented the Banner Hospitals and spoke about her experience in giving the boxes to families. We appreciated her words of encouragement and support to us.

Have we mentioned how much we LOVE the Mesa Host Lions Club?? Oh my gosh. . .we love these guys! They have a been a huge support to us and we look forward to when we get to spend some time with them. Wonderful, wonderful people!

The rest of these pictures are fun pictures throughout the day. Jump and Shout Play Center provided our bounce houses. Arizona Game and Fish was there with animals including, snakes, birds, owls, lizards, etc. We had awesome balloon twisters and face painters that the kids absolutely loved! Here's just some random shots:

I love how this sweet boy is eating his pancakes and sausage sandwich style. Awesome!
A fellow mom that has also experienced a heart breaking loss. She drove a very long way to come support us this day. It means a lot! Kelly Hatch and her cute daughter, Jerzie.

Dr. Gandhi from Phoenix Perinatal Associates:

Last, but not least, we were both suprised and honored to have this young man, Nathan Helbig, arrive at our breakfast with BOXES of donations and $500.00 in cash!!! He did an amazing job in doing this project for his Eagle Scout. We were so impressed with everything he accomplished and thank him for everything he donated for our boxes!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2 DAYS!!

Hey everybody! It has been a crazy but exciting week! We're so happy with how everything has come together for this event. It's amazing what just one year of experience can do! We can't wait for Saturday!!

Aside from being busy preparing for our breakfast, we got together last Saturday with some wonderful ladies in Tempe and created boxes that were delivered to two new hospitals, Phoenix Children's Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. That brings us up to 18 hospitals that we now serve throughout Arizona! Today, I received an amazing call from the bereavement department at Phoenix Children's thanking us for the boxes. She said that she "and the rest of the department has been looking at these boxes in amazement". This was their first delivery, so they had never seen them before. She talked of how well made they were, the effort and detail that went into them along with all of the items inside to help families. It was just really neat to hear from her and the feedback she had for not just us but ALL of you that help to make these boxes! A lot of women participated last Saturday to make both of those deliveries possible and we wanted to share this with you so that you would know the difference it made.

The Arizona Republic actually came to last Saturday's box making so that they could complete the story they were doing. That article ran in yesterday's paper in the Mesa edition. If you missed the article, you can read it here - just ignore the picture of me. I really hate pictures of myself. . .seriously hate it! I was so happy to see only volunteer pictures in the actual paper. Then, I saw the online one and really just cringed. UGH! I always look at them and think "do I really look like that"?!?

Anyway. . .

The lady I talked to today also asked me how we fund the boxes. So. . .I told her of our big event that is just two days away! I told her our organization is run solely from donations and volunteer efforts. When I told her that those efforts had funded 423 boxes this past year I heard her gasp on the other end of the phone. She couldn't believe it. Then she finished by saying that you need to continue to have your funding so we can receive these boxes.

. . . I hope so.

So, come out and see us at Red Mountain Park from 8 -11 this Saturday. When you buy your breakfast tickets the rest is free! Your kids will have fun with all of the entertainment we are providing. Our raffles are just $1 and our silent auction packages start at just $50.00! We have some of the best prizes this year!! Guys. . .we made sure to cater to you by having Phoenix Suns and Diamondback tickets, an autographed ball from the Cardinals, a really great golf package including professional lessons. . .you'll be amazed! Girls. . .we have a pampering package with all you would ever want as well as many, many others!

Thanks everbody for your continued support to us and hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Date Night Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated in our giveaway by getting your breakfast tickets and donating!! We appreciate your support so much!

This is my rainbow baby, Taryn. She was born just 16 months after DeLanee. She's a little kindergartner and doesn't go until the afternoon, so I let her do the honors of drawing our winner.

She thought it was pretty cool to get to do this:
And of course, she had to close her eyes:
And voila. . .

Enjoy your night out on the town and thanks so much for supporting us!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Date Night is BACK!!!

Last year we offered a date night giveaway to those who supported us. We brought it back again this year because who doesn't need an evening away from the kiddos. . .and if your anything like me it seems like you only get a night out about once a year anyway! So, not only is it back, but it is bigger and better than last year!!

I am so excited to offer this promotion (and will be super jealous of whoever wins it too)! I've had the opportunity to eat at The Capital Grille a few times (only on special occasions) and it is AMAZING!! The service is phenomenal, the food is the best you'll ever taste and you'll feel like the most spoiled couple in the world when you leave! If you haven't tried it, it is an absolute must and now is your chance! The gift certificate is for $100.00!! We are also throwing in a pair of tickets to the Cinemark Movie Theaters as well!

To get entered to win, it's simple. For every $10.00 you spend (breakfast tickets or donations) your name will be entered into our drawing. So, if you donate $100.00 your name will be entered 10 times. You must buy your tickets or donate starting now between next Tuesday, November 2nd at midnight.

Good luck everybody and if you win please be sure and eat a piece of coconut cream pie for me. . .it's to die for!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Introducing our Guest Emcee - Kevin Burdick

I'm so excited about our guest emcee this year and couldn't wait to tell you all about it! Not only will he keep our event moving and fun (seriously. . .he's hilarious), but happens to be a national recording artist who will also be performing for us! Yeah!

Kevin Burdick lost his daughter, Dempsey Burdick, in May, 2003 during open heart surgery to correct a birth defect. He knows first hand the heartache that comes from the loss of a child and I think it will be so great to have a Father's perspective to offer. He has an awesome foundation he created in memory of his daughter where he assists families in purchasing headstones for their children who otherwise would be unable to do so. How cool is that??

Dempsey Burdick:

He wrote a song in memory of his daughter called "Too Good For This World" that will be such a a treat for all of you to have the pleasure of listening to live at the breakfast. I can't wait for all of you to hear it. We are so grateful to Kevin for adding to our event in such a big way. A HUGE thank you to him!

So the questions is. . .HAVE YOU GOT YOUR TICKETS YET?? With just over 2 weeks until pancake flippin' time we are working hard to ensure that our 2nd annual event is awesome!

If you haven't looked at our list of prizes under our post "Save the Date", you have to check it out! We have added a lot of new prizes this past week. Raffles are a simple inexpensive way to contribute to our event even if you can't attend that day ($1 each or 6 for $5). No presence is necessary to win and with the overwhelming list of prizes, your chances are great at winning a fantastic prize! So contact one of us or visit a Phoenix Perinatal Associates location for your tickets:

Mesa: 1840 S. Stapley Dr. Ste. 131, Mesa, Arizona 85204. Phone: 480-969-5999.

Chandler: 600 S. Dobson Rd., Ste. D34, Chandler, AZ 85224. Phone: 480-857-0047. (open M/T/Th)

Scottsdale: 10210 N 92nd St Ste 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85258. Phone: 480-661-1332.

Phoenix: 3877 N 7th St Ste 400, Phoenix, AZ 85014. Phone: 602-257-8118.

Watch next week for another fun giveaway we'll do for those of you who haven't gotten your tickets as well. Thanks everyone for your support! See you soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winner of our Giveaway (Kooper's Story)

We want to thank ALL of you that participated in our giveaway last week by either sharing the story of your babies or buying your breakfast tickets for our upcoming fundraiser in honor of National Infant Loss and Rememberance Day. I know it's not always easy to share such precious memories and tender times and I want you to know that we don't take this lightly and consider it an honor that you would share your babies with us.

We had our drawing last night at our meeting and the name that was drawn was:

We contacted Kami last night to let her know that her name was drawn and she was willing to let us share the story of her son with you. We want to thank her for supporting us by both sharing her story and getting her breakfast tickets as well!


"I was so excited to be pregnant. I had a 2½ year old little boy and couldn’t wait for him to have a sibling. I was almost done with school and ready to have another baby in the family. My pregnancy was great and Kooper was such a mover. We called him our little monkey. My best friend (Jenna) and I were pregnant and only due 3 days apart. It was so fun to have someone to talk to that directly related to what I was feeling. She found out she was having a girl the same day I found out I was having a boy. We had so much fun being pregnant at the same time. We really wanted to have our babies on the same day. We had the same doctor and told him of our plan. My friend was definitely going to have her baby before me with the way she was progressing. I carry high and don’t really dilate so it wasn’t looking good on my end. The doctor sent me in to get the baby measured on July 1, 2008. We got to see our little monkey moving all around. Everything looked great. He wasn’t too big, so I wouldn’t be induced like I had hoped.
July 3rd came and Jenna and I were both having contractions. We both ended up in L&D, but unfortunately I wasn’t dilating so they sent me home although my contractions were consistent. My friend Jenna got admitted and ended up having her baby girl on July 4th. I was jealous and couldn’t wait for Kooper to come.

The following day I didn't really have any more contractions. So I just decided he would come when he wanted to. I prayed and prayed he would come soon. I had a doctors appointment on July 7th. Everything seemed fine. I was scheduled to be induced the following Tuesday. It was perfect. My Mom and sister would be flying in on Friday and we would get the weekend to spend with each other and then the baby would come. Thursday I was preparing for my families arrival and also for Kooper to be here soon. My husband Ryan got home from work a little later than usual because of the monsoon storm. I remember lying on the couch and Ryan coming in and then he asked me, “How’s Kooper doing?” That was when I really had to think back to the last time I felt him move. I started poking him and no movement. This had happened before. A few weeks before he wasn’t moving like he normally did so I went into the bedroom and laid in the dark poking him and he woke up. So I decided to try the trick I used last time. I would poke at him and moving from side to side. Still nothing. I started to get a little worried. I thought I would try to have something cold so I grabbed an otter pop out of the freezer, downed that. Nothing. I jumped (not literally) in the shower…that always got him moving. Nothing. I wasn’t too worried. I just wanted him to move. The thought of him being dead never really entered my mind. I called the L&D and asked if there was anything else I could try before coming in and they said to just come in. By now it is 11ish and we call our friends that live nearby…no answer. At first Ryan said to just go ahead and go and I tell him, “What if they have to do an emergency c-section and you aren’t there?” He says, “Right, we will bring Kade then.” Then I think of Kade already asleep and think about how I will get there and they are going to hook me up to the monitors and find his heartbeat and send me home. I tell him, “No, it’s going to be fine. I am sure I will get sent right back home. I will call you while I am there.” So off I went on my drive to the hospital. The whole time I was praying that he would move. I text Jenna to have her call me if she was awake. She was a new mom and I figured she was probably up with her baby. I wanted to tell her what I was doing and that I was hoping when I got there that they would check me and maybe I would be dilated enough to deliver. As I got closer I thought I felt him move but wasn’t sure. I even contemplated turning around but then figured I would go just in case, plus what if I was dilating and they decided to keep me? The roads were still pretty wet but it stopped raining and nobody was driving on the streets.

I got there and they didn’t waste any time. I didn’t have to pee in a cup or change into a gown they just put me in a room and hooked up the monitor. When the nurse was searching for the heartbeat I had no clue. My thoughts were, “Really you can’t find the heartbeat? How long have you been a nurse? It’s not that hard!” So she said she was going to have an ultrasound tech come up. I called Ryan and told him what was going on. The ultrasound tech took FOREVER! Probably because they knew the baby was already dead. I was optimistic. Ryan freaked out and was getting Kade ready. I kept telling him “It’s fine Ryan. I have a good feeling. I feel at peace and I am sure everything is going to be fine.” Now, I know what the feeling was. I know that Kooper was there with me. Telling me it was going to be fine. I am sure he had his arms around me telling me that he loves me and that it will be fine and I will make it through this.

The Ultrasound tech came into the room and was making small talk. Ryan was on the phone. He wanted to stay on during the ultrasound. She went right to his heart. I will never forget that image. There was no kicking or moving, there was a still baby. There was no beating of his heart. She typed "4 chamber heart" on the screen. I was hoping that they were still shots. But deep down I knew. I knew what it meant. I told Ryan that I think he better come now, trying to be brave, trying to sound brave so that he wouldn’t worry. He had already pretty much had Kade ready and in the car at that point and was on his way.

As I sat in the triage room waiting for results I prayed that what I just saw wasn’t what I thought. I thought "there is no way". "Not me!" "This isn’t happening to me." Bad things like this don’t happen. Then my doctor walked into the room with tears in his eyes said, “Kami, I’m so sorry!” It sounds lame but I said, “Tell me it’s not true!” I cried and I cried and he gave me a hug. We talked a little bit and Ryan called again. He was almost there. He asked what was going on and I couldn’t keep it from him. “He’s gone”, I said. Ryan didn’t understand and that is when I had to tell him that he died. Ryan was full of anger and sadness. I remember him saying, “We should have had him last week. No. I am so mad at the doctor!” I am sure he didn’t blame the doctor but he wanted to blame someone. Before he got there my doctor did an ultrasound to see if he could see any causes for Kooper’s death. He had good amounts of fluid and everything looked ok. Now we would just have to wait and see. Ryan got there with Kade and Ryan and I just held each other and cried. Poor little Kade was confused and not really understanding what was going on.

They induced me that night. I got an epidural to make me as comfortable as possible. Then they started pitocin and broke my water. The doctor was surprised to see that there was no meconium in the amniotic fluid. This means that Kooper wasn’t in distress before he passed away. It was finally time for me to push. Once the head was out they noticed that the cord was around his neck fairly tight 2 times. Then his body emerged and he was perfect. The one thing that wasn’t was the cord. There was a true knot in the cord that was tightened completely. You could see that from the knot to his body the cord was completely white. From the knot to the placenta you could see blood. So the knot must have tightened and completely cut off his blood supply. This brought back a memory from when I had Kade. I remember the doctor pointing out that Kade had a knot in his cord but it wasn’t tight enough to cut off blood supply. He also said that it looked like there had been a knot that had come undone.

The moments following his delivery were so special. I stared in awe at his perfect body, his head full of dark hair. He was perfect in every way. It felt like at any moment he was just going to start crying or breathing. We spent quite a while with him. The nurse bathed him and Ryan helped dress him in an outfit. We had a volunteer photographer come from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep to take his pictures and our family pictures. The hospital where we were at didn’t have much to give grieving parents. We got a little booklet to put hand and fingerprints on and they gave us a beautiful blue crocheted blanket. I so wish that they had the boxes from Lanee’s Legacy."