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. . .

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Birthday DeLanee - 7 Years

It's a special day for Lanee's Legacy. It was 7 years ago today that the inspiration behind this organization was born. Today, DeLanee would be 7 years old.

We had a box making a couple of nights ago where Sandy Harenberg who is the bereavement coordinator at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital attended. She experienced the loss of her daughter, Casey, 25 years ago. 25 years! Wow! I can't yet wrap my mind around grieving my daughter for that many years - although I know I will. She spoke for us that night and told us how each year has changed for her. Her eyes were full of tears as she told us, "this is 25 years you guys". "It's been 25 years and I am standing here crying". She went on to say that she doesn't cry every day, but that she is still very much effected by the life of her daughter. She says as a nurse that she must enter into the computer her patient's birthdates and that every time she enters a date of "1985" she remembers that it could be her daughter having a baby (or losing a baby). Those little reminders.

This is us with Sandy and also Brock Sherwood who helped
with this box making night to complete his Eagle Scout project:

I told Sandy that I had just passed kindergarten. She's not only has passed that stage, but also her daughter being old enough to drive a car, graduate high school, get married and now old enough to have babies. Old enough for her to have grandbabies.

I'm amazed at the past 7 years. How they've flown by, but at times, stood still. I'm thankful for every moment of this experience that I've been able to have. It has been the hardest sweetest experience I have ever had and believe I probably ever will. My daughter has changed me and made me into who I am today. I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned and who she's helped me to become. I know I have so far to go, but am thankful for where I am. She's brought our family closer together. She's changed not only me, but my living children, my marriage and those who have been touched by her.

Before she came into my life, I was a different person. I feel stronger in knowing that I was able to overcome one of the most dificult experiences in my life. Throughout these past seven years I have felt loved from so many different people and places as I've shared my story. This love that I have been so blessed to feel is the same love that we as volunteers hope to include in each one of our boxes that we donate. Losing a child is such an extremely difficult thing to endur, but I hope that by receiving one of Lanee's Legacy's boxes that they not only feel loved by a fellow mother who has walked their same road, but feel uplifted in knowing that they are not alone as they do.

When I had DeLanee, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, wasn't yet in existence. I am thankful for the pictures I was able to get and for my mom who was smart enough to coax me into getting some of the ones that I did. I do wish I could have had a professional there to help me capture some of our moments together. I also had always wished for a video. Well, this year, I decided to give myself a birthday gift for DeLanee's special day by making my own. So, although, it's not professional, I'm thankful for every little thing I have.

I'm sharing it here today with you. Happy Birthday to DeLanee!

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Loops for Logan"

One of the best parts about being involved with Lanee's Legacy is that we get the opportunity to meet amazingly people who are strong, who care and have big hearts who want to help. Marlo Alder is one of these people. I met Marlo in May of last year when she contacted me and shared her heartbreaking story with me. Marlo's story is exactly the reason why this organization exists. Our mission and purpose is to ensure that parents don't have experiences similar to her's. Since meeting Marlo, we have cried together, planned together, worked together, laughed together and planned some more! She is an amazing person that has had an incredible loss, had a less than perfect experience in the hospital at the time of her loss, but has turned her grief into something good that has helped others.

I'd like to share a little bit of Marlo's story by doing so in her own words. This was Marlo's first e-mail to me:

My name is Marlo Alder and I have followed your blog for some time now. I lost my baby back in November at TMC hospital in Tucson. My experience was so hard, I had HELLP syndrome at 17 weeks. They had to take our baby, we found out that we were having a baby boy just hours before we had him. What makes this harder is that we had done invitro to have this our third baby. Well, long story short, because we had lost the baby they had me go to the women's center to recover for 2 days. It was the most awful experience. I felt forgotten, alone {My husband was there, and was awesome!!}, and that nobody cared that I had just lost my baby. They gave me a box that had a bear and some papers about how to grieve. We didnt take any pictures, and did nothing special. We had no idea what to do. So I am writing you and asking if there is anything I can do in my area, so that people don't have to go through, what I had to. I live in Pima which is by Safford. The hospital is Mt. Graham. It's a small town and I don't know if there is any program here. I didn't deliver here, so I am not sure. I think what you are doing is so touching. I admire you and your love. Let me know. Thanks, Marlo.

Marlo did NOT receive one of Lanee's Legacy boxes. She did not have any items to help her capture precious memories with her son. She wasn't even given the opportunity to see him. She was caught in a whirlwind, not doing physically well herself and didn't have anything to help. When she first shared her experience with me, my heart broke. I'd never met her before, but I just wanted to reach out, grab her and hug her.

As our conversations continued, she told me how she was determined to ensure that no other mom had an experience such as her's. We planned a box making night in her area and left those boxes for her to deliver to her local hospital (Mt. Graham Medical Center). She has already felt her efforts come full circle as she has had friends experience a loss. How amazing for her to know that because of Logan and her efforts, those friends have been able to feel the love that she had for them by helping to create the boxes to ensure they were available for them when needed. What an amazing thing she has done!

Here's some pictures of our box making night in Pima, Arizona back in September, 2010:

It was an awesome turnout! One of our biggest groups to do boxes with. Not only did she have the women from her church group there, but the nursing department from her local college was there too. We felt so blessed to be a part of this night and to meet such amazing people!

Although her story is heartbreaking, her son, Logan, has had a tremendous effect on her life. Marlo is full of faith and Logan remains a big part of their family. She has turned her experience into something good by helping others and has made sure that Lanee's Legacy's boxes are now in the two hospitals she was in with the hope that no other mother will have to experience what she did.

Don't think that her story ends there! She has also organized a fundraiser in her town where the proceeds of what is earned will benefit Lanee's Legacy. I told you she's amazing, didn't I?!?
On January 22, 2010, there will be a charity roping called "Loops for Logan" that will be held at the Alder arena in Pima, Arizona. For those of you who are not familiar with what a "roping" is - - its a cowboy thing! Think two guys, each on a horse, roping a steer for the fastest time.

Marlo and her Husband are country people (who just so happen to be some of my favorite kind of people) and when she was thinking of how she could help raise funds for Lanee's Legacy's boxes, she thought of something that would fit into her life, something she knew about and would work for her! I love it!! I can't wait to attend this event and be a part of this celebration of Logan, who he is and the amazing Mother he has in planning and coordinating something so great for the benefit of others!
In the meantime, if you'd like to help out with a box making we have 2 opportunities left in January.
January 20th - Suprise 1st Ward, 14916 N Sarival Avenue, Suprise, Arizona @ 7:00 p.m.
January 25th - Gilbert 9th Ward, 1150 E. Guadalupe, Gilbert, Arizona @ 7:00 p.m.
Feel free to come and help out. Any donations you bring will be greatly appreciated!