Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweet Dreams

I watch you lay there so sweet and still,

in your beautiful dress, the only one you would ever wear.

Your thick black curly locks of hair,

hidden underneath your pure white beanie.

You just look like your are sleeping, eyelashes curled up so daintily,

Your cheeks are so soft and smooth,

I want to hold you forever, how can I let you go.

You have the cutest little button nose,

That I just cant stop kissing.

Pretty pink lips,

That will never take a breath.

I tenderly hold you in my arms,

Wondering why this had to happen.

I kiss your cute little button nose a thousand times,

I soak up your warmth, and whisper I love you gently in your ear.

As the tears fall down my face, I have to say goodbye.

Sweet dreams my beautiful girl, mummy will always love you.

Written by Rebecca Aziz in memory of Yasminah Ann Stillborn 26th March 2009

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime

I have been feeling a little 'disconnected' from my friends and family lately and remembered this poem which for me sums up a lot of the friends I have in my life. I had a staggering amount of 'friends' on my Facebook profile, many of whom I hardly know and decided that I need to really evaluate whether the people in my friends list are there for a reason, season, or lifetime.

If I recently 'unfriended' you it is nothing personal, I am just wanting to limit my profile to my close friends and family. It’s hard to not take Facebook personally, but you should really try. Remember — it’s supposed to be fun, not stressful!

A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically,emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are!

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realise is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON . . .Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh.They may teach you something you have never done.They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

That's why It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
Author Unknown

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our first year.....

The first Gift Of Hope was donated to family on the 26th May 2010. It took a few months to get the paperwork all filled in and approved by the various departments. On the 13th July 2010 Yasminah's Gift Of Hope became an official registered charity! Later that month we were granted deductible gift recipient status with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) so any donations over $2 made to our organisation were tax deductible. A very big achievement, as we have been told it can take some charities years to receive this endorsement.

Over the past 12-15 months we have grown incredibly fast as an organisation. We have an amazing team of volunteers who work just as hard and are just as dedicated to our cause as I am. They all help in various ways - decorating journals, contacting hospitals, referring families to YGOH, helping us to raise funds and spreading awareness through the community so people know our service is available and we can initiate early support. We have heard so many heartbreaking stories from families who have lost their child or watched as their tiny child fought for their life in intensive care. I have personally visited some of these families and sat with them talking about their precious little baby and the battle ahead of them in intensive care. I have watched through friendships on facebook as some of these children fight, grow and survive their premature birth eventually making it home. Some have made it home only to pass away a few weeks or months later, others have been blessed with more time creating a lifetime of memories with their child. Some sadly don't make it home, or learn that like me their baby passed away in utero. Many of our families have experienced the loss of their child during infancy and we have even helped families that have lost teenage children after a long battle with terminal illness. I have cried with them on the phone and sent numerous emails back and fourth sharing our emotions and the overwhelming connection of missing our child, whether they were taken from us too soon or in a hospital ward fighting for their life. We have shared our good days and also our bad days. Being there for each other through thick and thin.

A person's a person no matter how small. Dr Suess

We have helped families from all across Australia capture memories, through our partners Smallprint, Sue-Ella Signatures Keepsake and Memorial Jewellery, Fetal Impressions, Drawing From The Heart and The Eddy Bear Company.

Through the donation of our writing journals we provide families with a place to write and express their emotions. Yasminah's Gift Of Hope Journals are a unique, special keepsake that allows families to keep ultrasound images, photos, cot cards, arm bands, and foot and hand prints as a cherished keepsake of a precious life. Each journal contains a special page that the family can fill in about details of their child like name, date of birth, place of birth and details of the funeral or memorial service if their child has passed away. We encourage families to write about their journey. The family may like to keep it is a diary during their pregnancy after being told their child has a congenital abnormality, a journey through the roller coaster ride of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit when their child is born premature, or life after the loss of their child. Some other uses are to write about the birth of their child, write poems about how they are feeling, write a letter to their child and keep any cards or messages received from family or friends.

Personally I have grown and enriched my life from the work that I do. I have spent countless evenings up into the early hours of the morning answering requests from families, continuing to create and develop our website and perfecting our support program. I have cried silent tears as I lay in bed looking at my daughters photo on my bedside table, with immense love and gratitude for her lifelong legacy. I am now the proud mummy of 4 children and have a new found appreciation for the simple things in life and try to live each day as if its my last! Life is busy with a 4 year old and 19 month old twins, and a national charity to manage. There are some times I just want to 'be' me and spend time with my family even though there are others who need me, but my family will always come first and that's OK. I still struggle a little with how much I should share about my grief, but do find support and comfort from people who have told me just reading my blog helps them. So I will try to 'share' more of me and my crazy chaotic life!

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. Dr Suess

Sometimes it's hard to believe that this happened to me, as you never think this sort of thing can happen until it does! It is so overwhelming seeing such a tiny coffin and knowing your child is in there and is gone. Or being rushed into surgery to deliver a premature baby knowing your child's life is hanging in the balance. You lose all your dreams and vision of the future. Your life changes in an instant! One thing that always helped me in any time of trouble was to pour my heart out in ink onto the pages of my journals and I hope that the families who receive our Gift Of Hope also find comfort from writing and something to look back on.

When Yasminah was born sleeping I had the same feelings I am sure many other families have of wanting to reach out to others and to help. Help educate others that this happens, help other families know they are not alone and to help make a difference and hopefully prevent even just one family from going through the heartache that we experienced. Help families have no regrets and to capture precious memories and offer advice about ways to cope, ways to remember and ways to live a different life.

It has been an incredible year and I know that it is only the beginning of many exciting things to come. I thought it would be appropriate to share Yasminah's Gift Of Hope Mission for the future...

For every parent who experiences the premature birth or loss of their child through miscarriage, neonatal loss, stillbirth, infancy loss or diagnosis of a congenital abnormality during pregnancy or after birth to receive the same level of support, understanding, information and an opportunity to create lasting memories and keepsakes of their time with their child to treasure forever.

To raise the importance of awareness and support within the community about miscarriage, premature birth, neonatal loss, stillbirth, infancy loss and congenital abnormalities.

Lobby the Australian Federal Government to officially recognise October 15th as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Thank you for all your incredible support and we hope that we have helped bring a little bit of hope, light, love and happiness your way.

Find hope to keep you strong,
Find light to lead the way,
Find love all around you,
And happiness one day

Rebecca Aziz

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stop. Look. Listen. Heal

It is easy to get caught up in life. The things we need to do, who we need to be. I read something recently that captured what we all really need to do every now and then.

Stop. Look. Listen. Heal.

Treasure the silent moments.

Take note of what is happening around you.

Listen to what your mind and body are trying to tell you.

Look after yourself, heal your mind and body. Eat good healthy food, drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest.

These are words I personally to need to listen to and act upon. My family and I have been unwell with colds, chest infections, throat infections, croup the list goes on, for the past month. Just when I think we are over the worst of it something else pops up. My poor little man got croup on his birthday and I spent most of the day cleaning up vomit and comforting my child. We had to take him to the doctor in the afternoon because he couldn't keep anything down. The receptionist noticed it was his birthday and offered her well wishes but said she felt sorry for him being sick on his birthday. He was prescribed steriods to help, but again that night he vomitted in bed so ended up spending the rest of the night in mummy and daddy's bed. There is something precious about watching your child sleep, blissfully unaware of all the troubles in the world. The extra hugs and kisses in the morning when they wake up are nice too.

Right now I am sitting rugged up in my dressing gown, surrounded by a pile of tissues, my nasal spray and an empty glass after taking no less than 6 different medications and herbal supplements in an attempt to heal. I am on my third course of antibiotics and to say I am over it would be an understatement. I am sick of being sick!

So I will be taking it easy over the next few days. I am sure last nights weakness ordering pizza for dinner wasn't a great start to my eat well, live well philosophy, but hey we all have moments when picking up the phone becomes easier than standing in the kitchen preparing a meal. On the upside Aisha and Aaliyah enjoyed their first taste of pizza and we did try to keep it healthy by ordering vegetarian and cheese pizza's. Oh and there is some left over for lunch!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reflective Writing Challenge - How did they make you feel?

July's reflective writing challenged is based on the following quote
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Write one to two pages about someone who made a difference in your journey and how they made you feel.

People often don't know what do when a friend or family member experiences something like the premature birth, loss of a child or diagnosis of a congenital abnormality. Sharing how someone has made you feel by something they have said or done, may in turn help someone else who is going through their own journey.

We would love for you to share what you write and welcome you to post it below or if you have a blog, please link back to our blog

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Zachariah

I can hardly believe you are 4 years old! We tried unsuccessfuly for 6 years to start our family and almost gave up on our dream and then we were blessed with the gift of you. You gave us hope....

I am so lucky to have my journals to look back on through my journey into motherhood and your pregnancy and birth. I have been going back and reading your journal and reminiscing at the precious written and photographic memories I have of you. Your journal is an Intrinsic Journal and titled 'Cherish'. The front cover says

"It is in both the beauty and mystery of life we are reminded each day is a precious gift to be cherished"

I first found out I was pregnant with you on the 25th October 2006, at that stage your due date was the 28th June 2007. I actually did 5 tests just to make sure it was real. One of the first symptoms I got was backpain and just a feeling that there was something different!

Below is an early journal entry:

You are such a precious gift to me and your dad. Your'e not physically here in the outside world yet but I feel you with me at every moment of my day. You are already loved sooo much. Your mum! x x x

You arrived via emergency ceasarian after 21 hours of labour on the 4th July 2007 at 6:58am weighing 4.025kg and measuring 55.5cm long. You had the cutest button nose, the most gorgeous thick black hair, long fingernails and cute long wrinkly feet. I have loved you from the moment I knew you were mine.

You have been smiling since you were 6 hours old. You have the most amazing smile and infectious laugh, hidden behind your cheeky personality.

You continue to light up my life and are everything a mother could wish for a son.

You are a wonderful big brother who loves dearly and likes to dance and sing with your sisters and make them smile too.

You love to draw - everywhere, enjoy bubble baths and cooking with mummy.

We love you our little spiderman. Happy 4th Birthday Lots of Love Mummy, Daddy, Aisha, Aaliyah and angel kisses from Yasminah x x x x x x

Friday, July 1, 2011

Winter Blues

Winter blues have well and truly settled into our household. It started with my husband being unwell and followed with the rest of the family. Zach, Aaliyah and myself got sick first then Aisha. It always worries me when Aisha gets sick as she doesnt bounce back as well as her brother or sister and usually ends up in hospital. Thankfully the antibiotics seem to be working for her. Today I managed to get extra hugs and kisses from both the girls and Aisha stood unassisted for a few minutes, so even acheived another milestone. Thankfully she is on the road to recovery.

Personally I am on my second round of antibiotics and feel that they just aren't working. I still feel sick and every morning wake up hoping today will be the day I start to feel better! I look after my body as much as I can because it is important being a mother, wife, friend and running a charity full time. If I'm not well then everything else falls behind.

Our eldest child Zach is turning 4 in a few days and as his birthday approaches I tend to think about Yasminah more and being sick hasn't helped my over all well being. I am a big sook when I am sick and really want to crawl into a ball and do nothing, but 'nothing' isn't an option when you are a me. There hasn't been a lot of cooking or cleaning or anything happening and it is starting to take it's toll. I wish there was a fairy who could come and cook, clean and look after me so I can get better. After expressing this wish to a friend today I had to have a little giggle when she offered to come help me out and even slip into a fairy costume to make me feel better. Every one needs friends like this and for a moment it lifted my mood.

It makes me sad that we don't have Yasminah here to share her brother's birthday with us. That instead we will visit her grave. It makes me sad that people think we should be over her and we should move on. Our lives have moved on, we can stop that from happening but she is a part of our family, a part of me and I miss her. I just miss her :(

Please forgive me if I don't reply to your email or message straight away. It's nothing personal I am just feeling the winter blues and life, grief and the pain sometimes becomes overwhelming.