Wife to Brendan and mama to 8 little people.
5 we get to parent on Earth (including 1 due in December) + 3 that we will one day meet in Heaven.
This is my story of how Umbrella Boxes came to be.
In January 2011, 9 months after our first daughter was born, I had a first-trimester miscarriage. We were heartbroken and named our little one Avery.
We went on to get pregnant again about 6 weeks later and I carried that baby through the first trimester and into the 2nd. At about 15 weeks, in June, I went into labor and had to deliver our little boy in the Emergency Room, which was a very traumatic and unsupportive way to give birth.
He was too tiny to survive and I was not given the opportunity to see him, hold him, nor take his remains home to bury. I had a D&C and was sent home the next day with nothing to hold onto, not even an ultrasound picture.
I became pregnant again 2 weeks later (!), and carried that baby, our 2nd daughter, to term, all the while dealing with untreated depression, grief, and anxiety.
When she was 12.5 months old, in April 2013, I had another early miscarriage and we named the baby Quinn.
We went on to have a healthy full-term son in December 2013.
In June 2015, we had another baby girl who was born 1 day premature and spent 9 days in the NICU before coming home with no health issues.
In March 2017, we found out we were expecting again and I suspended Umbrella Box requests until I could catch up with the very large number of submissions already in my queue. It's taken over 6 months to finish them as I am finding that pregnancy after loss (PAL) is just as tiring emotionally, mentally, and physically as ever. Baby girl will hopefully arrive sometime in November or early December. <3
This project and ministry is my dream that came from piecing some of the broken places of me back together. It's been a few years in the making. I wanted to give parents facing the loss of a baby during pregnancy something tangible and comforting to hold onto and a place to easily find resources and information.
My hope is to also help the people who love the families who have lost a baby--the people who are so desperate to comfort but feel as though they can only stand helpless, not knowing what will help and what will cause more hurt. I want to support others in a way I longed to be supported and in a way that others longed to support me but didn't know how.
Images of beach artwork created by Carly Marie Dudley. www.theseashoreofremembrance.blogspot.com