Monday, June 15, 2009

Update & Memorial Garden

Today was a rough day for the both of us. No parent ever wants to plan a child's service and go to funeral homes to sign papers to release our baby to them. Surprisingly we both held up pretty good. Nolan's service is going to be absolutely beautiful and I hope it gives us some closure. We miss that little boy like crazy. Chris and I talk about him every morning & every night. I was telling my Mom today I would do ANYTHING to have him back. I even mentioned winning the lottery would do NOTHING for us. I would rip the ticket up just to have Nolan back and healthy. The past few days I have felt so empty, it's the worst empty feeling you can imagine. I was so used to feeling Nolan kick around and use my bladder as a trampoline. It feels weird not being pregnant anymore. Even considering a glass of wine makes me feel so guilty and it reminds me how the past 6 months I haven't touched a drip of wine and such. It's just not fair. I'll only wear dresses right now so I don't have to touch any of my maternity clothes. Even though as of today I am back to my pre-pregnancy size. Well at least I feel like I am.

Last night brought tears to my eyes. The night Nolan went to sleep forever, we spent many hours in the quite room holding him. The
NICU took him for a few minutes before we were ready to give him back and put a little outfit on him and wrapped him in a blanket. This was incredibly sweet and all. But they asked if I wanted to take his outfit home and I declined. It was too morbid and it's not how I remember Nolan. I remember half naked Nolan with just his diaper and Oakley sunglasses he wore while the bilirubin lights were on. Well last night we decided to go through his memory box that the nurse gave me before we left the NICU for the last time. You know what was in there? His Oakley Sunglasses! You know, the black little glasses you see in most his pictures. I couldn't stop crying, that's how we remember him. I know its such a little thing, but it means SO MUCH.

I want to give a HUGE thanks to Blessed Pope John xxiii Church, they have been WONDERFUL. They have opened their arms and welcomed Chris and I into their family. Most of all they have made Chris comfortable. I can't thank this parish enough. They have done more than they ever needed to. They are personalizing his service just to make it so special to us.

We have decided that we want to start a donation for A
Guardian Angel statue for the developing Children's Memorial in Nolan's name. Our church has a beautiful Memorial Garden which we are placing Nolan for his final resting spot. It's absolutely beautiful and our church wants to extend the garden to make a Children's area. We really want to help them start this process. So in lieu of flowers, please send a donation to our Church and they will send you a letter of thanks back. It would be greatly appreciated. Flowers are welcome too, but we really want to help our church designate a children's area.

There is a peaceful area on our parish grounds called the Memorial Garden. In this garden you can walk the Stations of the Cross around a path in this nicely landscaped area.

There is a walkway in the shape of a cross with four rays coming from the center. Brick stones outline the walkway where many of our beloved deceased members and friends have their ashes buried. Benches are available in the garden and we invite you to visit and spend some quiet time in prayer remembering our loved ones.
-Taken from the Blessed Pope John xxiii church website

I'm still in recovery. The
HELLP syndrome and Preeclampsia is still haunting me with high blood pressures. But after another trip to the OB, they have me on continued BP medications and have hopes that this shall disappear in the next 6 weeks. It's still sore moving around a lot but I am healing pretty decent considering the way my Dr had to do the incision to keep Nolan safe. I never realized how much recovery was required when having a c-section. I plan on writing out my birth story with in the next few days. A lot of people have been asking how and what happened. It all happened so fast for me to, so maybe writing it out will help. I didn't realize how sick I really was.

Thank you for all the continued support. It is so comforting knowing that friends, family and strangers are all praying for our strength. I'm just so amazed that this blog has turned into what it has, considering I never had plans for that. I'm just so amazed people enjoy reading my thoughts, they do truly come from the heart and if it changes just one person or helps one other person go through a difficult time in their life, then I'm happy to continue writing in the blog.

If you would like to donate to the developing Children's Memorial Garden in Nolan's name please contact the church or send a check to
Blessed Pope John XXIII Catholic Church
13060 Palomino Lane
Fort Myers, FL 33912


Shannon said...

I can not even imagine how hard this must be. I wish I was there to give you a hug and squeeze your hand. You did everything you could for Nolan. He was such a handsome little guy in his shades. I'm sure he's looking down at you and Chris and is smiling and looking out for you.

Please take care of yourself as you continue to heal. I wish I could be there Friday for the service. I know it's going to be beautiful!

Lots of hugs and prayers for you and Chris!

Kimberly said...

The garden is beautiful and looks like the perfect resting place for sweet little Nolan. I wish I could be there for the service, I know it will be a beautiful.

Take care of yourself Ashley, we continue to pray for you guys.

Kristen said...

It is absolutely beautiful and a perfect and peacefull spot for your angel to rest. Im sure the memorial service will be beautiful and will bring out the spirit that nolan has brought out in everyone who knew him.
Take care and {{hugs}} to you and chris.

chickymel said...

It's as beautiful place for Nolan, and the service will be beautiful, I know it. I wish I could give you a big hug. You are so strong, many more prayers being sent your way.

Amy said...

Hi Ashley, I shared your story with a friend of mine from college that went through this same thing last fall. She sent me an email to give to you because it wouldn't let her comment. Here you go!

Dear Ashley,
I am a sorority sister of Amy Hull's and she sent me your blog and story. She thought I may be able to send some thoughts your way because I went through MANY of the same things you did with your beautiful boy. My daughter was born at 25 weeks (due to preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome). Liliana weighed 1 lb 6.5 oz. Many of the same issues Nolan had, Liliana did as well. I know the happiness, yet fear and anxiety watching your child in the NICU. I can't begin to tell you how much I feel for you and your family right now. Liliana was in the NICU for 2 1/2 months and is now 7 months old (at 11.5 lbs), but is healthy. I tell you this not to bring up any pain for you, but to let you know that miracles can and will happen. Your little Nolan was obviously a gift from God....I hope that you and your husband find strength in each other to get you through this difficult time. I know we don't know one another, but know that I am praying for you and your family. If you need anything, just let Amy know to get in touch with me. God bless all of you.
Amanda Knapp

cmatsukes said...

Ashley that looks like a wonderful garden memorial and a beautiful, wonderful place for your special little man to rest I send some flowers and something you can keep to take home and I am also going to send a donation in Nolans honor for the new childrens area.

Christy said...

What a great way to honor your baby boy.

theresia said...

Dear Chris and Ashley,
I am over whelmed with the sadness you must be feeling. My family has been honored and blessed by Nolan's presence through this blog. Thank you so much for sharing your truly remakable son. May Nolan's display of strength guide you through your grieving process. The resting place is a beautiful symbol of the memory Nolan has left us with. May everyone's prayers and love help you both heal. Walter and I wish we could have been there to see Nolan be placed in God's hands. We will send a donation to The Blessed Pope John in Nolan's honor. With love and a heavy heart,
Walter and Theresia