Friday, June 1, 2012

Ounces of Hope {dreams come true}

When dreams are shattered and hope is lost you wander aimlessly wishing for a miracle. The past 3 years and most specifically before CC came into our lives, I felt hopeless and useless. I felt my energy that should be given to Nolan was overlooked and I was forever ruined in grief. Granted I picked up the pieces ever so slowly and grieved out loud, I wouldn't be who I am or what I have become in the past 3 years if it wasn't for loosing Nolan. I'm slowly learning understanding God gave us my our experience so I could do great things.

Ok, typing that out makes me sound like I fully accept losing Nolan, but that's not exactly what I mean.

It's more so that there are times in your life that define you forever. They create you who are, how you change, how you react and most of all who you become.

Nolan was given to me for a reason, and I believe it now more than ever before.

On March 23rd, I clocked in for the first time as a working respiratory therapist in the NICU Yes, you read that right. My dreams have come true. 6 years ago I chose to take my career in the direction of adults with a desire to one day become a NICU therapist. My dreams shattered after becoming a MOM and going through some major PTSD (apparently I had PTSD after siting in on a lecture at a neonatal conference and nodding my head to every sign & symptom). And to be frank, I was scared I never would fulfill my dreams after that. But here I am, it just feel into my lap, I had a great support system and it has been the most healing experience I have had yet.

On May 11th, I launched Ounces of Hope, a complimentary photography service offered to the babies in the very same NICU. Named after Nolan only being 13 ounces and the hope he gave us. I realize now that those very pictures I took so innocently those 3 days in the NICU would forever be gold in my heart. Parents often have cameras & pictures in mind when caring for their newborn baby or critical neonate and I want to give back to them what I got. So in years to come they can look back to where their journey began.

So without further ado, my latest project...

Ounces of Hope

I have been so overwhelmed with nothing but support and love and I am in love with the direction my life is heading.

I had hit a point in my grief where I need to do something to pay it forward. I've been watching other Moms have fundraisers to add new Giraffe beds to the NICU, some knit hats and others build memory boxes to give to newly grieving parents before they leave. All which are absolutely amazing things to give to the NICU.

I knew I wanted to do something for my NICU I just didn't know what. I knew it had to be close to my heart and have a driving passion for whatever it may be. It took me 2 and a half years to have my "ah-ha" moment... that photography is where my heart is at. With in weeks of proposing the idea to the director of the NICU & hospital officials, Ounces of Hope was born.

As I stand back and look at the whole project as one, I realize I am picking up the pieces, turning them into something beautiful.I look at our Nolan as my light, my cheerleader, he gave me a cause and I'm going to run with it. The void I have felt the past 3 years is starting to fill in with hope again and dreams for others. I want to be part of it. And the connections I have made in the past couple of months with Nolan's caregivers (and now co-workers) & with the families and parents absolutely exceed anything I could ever ask for. 

Coming up on 3 years this month (June 8th) I never expected to be typing a blog post of this nature. It really puts into perspective how far I really have come.
I guess I can say, I am one lucky girl.


Victoria said...

you are amazing, and I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished and have yet to do!

CAS said...

What a way to give back and pay it forward in Nolan's honor! Great job in putting this together and God has given you so much strength to do this for other families as you UNDERSTAND their pain and how precious these time and pictures will be to them.

Abigail said...

Congratulations on this amazing new journey! What a truly amazing idea. Best of luck to you!

cmatsukes said...

This is wonderful Ashley I am proud of you YOU have come a long way we all have different paths to walk with loss in our lives I and I too feel I have come along way and can finally see around the darkness. This is so great what a great way to give back Nolan would be so proud of you too he is your little angel watching and guiding you.

Katie said...

I could not LOVE this any more!!!! What an amazing gift you are giving to so many families! As you know those beautiful photos will be treasured forever. The pictures from our NICU days are some of my most important possessions, as that was the most significant, life altering time in my life. Congratulations on your new job AND your new project. :)

Also, we have talked briefly on Twitter, but my daughter was also in the NICU at Health Park. The pictures on the Facebook page bought back so many memories. My sister in law is also a nurse in there now too. We have a lot of connections to that NICU, it is a very special place to our family. :)

LauraJane said...

Congratulations. It really sounds like you have accomplished a wonderful thing in honour of Nolan. That is absolutely incredible.

I'm so impressed you will be taking photos in the NICU. We have so few photos of those last moments with our son, and I truly wish a skilled photographer had been there to take some in our time of need.

Congratulations again lady.

Deanna said...

I have followed your blog for about a year and a half now and this blog post moved me to tears (again). :) You are one of the most inspirational women I *know*. Nolan and CC are SO blessed to have you as their earthly and heavenly mommy. Sending you hugs and comfort from California. From one mama to another. <3

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