The one who started it all…

One year ago, Mikayla Grace Terrill, was born into this world.  She is the one who inspires us every day to carry out the mission of Mikayla’s Grace.

I knew when we conceived Mikayla that she would change our lives…I just had no idea the impact she would truly have on us and so many others.  We are so thankful for all of the supporters of Mikayla’s Grace who help us in keeping her memory alive and by doing so, ensure that other parents in the same situation we were in one year ago today have special memories with their child(ren).

“A butterfly lights beside us, and for a brief moment it’s glory and beauty belong to our world.  But then it flies on again, and although we wish it could have stayed, we are so thankful to have seen it at all.”

Of course we wish she would have stayed.  But, nonetheless, we are glad to have seen it all.

Happy Birthday Mikayla Grace!
We love and miss you so much, more than words could possibly ever explain. We do believe that the place you are celebrating is far more great than we can even imagine and we know that someday we will be together again.  Thank you for all the gifts you’ve given Daddy and I this last year.  As long as we live, you will live.  As long as we live, you will be remembered.  As long as we live, you will be remembered.  You will live forever in our hearts and will always be our little girl.
Love, Mommy and Daddy

Thank you to those of you who have done acts of kindness in Mikayla’s name.  It truly does make a difficult month so much easier for us to know that others may smile because of the impact of our little girl.  We will still have a few things planned for our Random Acts of Kindness and at the end of the month I will share them all with you.

Today I would like to share a video that Kristie at Anchored by Hope made for Mikayla.

October Update

On October 7th we donated 20 NICU care packages, 20 angel memory boxes, 26 baby blankets, 19 burial gowns, 24 preemie clothes, and a book for the NICU library to St. Mary’s Hospital.  This was our second donation to the hospital, and makes our total donations to St. Mary’s 32 angel memory boxes, 40 NICU care packages, 67 books, 50 baby blankets, 24 preemie clothes and 47 gowns with matching booties and hats!  When we started Mikayla’s Grace we never imagined the impact we’d be able to have on this community of parents.

Sept_work_day_and_Oct_7_donation

October 15th marked the first event, The Forever in Our Hearts Remembrance Day, in the Madison area to honorthe official day of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance.  Mikayla’s Grace was honored to be part of this event to support all families who have experienced the loss of their child(ren) through pregnancy, stillbirth, or in early infancy along with families and friends of those parents. There were over 150 people at the event and another 15 famiies that chose to “Walk in Spirit.”  The Forever in Our Hearts Remembrance Day was the inspiration of Alissa Paulson-Cedars in memory of her daughter Kennedy Kate that who died in October 2009.  You can read more about how Alissa and I met and started working on this event here.  It was a chilly, and very windy, fall day but the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day to honor the brief lives of our children.  Please see below for all of the names read at the event that day.  It is always heartbreaking to know that so many families have been touched by the loss of a child, but we are so thankful that no one has to feel alone in this type of loss.  The event kicked off with an inspirational speaker, Linda Colletti who is a fellow babyloss mom, beautiful music by Terry and Jessica Helgestad, followed by reading of the babies names, a memorial walk around the park, and a dove release and bubbles to heaven.  You can see more pictures here and here on our Facebook page.   We raised close to $1500 the day of the event from the silent auction that will go to help more families in local hospitals and towards next year’s event.  We have already set a tenative date for Saturday, October 13th, 2012.  We will be looking for help in planning the event next year and if you are interested please email mikaylasgrace@gmail.com.

On October 21st, we got the official word that Mikayla’s Grace is the recipient of a  $5000 Pepsi Refresh Grant.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to those of you who helped vote for us, without the votes of our supporters we wouldn’t have had this opportunity.  The last week of voting we received hundreds of power votes from a Girl Scout troop in New York who found Pepsi power vote caps while collecting recycling at their local ball parks.  They went to the website and chose a project to give all the votes to.  With the help of these girls and all of our supporters we finished #6 in our category.  We should receive the first disbursement of the grant money in November and will be using this to provide another 60 angel memory boxes and 40-60 NICU care packages.  Our first goal is to expand our donations to Meriter Hospital and we have a meeting set up with them in November to determne their needs.   We are hoping to take a few months off for the holidays and host a HUGE work day in the spring and then make the donations to both St. Mary’s and Meriter Hospital by May.    The grant money has be be completely used by July of 2012, so we  are going to be looking for some volunteers to help us complete this project.  If you are able to help us plan the spring work day and organize the donations we would GREATLY appreciate your help.  If you are interested, email me at mikaylasgrace@gmail.com and we can discuss details.

FIOH5

If you are still looking for something fun to do with your kids to celebrate Halloween this weekend, this Spooktacular Harvest Party is a free event hosted by Danielle Bradley of First Moments Photography.  Danielle was Mikayla’s photographer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and does so much to help bereaved parents in our community by being one of the NILMDTS area coordinators.  The event sounds like a TON of fun and for a donation to Mikayla’s Grace you’ll get a digital image of your child(ren) all dressed up in their costumes!

There is a way that everyone can support bereaved parents by signing this petition to support the Parental Bereavement Act of 2011 (S 1358). This amendment to the FMLA will expand coverage and existing benefits to employees that have experienced the death of a child.  Currently parents are not covered for FMLA leave for the death of a child, which is one of the worst experiences that anyone can endure. I find it unacceptable that the death of a child is not included as a protected reason to qualify for the benefits that are set forth in the Family Medical Leave Act and I hope that you will take a moment to sign this petition to make the necessary modifications to FMLA benefits.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

312033_10150308523790741_56401190740_8496200_1711476242_nMany people know that October is the nationally recognized month of Breast Cancer Awareness.  Most do not know that it is also the nationally recognized month of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness as proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

October 15th was then envisioned as a day for families and friends to come together to remember and honor babies who left this world too soon.  You can visit the official site of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

We are honored to be part of first event to honor this day in the Madison area.  The Forever in Our Hearts Remembrance Day was the inspiration of Alissa Paulson-Cedars in memory of her daughter Kennedy Kate that who died in October 2009.  You can read more about how Alissa and I met and started working on this event here.  logo_without_words

The event will be held on Saturday, October 15th, at 9 am at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.  The event will start out with an inspirational speaker, Linda Colletti, followed by reading of the babies names, a memorial walk, and a dove release and bubbles to heaven.  This event is for all families who have experienced the loss of their child(ren) through pregnancy, stillbirth, or in early infancy.  We encourage the families and friends of those parents to join us as well.

You can read more about the event on thewebsite and purchase tickets to attend here.  If you are planning to attend the last day to purchase a ticket that includes a t-shirt will be October 7th.  We are including the list of all babies whom we’ll be remembering this day on the t-shirt for those that register before October 5th, so if you’d like a t-shirt please go register now!  We also have an option to include a memory butterfly for your child and a walk in spirit ticket option if you want to support the event but are unable to participate with us that day.

Regardless of your participation in our event, I hope you take the time to get involved this month, see below for ideas!

One out of every four women will experience the loss of a baby at some point in their lives. That’s right–25%! Pregnancy/infant loss is an issue that while very common, is rarely talked about. Because it’s become such a “hush-hush” and taboo topic, those who experience it are often left to grieve in silence, alone.

It’s time for things to change.

iamthe_face_badges

It’s time to open up the conversation, to get the dialogue started. It’s time for everyone to come together, raise our voices, and reach out to the others who are out there, thinking they are alone.

Together we can break the silence and taboo surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. Help spread awareness by grabbing one of the official ‘I am the Face’ profile badges for your facebook, twitter, google+, blog, etc. Visithttp://www.iamtheface.org/ to grab your badge!
Suggested ways to Celebrate October 15th:

  • Light a candle for your lost child(ren). Be sure to take a photo of it and send here.
  • Do a balloon release with your family and/or friends. Give each person a note card to write a message to your child(ren), and attach to the balloons.
  • Plant a tree in honor of your child(ren).
  • Participate in a planned Oct. 15th event in your area. For events listed by location click here.
  • Light a candle for your baby during the Wave of Light, October 15th at 7 pm.  See more information here

 

 

285021_103049069795941_103048943129287_11204_1568773_n