BENEFITING: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
EVENT DATE: Nov 28, 2015
On November 28, 2014 our family changed forever. We were expecting our collective fifth baby with a mix of joy, excitement, peace, and trepidation. We had managed to figure out how we were going to arrange our things for our growing family in our home. We had made the final preparations in anticipation of the holidays. We were due around Christmas so we had wanted to get as much done as possible in case Elliott decided to show up on a holiday. We had cleaned our home with a fine tooth comb in anticipation of having a new little one and we had just finished the last of the preparations. We were prepared.
The morning after Thanksgiving, I did not want to get out of bed. I knew, when my feet hit the floor, that the day was started and I was not ready for what was to come. The night before I went to bed with a nagging feeling that my baby wasn't moving around as much. I attributed it to running out of space, the amount of moving I had done putting together Thanskgiving.. anything other than decreased movement. When I woke up in the morning though, I knew something wasn't right. I went to the hospital with images of emergency cesarean sections and lost birth plans feeling defeated. What I found out instead is that we lost our little boy.
It was confirmed by ultrasound that at 36 weeks, our months of anticipation were ending in a way we could have never imagined. Our perfect little boy was no longer with us. The depth of my devastation is impossible to describe. I kept picturing all the things, all the spaces that Elliott would never be. All the nooks and crannies I created for my baby were going to be empty. On 11/28/14 at 9:38pm our sweet angel was born weighing 7 pounds 3.7 oz and 22 inches long. His umbilical cord laid over his heart and gave us the answer we needed. There was a true knot in his cord and nothing anyone could have done could have changed what happened. There was no way to predict and nothing anyone did wrong. It felt both cruel and comforting.
What I could not have predicted is the windfall of blessings my family would receive in the wake of our tragedy. The people, the organizations, the family, the employers, the schools that would rally around us to help us heal was something beyond description. In the same way we prepared for Elliott's arrival he was putting together a group of people to help us prepare for a life here without him. There is no other way to describe the support other than out of this world, whatever your spiritual beliefs.
Our family made a decision. I wanted to grieve Elliott optimistically. I did not want to be a mother who this happened to, but I was given this opportunity to make a difference to keep the legacy of my son alive. Each year on his birth-aversary my family and I will choose an organization that supports families in their darkest moments and give a gift in our Elliott's name. We will gather to celebrate him and collect donations leading up to our special day.
This year, we are collecting for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. A very dear photographer and volunteer made her way to Sioux City in the middle of the night the day after a major holiday to gift us our only set of family pictures that include our baby. This organization has helped SO MANY families preserve memories that, speaking from personal experience, are among their most treasured possessions. Help us in our goal to raise $1000 by November 28 to support them. Help us leave a legacy of community, generosity, and love for our Elliott.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
<3 The Johannes Family