We had a physical shower with Cora because she was my first and I wanted some normality of that pregnancy. Twenty five or so women came and celebrated her. Each person brought prayer cards and a piece of fleece. My sister in law tied the pieces of fleece together and made a prayer blanket. I came away from that shower feeling validated for choosing life for her and that she was celebrated appropriately. A few days later, I scanned myself to find out she had passed sometime that weekend.
We aren’t doing a shower for Layla. She’s my fourth, we don’t need anything for her, and I’m too exhausted to entertain people at my house. So, a few weeks ago a friend contacted me and asked if she could set up a virtual shower for my family to go on a trip after her birth. I mentioned on Facebook that I would someday like to start an organization similar to Make A Wish for families who have stillbirths or lose infants in the hospital to go on an all expenses paid trip wherever they want in the US. I felt like this would be such a blessing for families after such tragedy. My friend took this idea and wanted to help raise money for us to go on a trip.
The costs of Layla’s funeral + birth + headstone will be around $3,000 and with those costs we won’t budget a trip to “get away” with our family of four after delivery. If you’ve lost a child, you know how debilitating grief can be when you are home after delivery. I will have to be home for about 5-6 weeks (maybe more if I have a C section), due to the physical nature of my job as a sonographer. The kids will be in school soon after and Josh will go back to work after a week or two, and I’ll be left at home alone. For a while, it will be a nice break from the chaos but I know from losing Cora that it starts to feel like I’m a prisoner in my home.
So many people have asked us what they can do. I feel like this virtual shower is a good way to help us heal. My friend created a Facebook event for this shower here: https://www.facebook.com/events/213984519162917??ti=ia
Not everyone has Facebook, so I will also post information on the “event” here:
So often one of the most special ways an expectant mom can be shown love and joy is by having a baby shower. It’s also a way that we surround our friends and family and join in the celebration of life that God has given.
Layla has been given life. It’s not the length of life her parents or any of us would have chosen for her. But it’s a beautiful and worthy life that reflects the Image of God! And we are going to celebrate and honor that.
The gifts given through this shower will be used to bless Layla’s family as they find ways to celebrate, remember and heal after she is born and after they say goodbye.
Think of what you might give/bring to a baby shower and take that amount (and maybe even some extra) and let’s bless the Shraders and be the friends and family who gather around and lavish and support them in honoring Layla!
Any extra funds after we go on a mini vacation to somewhere like the beach, will go towards something to memorialize Layla. This may mean a Cuddle Cot for Duke (we are running into snags trying to get it past regulations set by Clinical Engineering) or equipment similar to help families who experience stillbirth or death of an infant in the hospital. If we can’t get this equipment into Duke, we may try to donate to another hospital somewhere in N.C. -maybe Vidant Hospital in Greenville.
People wrote us checks to help with funeral costs after Cora, and we used those funds to start the daunting task of international adoption for our son from Ethiopia. It’s very hard for us to put this out there, because it feels weird to ask for a vacation. But, people want to help celebrate Layla and I think this is a good way to accomplish that. I also really want to raise funds to help buy equipment for other families to help grieve their children. Once I can find out if Duke will pass the Cuddle Cot (or similar equipment) I will start hardcore fundraising specifically for that. For now, we will put any extra money aside to start that fundraiser.
We are so grateful you also see Layla’s worth and would like to help celebrate her memory. We love you all.