Friday, February 28, 2014

March/April Sharing Magazine: Faith & Spirituality

The March/April issue of Sharing Magazine is now available. The topic is Faith & Spirituality.

This edition provides stories from bereaved parents and professionals on the various ways spiritual beliefs and ideals guide bereaved parents throughout the many challenges of grief. Please take a moment to read this edition of our magazine or pass along to those who may benefit from its contents.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Aaren's Milk

This story was submitted to Share by Kimberly Clausen.

On 1/12/13, I my son Aaren was born still at 38 weeks of pregnancy. It came as a complete shock as I had a healthy pregnancy and three other healthy children. I went in for a routine checkup, and there was no heartbeat. I refused an autopsy, and we don't know why he died.

I'm a very strong advocate of breastfeeding. I was fortunate to have my lactation consultant from my previous children to be my doula during Aaren’s birth. I asked her about what happens to my milk and she commented that I could pump and donate it. My first reaction was that she was CRAZY!!! I had breastfed and pumped with my three other children and know all of the hard work and time that pumping involves. The thought of producing his milk was VERY heavy on my heart. Aaren was born around 2am and by 10am, I decided to pump his milk and donate it. From that moment on, I pumped continuously for the next 4 months! Aaren was born on a Saturday morning and by Tuesday, I already had milk stored up and was able to start donating it that day. The 2nd donation was even made on the day of his funeral.

Pumping my milk was more healing than I thought it would be. I did it four times a day for 10 minutes. Those 40 minutes became very precious to me. It allowed me to reflect upon everything that had happened. I cried and prayed during every pumping session. I prayed for Aaren in heaven, myself for strength and healing, and for all the babies that would be receiving the milk. It’s very therapeutic to have something positive come from such a traumatic event.

When I first started, I gave myself the goal of 6-8 weeks. I was able to pump for 11 ½ weeks, and my last day of pumping was on April 3. Since my milk was my last physical connection to Aaren, I was afraid that it would be hard to stop pumping. I slowly weaned myself off from the process and had no problems when I stopped. I was at peace with the whole process because I knew that it was time.

I was able to produce over 2,000 ounces of milk, which is equivalent to over 15 gallons! The pumping process helped me to deal with all of my grief in the beginning, and just recently my donations helped me to know that all of that hard work, love, and prayers I put into pumping was worth it. I know in my heart that Aaren is smiling down on me. I was able to donate locally to five babies that were special to me for various reasons. I was able to personally meet them and their mothers and share Aaren’s story with them. My other son, Aiden, was 17 months, and I gave him 5 ounces of his brother’s milk each day. I also donated to the Indiana Milk Bank because I wanted to be able to help preemies, too. My final donation was to a mother who adopted a baby in July. The baby's first milk will be from Aaren. How AMAZING is that?!?

I wish more than anything in this world that I would have been able to give my milk to my precious baby, Aaren, but I feel blessed that I was able to do the next best thing by giving it to babies in need. Knowing that there are children living on this earth with a little piece of Aaren in them is very comforting to me. I hope I am able to inspire other moms or caregivers to at least be aware of the option to pump and donate milk after an infant loss.  From people I've talked to and the stories and books I've read, it's not really talked about or even suggested, and I hope that can change.

Below are links to two Facebook stories and a blog from the Indiana Milk Bank that have been written on my milk donations. The Facebook stories received over 1000 likes each! The comments are WONDERFUL and validated all of my hard work and my message of donating milk after a loss was heard. POWERFUL STUFF!

 My husband and I made a music video of our precious moments with Aaren to share with our friends and family during his memorial service. The video was very comforting to make and has given us much healing by sharing it with others. We decided to put it on YouTube so other people can be inspired by it as well.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Perinatal Loss Training: April 23 - 25, 2014

While Share's primary purpose is to provide support to grieving parents at the time of and/or following the death of a baby, the secondary purpose is to provide information, education and resources on the needs and rights of bereaved  parents and siblings. The objective is to aid those in the community in their supportive role. In order to meet this objective, the National Share Office holds a training workshop twice each year to aid those who work with bereaved parents. This workshop is open to anyone who wants to start their own Share Group, hospital chaplains, social workers, counselors, nurses, and bereaved parents. The Sharing and Caring workshop is a weekend-long intensive training that gives anyone who works with the bereaved the tools they need to work with families effectively, run support groups, and gain the support of their hospital staff. 

What Topics Are Covered?

Training topics include: Reflections on Perinatal Loss... Yesterday, Today, TomorrowPerinatal Grief and Complicating FactorsDifficult DecisionsCaring for YourselfEstablishing a  Hospital ProgramRights of ParentsChoices or MandatesCultural and Social DiversityMemory Making;How to Run an Effective Share Aftercare Program; and Fundraising

Are Continuing Education Credits Available?

This activity has been submitted to the Missouri Nurses Association for approval to award nursing contact hours. The Missouri Nurses Association is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. 17.75 contact hours are available.

It has also been submitted to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for contact hours.
For more information regarding contact hours, please call Share at (636) 947-6164.

How Much Does It Cost?

Fees include all workshop materials and lunch on Friday and Saturday.
1st registrant:                      $500 
2nd and 3rd registrants:      $400 each*
Over 3 registrants:              $350 each*

* This discount is available ONLY to registrants attending the same training weekend 
   and cannot be split between the Fall and Spring sessions.*

Completed registrations must be received 2 weeks prior to the first day of workshops.  Those registering after the deadline will pay $575 per person and are not eligible to receive the discounted group registration prices.

Workshop Location
St Charles Convention Center
One Convention Center Plaza
St. Charles, MO  63303