Monday, December 28, 2009

Huge Success!

So yesterday's fundraising event was a widely huge success! I can't believe all the people that came to our event, and all of the support that was given to us and our quest to help send support to families who are going through the NICU experience. Not only did it feel amazing to know that so many people were helping my husband and I, but sooo many people wanted to know about MJ and his life. And that honestly means more to me then anything. I so desperatly want to make sure that MJ is never forgotten, and that his short life will live on in the love that my husband and I have for him.
The fundraiser started out pretty emotional. My little sister and I both started tearing up quite a bit, actually. Caitlyn was there when we lost MJ, so all I really had to do was look at her, and she knew what I was thinking. I am so thankful to have her in my life. And my whole family, really. My older sister has been a rock for me, to call and scream and vent. And my parents coordinated the entire fundraiser yesterday. My husband's family has been just as amazing. We truly are blessed with amazing families, and we are so thankful for them.

Anyway, soo many people came yesterday! I saw people that I went to high school with, that I haven't spoken to in years! And old neighbors and people we went to church with, and the list goes on and on. It meant so much to me that so many people came to support us. We got so many donations, easily enough to fill 200 bags full of goodies! Imagine, 200 families comforted just a bit, in memory of my amazing son MJ. How awesome is that???

We also received sooo many monetary donations and raffle ticket proceeds, and we sold 10-12 Awareness Bracelets! I wasn't really keeping count, I was talking to so many people, that it was truly a whirlwind yesterday.

And I would have to say that the best part of yesterday was meeting another Project Sweet Peas mom, Theresa. I live in Topeka, KS and my parents hosted the fundraiser in Mundelein, IL (just outside of Chicago). Theresa has started her Project, called Donny's Shining Light, in memory of her son, Donny. He is also a CDH baby who graced this Earth for six days. Theresa has just joined Project Sweet Peas, and I am so very thankful that I was able to meet her! I also got to meet her beautiful daughter, Rachel Rose. Rachel is Donny's little sister, and is 13 months old. Will (MJ's twin) totally loved her! It was so cute to see them together. It was so nice, too, to have
someone there who knows what I am going through, and I can totally relate to. Just about everyone that I talked to would say "You are doing so well . . ." and things like that. Theresa knows. She knows that I am not really doing that well, that I am real good at faking it. (Another b
logging babylost momma says 'Fake it until you make it' so that's what I am doing right now). That I can put a smile on and say, "Oh, thank you". Right now I feel like doing MJ's Memories is the one thing that I can do for my son, and therefore I have to do it the best to my ability. And that's why I am doing this. And it was so nice to have someone there yesterday who knows. And understands. And doesn't say how well I am doing, because she knows. Thank you for being there yesterday, Theresa!

Overall yesterday could not have been any better. I wish more then anything that I didn't have to do something like this. That I have my son in my arm's and we spent Christmas showering our two boys with presents and love. But instead we spend Christmas blinking back tears and feeling empty. We did our best for Will, but still, it was really hard. I love and I miss you MJ!! I hope that you are having an amazing time in Heaven. Hugs and kisses from your Mommy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's Been a Few Weeks

So it's been a few weeks, a few emotional weeks. The holiday's are finally over and they weren't as bad as I thought they would be. It was very good to see Will's first Christmas, but very sad to have to celebrate without MJ. I don't want to get into too many details, because knowing that we have to live and we have to go one without MJ breaks my heart.

But today is our first fundraiser for MJ's Memories! I am very excited about it, yet it is very bittersweet because I would give anything to be able to have my baby boy in my arms and not have to do something to remember him by. The fundraiser is from 3 pm to 8 pm today at Kaiser's in Mundelein, IL. I will update later on today or tomorrow on how it went, and add some photos, too.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So, I was really hoping that making and selling the Awareness Bracelets would be a really great way for income for MJ's Memories. After our first Craft Show, I thought that I was correct, but after last weekend's utter disapointment, I am just not sure if we are going to be able to. We have sold a few online (thank you to everyone who did), and a lot to family and friends (thanks!), but not enough to full fund everything that we plan on doing. I was looking around for another craft show to go to, but I can't find one for a few months. I don't know if I am looking in the right places or not. I am simply Googling 'Craft Shows in Topeka, KS'. Maybe I am not doing it right? I thought that in the Art and Craft Show world that there were events just about every weekend. I must be either wrong or not looking in the right places.

Hopefully at the end of the month at the fundraiser that my parents are doing, called MJ's HUGS (Help Us Give Support) that we will be able to sell a lot. I am really excited about that fundraiser. We have a ton of great raffle prizes, and they have already sold a ton of raffle tickets, which is really cool!

I sent out my first gift bag today (sort of), which is a little exciting. Averi Hope is a CDH baby who is really struggling right now. Prayers would be appreciated! Anyway, I met her mom, when she was still pregnant, and it turns out that she is from Fremont, CA, which is were my husband, Willie is from! Small world! Anyway, I sent her out a package today with some stuff that is gonna be included in our bags: a name plaque, baby blanket, teddy bear, birth record pillow, baby girl bows, and a deck of cards for Teresa and Kevin. I hope that they really like it! I hope that it can at least make them smile for a bit, because I know how hard it is to go through the incredibly emtional roller coaster that they are going through right now. Averi is going through a lot of the same stuff that MJ went through, and I just pray every day for a different outcome. I get so upset when any CDH baby losses their battle, and I feel especially close to this family because of the similarities of Averi and MJ. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as Averi continues her battle.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Check Us Out On the News!!!!

MJ's Memories - - News, Weather, Sports - Topeka, Kansas

Posted using ShareThis

Well, Saturday was our big craft show to sell a ton of bracelets and raise lots of money for our gift bags. Yeah, right. We got to the 'big' show bright and early at 9 am (show started at 10 am) to make sure we got a good spot and set up so our table looked great. We were all ready and set to go at about 9:45 am and all we had to do was wait until people started showing up. Well, we waited, and waited, and waited. Then we started looking around and realizing that this was not at all what we had thought we signed up for. There were only about 20 vendors there (I thought there would be about 60+), and the place was very rundown and not in a very good neighborhood in Kansas City. As we waited and waited for people to show up, we started talking to the people around us. At about 11 am there had been literally about four people who showed and they just walked through and left. The lady next to us was selling crocheted purses and scarves and I asked her if this was how it always was (they have these shows every weekend), or if they expected more people to show up. She replied that they had already had double the amount of people that they had last week. I literally almost choked. Why the heck did we pay $25 to sit around all day?? After waiting about 30 more minutes and still not having anyone show up, we decided to book it. I did not want to sit around until 5 pm getting more and more mad. The website made it seem like a ton of people showed up and that this was a hugely successful show every weekend. Being that we live in Topeka, KS, about an hour away from Kansas City, we really had no way of knowing if they were telling the truth, or not. And they weren't. Very disappointing, but what are you gonna do? In the end we lost $25 and about three hours of our life. It could have been worse, we could have stayed all day. So glad we faked illness and booked it!

So we decided to not waste the day, and do something for MJ's Memories, at least. When I was at Hobby Lobby the other day, I found these way cute wooden plaques and things to put on them, and I bought a bunch. Being that we were in Kansas City, we stopped at that Hobby Lobby and bought some more, and some paint and went home to get started. They are so cute! We only had enough for 26, so we need to buy some more, but we bought both our Hobby Lobby, and Kansas City's Hobby Lobby out. I think they are just so cute! I would have loved one for MJ's isolette. Here is a picture of them, and my husband, Willie, working on them.

So after finishing our name plaques and resting on Sunday, today I woke up bright and early for our big news interview! We had to be there at 6 am, so I woke up about 4:30 am. We got there and Will was a super happy baby! I was so nervous he was going to be fussy, but he was such a cheeseball! Laughing and giggling at the news anchor, he worked the crowd for sure! The interview went great, it was about three minutes and I talked about MJ's story and what MJ's Memories is and then asked for donations. I really hope that they have a link to the story up on the website, I forgot to ask, so I emailed her and asked. It would be so cool to post a link! Hopefully we get some donations, or at least some interest. We got like four responses from our news article in the paper, so hopefully this will generate some interest, too. Regardless, I am just super happy that I was able to tell people MJ's story. Talking about him helps me and makes me remember him more. I emailed them several photos ahead of time, and they showed all of his photo, too, which made me really happy. I love looking at photos of him! Here's to hoping I get on in a few hours with link!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Busy Weekend Ahead!

Tomorrow we go to another Art Show to sell Awareness Bracelets to fund MJ's Memories! If you live in Kansas City area, come check it out -

1522 Holmes
Kansas City, MO

The show is from 10 am to 5 pm. Bracelets are only $10 each and come in TONS of Awareness Colors. Check out Bracelets for Awareness for examples of the bracelets we will be selling

Then Monday if you live in Topeka check out ...27 News at 6 am - they are going to interview me about MJ's Memories!!!! Hopefully they put a link on their website to the interview, because then I can post it here, as well. But if not, I will be sure to tell you how it goes on Monday afterwards. I am going to be bringing Will along with me, so he is going to be a superstar! I am pretty nervous about going on the show, but excited at the same time. I really wanted Willie to come with, but they said they just do not have enough room for both of us to be there. Which makes me sad, Willie and I are completly doing this together, and I really wanted both of us to be included. I almost backed out of it, but at the last second, I decided not to. I just hope that I don't cry. I always cry. I am pretty sure that I cry everyday. But I know when I do it in front of people it makes it wierd and uncomfortable. But maybe our sob story will get us some more donations, so maybe I should cry, :) LOL. We'll see how it goes.

Right now I am just excited about tomorrow. I really hope that we do well. There are going to be a lot of vendors there tomorrow, so hopefully that means a lot of people! We need to buy the bags soon, which I think will cost about $2 a bag. Not too bad, but I would ideally like to buy a lot of bags now, so we don't have to keep buying them every three months. We'll see how it goes. Wish us luck this weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Woohoo! Thank you Jill! You are now able to leave comments on my blog! It works!!!

We Were Four

I was looking at Jill's blog, Footprints on our Hearts last week and she had a sculpture made by Dana at The Midnight Orange. I saw her sculpture and thought 'I have to have one of those'. So I emailed Dana and she made this amazing sculpture for Willie and I. It is a mom holding twin boys, one with angel wings, and a dad holding the mom. It just so perfectly fits our family, I can't even describe it. Willie has been my rock throughout everything we have been through; he holds me up when I am down and long to hold both of my boys together. I just love it! I ordered two of them, so both Willie and I have one with us at all times. I haven't gotten them yet, but will soon! She emailed me a few pictures of them and I posted one. It makes me cry each time I look at it, but I so totally love it!!

PS For some reason my link to post comments is not available, anybody know how to fix it? I am not very good at this kind of stuff. Please email me if you know how at Thanks!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Into December We Go . .

So we are past Thanksgiving, thank god! It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. I think though that was because Will wouldn't stop screaming the whole day, LOL. He was still recovering from the plane right out to Nevada to visit Willie's family. I think the elevation got to him and upset his tummy. Willie said it was MJ pinching him so we didn't have to think about our first holiday without him. I think I agree a bit, too.

The fundraiser was amazing! It was very emotional, but in a good way. I didn't think it was going to be that emotional, but it was. We met another family that lost their baby to CDH this past year. That was so great to meet another family going through what we are. He was their first baby as well. I think we will stay in touch and friends with them forever, it's a kind of bond that is very special and unique, and I am very happy that we have that.

So this weekend is our big show! I am very excited about it, I really hope that we are able to sell a lot of bracelets. We have a ton to make this week! We figured out how many we want to have of each, and total we have to make about 60 bracelets this week. Willie is amazing, though and we have about half done already, which is nice. On Sunday after we got home from our trip, we made a three part poster board that tells MJ's Story. It really looks great! We are planning on putting that on the table at the art show. The last one we went to we found that the more we told about MJ, the more apt people were to be buying bracelets. This way, people can take a look at his pictures and read his story, and will be able to know him a little bit. We are also going to make one that says a little bit about Project Sweet Peas and what MJ's Memories and Bracelets for Awareness is. I am very excited for this weekend! Can't wait!! I will post pictures of our posters and table after Saturday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Layout! (Plus other Random Thoughts)

So I wasn't really digging the layout that I had, but I totally love this one! The reason why I didn't like the old on was because you had to scroll all the way down to see my profile, followers, blog list, etc. I like that you can see it on the right hand side now. Plus, this one is way cuter!

This past weekend we did one more thing for the bags, which was a lullaby cd. I had seen on another CDH families facebook page that they played lullaby music for their son, and I thought it was a great idea. I was out and about on Friday and saw a lullaby cd for only $2! Then I got crazy and had to buy everything to make 50 cd's. Which cost a lot more then $2! All in all, it probably cost about $1.50 per cd, so I don't think that's a bad price at all.

After our news article came out, a lot of people have contacted me to donate items, which is fantastic! I am super excited about this. I hope that everyone follows through with donating things, because if so, we should have four people donating itmes, and one group of people donating. Which could get us a lot of donations. Either way, it at least got the word out about MJ's Memories and people were able to read about my beautiful baby boy.

Tomorrow we leave for Nevada for Thanksgiving! I am very excited to see Willie's family and visit them. But it is bittersweet because I always imagined our first trip out there with both of our babies. I even used to stay up at night thinking about how we were going to be able to handle two babies in an airport. So going out there will be very hard for me. The holidays in general scare me to death. I really don't want anything to do with them. I just want to fast forward five weeks and have it be January already. We are not decorating this year, nor do I want to.

We will be very busy after we come back from Nevada getting ready for our big Art Show on December 5th. We will have to make a ton of bracelets to get ready to sell. I really hope that we do very well at this next show. The last one we did, we sold 24 bracelets, which totally surprised us. Our goal was 10 bracelets. And that one was super small, and not very well advertised. This next one is very well advertised and will have three times the amount of people there. Plus it is pretty close to Christmas so people will have an extra reason to buy stuff. My sister and her boyfriend are coming to help us, which will be very needed! Although my sister and I already have plans to leave them at the table for a bit while we go shop! Just to give you a mental picture, my husband played college football and her boyfriend just finished his senior season playing football in college - so they are both very manly, big men. When we leave them these two will be selling bracelets, its already making me laugh!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Busy Week . . . and We're in the News!

Well first off, before I start anything about what we have been doing, I gotta post a link to the Toepka Capital Journal, who came and interviewed us about MJ's Memories. We made the front page!!

Also, as of 10 am on Monday morning (the day the paper came out), I have received three emails from people who would like to donate things! How amazing is that!

So anyway, on Thursday of last week, after I posted last, Willie called me and said that he had an opportunity for us to get into an Arts and Craft Show on Saturday. As much as lounging around all day sounded appealing, we decided to go ahead and do it. It only cost us $25 to get in, so we only had to sell 5 bracelets to at least make our money back. It was a very small show, so we decided that our goal was to sell 10 bracelets. It would also give us an opportunity to prepare ourselves for December 5, when we go to the big art show in Kansas City. The show was from 9 am to 4 pm, and we brought Will along to help us sell. And he really did! We ended up selling 14 bracelets, and we have an order for 10 more! It was really funny because when Will was awake, we sold more bracelets then we he slept. Guess on December 5 he won't be sleeping at all! (Yeah right, then he'll be grumpy and screaming).

Anyway after our amazingly successfull day on Saturday, we were spent! But my parents were in town and we had been planning all week to make baby eye masks, or baby bling, as my friend Chanda calls them. Chanda lost her daughter, Ireland Rose, to CDH the same day that I lost MJ. Chanda makes them beautifully, I don't know if mine are as good as hers, but yesterday was my first time on the sowing machine since high school! Here is a link the her blog:

So anyway, last week when my sisters were in, we picked out some fabric, and yesterday, with my mom, we got down to it! We had a great assembly line going, My mom traced the pattern, Willie cut them out, I sowed them and turned them inside out (to hide the seam), Wille trimed the edges, my mom ironed and finishe sowing the hole by hand. Willie has decided he is our project manager, which I am very glad! He is super organzied, which I am not, and he has it down to a great system. Here is a picture of our bags to the left.

So far here are the things we have completed and/or ready for our first 50 bags:

Eye masks

Decks of Cards

Baby Girl Bows

Handpring/footprint Kits

Slowly we are starting to get some donations in as well. Jen, from my group on sent us a huge box of donations, along with 10 handprint/footprint kits! If you are reading this, thanks again Jen! Her daugther was in the NICU for a few weeks due to being premature and Jen had preeclampsyia, which I had as well, but not nearly as bad as she did.

Things are really progressing well for us, I am so excited about the next few weeks! Next week we go to Nevada for Thanksgiving and to see Willie's side of our family. (We can't wait to see them). Shannon, my sister-in-law has organized a CDH Awareness Benefit the day after Thanksgiving, which I am super excited about! We are also going to be able to meet another CDH family that lost their son to CDH in March of this year. We met on facebook, so it is so amazing to be able to meet them. Then comes Christmas with my family, and my mom has organized a MJ's Memories benefit December 27, which we are also very excited for. All in all, as hard as the last few months have been, I feel like I am able to do something for MJ, even though he is gone. The song Second Chance, by Shindown reminds me so much of MJ. Here are the lyrics:

My eyes are open wide,

by the way

I made it through the day.

I watch the world outside,

by the way

I'm leaving out today.

I just saw Hailey's Comet she waved

Said, "why are you always running in place?

Even the man in the moon disappeared

somewhere in the stratosphere."

Tell my mother, tell my father

I've done the best I can

To make them realize this is my life

I hope they understand.I

'm not angry, I'm just saying

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance.

Please don't cry one tear for me

I'm not afraid of what I have to say.

This is my one and only voice

so listen close, it's only for today.

I just saw Hailey's Comet she waved,

Said, "why are you always running in place?

Even the man in the moon disappeared

somewhere in the stratosphere."

Tell my mother, tell my father

I've done the best I can

To make them realize this is my life

I hope they understand.

I'm not angry, I'm just saying

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance.

Here is my chance

This is my chance!

Tell my mother, tell my father

I've done the best I can

To make them realize this is my life

I hope they understand.

I'm not angry, I'm just saying

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance,

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance,

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance.

Maybe MJ's second chance is up in Heaven, welcoming all the CDH babies, and our second chance to help all the families we can here on Earth, until we can meet again. Maybe . . .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What a Week!

WOW it has been a very busy and hectic week. Which I think will be the story of my life until 2010. My sisters came in to visit me and I had an amazing time with them! We tied a BUNCH of bows and simply had a blast. I don't remember the last time I hung out with just the two of them, so it was really fun to be able to do that. We got all of the bows tied, so mark off another item as finished in my bags!

My husband, Willie, also put together 50 handprint/footprint kits. Willie was measuring out the plaster of paris to put in the kits, and we have a pretty amazing story from this. When he was finished at the bottom of the measuring cup was a perfect footprint! I posted the picture we took of it up, we really think it was MJ saying he is happy with what we are doing! I am so happy that he sent us this message. It means so much to me!

Yesterday we went back to Children's Mercy to meet with MJ's doctors and go over his autopsy. It was very hard, but I think overall we are happy that we went. We got to see some of his nurses that we felt close to, and I so glad that we saw them. We also wrote them a letter thanking them for everything that they did for us. I can't imagine going through that experience without them.

I also have some other GREAT news! The Topeka Capital Journal (local newspaper) is interviewing Willie and I tonight about MJ's Memories! How exciting to be getting some coverage! I also received emails from two local tv stations who would like to interview us! I am so excited, hopefully this will enable us to get a lot of donations to fill tons and tons of bags! It really makes me feel good knowing that we will be able to help a lot of families. I know it meant a lot to me.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bows, Socks, and Handprint Kits

Well, I am really getting going on buying things and getting everything put together. I decided that for my first 50 bags, I am going to do 25 girl bags and 25 boy bags. In the girl bags, I am going to make cute little girl ribbons and put them in the bags, so moms can put ribbons on their little girls hair. I am going to buy ribbon and put them together really cute. (Maybe put my sisters to work a little more this weekend?) I googled how to stick them to little girls hair, because let's face it, most newborn babies have next to nothing hair. And guess what makes them stick to their head - surgical lubricant! Never would have though that! So I bought 144 sample packs on for $12. I gotta lotta lube on the way HAHA! Now I just have to get started tying bows! I think I want to do at least four bows per bag - pink, red, purple, and white. I might add more, who knows, if I get really into it.

Now for the boys (can't leave them out!), Will as these really cute socks that look like little shoes. They are so cute! But they will be a bit more expensive then the bows for the girls. The cheapest ones I could find were $14 for six socks. This is definitely were selling lots of bracelets will come in handy! I really want these, so the harder I work at selling these bracelets, the more socks I can put in per bag. I was thinking at least two pair, but I would like to do three. So it will be easy to wash them and get those cute socks back on those baby boys!

We got in our tins today for handprint kits! I am very excited about this, and I got plaster of paris the other day at Hobby Lobby for pretty cheap. So this weekend (if my sisters feel like working, that is) we will be putting together these kits. Things are starting to come together! Our goal of getting these bags out by January is totally realistic!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sold my first bracelet online!

Woohoo! I am pretty excited tonight because I logged into my email account, and someone bought a bracelet! I am VERY excited about this. I was getting pretty down because we hadn't sold any (other than to my mom and sister - and they don't really count) yet. I was starting to think maybe the bracelet idea was not a good one, and it was gonna tank. Hopefully this will be the first of many, because surprisingly enough, making bracelets is NOT cheap. I thought that buying the beads would be fairly inexpensive, but that was not the case. All the beads I bought, I bought on sale 50% off, and we still put a lot of money into them. Basically if I don't buy the beads at 50% off, then I don't make any money at all, only a break even. So I have to buy strategically. So hopefully this first sale will start a trend and I will be able to get a few sold. If not, I always have my back up plan of attending craft shows. My first craft show will be December 5th in Kansas City. I want to make a lot of bracelets for this event, and I really hope that people will like them. It is an all day affair, so I hopefully we will do well. We have to sell a minimum of five bracelets there to brake even, as it costs $25 to be in the show. If we can do well there, I think I will try and attend a show every other month or so. I don't want to overdo it, and get burnt out, so I think that every other month will be a good plan. Right now I am pretty excited, I just hope that it will continue and I can do well.

This is all for MJ after all, and I just want to make him proud. I am so proud of him, and I can only hope that I can make him feel the same way he made me feel. I miss him so much, sometimes it just doesn't seem real that he is gone. But that is the reality, as much as I want to deny it, I just can't. MJ's Memories will mean so much to me, I just want to be able to do well.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bracelets Made!

Well, I have really gotten started here! Over the weekend, my mom, sister, and I made about 32 bracelets for MJ's Memories. They look so good, I am so happy with how they turned out! I am really surprised at how good they look, because I was a little scared when I was buying the beads. And, WOW were the beads expensive. Thank goodness Hobby Lobby had a half off sale, other wise I would have to sell them for a lot. And I really didn't want to do that. I am selling them for $10 each, which is a really good price, I think. I know when my dad had cancer, and I was looking around for a nice awareness bracelet, all of the bracelets were around $20 each. I am VERY happy with how they turned out. I just hope that people will want to buy them. I have gotten good feedback from people on facebook, but still no one has bought them. I put a lot of money into the bracelets, so I hope to at least get the money back, but I really want it to be a good fundraiser for MJ's Memories. I will be attending a Craft Show in December, so hopefully I can sell some there, as well. Alas, I am having fun doing it, and I am doing it for MJ so I guess that is all that matters.

Bracelets are for sale at

I also ordered tins and bought plaster of paris to start making handpring kits over the weekend. Both of my sisters will be in, so hopefully they will be up for some work! Haha!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Well, things are really starting to get rolling for MJ's Memories. Willie and I hope to be delivering bags to the NICU in January. Next weekend my parents will be in town and I am hoping to get started making my bracelets, and I am currently looking into getting in a craft show that I can sell them at. I am also going to be selling online, at the Project Sweet Peas website, but I will start that once I get a few bracelets made. I just can't wait to get fully started and ready to go.

I have a few other things in the works, as well, which is really nice. My dad is a teacher at a school in the Chicagoland area, and his one of his classes wanted to do a fundraiser for us, which was amazing! They had a spaghetti lunch yesterday and raised over $200 for us! This is going to help so much with getting MJ's Memories started and bags filled!

My parents, who live in the Chicagoland area, in a town called Mundelein are getting together a fundraiser/bag filler for over Christmas. I am very excited about this! This event will be the a huge one for us, and will hopefully fill a lot of bags!

Well the next few weeks are going to be very busy for me, but everything is really started to roll out for MJ's Memories, which I am very excited about. I will keep everything updated and posted as it happens, thanks!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Story of MJ

After almost a year and a half and two rounds of the fertility medicine chlomid, Willie and I were absolutely elated when we found out we were expecting. My pregnancy started out just like any other, with the all day morning sickness and nervousness of a first time mother-to-be. We found out I was pregnant the beginning of December, and by the beginning of January, I had started spotting. I was petrified that I was having a miscarriage, and our doctor wanted us to come in and do an ultrasound to see what was going on.
We got the surprise of our life when we found out that not only were we having one baby, but there were two tiny babies growing in my belly! Willie and I were in shock, and could hardly speak we were so surprised. We spent the next few weeks overjoyed and eagerly anticipated when we would find out what we were having. When I was 17 weeks pregnant, we had an ultrasound and both of our babies 'showed us the good's'. We were having two boys! And the doctor was pretty sure we were having identical twins! Two baby boys, we could just not be happier!
Four weeks later, we went in for another routine ultrasound. We got another shock that day, but not a good one. One of our babies looked to have a condition called CDH, or congenital diaphragmatic hernia, but they weren't sure, so we would have to go to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. Two weeks later we were devastated when we were told that yes in deed Baby Boy B would have CDH. At this point we had decided to name our boys William Glen Skaggs IV and Michael Joseph Skaggs. We decided that our baby with CDH would be called Michael Joseph and we would call him MJ for short. At the time we had no clue what we would be in store for once our twins were born.
After numerous doctor appointments and specialists and ultrasounds and MRI's and everything else that needs to be done for a CDH baby in utero, all We could do was wait. I developed preclampsia at 34 weeks and was admitted into the hospital. I was put on bedrest with the goal of making it to 37 weeks, and my boys would induced. Well, two weeks later, at 36 weeks my water broke and I was in labor! I was overjoyed to finally see my boys! After 26 hours of labor and two hours of pushing, I was no where near being able to push the boys out. So I had a c-section, and William Glen was born at 3:26 am and Michael Joseph was born at 3:27 am on July 25, 2009.
After my c-section I was unable to see MJ until 10 pm that evening. My son couldn't have looked more beautiful. However, he was very sick and we were very scared for him. After two days at the University of Kansas Medical Center, he was not showing any signs of improvement. Children's Mercy Hospital has a machine called ECMO, which is a heart and lung bypass. Since KU did not have this machine, and Children's did, MJ needed to be transferred to Children's. Watching him move was the scariest day of my life at that point.
The next day I was released from KU along with MJ's twin, Will. We rushed straight over to Children's and saw MJ. He looked much better at Children's and we got to bring Will in to see him everyday, which was a life saver. It broke my heart thinking that my boys would be seperated, but Children's made exceptions for twins and Will was allowed in to see MJ everyday.
When MJ was six days old, he was placed on the ECMO machine. He was very ill and was unable to get off the ECMO machine and had his repair surgery on ECMO. After his surgery, MJ had a very rough few days. We thought we were going to lose him. But MJ pulled through and started to get better. When he was 31 days old, after 25 days on ECMO, MJ was strong enough to come off of the machine. Again, he had a rough few days, but on my birthday, August 28, he started to make a turn and really do well. At 4 pm that day, something happened and the doctors still don't know what.
We didn't leave the hospital that day and stayed by his side overnight. The next morning he was doing worse, if he even could have. Throughout the day the doctors did everything in their power to keep MJ alive. But then there was nothing else left to do. We made the choice to hold our son and let him know that we loved him in his final moments. The first time we held our son was the last. But we had three amazing hours holding MJ and Will together. August 29, 2009 was the first time our family of four was together and we had to say good bye. MJ is gone, but he will never be forgotten. Thirty five days was not nearly enough, but he will remain in our hearts forever.
I have started a project called MJ's Memories, a Project Sweet Peas. Project Sweet Peas provides a little touch of comfort for parents of children in the intensive care units. This project was started by a group of parents who have one thing in common, we have all experienced what it is like having a critically ill child in the ICU. Through our experience we came together for support and comfort. Now it is our turn to give back. Our goal is simple:
To provide gift bags that give a touch of comfort to someone in need and let them know they are not alone. If you would like to help or would like more information contact us at:
In order help finance these gift bags, I am going to be making awareness bracelets and memory necklaces. I have not made any just yet, but in the weeks to come I am going to be testing out some designs and I will be posting pictures when I have some examples. If you would like to help with my project, please let me know! Thanks!