Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jewelry Keepsakes

Someday, when I get around to opening a foundation in memory of Gabriel, one of the things I want to do is donate necklace urns to parents who have their child cremated. No we did not have Gabriel cremated, but if I thought I would get a necklace urn I may have.  I still might get one for myself one day, but I'll put a few strands of his hair in it instead.

I was bored one night and surfing the web for "necklace urns". Weird? Probably. Such is the life of a loss parent.  I came across a website -, They had some really beautiful designs, they appeared to be good quality, so I jotted down the website and moved on.

Flash forward a few weeks,  I received an email from one of their employees about their necklaces.  I was really surprised considering I never left any personal information on the website as I was surfing.   They had found my blog and got my email that route.

She told me about their photo engraved necklaces. I didn't see these when I was browsing, but I had a specific thing in mind so I didn't think to look for other things.  I got excited as I read the words "I'd be happy to send you a necklace of your choice free of charge in exchange for giving feedback and posting a link on your blog".  No hesitation here, I knew I was in.

I took a moment to browse through their jewelry. They had bracelets, urn necklaces, rings, pet specific remembrance jewelry and a lot more. I jumped into the photo jewelry.  I immediately liked that they had the option of Gold or White Gold for each pendant. I noticed there was a range of pricing from $39 - $180, nice that they had options that people could afford. It was hard to choose just one though, they were all beautiful. I chose a small silver plated heart pendant. I was happy to see that I could personalize the necklace and have words engraved on the backside. I selected to upgrade from the 20in rhodium plated brass snake chain that comes included, to the 18in rhodium plated sterling silver snake chain.  That would be an extra charge if I were placing a regular order.  I gave her my name and shipping information and sent a photo with the cropping request.

I excitedly waited for the necklace, I wasn't expecting it to come for at least a week or two.  A few days later I got an email asking if I'd received it.  I'm terrible about regularly checking the mail, but I sure got down to the box as fast as I could!  Turns out, it was delivered 2 days after my order!  Wow, I'm already impressed at this point.

I ripped open the  package and found a little white box. 

Inside the white box was a nice black velvet (felt) jewelry box.
I was pleased to see this, it shows me quality and care.

I was floored when I opened the box.
My photo looks a bit dark (poor lighting),
but the photo is much clearer than I anticipated it being.
There staring my in the face, was my favorite
Gabriel photo.  

Just trying to get pictures where you can see the photo. 

I flipped it over and saw my inscription on the back.
"Gabriel Ray
In Our Hearts

They provide a 20 inch snake chain,
but I upgraded to the 18 inch better quality version.  It feels a little bit thin,
but it seems like it's sturdy enough.
I immediately noticed the pendant was about the size of a quarter, maybe slightly smaller.
 I appreciate that because I'm not one to wear big chunky jewelry if any.

Of course I threaded that chain on it as soon as I could and threw it on my neck.
Now Gabriel's face is close to my heart.

And now for a horrible "I just woke up" camera selfie,
perhaps I should have used my phone for this task
 (DSLR cameras are kinda heavy, this was not easy!)
 I really really like it. I feel like from a distance it looks like a plain heart necklace, but when you are within talking distance you can see his photo on there. It's  the size of a quarter but slightly thicker.  It isn't some cheap flimsy disc hanging on a chain, it feels like it's great quality and it isn't heavy at all.

I can look down and see his face anytime I want to. I'm a proud momma right now.

If you would like to take a look, go to and browse their site.  This specific necklace is of the "photo" variety.

The cool thing is, these don't have to be only for losses.  You could put a photo of your current living kids, a friend, or you're beloved cat.  You can put a photo of your parents, grandparents or great aunt Suzie.

I don't wear jewelry often, I have a necklace with Evelyn and Gabriel's names and birthstones that I wear sometimes.  I don't know how often I'll wear this in the future, but I can tell you one thing,  it won't be coming off anytime soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Clearly I've been busy. Not "running around, working, going out" busy. Instead I'm: "changing diapers, feeding kids, cleaning up toys, bath time, bed time, relax time" busy. 

It's been awhile since I really updated how our family is doing. Logan is walking and Sawyer is trying. Both boys are trying to talk and eat like champs. They still don't sleep through the night (the other night being the exception) and we are exhausted to say the least.  We are still plugging away with our cloth diapers everyday. It's been great for us.

Evelyn is quickly learning to write and recognize her letters, she loves to color and do artsy things. She's begun playing house, puppy, picnic and with her imaginary friend. She's smart, too smart sometimes and keeps us on our toes. 

We are all dying for it to get nice enough to get outside. It's warming up now but not enough for the kids to really play out there (plus it's wet and there's still snow). 

I'm trying to be more social and make an effort to stay in touch with friends, all while taking care of the family and having some "me time" (yeah right). 

Me time is summed up as any moment when my camera is in front of my face. No matter what I'm taking a photo of; kids are fighting, animals outside, Logan standing on Sawyer's head... For 15 seconds it's just me and my camera. I have been trying to get my hands on any person or thing that will allow me to take their photo, I want the experience. I need the experience. And it gives me something to focus on and enjoy. 15 seconds where nothing else matters. And that sums up me time. 

Overall we're doing well. Functioning as a family of 5 with 2 under 2 and 3 under 4... It tends to be a bit crazy.  

Our fight to save Gabriel.

It was brought to my attention a little while back that during our journey I never really outlined our fight to save our baby. I shared bits and pieces, comments here and there, but never really talked about the conversations we had with our doctors. I've been thinking back on it for awhile now, remembering that time and time again we were simply told no. 

When we first got the diagnosis, my first reaction was "what do we do?" The doctor was pleasant but explained that there is no cure, nobody had survived Bilateral Renal Agenesis. I was heartbroken and devastated. I wanted to run out of the clinic and never talk about it again. She insisted we make an appointment to come back and talk about things, that we had the option to induce now or to wait awhile, subtly insisting we induce soon. When we came back to the clinic I had done my google research (haha) and inquired about injecting fluids. Maybe we could get the lungs and other organs to develop and worry about the kidneys after birth. The answer was simple "it won't work." 

I was directed to a doctor for a second opinion. He confirmed the diagnosis, and again I inquired about injecting fluid. He explained that even if the other organs were to develop further (even though we'd likely missed the development time) that there was no equipment to do dialysis on such a tiny being, that we'd have to live on hope of finding a kidney match and essentially made me feel like we'd have to hope someone else's baby would die so that we could receive the baby's kidneys and the process was sketchy at best. 

When we went to the next doctor we were told the same things. It just wouldn't work. I tried to explain that by trying we wouldn't be any worse off than we already were, but that wasn't enough to convince them of an experimental treatment that gave my baby a chance at life. 

I talked to my doctor about the infusions and got told it was too late, even if she could try it. It had been weeks since we first got the diagnosis and knew something was wrong and there was no way the necessary organs would develop in time.  I knew she was right. Approaching 30 weeks we were too far along to hope for enough development in our baby. 

I'm not saying the doctors were mean or didn't want to help me. But doctors are scientific and there's no scientific research or documentation showing a treatment like that would have worked. Beyond that there's risks involved for them too. I understand why they were saying the things they were, in their experience it wouldn't work. 

I gave in, just like so many other parents had to before me. I caved to the understanding that there was nothing they could do. 

After seeing Jaime's baby survive after doing exactly what I was pressing for was both heart wrenching and rewarding. If I had tried a little harder, if I had pushed a little more, could he be here with us?  Could we have saved our baby? 

There's no guarantee. There's nothing saying the dialysis would have kept him alive. I've since learned through Jaime that you aren't waiting for an infant kidney, they can transplant with an adult kidney. Non-the-less there's no guarantee we would have found a match, or that he'd make it through the surgeries. There's no guarantee that something else could have taken his life.