Guest Post {LilyWraps}

Not too long ago I had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ April from Lily’s Amazing Grace through this blog world. I loved her story and could relate to so much of it. I am so excited to share her amazing work she is doing in her daughter’s memory. And the career change she made because of her.

Miracle: n. -an extraordinary or divine intervention considered as a work of God.
-a wonder, marvel.

I’m not sure that everyone believes in miracles, maybe you have to witness one to believe. I witnessed my first miracle eleven years ago when I ruptured at only 24 weeks, my daughter was ultimately born at 26 weeks. She weighed a mere 1 pound & 12 ounces and she was perfect in every way. We were totally blindsided, we had a healthy son at home…how and why did this happen? My husband and I prayed that our daughter Isabella would survive. We didn’t bargain, we didn’t beg, we just prayed-not harder or better than anyone else and this time our prayers were answered. Our Isabella came home with us after four trying months in the NICU. She escaped the shadow of death on more than one occasion and she is our miracle.


Isabella’s journey taught me that I took life for granted before she was born. I vowed I would never be so selfish again. I wasn’t a nurse at the time of Isabella’s birth and I quickly realized that I had a greater purpose in life so I went back to school-of course to be a NICU nurse. There is something humbling about being one of the first set of hands to touch a new life. I don’t know many people who can say they have unless they work where I do. We see and touch your baby before you do. We weigh them in grams not pounds. The NICU is a sacred place where miracles happen and it’s a place where dreams are shattered.

I can appreciate every emotion our families feel. Some of you reading must be questioning by now, “But you took you daughter home?” Yes, I did, but she was not my only premature baby. Last year I ruptured early again, this time I knew instantly we would lose our sweet Lily, it was too early. Anyone who has ruptured prematurely gets the feeling…it’s indescribable. It’s a feeling of total loss of control; total helplessness…those moments will haunt me forever. Our world fell apart around us the day that Lily was born. This time I prayed that God would give me the strength to face each new day without Lily and the strength to find the courage to tell my children that their baby sister had passed away. Just saying those words took courage, it was the hardest thing I had ever done.

We faced our darkest days after we lost Lily. I woke up every day with a feeling of heaviness. Everything was so wrong, I was angry and I felt so empty. I replayed those days over and over in my head. As I read stories written by other women like Fran I realized that we were supported by a community that I didn’t even know existed. I also came to realize that we left the hospital empty handed; not only without our Lily but with nothing to remember her. We were never given a blanket to take home with us. That’s right-after the shock of that settled with me I vowed that this can’t happen to anyone else. That is why I created LilyWraps. LilyWraps were inspired by our daughter for families like you and me. They are custom wraps made for parents to hold and love their baby after they have passed away or as they journey to heaven. My original intention was to donate our LilyWraps to the labor & delivery unit where our Lily was born. I had no idea how much they would be loved by the families and the nurses. LilyWraps can be purchased and donated by visiting my blog Lily’s Amazing Grace. http://www.lilysamazinggrace.com/ Please know all profit from the LilyWraps is donated for families who do not have the means to have a service for their baby. It is our way of quietly serving others during their weakest moments.

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This past year has been the most difficult and challenging year of my life. I have realized that although we can’t change the past it’s okay to look forward to the future. I found the courage to walk back through the doors of the hospital where we lost Lily and go back to work in the NICU. I have so much to offer our families. I am more than a bereaved Mommy-I am a NICU Mom and a NICU nurse. This is what now defines me as a woman and it helps me to face each new day. One day together we will sort our way through this all in our own time, at our own pace, in our own way.

-Love to you all today, April ♥

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    Heather says:

    What an amazing story. I love the lilywraps, what a great idea. I’m sure all those little babies snuggled inside of them feel so warm and cozy. After being in the NICU with my twins, I too am going to school to become a NICU nurse.

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      April says:

      Heather,
      Best of luck to you, your experience will make you such an amazing nurse…you will have so much to offer. I went back to school when my “babies” were babies, it was so much work…late nights, early mornings, studying while making dinner! Every moment of exhaustion was worth it, aside from having my family becoming a NICU nurse was the second greatest accomplishment of my life ♥
      April recently posted..Guest Post!My Profile

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    Stephanie says:

    My story is the opposite of yours. I was a nurse before I ever became a mother. I too, am a NICU nurse. Well . . . was. Now I stay at home with our first born. I worked as a NICU nurse for six years. It is my first and only true love in the nursing world. I had identical twin girls on June 30, 2011. At 20 weeks gestation, we were diagnosed with Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome Stage 3C. I had the laser surgery to try to save their lives. Sadly, just 12 hours after surgery, I went into labor. Despite all interventions to stop labor, I delivered Emmerson (she was born alive and lived for an hour and 10 minutes) 12 1/2 hours after labor began and 12 1/2 hours after I delivered Emmerson, I delivered Vivienne. She was born still. It has been hard. I want to return to nursing and more than anything else, I would love to return to the NICU. I just don’t know if I can. It terrifies me to even think about. I know I now have a lot more to offer to NICU parents, I just don’t know. I miss it so though. I really do. How do you do it?
    Stephanie recently posted..The Dark Side Of GriefMy Profile

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      April says:

      Stephanie,
      Thank you for sharing your story, I am so sorry for your loss of Emmerson and Vivienne. As you already know the feeling of empitness without our babies is enormous. I doubted if I would be able to return to the NICU, none-the-less-return to the hospital and L&D unit where I delivered Lily. In our NICU the nurses go to the “DR” and resusciate the babies with the Dr’s. It took me MONTHS to be able to even go to the DR and even longer to go up without coming back down crying. I am the most blessed nurse alive. I coudn’t have returned to work without the support of my co-workers. Walking back through the doors of the NICU was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, I wasn’t sure that I would continue even after I returned. It was trying, I won’t lie, there were many days filled with tears and many days of holding them back…everything made me think of Lily and losing her. If you read my post BABY STEPS you can read the struggles I faced but also see that it is worth it. I feel like you have the strength to do it, it’s not going to be easy but nothing is…I realized that I have so much more to offer than only being a nurse…I have lived it, you have lived it and the parents respect it. Terrified is okay, when you are ready you will know and you will make a differnce. Much love to you ♥
      April recently posted..Guest Post!My Profile

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    Deborah says:

    April – your story touched me so much – I read it on my phone just as I was heading out to work & I had to stop and have a little cry. I so admire your courage in carrying on after losing your little Lily, and your strength in serving others who are grieving by providing your lovely LilyWraps. I wish I had a tenth of your bravery. It took me 8 years to get to grips with even starting to grieve for my wee one (Hope, born still 2001), and sometimes posts like yours just knock me sideways, but in a good way. This grieving/healing business is so important. I just wish we’d had more support around at the time. Sending love, D
    Deborah recently posted..spring forwardMy Profile

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      April says:

      Deborah,
      Serving othes, I like to think that was His plan. I can’t seem to wrap my head around anything else that makes any sense at all. Courage and strength is all I can ask for to face each new day. Like you wrote, the grieving and healing business is so important, no matter how it is done, it will be done in our own time…in our own way. Hopefully without being judged. Unfortunately we know that isn’t always the way. No one can “help” us through the dark days that we face, no matter how hard they try-but-they can help us back up when we have fallen. Thank you for sharing how our story touched you. Bless you and your sweet Hope ♥
      April recently posted..Guest Post!My Profile

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