Tonight we begin the fourth anniversary celebration of Simon’s life. On May 14, 2014 at 9:55pm, we welcomed Simon Adam Balentine into this world. Year after year, my mind travels effortlessly back to the moment Simon was born. We weren’t sure if he would be alive as we decided to forgo fetal heart monitoring during labor. We thought if he died before/during labor, it might be hard for me to continue to labor knowing his soul had been taken already. He was moving at birth, arms and legs squirming – I didn’t even have to ask if he was alive. I could see, he was! Dr. Amy Carter placed Simon on my chest and all of the prayers from the previous five months had been graciously answered in that moment. He breathed! I shouted praises to God thanking Him for his mercy. It wasn't long after his birth that we finally heard his voice. It was heavenly (this video shares his sweet cries). Following Simon’s birth, all we wanted was time with him. It was simple. We were doing our best in those moments of the unknown to claim joy and celebrate his life. Even if Simon wouldn't have breathed, our plan was the same. We wanted to study him, memorize him, bathe him, smell him, read to him, dedicate him to Christ, sing happy birthday to him, eat his birthday cake, have his big brother Teddy meet him, have his grandparents, aunts, uncles and close friends meet him. Just show him love and hold his precious body. That’s what every family wants following the delivery of their baby. That sacred time of grace and glory. We became aware of Simon's challenges, surrounding his Trisomy 13 diagnosis around 18 weeks gestation, so we had time to prepare for his birth. However, so many families do not have time to prepare. Mothers go to the doctor for a regular pregnancy appointment or check in to labor and delivery expecting to deliver their baby and hear the words...
“I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.”
Parents never want to hear these life-changing words, but many do and walk through the unthinkable. The Balentine family and You Made Me Mom, for a fourth year in a row, are raising $4,200 for another donation of a bereavement cradle during the fourth anniversary week of their son Simon’s brief but mighty life (May 14, 2018 at 9:55pm through May 21, 2018 at 10:17pm).
Why do the Balentines ask for support from you:
Just in the US alone, 27,000 parents annually will experience the loss of their baby at birth. Our hope is for our community to support the bereaved family during the initial stages of shock and grief. Once you know there is a need, you cannot unknow it.
Having lost two sons in 2014, the Balentine's passion is to serve and walk through the broken with families who are experiencing a loss of their child. Your tax free donation will be processed through the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, You Made Me Mom, a support group that Amy leads focused to care for bereaved mothers who have lost babies during pregnancy or infancy. The cradle will be donated in memory of the Balentine’s two sons who both died - Simon who lived one week, and Thomas who died at 13 weeks gestation.
What is a bereavement cradle?:
A bereavement cradle system is used to cool a baby who was stillborn or died shortly after birth so the baby may remain in the hospital room with the family instead of transferring between the morgue. This support tool grants the family precious, dignified and uninterrupted time with their child so they aren't forced to say goodbye just a few short hours after laying eyes on their son or daughter.
#simonsgiftoftime bereavement cradle testimonies:
The Balentine's have had the opportunity to meet several of the families that have utilized the cradles that YOU have generously helped donate. When the Balemtines walk into this sacred labor and delivery space where a child has died, they are reminded why they do this campaign every year. These cradles truly do give memory making time to these families.
To meet these families yourself, check out these short testimonies of their use of cradles donated through #simonsgiftoftime:
Here are a few key things the bereavement cradle provides:
-parents have time with baby
-no transferring baby back-and-forth between the morgue
-extended family time to meet the baby
-parents can bond with the baby as a family
-parents can sleep in the same room as the baby
-baby can stay with mom the entire time she is in the hospital memory making that aids in shock and grief
The Caring Cradle system costs $4,125.00 Should we exceed the $4,200 goal, we plan to use additional funds for You Made Me Mom. Here are some of the ways any excess funds would be utilized in support of YMMM:
-support group books for bereaved mothers
-funding for chapter leaders to meet in person
The donation of this cradle is designated for St. Luke's North Hospital located 20 miles north of our home. The hope is that this cradle will serve families two-fold - by serving in the initial stages of grief through the cradle and by serving the bereaved mom through the You Made Me Mom support group monthly gatherings. Starting in 2015, this campaign has provided: -annual operational cost for You Made Me Mom -4 bereavement cradles in Kansas City -established You Made Me Mom's 501(c)(3) status -published You Made Me Mom promotional video -published You Made Me Mom Helpguide, Known -published new You Made Me Mom website -hope to the bereaved mother, family and friends -served over 300 attendees at monthly meetings and thousands Nationally through the Known helpguide and website resources
Thank you for considering a donation to the bereavement cradle fund. Your donation gives a shocked, grieving family TIME with their baby memory making.
The Balentines -Amy, Adam, Teddy, Simon, Thomas, Peter and Goldie Dearest Simon, Happy birthday! Each new sunrise is a day closer to holding you again. You are loved and longed for. We are SO proud of you and SO thankful to be your parents. Love, Mommy and Daddy