Tonight we begin the fifth 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 alive at birth, eyes wide open, arms and legs squirming.   My OB 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, which is typically a life-limiting diagnosis, around 18 weeks gestation, so we had time to prepare for his birth.  However, many families do not have time to prepare for end of life care for their newborn.  Mothers go to the doctor for a regular pregnancy appointment or check into labor and delivery anticipating to deliver their baby and hear the words..."I'm sorry there is no heartbeat."
Every year, I provide my mobile number publicly on social media and annually receive texts from hurting moms facing a fatal diagnosis for their child.  We are currently caring for three families facing end of life care for their child yet to be born.  One family is delivering at Regional Medical Center in Anniston, Alabama.  This hospital doesn't have a bereavement cradle system and the family has a strong desire to use one after delivery. Would you help us raise funds for one CuddleCot bereavement cradle to serve this baby girl's family and many others at this hospital?


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