Bunny | Jenny Fujinami

Here is the importance of Bunnies for Marc and I in regards to Leah. When I was 8 months pregnant I was having lunch with my girlfriend who asked me if we had a symbol for Leah; something that when we saw it we would think of Leah. She explained that her symbol for her son was Geese. I hadn’t thought about it, but I would start to pay attention and see if anything stands out.

That night it was snowing really bad. I was outside looking for some sign, and there was 1 lone bunny staring at me. I knew then that Bunnies would by our symbol of Leah. After we lost Leah the 1st night home my brother Matt comes in and says, “Did you know there is a bunny just sitting outside your house, staring at it?” I explained that it was Leah. The next night that same thing Matt came in and said “That bunny is out there again just sitting and staring.” The bunny always seemed to be in the same spot just staring at our house. The bunny stayed around for several weeks and now one lives on the side of our house. During the winter when the roads were bad, we would see a bunny more often as if they are making sure we get home safe. We see them everyday playing and we think of Leah checking on us and watching.

My parents did know about the bunny and ended up buying us a frame with bunnies on it. Leah was also born in the year of the rabbit.  If you see a bunny think of Leah and that she is checking on you.

Do you have a way to know when a loved one is watching?

Remembering Leah | Jenny Fujinami

Leah’s 6 month heavenly birthday was 6/30/12. It was such a hard day, I felt so empty and broken. I felt so alone also, everyone has their own life going on while I feel like I am in the same place standing still. Carolyn and my Mom had texted me that morning, and it felt wonderful to know that they were thinking of me and more important they were thinking of Leah.

We showed up at the park at about 8:15 PM with perfect weather conditions and a beautiful pink sky and sunset; Cheyenne and no wind! Leah was really watching us this night. Some of my friends and family were there and still arriving. As we got candles put together, everyone wrote a message on the drip protectors and we prepared our lanterns!

Sara Janes arrived and she knew the pain I was feeling.  She wrapped me in her arms and I could not stop crying. To have that person who can relate so closely with the feelings I am having is nice.

Once everyone was there we formed a circle and we were led in prayer by Megan Jahnke. My sister-in-law and I both read poems. We began lighting the candles and went around the circle stating who you were lighting them for. I light this candle in honor of Leah, Tyler, and Carter!

Then Marc and I started our lantern (A little confusing). It look a little bit for it to go and then it was off. It was high in the sky, it caught a wind current and proceeded West. Then the other lanterns followed, although some did not make it as far and landed in the parking lot.

It was beautiful!! Leah was all around us!! I could feel Leah and I know she was watching us! It was amazing to see all the people Leah has brought together. The people Leah has brought into our lives and the people she has brought closer together. I will forever cherish Leah and all she has done.

Carolyn-Jenny-Sara

Cheyenne Superday | Jenny Fujinami

Superday was on 6/23/2012. We showed off our Love for Leah bags and Carolyn’s birth photography. Carolyn had a beautiful booth set up.  It felt great to be able to share our story and hand out information on Leah. It was wonderful to see the looks on people’s faces and hear them say, “wow, this is great”.

I will admit I am jealous of the women who were there and pregnant. I would not trade Leah for anything. I am very blessed that I got to spend the time I did with her, but it is sad because I would much rather be holding and caring for Leah.

It was a bit odd… Marc and I saw a stranger on the street that we did not know, but she recongized me.  She had read our story about Leah and shared with me about how Leah impacted her. WOW! It is amazing how Leah has impacted so many people!

I read another post today on our blog from a lady in China and another in Greece. Leah is so amazing to have reached so far!

Here are the contents of the bags displayed.  We had our logo printed on the bags just in time to have one at Superday!  On the shelf below the bag has a sample of a blanket and outfit, the urn necklace which is in a baggie between the bunnies, and the Leah bunnies.  On the bottom shelf we had both books that are included, a sample card with footprints, the cup containing hand casting kit, Cabo Cream, and “No More Milk” tea.  We had our letter printed out and NILMDTS brochures to pass out with it.

Butterfly Release | Jenny Fujinami

On Saturday June 16th there was a Butterfly Release for families that have lost a baby. I was so nervous for some reason. I knew a few familes that had lost a baby, but now I would meet more families. I saw the women that I knew and then other women. I did not know many of them but we all had this heartache is common. We all know the worse thing, and that is to lose a child.

It was a beautiful day warm and sunny. There was a poster board with little baby feet on it and those feet were Leah’s! I spent alot of time talking to the women that I did know laughing and sharing. Sara Janes hugged me tight.  Marc got our butterflies for us and handed me mine. They came in little off white folded paper that we had to leave in the sun to get the Butterflies warm. There was a poem on it:

As you release this butterfly in honor of me, know that I’m with you and will always be.

Hold a hand, say a prayer, close your eyes, and see me there.

Although you may feel a bit torn apart, please know that I’ll be forever in your heart.

Now fly away butterfly as high  as you go, I’m right there beside you, more than you know.

It was time to release them as they read a poem we opened our paper. My Butterfly sat for a moment and then flew away once I moved it. Marc’s Butterfly did not fly away. It sat and stayed with him, it was very sweet. There were Butterflies everywhere and people watching them very closely.  We were all very connected by this moment, the event and what the butterflies meant to everyone.

These are some pictures that Carolyn took of the event.  The turnout was amazing for a first time event.  Cheyenne Memorial Chapel did a great job and we thank them for their work along with Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

Love for Leah Bag sample

We have all of the sample items for our bags, and in time for Cheyenne’s Superday!

We’ll be set up in the vendor section in Carolyn Spranger Photography’s booth and will have a few things for sale to help raise money along with our sample bag and information sheets.

I plan to get better photos but I wanted to put it all together *before* Superday to show everyone what we envision.

We have found a vendor for the outfits and blankets which will be at a much more reasonable cost than buying at a baby store.   Plus they have kimono style onesies which are the easiest to put on.  We’re still needing donations for those.

We are also searching for a sponsor for screen printing our canvas bags, if you know of anyone who would be interested or a screen printer that would be interested in donating the cost, please contact us!

The books have been generously donated by Jenny’s parents, thank you!  We would also like to thank everyone that’s donated so far, it’s very much appreciated!

If you have any questions about items in our bags, feel free to leave us a message.  We should have a casting made as an example, but the photo below shows how it comes in the bag.  The staff at the hospital will assist families in creating a cast, getting footprints on the card, dressing baby in the outfit provided, and getting a lock of hair for the urn necklace.

-Posted by Carolyn

Love for Leah | By Jenny Fujinami

Love for Leah Bags; Not every mom and dad get lasting memories when they lose their child.  Some parents only get a blanket and footprints stamped on a piece of paper. There is so much more that can be done to perserve every moment. Carolyn and I had the same idea, because a lot of times parents receive nothing at all during this loss.

I knew our entire pregnancy that Leah had a 1% survival rate. We knew that we wanted to give Leah every chance to survive and to know our love for her and the love of those around us for her. After many doctor appointments and still no hope I realized that I needed to plan the little time that I would have with her after birth. I began reading books about things that we could do that would create lasting memories. The one thing that I wanted was to take Leah home and if I couldn’t, then I would take home all memories that I could. I knew I wanted hand and feet prints, a lock of hair, pictures, and little things. I soon discovered that it can be deeper than hand and foot moldings and several locks of hair. I had bought everything that we would need, and I still was not prepared for the devastating loss of Leah passing. We thought she would at least make it through birth.

I received a brochure on NILMDTS and contacted Carolyn Spranger. This was amazing that I did not have to worry about having a family member take pictures. Carolyn with her magical pictures can captured every moment, every feeling, and every detail we did not want to ever forget.   I received plaster molding kits for Leah’s hands and feet which show every piece of her hand, every line, nail, and I can put finger in the palm of her hand. I planned for how many locks of hair I wanted. I had blankets picked out for Leah. One that I would catch her in and pull her onto my chest, another a bright pink blanket that she would be wrapped in, and then a final one she would go to the funeral home in. I had outfits for her; the one she would wear while we had her and the one she would leave in. In talking with a friend of mine I became terrified of the funeral home changing her clothes, so my friend changed her clothes the 2nd time and we kept the main outfit she wore.  I still have not washed this outfit because it smells like Leah and that is a memory I don’t want to lose and I would have if I did not have another outfit with us.

Many women are completely caught off guard when they lose a baby.  Love for Leah bags are the items that will bring so much comfort and healing after this loss. They are items that Carolyn and I thought of for them, because those moments after they receive the devastating news aren’t moments they will be thinking of where to buy a hand casting, outfit, or urn necklace. To see Leah’s casting on the dresser means so much to me, it is a part of her that is still with me. I can touch and feel them. The pictures; I look at them and I see my beautiful daughter.

Losing a child is one of the worst pains that any parent can feel. Losing Leah was life changing and I miss her everyday. I am very grateful that I have the items I do. Carolyn and I want to make sure that every parent in this situation has the items in these bags to help and comfort them.

-Jenny

Love for Leah | Carolyn’s Introduction

Welcome!

The purpose of Love for Leah bags is to give local Cheyenne, WY families something to take home with them that can help in any way after the loss of a baby.  There are no words to describe the pain and grief felt, but small acts of kindness go a long way!  This is Carolyn’s writing about Love for Leah bags and a little backstory..

I’m a photographer for NILMDTS which offers free photography for families experiencing infant loss.  To me, NILMDTS feels like a calling.  I am meant to offer this to families.

I know that the photographs I take through NILMDTS are very important in healing, even if at the time families don’t think they want them.   But every session I have done I have thought in my head, ‘There has to be more I can give!  What photographs and what items would I want if it were me?’.   Before I met Jenny I wanted to offer more to families than just photographs.  I wanted to purchase tiny outfits that would be easy to put on, thin blankets that don’t swallow tiny babies making it hard to see their beautiful face, and create a nicely designed card for footprints instead of a sheet of paper.  I had plans to bring these items with me to sessions.. until I became friends with Jenny and knew we could do more.  I didn’t know it at the time, but we were meant to find each other.

Jenny and Marc contacted me after finding out their daughter Leah wouldn’t survive after birth.  I instantly knew I had offer them everything I would have wanted if it were me.  I did a few maternity sessions and also offered to photograph Leah’s birth.  Leah passed away December 29th, 2011 and was born sleeping December 30th, 2011.  I was there from the time they checked into the hospital until they said goodbye to Leah.  I’ve learned so much through Leah, she has made me want to reach out to babyloss families in a bigger way.

I honestly can’t pinpoint when Jenny and I started talking more about creating Love for Leah bags.  It was as if the idea just all fell into place.  With Jenny and Marc’s own personal experience and my experience offering babyloss photography to families, we brainstormed and came up with an idea to offer gift bags to other families.  The point of our bags is to offer items that aren’t already offered by the hospital.  To give things that many parents wouldn’t even think are important until *after* they are home and their hearts and arms are empty.  Most families are blindsided with the news that their baby has passed.  Many don’t know *what* they want or need; all they want is their baby.

The items on our list are so very important because these are things they cannot go back in time and do.  Once they leave the hospital they won’t be able to go back and get a hand casting made.  They won’t be able to dress their baby and take home those clothes.  They won’t be able to get footprints on more than a white sheet of fax paper.  All these things are things that they don’t think of in that moment.. but Jenny and I did!  Love for Leah bags are made with items that have been incredibly important to Jenny and Marc, and we feel that every family should have all of these items too.

We’ve been researching vendors for our items, places to print our canvas totes, and I’ve been working hard designing a logo and branding.  The logo you see is baby Leah’s footprints and the colors were picked out by Jenny. We’ve also had lots of help with editing Leah’s story (coming soon!).  I’m so excited to finally launch the idea!  We’re currently gathering 1 of each item to create a sample bag which we will put together for display at Cheyenne’s Superday.  Look for a blog post when we receive all of our sample products!

-Carolyn