Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Organization Provides Comfort

Tina Fern Denzer, left, and Brooke Van Someren got together last week to view photographs taken by Heather Lombardo of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

Tina Fern Denzer of Woodville and Brooke [Schofield] Van Someren of Baldwin both know the pain of the loss of a child-although in different ways.

Tina and her husband Travis' baby boy Isaiah was born alive at 32 weeks but only lived for an hour.

Brooke and her husband Kirk's baby girl Emma was stillborn at 24 weeks.

Tina delivered at United Hospital in St. Paul, three days after her baby was diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality.

Brooke's baby Emma also suffered from a chromosomal defect which would cause her death.

Both Tina and Brooke and their families have found comfort in an organization called "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" or NILMDTS, which is a non-profit organization that exists to give comfort to families suffering an early infant loss, according to the NILMDTS brochure. "Parents of critically ill or stillborn babies contact NILMDTS, who then provide them with beautiful, heirloom portraits of their children," the brochure explains.

According to a narrative by Tina, "in June 2006, only eight weeks before our due date, we discovered that there might be something wrong." She was told that her baby had a "chromosomal defect that happens at fertilization and is not compatible with life." Her baby Isaiah was born June 8, 2006 and Tina and Travis had the opportunity to hold him and talk to him. All the special moments "were captured by Heather Lombardo, who volunteers her talents through Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep." With the help of the photographs taken, "we are able to cherish every moment with our little angel," Tina wrote. "We truly felt we were blessed by two angels that day, our precious baby boy Isaiah, and Heather our photographer, who captured all the moments we never wanted to forget. These photos tell Isaiah's story and will one day help tell the story to Isaiah's big brother, Ethan, who is just too young to understand what happened to his baby brother."

In September, 2006 Brooke and Kirk learned after an ultra sound that their baby had a fatal condition and would not live past 28 weeks gestation due to a chromosome defect. After the diagnosis, Brooke wrote, she was contacted by Tina "which was very courageous and strong on her part. It was unfortunate that we would create this friendship through losing our children only months apart and we live only miles away from each other."

Tina told Brooke about NILMDTS, and Brooke contacted Heather Lombardo and arranged a photo shoot. Emma was stillborn October 10, 2006 and Heather came and "took photos of Emma after her delivery."

Not every parent will have the opportunity to utilize the photo service from NILMDTS, but there is an on-line support group called "nowisleep.com" which is available to all parents.

Now, it's been a year since the loss of both babies and Tina and Brooke said they have found some peace and there has been healing after experiencing a loss.

Both women became pregnant again. Brooke had her baby boy Caden Wednesday, September 26 by c-section and Tina is due in January.

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Tina said she wants to spread the word of NILMDTS so mothers who experience the loss of a child don't feel alone. "I don't want families who experience the loss of a child to feel alone and empty as I did," she said.

"I didn't feel alone or empty because you helped me through my grief because you had already been there," said Brooke to Tina.

There are currently 2,000 photographers worldwide in the NILMDTS network and they are available to any family with a child with a terminal outlook, said Brooke.

The NILMDTS organization can be contacted through its website: www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org or by contacting either Tina or Brooke locally.