Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My super special and important announcement!

Gabe's Gifts
I've never blogged about this, because I have rarely talked about it.  However, I knew that I wanted to do something positive.  And in order to do that... I have to share my story. 

Earlier this year I was pregnant.  And over the moon excited.  We moved so the baby could have his own room.  We started buying baby stuff.  We told our friends and family.  We picked out a name.  Everything was going well.  In fact that day I had bought a new stroller.  My due date?  My birthday.  

At the time, I was a part time manager at Gymboree.  I went into work that night and came home as usual.  Andy left for work when I got home (He works 3rd shift).  I fell asleep on the couch,  but kept having horrible dreams.  Something was wrong.  I prayed.  Somewhere I had heard that a Mother's prayer for her children was one that GOD listened to with the most urgency.  I tried to tell myself it was nothing.  A few hours later I knew, I was losing our baby. 

I didn't call Andy.  I couldn't tell him, mostly because I couldn't say the words myself.  I just laid there crying.  Praying.  And then yelling - I wasn't sure GOD had heard me.  When Andy got home he rushed me to the hospital.  We lost our little boy, Gabriel Austin Smith, on August 28. 

I walked into the hospital pregnant.  And later that day, I left.  Childless.  I was tired.  I was in shock. I was sad.  I was angry.  I was frustrated.  

Healing has been hard.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of our baby.  I have an extra room in our house with baby clothes hung up in the closet.  My craft stuff thrown in the closet in the front room.  I just can't bring myself to turn the baby's room into anything other than a baby's room.  My faith was tested beyond testing.  I couldn't understand.  Why had GOD taken away my baby, but given babies to people who don't take care of them?  And if something was wrong with my baby, why hadn't GOD just healed him?  I know he has the power to do so!

I quit my job.  {I was planning on quitting, but losing Gabe made me do so earlier.  It killed me seeing people come in and with their babies buying the same clothes that I have hanging in his closet.  Pregnant women were everywhere.  And I was no longer one of them.}  That's when I started blogging.  It's given me some sort of refuge.

Everyone (well, a lot) of people told me, "It's ok.  You're young.  You can try again."  I know that during a time like this people don't know what to say.  But, that was not what I wanted to hear.  It made me feel like I was just supposed to forget.  A do over.  Like how Joshua erases a mistake on his homework.  I vowed that I wouldn't forget.  And that I would do something -- something that would make Gabe proud.  Something that when I say his name I associate it with goodness, not tragedy.

So I decided to start a blanket drive.  Have you heard of Project Linus? Their mission is  mission to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”  I can't think of a better way than to honor Gabe. 

Starting in January (well, you can start making one now!)  Gabe's Gifts will begin.  It is a year long blanket drive.  Each Monday I will feature a blanket tutorial and the last Monday of each month we can host a linky party showcasing any blankets made.  I am in the process of creating tags for you to print off and fill out with your blanket (including what it's made of, any special washing instructions, your name and email if you wish).  As you finish your blankets I ask that you mail them to me (e-mail me for the address and I will make one large donation in Gabe's name.  (Also why I am making tags!  I want you creative ladies to get the credit you deserve on your awesome work!) Also, if there is a special child you would like your blanket to be donated to honor please include that information with your blanket.  I can't speak for everyone, but even just trying to put together this project - knowing something good will be attached to Gabe's name has helped the healing process more than I can express.

If you are a blogger and have a blanket tutorial (can be crochet, knit, how to bind, quilt patterns, sewing tutorials) and would like it featured (both on this blog and on We're the Joneses) please e-mail me. 

I would also REALLY appreciate anyone taking Gabe's button (top left corner) and helping pass the word along for me!   I'm hoping to have enough blankets to make the first donation on my birthday and Gabe's due date (3/14).  I know that it is going to be a hard day for me and this would really help. 

I know I pledge to make at least 12 blankets.  One each month to donate.  I hope I can count on you to help too!  Thanks for reading this -- I know it's long.  But I don't think you know how much I really appreciate it. :)

Any questions, comments, tutorial submissions or for my address to send in a blanket please e-mail me: amandaandandy(at)yahoo(dot)com


  1. Oh Amanda, my eyes are filled with tears and my heart is so heavy as I write this. I cannot imagine ever having to deal with the loss of a child. I think this is a great way to honor your little Gabe and count me in on helping in any way possible. Big hugs to you! Christina

  2. I started Crying...

    Crud.. IM still crying

    I read just fine up until you talked about your wonderful plan and project Linus.
    I think that is such a special wonderful idea, and what a way to honor the memory of Gabe.
    I have been prego 5 times, I lost 2 of my baby's from miscarriage.
    It was my 3rd pregnancy, I had started to bleed a little, I was worried for the baby so I went to the ER. They kept trying to tell me I was just spotting and it was normal and everything was going to be fine. They wouldnt listen to me that it more more blood that just "spotting". Well I was sitting in a room waiting to see the doctor when I started having cramps.. kinda of like contractions. Then it felt like something just burst inside of me, felt like "my water broke". I looked down on the bed where I am sitting and there was just so much blood. It was just pouring out of me. I had to get up and walk to the door to call for someone as I had blood streaming down my legs. I bled so much, they were actually worried about my life. Couldnt believe it when one of the doctors told me if they couldnt stop the bleeding that I could lose my life too. I was so scared and I wanted my baby. I was thinking about my other 2 children being without a mommy.. it was a crazy time.
    They thought maybe I had an ectopic pregnancy, because they couldnt "find" the baby...Then they questioned if I was even really pregnant. Grr I dislike ER docs!
    I believe he passed when I had that first flow of blood on the hospital bed... But I'll never know. Unfortunately all I could think about was that because of that.. they just threw my baby away! :(
    Dealing with things afterwards... like having to tell people I lost the baby when they would come up and ask how i was doing and how the baby was, was so hard.
    The next time I got prego I kept is a secret. I wanted yo keep quiet until after 15 weeks, to be sure I was safe. I didnt want to have to go through anyone thinking I was prego again in case I lost the baby again. Unfortunately I DID end up having another miscarriage. And then I felt major guilt for not telling anyone I was prego, and not getting my hopes up, or as excited as I normally would have. Like I just didnt give that baby a chance. :( I just felt so guilty that it was my fault.
    It took some time to get over that. When I got pregnant the 5th time, I got excited and told everyone. I didnt wanna keep it a secret again. Thankfully I didnt lose him, and after being through 2 loses right in a row, he felt like a miracle baby to me. :)

    Anyways.. sorry for the LONG comment. After reading your post I just felt compelled to share my story with someone who understands.

    Now I just wish I knew how to sew or quilt blankets to share with you! If I come across any tutorials Ill definitely come back and let you know.

  3. Amanda,

    This is were words fail me. I am so sorry for your loss .... From another momma who has lost a baby ... who has walked into the doctor's pregnant and left alone ... that pain is so very, very real. And that sting of seeing other mommas, other babies, other baby stuff can be suffocating. My heart aches for you and your little boy. Your idea to honor his memory is wonderful. Time to get the scraps out and get sewing.

  4. Unfortunately, this is more common then people realize. I am sure many people have similar stories. Sucks though when it's you (I had a missed miscarriage). Baby stopped growing at 9 weeks the placenta kept growing until 14 weeks until the doc found out and did a D & C. I had to wait over night to get the surgery and all I could think about was there was a dead baby inside of me. Didn't get much sleep that night.
    Good for you for turning it into something positive. It will probably help with the healing process. God bless

  5. I'm in! I'm excited for the tutorials and blanket ideas. Can't wait to help in this wonderful endeavor! My cousin suffered through 9 miscarriages before finally having a son. Then a few more miscarriages- and finally a daughter! Thank you for letting all of us grow from your experience- hopefully it will help us all reach out and love each other just a little more!

  6. What a great idea! I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, but admire you for finding a way to make a positive difference from it! With 3 under 4 I'm pretty sure I can't commit to 12 blankets...but I think I could 1 possibly 2. And we'd be happy to share on our blog as well. My mother also did a great blanket tutorial on our blog that is for any skill level.

    We'll stay tuned to see how we can help get the word out! :-)

  7. Thank you so much for sharing you and Gabe's story! God Bless You! And I think it is awesome that you are doing something positive in his memory! I will be happy to share Gabe's Gifts on my blog, and I've never made a blanket...but this seems like a great time to start!

    Amy @

  8. Amanda,
    I am amazed by your strength, and love your idea of turning around your pain to help others! I'm going to bring this up to the bible study that I lead, and see if we can make a few to send your direction! Keep moving forward, enjoy every day, and I look forward to hearing about your progress!


  9. I am so sorry for your loss. I had a miscarriage, it was early on but it took over a year for me to be okay with trying again. I will pray for you and your family, this is a great thing you are doing.

  10. Thank you for sharing this story. It's a beautiful thing you're doing to honor the memory of your son. I would love to contribute and plan to do so - I can't promise a certain # but hope to make at least 1 or 2, if not more.

  11. What a wonderful thing you are doing in the name of your beloved little one... I am always amazed at how the Lord uses us and our heartbreaks to do something that we would not have done otherwise. I can only imagine your heartache and it's so difficult to understand how and why these things happen - but remember that the Lord will reunite you and Gabe on that grand and glorious day - so hold fast to your faith and know that the Lord has blessings untold in store for you... God bless your willingness to give - there will be so very many children (and adults) who will be touched by this.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss. Doing something positive in your son's memory hopefully will be very healing for you. May GOD comfort and strengthen you.

    I know how to make 'tie' blankets. Will they work? If others will post blanket tutorials, I will learn how to do other types.

    May this New Year bring you many blessings.

  13. Amanda, I see you posted this a few days ago, but I am just reading it now. I haven't stopped crying since I started reading. You are so strong and brave to share your story with everyone here. I'm sure Gabe is very proud of his Mama.

    I love that you'll be receiving the blankets at your home first so you can see all the love that people will be putting into these, in his honor. May they be a great big warm hug to help your heart heal.

  14. Amanda,
    I am so sorry for your loss. My sister lost her first baby, she was 22 weeks and a few days pregnant when she delivered (Gabrielle had spina bifida). It was an awful time for her and me. My sister came to my house many times n=in a near panic feeling like she had lost her mind. I am also a NICU nurse of 16years and understand your frustration at losing a baby that would be cherished while so many have babies and do not care for them. It is unfair in the extreme. I hope that your faith in God has given you some comfort and applaud your effort to make and donate blankets. In the NICU we use donated blankets and hats all of the time. They add a special touch for the babies and their families. Sorry for the long comment. Will check out your tutorials and try to help with your project.
    God bless you!

  15. I love your idea! Although, I'm so very sorry for your loss. Praying that this blanket drive will bring you emotional comfort, just as it will bring physical warmth to some lucky little ones.
    I'm honored to participate!

  16. I finally got your great blog into my reader - and I was going through your posts and came across this one.
    Your story has really touched me - I'm so sorry about your little one. I have a sweetie waiting in heaven for me too - I don't know if it was a boy or girl. I understand how hard that loss is and I think the way you are giving in his name is so sweet and wonderful.
    I'm going to participate - and add your button to my sidebar. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.

  17. I am in too! I loss two babies myself and know it's beyond difficult. People say the silliest things trying to help... they just don't know better. I will be getting some fabric this evening and get started! Thanks for organizing this!

  18. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's takes an amazing and strong woman to take such a loss and use it to create blessings for others. Count me in.

    Beverly aka Booklady

  19. I am in! So very touched by your story. Will get started right away. Also I posted about this on my blog, so hopefully others will join up too.

  20. Your story really touched me, thank you fr posting this. I am most definitely in! I have posted on my blog too, so hopefully others will want to help.

  21. Amanda, I'm so sorry you lost Gabe. I have lost 3 babies, not far enough along to know if we had a sweet boy or girl, but it is heartbreaking. My heart goes out to you. I hope to be able to help a little with Gabe's Gifts. You will be in my prayers, especially on your birthday. Hope your heart is continuing to find healing.

  22. Amanda, i know it may not mean much when i say i am sorry for your loss as i cannot change what has happened. you are very brave to share your story with the world. i think it so great what you have decided to do to honor your son. tho i am new to blogging i have shared your story on my blog in hopes to shine light on your blanket drive.

  23. My heart goes out to you. I too have lost a little one. I've heard of linus project before but have never gotten around to making one. I'm going to now. I'm new to blogging, but plan on sharing your story and making some blankets.

  24. I followed a link here from Idea Room...
    My first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage Christmas 2009 (Great timing, huh?) and it has been very difficult for me. I haven't really blogged about it or discussed it with many people because the responses I received just made me hurt even more. I'm so inspired by your strength to create good from heartbreak. I hope to be able to contribute a blanket in honor of your little Gabe (and my little baby that might have been) later this year.

  25. I just found you from a mention on I am Momma Hear Me Roar, and I am so very sorry to hear of your painful loss of your child Gabe. Wonderful that you've come up with this idea to help others. I hope you find some measure of peace with time. No matter how many others have experienced a miscarriage, I am sure the pain for each is as unique as love itself. Wishing you healing and peace... Nicole