week 41: this week i'm gonna... comfort grieving families
In the fall of 2010, Lisa Hays and her husband Cody learned they were pregnant with their second child. Initially, the pregnancy progressed just as nicely as her first. But at 19 weeks gestation, everything changed.
The ultrasound appeared fine at first – they saw a strong heartbeat and it was a boy! Then from the nurse: “I’m going to have the doctor complete the ultrasound… the limbs look a little short.”
The doctor soon revealed the news. The baby’s limbs were about four weeks behind schedule, and there were some other abnormalities. He suspected Thanatophoric Dsyplasia, a very rare skeletal disorder that is uniformly fatal upon birth due to respiratory insufficiency. Just like that, the “fun” ultrasound appointment turned tragic.
Luke Hudson Hays was delivered at 6:45am on Friday, January 21st, 2011. He was 9 inches long and weighed 10.3 ounces. The nurse carefully wrapped him in a blanket, then Lisa and Cody got to hold him, love him, and tearfully say goodbye. Instead of leaving the hospital with their son, they left with empty arms and broken hearts.
Lisa’s experience at the hospital helped her realize the insufficiency of resources for families who experience pregnancy and infant loss, and she was inspired to help other families navigate their grief with direction and positivity. She founded Luke Lives On to provide support, comfort, and resources to families who have lost a child due to pregnancy loss or early infant death.
Twice a year, in January and June, Lisa engages with volunteers and past Luke Lives On box recipients to craft and deliver comfort boxes to hospitals throughout Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, and Virginia. Together, it is a way for everyone to remember their angel babies while providing comfort to other grieving families.
Luke Lives On is committed to assisting families who have endured pregnancy loss or early infant death with a positive grieving experience through the gift of comfort boxes and post-hospital follow-up support. The gift box alleviates the feeling of empty arms that so many mothers experience after leaving the hospital, and the box contents provide families with a variety of support resources for the road to healing.
Luke Lives On distributes memory boxes to local hospitals that do not already have a uniform system in place to distribute tangible support items to grieving families. The boxes are donated and delivered to participating hospitals semi-annually, with distribution in the months of January and June. The comfort box is available to anyone who has lost a child, no matter the gestational age.
Among other things, the comfort boxes include a book, journal, and other items meant to memorialize and honor the babies and families who receive them. They also include resources for parents to help guide them through the grieving process.
In October 2012, Lisa, Cody, and big sister Cadie joyously welcomed Hudson Greer Hays to their family. Lisa already has the kids helping to make and deliver boxes, and they will always know the joy their brother Luke continues to bring to the world.
Notes for this week:
- October is National Infant Loss and Miscarriage Awareness Month; National Remembrance Day is October 15th.
- Please contact Luke Lives On if you know of someone who could benefit from a comfort box -- they would be happy to send one to them.
- Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor more than 10 comfort boxes that will be delivered to grieving families.
- For more information regarding Luke Lives On, please check out their website.
this week i'm gonna donate to Luke Lives On.