Pages of Interest

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

~What makes a Mother?~

What makes a Mother?
I thought of you and closed my eyes, and prayed to God today.
I asked, “What makes a Mother?” and I know I heard him say:

“A Mother has a baby, this we know is true.”

“But God, can you be a Mother when your baby’s not with you?”

“Yes you can”, He replied with a confidence in His voice,
“I give many women babies, when they leave is not their choice.

Some I send for a lifetime, and others for a day,
And some I send to feel your womb, but there’s no need to stay.”

“I just don’t understand this God, I want my baby here.”

 He took a breath and cleared His throat, and then I saw a tear.

“I wish I could show you what your child is doing today.  If you could see your child smile with other children and say:”

“We go to Earth and learn our lessons of love and life and fear.   
My Mommy loved me oh so much I got to come straight here.   
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me, 
I learned my lesson very quickly;   
My Mommy set me free.   
I miss my Mommy oh so much, but I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep, on her pillow’s where I lay.   
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek and whisper in her ear,
‘Mommy don’t be sad today, I’m your baby and I’m here.’”

“So you see my dear sweet one, your children are OK.   
Your babies are here in My home and this is where they’ll stay.
They’ll wait for you with me until your lesson is through,
And on the day that you come home they’ll be at the gates for you.

So now you see what makes a Mother, it’s the feeling in your heart.
It’s the love you had so much of right from the very start.”

~Jennifer Wasik

~Thinking of all my special Mommy friends that are spending their holidays missing their loved ones.  

I send prayers of peace, love, & healing to those that are spending their Christmas in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) with their new babies, in need of some extra tender-loving care.  

May our Creator watch over you, and shower you with an endless abundance of Nimkee-Blessings.  
Peace be with you,
Melissa xxoo

Saturday, December 18, 2010

~Reflections of Cystic Fibrosis~

I Believe In Tiny Miracles here for more info)

I remember a visit to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario back in 2004.  Tristan (5--diagnosed with Spherocytosis which is a blood disease) was there to have his spleen and gallbladder removal surgery and we had to spend 11 days on the surgical floor as he healed.

I took advantage of having someone to sit with Tristan and I took a brief jaunt to grab a coffee and a snack.  In the nurses/admission area I saw a woman holding a very sick looking little baby.  He was several months old, and had tubes attached to him.  The mother had a very sad glint in her eyes, but smiled at me and said "Hi" as I approached.

My mommy senses kicked in and I just had to take a peak at her baby boy and let her know how cute I thought he was.  I then asked her what was wrong.  She told me he was born with Cystic Fibrosis and his life expectancy was nearing its end.  My heart took a leap and I felt my eyes instantly fill with tears.  I instinctively reached out and placed my hand on her arm and looked at her and told her how sorry I was to hear that as I had also lost a baby to stillbirth and it was a pain that I could relate to.

How does a parent maintain composure as they know their child's life is ending?  At that moment in time I couldn't even conceive of experiencing and surviving such a thing.

She thanked me for listening as she shared her son's all too brief life story and explained that all they could do at that point was provide him with comfort measures and hope for the best.  The only thing which may prolong his life was if another family lost their baby and donated the necessary tiny lungs to another family in need.

I walked away with tears and just felt such an incredibly overwhelming sense of sorrow and heartache for this woman.  Thoughts of her and her baby stayed with me over those next several days, weeks, months, and even years.  Every time I hear the words 'Cystic Fibrosis', this woman and her beautiful son instantly appear in my mind.

Despite the sadness which she was experiencing, she was still able to smile and truly appreciate that I had stopped and allowed her to speak with me.  She said most people just keep on walking and go about their day.  She just needed someone to listen, show compassion and empathy, and provide that little bit of comfort in that moment.

This link gives hope for the future for many families that are struggling to survive with Cystic Fibrosis.  Click here for more personal stories of hopes, dreams, and determination.

As we are in the midst of our holiday season, please remember all those that are spending their holidays in hospitals around the world, watching their loved ones slip away. 

What can you do?  Consider the generous, self-less gift of organ donation to help another family in need.

Life----it's in you to give.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drop-side Cribs to be Banned in U.S.

The above link will take you to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Youtube website where they have a vast selection of videos that I highly recommend that everyone take the time to watch.  If you are an expecting parent, babysitter, hands-on Grandparent, or just interested in safety and babies in general----then please, please, please----pour a cup of tea, sit down, and watch a few of these.  It could truly mean the difference between life or death...or serious harm.

The bottom line is that most of this can be prevented by taking the proper precautionary measures and not cut corners because you are in a rush.  You just may regret those moments that you can never undo.

CBC News message posted December 15th, 2010

The following is an exert from this post:
The U.S. government is outlawing drop-side cribs after the deaths of more than 30 infants and toddlers in the past decade.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted unanimously to ban the manufacture, sale and re-sale of the cribs, which have a side rail that moves up and down, allowing parents to more easily lift their child from the crib.
Around for decades, drop-side cribs have come under scrutiny in recent years because of malfunctioning hardware, sometimes cheaper plastics, or assembly problems that can lead to the drop-side rail partially detaching from the crib.
When that happens, it can create a dangerous "V"-like gap between the mattress and side rail where a baby can get caught and suffocate or strangle.
On Tuesday, a consumer safety bill passed in Parliament in Ottawa. When it comes into force in the next few months, the federal government will be able to order the recall of unsafe goods such as drop-side cribs.
Currently, the Canadian government can only request a voluntary recall from manufacturers or distributors.
© The Canadian Press, 2010
~My two cents~~There will always be those that want to criticize about the 'new' parenting advice and will say things like---"oh, how did any of us survive with those cribs?  my gramma told me she slept in a basket or a dresser drawer".....bla bla bla.....You get the hint!

Well, be as judgmental, defensive, or snide as you want to be, but let me say this.  I have given birth to 6 sons and only one of them is currently healthy.

~Now please bear with me while I share a bit about my own experiences.  I can honestly say that I have faced the odds and struggled with a lot of things that were completely out of my hands to prevent.  (Stepping on my soapbox now!)

My eldest son was struck by a truck when he was 4---(and no, he wasn't in my care when it happened but that's besides the point)---my second and fifth sons have a rare blood disease (2nd son had his spleen and gallbladder removed due to this)---my third son was stillborn---my fourth son was born healthy and still is----(I count my blessings each and every day)----and my 6th (last) child was born with Trisomy 13 and passed away at 8 days of age.  I also lost my husband, marriage, business, and future family life due to my (ex) husband's brain injury while on duty as a firefighter on December 19th, 2002.  He did not pass away, but he will never be the same man I married.

I do not play the lotto because life is a big enough gamble already and I truly just feel grateful enough to be able to sit here and write this with my sensibilities still intact!

The moral of this story----don't take risks when we know what may happen.  I cannot turn back the hands of time, and would rather look ahead and feel confident with the smart choices that I have made when it comes to family safety, than have to live with a future regretting the educated decisions that I chose to ignore because I thought "it could never happen to me".  Please, don't be that person.  If it happened to me, or it happened to someone else---it can happen to you or to someone you know.

Arm yourself-----be safe.  Most of happy.

Love, Peace, & Nimkee-Blessings to all this holiday season and every day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

~Hats of Hope ~ Project 150~

~The following statement is an exert from the above blog:
"Approximately 150 Kentucky kids are diagnosed with cancer each year. Kentucky children have a greater proportion of new solid malignancy cancer cases than anywhere else in the United States."
~ UK Pediatric Research Institute
 What is "Project 150" you may ask?  Project 150 was inspired by a compassionate little girl named Jesse, who was named after her mother's childhood friend who sadly passed away from cancer.  Jesse's mother discusses how she read the above quote to her 5 year old daughter, and Jesse's response was that she wanted to be able to knit and provide hats to kids with cancer by Thanksgiving because
"that's when it will be getting too cold to not have one if you are bald." ~ Jesse, 5yrs old.
This website explains that in the year of 2010, the average cost of cancer care for one child patient is approximately $36, 800, so Jesse would also like to try and raise enough money to help these families that so greatly require this financial assistance.

"Two Moms is now selling Children's Cancer Awareness Ribbons on our etsy store to help reach our $36,800 goal! Come check them out now! 100% of sale price will go right to Project 150!" ~ Aura, mom of Jesse
 For more information, please click on the links provided.  Feel free to share this information with others to help raise Awareness, and help these families.

Love, Peace, & Nimkee-Blessings,
Melissa xxoo

"In addition, to reach our 150 Hat goal, we are offering free hat making parties to anyone who might be interested in learning how to make the hats, with the only caveat being that everyone in the party donate the first hat they make to the project. We are also accepting knit and crocheted hats from anyone who is willing to send them to us!  
(all hat donations can be sent to: Project 150 C/O Jesse Paige, 191 Baybrook Circle, Nicholasville, KY. 40356.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010


~October 15th is a monumental day for families like mine, for it's the ONE day all year that we are recognized and given permission to mourn openly and remember our beloved ^Angel^Babies.

This is monumental as much of society still perpetuates the old way of thinking, instilling the Taboo Silence of Infant Loss.  A mother never forgets the day a child is born, regardless of the duration of that pregnancy, or newborn's life.  

All that we ask is that you all try to imagine what we've gone through, and understand with compassion that we are doing our very best to strive and survive through the greatest heartache imaginable.

It is a loss of hopes and dreams of future days spent cuddling as we watch our children learn and grow.  

Be gentle with us, as we are with you, for we also understand that it's so very difficult for you to deal with our grief.

Once a year on this date, families around the world unite and remember their angel-babies in a variety of ways.

Many others, like myself, will release balloons in Loving Memory of our Angel Babies.  

In conjunction with Project Sweet Peas, and their balloon release event, I too released balloons to the babies of the families that sent in their requests.  I released balloons for 87 babies on my list; together Project Sweet Peas as a whole released balloons for over 400 little lives lost too soon.

My second angel-baby Bennett-Chadlen was born on March 29, and grew his tiny wings 8 days later on Good Friday, April 6th, 2007 at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario
My first angel, Noah-Alexander, was born with wings on August 6th, 1999
Tristan, Tanner, Mason, & Rheanne were there to help honour the memory of their beloved siblings
My boys and I ready to release the balloons!
Up, up, & away.....*photo courtesy of my boys as I was cutting the ties!

On behalf of Nimkee Blessings, I want to wish all families of ^Angels^ peace and comfort in your hearts, knowing that we all remember with you.  I wish you strength to get through the difficult moments as they inevitably come, and courage to face another day.  Set small goals, and don't fight the feelings.  Get through today.......then do it again tomorrow.  Be gentle with yourself.

~Love, Peace, & Nimkee-Blessings to all~

~ ♥ ♥ Today, we remember united; Every day we remember in our hearts ♥ ♥ ~

~1 candle for Noah-Alexander, 1 candle for Bennett-Chadlen, 1 candle for all~

Sunday, October 3, 2010 to nurture and support the spirit~

~the following links are to a wonderful website which provides beautiful keepsake jewelry for mothers, grandmothers, aunts.....and also offer cards and links to support resources.

For every purchase made by following one of these links, I will receive a 15% discount which I am planning to put towards the purchase of items for recipients of my Nimkee-Blessings Memorial gift bags for families with newborns at the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) of Toronto, Sick Kids Hospital.

Thanks in advance~Melissa Roy, project leader for Nimkee Blessings

Miscarriage and Infant Loss Memorial Jewelry:
Miscarriage and Infant Loss Memorial Jewelry

Miscarriage and Infant Loss Memorial Jewelry

Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss Jewelry -Customised jewelry to celebrate the life of a child lost in miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss. Each piece is created using carefully selected symbols to help support the grieving parent after the loss of a baby.

Memorial Jewelry

Fertility Jewelry:
fertility jewelry

Pregnancy Jewelry:
pregnancy jewelry

Memorial Jewelry -Customised jewelry to celebrate the life of a loved one. Each piece is created using carefully selected symbols to help support the grieving process, and life after loss.

Fertility Jewelry - Each piece is created using carefully selected symbols and gemstones to help support the couple who is trying to conceive. Sensitive pieces make wonderful gifts for those who must walk a longer road to get the baby they dream of.

Pregnancy and Birth Jewelry -Customised jewelry to celebrate and support your pregnancy and birth. Created using carefully selected gemstones and symbols to honour this exciting time!

Pet Memorial Jewelry - Pet Loss - Cat and Dog Sympathy Gifts
Pet memorial jewelry created to keep your cat and dog's memory close after the loss of a pet. Touching pet loss sympathy gifts. Free online pet memorials

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


~Claire's Hope is a beautiful website created in Loving Memory of a little girl named Claire Hope Cox.  Like Bennett-Chadlen (prenatally diagnosed with Trisomy 13), Claire was born with a rare chromosomal syndrome called Trisomy 18, or Edward's Syndrome.  Despite her poor prenatal diagnosis, her parents welcomed her into their waiting arms, and continue to feel blessed for the gift that Claire is in their lives.

Claire's family has created not only this beautiful website, but also a real place where families can go to remember and memorialize the lives of their own babies who left this world all too soon.

Claire's Hope, and Hope's Corner, are located in Mobile, Alabama, in the halls of a 3-story building which used to house an abortion clinic.

(taken from the website)
-"On November 28, 2008, Hope’s Corner was opened to the public as a memorial, a museum, a tribute and a place where women, couples and families affected by crisis pregnancies can get the information they need to honor the sanctity of human life."
Like me, Claire's family does not judge or scorn a parent's decisions regarding the lives of their unborn children.  We all have heartbreaking choices to make, and everyone is welcome to pay tribute to their loved ones amongst the halls of Hope's Corner---whether it be on the "Wall of Forgiveness", the "Children's Garden", or "The Virtual Wall".
"Claire’s Hope is your sanctuary and you are always welcome and will always be uplifted here."

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Every now and again I stumble upon something too amazing to keep to myself.  This company is one of those!  They manufacture wearable sleeping bags for  your baby, which not only keeps them warm as they nap, but also keeps them safe as there are no blankets to gather up around the baby's face.

click here to visit the website for~HALO SLEEPSACK~ 

The website offers links to safety tips, and info about preventing SIDS.  There are HEALTH links, MEDICAL links, where to purchase links----check it out!

I have a very dear friend that lost her 6 month old daughter to this devastating syndrome.  For those of you that don't know what SIDS stands for, it means "SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME"---and it happens all too often for unexplainable reasons.  

Another heartbreaking story can be found at this LINK.
~exert from the site 
"Every year SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and accidental suffocation claim the lives of 5,000 babies. Our founder Bill Schmid and his wife lost their first born to SIDS. From this tragedy, HALO® and its mission were born. For over 15 years we've been creating products that help keep babies sleeping safely and help in the fight against SIDS through education and by donating a portion of every sale to SIDS charities."

If you or someone you know is the parent of a newborn, or about to become a new mother, consider purchasing one of these HALO SLEEPSACKs.  It's such a practical and beneficial gift for so many reasons.

If you are a grandparent, or babysitter----please click here for a link to safety info about how to lay the baby down to sleep safely.  SAFE SLEEP TIPS  They also offer downloaded information that you can print off and keep handy for those times when you aren't around to lay your little one down to rest.

~HALO SLEEPSACKS~ are available at retailers through North America.  Click here for a location near you!

For information about the products available, click on the following link:

Let's work together to keep our babies safe.

Congratulations to all new parents, or those who are "soon-to-be",

Much Love, Peace, & Nimkee Blessings to you all,


Monday, August 9, 2010


{Brendan, brother to Bennett-Chadlen}

INTRODUCING BENNETT is a band hailing from Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada. What started as my eldest son's solitary project in 'Loving Memory' of his youngest brother, BENNETT-CHADLEN, is now a full-fledged band guaranteed to entertain any crowd.

Recent News:

benefit concert at Gordon's Park Eco-Resort on beautiful Manitoulin
Island...SUNDAY, SEPT 5th! We will have lots of great entertainment for
young and old alike, & fun things for the kiddies to do!

~ALL PROCEEDS go towards helping families with babies in the SICK KIDS HOSPITAL NICU in Toronto, Ontario. More info available on facebook at this link:

~Nimkee Blessings~facebook event info

~Introducing Bennett appeared at the 3rd Annual Crystal Shawanda Homecoming concert in Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island, on July 30th, following Crystal's performance. They've been invited back, so come on out next year and watch them play!!

~Brendan and Jay entering the concert grounds~

~on-stage at the Crystal Shawanda Homecoming Concert~

{Pete Jones ~ lead vox}

{Jason Girdwood ~ drummer, vocals}

{Hercules ~ mascot extraordinaire, belongs to Tedd Peltier ~ Bass player}

Just another day in paradise!

Brendan, big brother to Bennett-Chadlen

Lost in a sea of green, but making good time ~ love the paddles guys!

"Introducing Bennett"

~4-piece power-house from Manitoulin Island, "Introducing Bennett" brings the noise of your favourite modern day tunes and old alike.

~Currently working on originals, soon to be released at the Nimkee Blessings concert! Come on out and witness the grand unveiling of some guaranteed hits, by some very talented lads! :O)

Peter Jones - Lead Vox

Brendan Pinand - Guitar, Vox

Tedd Peltier - Bass, Vox

Jason Girdwood - Percussion, Vox

Contact Info:


Office: (705) 368-3579 or (705) 370-1583


~If you have facebook, join up through these 2 links, share with friends, keep up on all the latest happenings, new vids, & cool pics!

~If you have a youtube account, subscribe and keep up-to-date on all new uploads!

~If you have myspace, send a friend request, keep in touch with up-to-date announcements, new songs, and just a lot of cool stuff!

*photos courtesy of Moi & the lovely Sophie J*

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

~PROJECT SWEET PEAS featured on Good Morning America!!

~On the morning of Tuesday, July 27th, ABC network's Good
Morning America show did a feature story on Project Sweet Peas

worthy mission to help families with babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
(NICU) at various hospitals. Our goal is to be able to provide gift bags containing comfort and support items to
the many families that have a sick baby in the hospital, instead of at home in their loving arms.
Project Sweet Peas is an organization made up of several families that have been through the NICU experience, and sadly, many families like my own--have lost our babies to various illnesses or birth defects.

Because we know what it feels like, we are extending our comfort and support to others, so that we may be able to touch their lives and let them know that they are not alone in this very difficult, healing journey.

Project Sweet Peas specializes each bag for a boy--or a girl--and will also customize the various bags by holiday seasons, short-term or long-term NICU stays, and Memorial bags for those babies that grow their wings much too soon.

If you have any questions, or would like to donate, or request a bag for a loved one, please contact me here, or email me at

Help spread the word about my project NIMKEE BLESSINGS, by joining my facebook page at this link:

~Love, Peace, & Nimkee Blessings from my family, to yours,
Melissa xxoo

*More information may be found by following the various embedded links in this post*

**All proceeds from NIMKEE BLESSINGS will be donated to The Hospital for Sick Children, aka Sick Kids Hospital, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Monday, July 26, 2010

~Reflections of our Final Day~

~Words cannot describe the searing, heart-clutching pain that a parent feels in their chest the very moment that their baby has been 'pronounced'.

"I'm very sorry, but he's gone......."

How do you take another breath, knowing your beloved has just taken his last? How can you fathom a future without this little
person by your side, sharing first smiles, sloppy kisses, and giggles galore?

One can't help but wonder "what do I do now? How will I get through this...."

The entire day was just a blur, with moments of vivid memories. I look back at our photographs taken during that final afternoon. The photographer's lens captured those heart wrenching images as we had to do the unthinkable.

"How do you say farewell, when you've just held this tiny little being in your arms for the very first time since he entered this world, outside your womb?"

I remember walking out of the hospital that night, with empty arms. I hadn't taken a single breath of outdoor air in more than a week, since the day I entered the hospital to give birth 9 days earlier. I stayed by Bennett-Chadlen's bedside night and day, never wanting to be too far away in case the worst should suddenly occur. I wanted to be right there with him should they need to page me.

I stepped outside and took in a huge breath, and held it for a few moments. I could not believe what was happening.

"It's not supposed to be this way".

I was clutching a stuffed bunny in place of him, an Easter gift to Bennett-Chadlen from his brothers.

In the days and weeks that followed I was able to look at the photos and feetprints,

I cherish the hand and foot moulds that were made with my hands, and the hands of Nimkee's siblings.

All of these items make him 'real'.
I cannot hold his hand again, but I can see his tiny fingers and feet....a lock of his hair....his gold embossed feetprints with the 6 gorgeous toes....all thanks to the little things that were done for us before we left the hospital.

~ Gzaagin Nimkee ~ We love you ~ Forever in our hearts ~ Tattooed on my soul ~


~I am very ecstatic and proud to announce that tomorrow, Tuesday, July 27th, between 7-9am, PROJECT SWEET PEAS will be featured on ABC's daily news program Good Morning America!!

Each month Pepsi Refresh is giving away $1 million to various winners of their grant contest. The winning recipients are featured on Good Morning America to help bring awareness to their chosen projects.

For more information on Pepsi Refresh & Project Sweet Peas, please click HERE.

Stayed tune for more information coming tomorrow following Project Sweet Peas debut!

Love, Peace, & Nimkee Blessings, from our family to yours xxoo

Saturday, July 24, 2010


~Today was my first official fundraiser for my *~*NIMKEE BLESSINGS*~* Project Sweet Peas project. I have to say without a doubt that doing this in honour and memory of my sweet boy Bennett-Chadlen really did wonders for my grieving/healing heart.

I could feel his presence surrounding us today as I shared all about him, Project Sweet Peas, and our mission to help provide comfort and support items to other families with babies in the NICU, to let them know that they're not alone. All of the project leaders with this wonderful, compassionate organization know what it's like to have a child born under extraordinary circumstances. We come from a background of 'hands-on' knowledge of what it feels like to see your newborn child rushed into the NICU, instead of being placed into your waiting arms.

I held an impromptu yardsale/fundraiser to help me to purchase the items for my gift-bags which will be donated to the families in the Hospital for Sick Children NICU. This is where Bennett-Chadlen lived his entire 8 days.

I wanted my son's legacy to live on through my desire to comfort grieving families, and hope to create a 'ripple effect' that shall shine on through my children's lives as well. Bennett-Chadlen is with us always, and we aim to do him proud.

For more information about Nimkee Blessings, or Project Sweet Peas, feel free to check out the links provided above, or contact me here and I'll get back to you asap.

If you, or someone you know would like to donate items for me to sell for my fundraiser, please feel free to drop them off, or I can arrange for pick-up if need be.

Gchi-miigwech to all of you that have provided us with so much love, comfort, and prayers of peace and strength as we make our way through this healing journey.

Love, Peace, & Nimkee Blessings to you and yours,
Melissa & family

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I am proud to say that I completed this logo and it came out exactly how I had pictured it in my mind. I did have a little bit of help colouring in the halo from my friend Denise because I had never made any form of graphic image before and I had no idea what I was doing!! Thanks Denise!

Now I am ready to get started on the business end of things and plan my fundraiser to purchase or receive donations of items which are needed and much appreciated! For further information you may reply by comment here, or email me at

More information about Project Sweet Peas may be found at this link:

Nimkee's story may be found here:

If you are on facebook you may become a fan of my page at this link:

I look forward to hearing from you. Feedback is welcome!!!

Love, Peace, & Nimkee Blessings,
Melissa xxoo

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

~NIMKEE BLESSINGS~ Project Sweet Peas

~I wrote the following for my Project Sweet Peas webpage. Here is my story, and I'll share about Project Sweet Peas in another post, because it deserves it! More about Project Sweet Peas can be found in the links along the top of the page on my Nimkee Blessings webpage.

"In July 2006, I found out that I was unexpectedly expecting. I was scared, nervous, but elated and hopeful that this pregnancy would mean great things for me and my family. I embraced this new life that was growing inside of me, looking forward to our future together. I imagined what the next summer would be like with a new baby here. I pictured the next mother’s day with a little one in my arms. My boys were happy and excited….life was good.

I called my midwife and arranged to begin my prenatal journey as healthy as possible. One day she was here to draw some blood for regular prenatal tests and she asked if I would like her to draw a little bit extra to send away for a ‘maternal serum test’. I had never opted for this in the past, but this time I said, “Sure, go for it, it will give me one less thing to worry about.”

Several years ago in August of 1999, I delivered a stillborn son named Noah-Alexander. I already had 2 sons, and I went on to plan 2 more pregnancies after his birth. Each pregnancy was very nerve-wracking for obvious reasons, and every day of those subsequent pregnancies was a joy, and a struggle, and resulted in 2 more healthy sons. I told myself that lightning won’t strike twice and tried to relax and enjoy this new journey.

I remember the day that my midwife phoned to let me know she had some results for me. She stopped by to explain to me that there was a 1:8 chance of my baby having Trisomy 18. I had never heard of it. She told me it’s a chromosomal abnormality and that she had made me an appointment with a genetic counselor in the city nearly 2 hrs away. I attended that appointment and was told what Trisomy 18 is, and was offered termination, and/or a chance to have an amniocentesis performed. I opted for the amnio to find out for sure what we were possibly dealing with. I could not envision myself spending the duration of the pregnancy wondering what might happen.

I went to Toronto, nearly 8 hrs south of here, to North York General Hospital to have the amnio performed. I was frightened about the risks, but everything went fine. 3 days later I received the preliminary FISH (fluorescencein situ hybridization) test results which indicated that Trisomy 13 was detected in his cell sample. The final results came back a couple of weeks later and told me that I was expecting another son, and he did indeed have Full Trisomy 13, aka Patau Syndrome, in EVERY single cell of his entire body, meaning he had 3 copies of the 13th chromosome instead of just the 2 that he should have received—one from his father, one from myself.

More information about Trisomy 13 and Bennett-Chadlen can be found here at this site:

I chose to embrace my son’s diagnosis and give him as much love and comfort as I could during our time together. I was told that he may be premature, stillborn before Christmas, and I was very frightened as I remembered what I went through with Noah-Alexander so many years ago. This time I was prepared and decided to preplan his funeral arrangements in the event that it should occur suddenly. I wanted to be able to give him the type of service that I hadn’t been able to give to Noah. I knew that when or if it should happen, that I would be recovering from childbirth, and grieving, possibly unable to think clearly and plan as thoroughly as I would like to. I didn’t want to have any regrets.

I travelled to Toronto once again to have level II ultrasounds, and fetal echocardiograms to see if any birth defects could be detected. The doctors had noted the possibility of a non-severe Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. I requested to have a Fetal MRI to see what we were dealing with. He had no organs up in his chest and his lungs developed normally, which was great news! These CDH babies do require immediate intubation at birth so that they don’t cry and possibly swallow air which could cause the internal organs and intestines to swell up and make it more difficult to fit everything back in place during the surgical repair. They were unable to see clearly if there was indeed a CDH, but we prepared for that just in case.

I made arrangements to have the remainder of my prenatal appointments in Toronto at Mount Sinai Hospital, and Bennett-Chadlen would be transferred across the road and treated at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Bennett-Chadlen was born on March 29th, 2007, 2 days overdue. He was very alert and responsive following birth and intubation and did not require the paralyzing sedatives because he was not fighting the ventilator. When I was able to see him for the first time, I spoke his name and he turned his head to look at me. He heard me and knew I was there! It was the most amazing feeling in the world. My friend quickly snapped a photo of him looking right at me, and another one looking at her because he saw the flash of the camera. I cherish these photos more than words can express.

The surgeon came over to Mount Sinai to see him and told us the wonderful news that he appeared to be doing very well and may not require the surgical repair. He said he was transferring him to do further tests, and would be able to extubate Bennett-Chadlen if the hernia was not detected.

The next time I saw my boy later in the day, he was unresponsive and on full life-support. He fought hard and lived his life in 8 days, passing away due to unexpected complications on Good Friday, April 6th, 2007. Easter is always a period of remembrance, as well as his birth and angel dates.

We miss him very much, and are very happy that we had the chance to hold him and sing to him as he passed away in our arms, surrounded by his siblings, family, and dear friends.

We had a chance to have a prenatal photo shoot taken by photographer Heather Renee Morgan of, and she also did a photo shoot while he was in the NICU. On his final day we had a photographer come from a wonderful organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and he took photos of all of us surrounding Nimkee with unconditional love. I highly recommend that all new mothers-to-be of babies who have been prenatally diagnosed with any type of possible complication should be sure and get these photo mementos to hold onto. I have made my photos into video montages, and display Bennett-Chadlen’s keepsakes in my home so others can know he is still very real to us.

I want to be able to reach out and give love, comfort, and support to others as they to endure the difficult NICU days. It’s difficult to prepare for such an emotionally charged period, but we will strive to do our best to provide others with things that will help make the NICU experience a little more positive, comfortable and memorable.

We will also make available some Bennett Blankets and Bennett Bunnies to give as sibling gifts. My boys have these and they sleep with them every night, drifting off to sleep cuddled in their baby brother’s “hugs”."

Much love, peace, and Nimkee blessings to you and yours……Melissa & family