A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege of helping host a baby memorial shower for a sweet friend. What is a baby memorial shower, you ask? A party you never want to throw. Mandy and her husband Bryan welcomed their son, Levi on December 27, 2013. He only lived a few hours. I wanted to do something that would both celebrate the fact that Mandy was a mother, (Levi was their first child), and also help support her in her loss. Having received a diagnosis of Trisomy 18, they knew that he wouldn't be with them very long, and were prepared as they could be, but seriously, how do you prepare for that? I did a lot of scouring of the internet and a lot of crying. There is a lot of heartbreak out there. And not a lot of ideas for a shower honoring a baby who has passed on. I am posting this in the hope that it will help someone else in a similar situation. We decided to do a memorial shower where people could bring personal gifts for Mandy and we could do a simple service project that we could then donate in Levi's memory to some local hospitals.
I started with a theme-Okay, I started with a little Facebook stalking. I saw that Mandy was a LOTR nerd. I also like LOTR. There are some amazing quotes on Pinterest. I loved this one, "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future." That was what we used for our shower invitation theme. It also helped that the decorations could be woodsy and not your typical baby pink and blue.
There are some AMAZING hobbit and LOTR party ideas out there. I found some amazing ones here. Serious cuteness. I got the printable for the door sign there. It was totally fun to hang it on the front door of the house where we had the shower.
Typical shower games didn't seem quite appropriate, but I still wanted people to have fun, so we started off with Hobbit name tags. I found a chart on Pinterest, and printed it in a font I found on dafont.com called hobbiton. Also, everyone grabbed a clothespin, which is a typical shower game, out of a bucket and had to not say the words "precious" or "cute" without losing their clothespin. The lady with the most pins at the end won a prize.
This is one of my favorite elements of the shower. My ubertalented friend Jen made these moss-covered logs, and then attached these cute gold-painted letters to them.
They became a big part of our display in the living room. We asked Mandy for some things that she might have from Levi's birth, and added some pix that we got developed and made into a photo display.
Here are some closeups of the photo display board. I used the quote from the invitation, and also a cute rhyme someone had made on the internet. I didn't want to just copy their work, so I just printed up the rhyme with no fancy graphics-if anyone knows who deserves credit, I would be happy to acknowledge them! I just couldn't find a source!
One element I really loved in all of the decor was a little package of LOTR heart confetti that I got from JessiJs cute shop on Etsy. That little package went a long way in making my little projects special. I sewed together several hearts and used them as a garland in the picture display above.
Then I used a few more garlands to decorate a topiary, a little mossy picture frame and then just scattered the confetti around. We also sent some home with the girl who is going to be putting together a scrapbook for Levi.
I have to say this is one of my favorite pix of Levi. He looks like he is blowing a kiss. So I filled up this little crate with kisses, and made a tag that said "kisses from Levi". And I used it for one of our other games. I found a LOTR the One ring on amazon, and hid it, in the candy. I told the guests whoever found the ring would get a prize. It was really fun that Mandy, the guest of honor, found the ring! She said it was just because she spent so much time eating chocolate. :) Isn't she beautiful?
We have always loved the story I'll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I have read it to all my kids and our copy is falling apart. When I started researching everything I could find about losing babies, I found that the author had written this book as a tribute to his two stillborn babies. We decided to use a copy of this book for our guest book and have everyone write a special message in it.
After eating and socializing we moved on to the project. We made some teeny tears diapers. You can read more about this special project at teenytears.blogspot.com. These diapers are TINY. We were able to cut and sew and put together many sets. We actually are still finishing up some of them, and will be donating them soon. The teenytears site provides you with donation cards that have the name of the baby you are honoring and the group of people who donated them.
We also did a balloon release, which didn't photograph well, because I picked blue balloons. Hello. The sky is also blue. Also, I first tried it without helium except in Mandy's giant balloon, because here in OK everything blows away, right? Yeah, not so much. Needless to say, it was kind of a disaster, but it was joyous and provided some laughter!
Some last decor details. Oh, and I need to shout out to Tasha, our amazing photographer who donated her time to chronicle the day's events for Mandy, Carrie who made her gorgeous house available, Jen for all her many talents, Rhiannon who is all-around fabulous, and my own SIL Laurie who lovingly edited the pix Mandy and her family took of their brief but precious time with Levi. Hopefully, aside from Marianne who is the only person who actually reads this blog, someone who really needs it will find their way here and find a little bit of inspiration to help lift another mom's burden just a tiny bit.