Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Joshua CHD Doll- A guest post

I met my friend Molly years ago through our blogs when we were both pregnant with our first child. We enjoyed reading each others blogs, and quickly realized that we only lived 20 minutes away from each other. We met 6 years ago and have remained friends since. She has been there through thick and thin, always loving me, supporting me in any way she can, and always making me laugh. Just recently we started a new project together. Please read below to see what we have been up to!

I was very blessed to have the unique opportunity to meet baby Joshua face to face before and after his surgery.

Within 24 hours of his birth, I photographed him. Jill asked me to. She asked for those pictures of him, to remember his newborn body before it was forever changed.

On the drive home that day, after taking those photos, the disbelief over his broken heart overwhelmed me. From the outside, he looked exactly like my newborns had, like Jill's other babies had when I had photographed them. It was hard to accept that on the inside of someone so small, so peaceful, and so perfect, there was something very broken.

When I visited Jill and Joshua after surgeries and crashes, I met the same sweet face. He was so much more aware. His large wise eyes were entrancing, and once he made eye contact he kept it. And kept it. And kept it.

The thing that I remember most about Joshua was how much he was exactly like every other baby I have met. This is what stands out to me, and I think this is why accepting his death was and is so hard.

He had that soft baby hair, the sweet baby smell, his little baby fingers held on to mine with that tiny newborn grasp. He has the little newborn gurgles and growls.

And then, in the middle of all of these things, were his struggles. All the things this very real and very sweet baby endured...

But the thing I remember right after that is his scar, the scar that had left him forever changed left me forever changed as well.

I could write for days on the way life is different now than it was before Joshua. He changed the way I see myself, others, and life in general. Through Joshua I have even met new friends, and become closer with old ones.

But Jill and Joshua also opened my eyes to CHD statistics, and the Heart Community. Joshua made me realize that having a healthy heart is not something to take for granted and how unaware most people are about CHDs and how many people they affect all over the world.

He also opened my eyes to how much the scars of heart children mean and how beautiful they can be. What a badge of courage and hope they are!

In honor of Joshua and the struggles he and all other heart children face, Jill and I created a doll reflecting the scars Joshua bore from his surgeries and hospitalization. We have named him Joshua and are auctioning him off to raise awareness of CHDs and money for their research – in the hope that Joshua's struggles were only the beginning of his impact here on Earth.

To bid on the CHD Joshua doll, click on THIS link! 

(Molly also creates and sells many more dolls just like this. Visit her Facebook Page to take a peek at these beauties!!!)


Sara@iSass said...

This is SO beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE This doll. I wish I had one when I was little! I had open heart surgery when I was 18 months old. I love my scars (and I have a lot of them) they tell the stories of my life. To me they are beautiful. They remind me that I spent a large portion of one day of my life being kept alive by machines. They also remind me that I am only alive today because of the hands of another person, who I don't even remember. But I bet my parents do.

A few years ago I was at my son's school where there was a little girl who just returned back to school after having open heart surgery. I told her I too had open heart surgery when I was little. She looked at me with huge wide eyes and said "YOU DID?!" I told her to never be ashamed of her scars, that they are badges of honor, reminding us that we are the lucky ones that got to live and we can never take that for granted. I see her once in a while and she always waves and gives me the cutest smile, like I let her in on a great secret or that we are forever members of an exclusive club.

The Real Life of a Red Head said...

what an amazing story! When we were talking about this doll, we wanted to capture the beauty of these scars. AS someone stated on facebook, "they are scars of bravery."

So glad you like the doll! :o)

Sweet Seriah said...

Your comment completely made me cry. Could we quote some of your post if it would ever be appropriate?

We are working towards making these dolls available for more children. I think your view of your scars is gorgeous, and could be life-changing for a person that may not see it the same way. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless.


Stacey said...

My baby had open heart surgery yesterday! I must get her this doll! (she is doing awesome, by the way) :)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely... I am a professional speaker and I give a speech to teenage girls about self esteem. The entire speech is me going head to toe telling the stories all of my scars tell. I wrote an entry about it in my blog too, I love that it still gets hit often even though I wrote it years ago.

Once I was speaking to a group of people who were in job search and "something" made me get into the story of my scars. I remember standing there thinking "why am I telling this story here?". After my speech a woman came up to me in tears. She told me she had just had 6 major surgeries and she thought her body looked "disgusting", to the point that she was considering suicide. She thanked me and told me she would never look at her scars with shame again.

I knew God would reveal to me sooner or later why He needed me to tell that story that night. I walked out of there so grateful that He revealed it so immediately.

Auntie M said...

I love the sweetness this blog post shared of your friendship, Jill and Molly, and of Molly's love for Joshua. I also love seeing these responses. How beautiful to hear of "getmeunstuck" and her story of her scars of beauty and badges of honor and how she affects the lives of others by sharing about them! And then to hear of Stacey's little one having had heart surgery and now bearing those badges of honor too. I think it is so wonderful that Molly (and now you too Jill!) is looking toward making more of these precious baby dolls with their precious little scars! What a wonderful way to honor these darling children!

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