Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

As the new year comes quickly upon us, I found this article that I wanted to share. SIDS effects 2,500 babies a year. Let's all try to reduce this number to zero. There are researchers out there working to find the cause so that other families do not have to go through the same tragedy that we did.

As the holidays are come and go there are so many things that I am thankful for. I have a wonderful family, caring friends and a great church family at Community of Faith. I miss my baby girl every day. But I know that she is in good hands in Heaven. God has shown me that life can go on and that we can find JOY in the little things each day. As we celebrate this New Year's Eve, I found this article that it felt should be shared. Be careful and be safe.

Happy New Year. The Connell family is looking for a blessed 2010 and are working to continue to build the MBJ Foundation for SIDS to help make a difference in the lives of families.

Holiday Hangover- ABC News Article

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Challenge

Christmas is a time of celebration. The birth of our savior so long ago. I wonder if Mary put the baby Jesus to sleep on his back. What an amazing tale of a mother's love. I lean on Jesus for strength and security in times of trouble and joy.

I can't help but think about our little Jordan and wonder what she would be doing. How much she would have grown and what she would be like? We have created this foundation to help give Jordan a voice to be able to help save other babies. Randy and I are looking forward to 2011 to be a year that will see the MBJ Foundation for SIDS to grow and make an impact in the community.

I will be posting articles about SIDS and preventive tips throughout the year on this blog site as well. Getting the word out and spreading information to as many people as possible is an important part of the MBJ Foundation for SIDS.

Back to Sleep Campaign article

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It has already been a year....

I can look back and remember everything that happened a year ago today. The phone call, where I was at in the car, even what I was wearing. And I clearly remember praying for God to save my little girl. But He didn't. Why? I still ask that question on a daily basis. It makes me think of the Garth Brook's song "Unanswered Prayers". How does He decide which ones He wants to answer?

I still find myself asking were there signs that I missed? Did she do anything different that day that I should have caught as a mom. My head says that there wasn't, but my heart aches to wonder what I missed.

After going through such a tragedy and thinking about it every day, I just look up to the sky and tell my little girl hi. We will never know why God decided that he needed an angel that day, I feel blessed that we had her for 9 short weeks, too short of a time. I think about what milestone she would be hitting by now. I can imagine her hobbling around and trying to walk. Would she be saying 'momma" yet?

My son Chase picked up his cell phone the other day and said "I am going to call baby Jordan" he asked "can you talk baby Jordan?" " no ok, bye bye" and he hung up. I wonder how much he remembers, we were not even talking about her that day. My heart just sank and I tried to keep it together for him.

The circle of life just amazes me. As I type this I have a month old baby girl sleeping on my chest. What did I do to deserve the gift of giving birth to a little girl and the chance to be a mom again. God is Great! I look at her each day and just think that God must have big plans for her. If Jordan were still with us, we would not have had another baby. And this little precious life is here with us. She has so much of her sister in her.

Thanks for all of the prayers and kind thoughts. We need it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day in the Connell House

I feel that every event that occurs from here until eternity I will always find myself saying, "if only Baby Jordan were here". I am sure that Father's day was tougher on my husband than he let on. Everything is in a different perspective when you loose a child to SIDS. Last father's day was our first weekend home with Jordan, and this was our first without her. Time goes by so fast.

We had good day,went to church and heard a great message for all parents about how to raise your kids. Let them be themselves, just as God has created them to be. They are not little versions of us. Then it was off to watch the Astros loose again. It was Chase's first baseball game and we were with good friends of ours, so the dads had a great day.

As we get ready for the new baby to arrive, I am washing and getting the room ready for her arrival. The outfits that we have photos of Jordan in, I put away for safe keeping. I want this baby to be different and have her own things. I tried to find an outfit for her coming home photo at the hospital that was not pink. That was a difficult task to accomplish. With clothes clean and the bed ready, we have less than a month until delivery.
Chase asks everyday, "Is baby Hope coming out today", when I tell him no he gets upset. Three year olds do not have a very good concept of time. Everything is either yesterday or tomorrow. Nothing in the future or past.

I am in the process of searching for childcare for baby Hope after her arrival. I want to find someone who will love her as much as our former babysitter did. But I also want someone who has knowledge about SIDS and what the ways to prevent it are. How many infants have they cared for and will they be a good fit for our family. I am finding it very tough task these days. But I think we are close.

Signing off to cook dinner for the family, thanks to all who read this. It is a good release to get things out of my head. We are working on an official website for Jordan's foundation and will post updated blog posts to that when we get it complete. It will be a great source of links on SIDS and resources that parents can come to. Definitely a work in progress, but a step in the right direction towards finding a cure.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Jordan

Today we should be celebrating our little girl's first birthday. but we went to the cemetery instead. This is the first of many milestones that we have to face as the years pass.

I miss her, but we just have to keep our eyes to Heaven and find comfort that she is up there. No matter how much we miss her and how hard days like today are, I do have comfort in knowing that she is in the arms of God. It is the selfish human side that wants her here with me. I want to hold her and I wonder what she would look like. How many teeth would she have, would she start looking like me yet? I still find myself having moments and asking "why did he take her?" What I would give to have her back? But I am reminded everyday that we are not in control.

The Connell family is a mix of highs and lows. I have dear friends who are praying for us and that helps. I had lunch with a good friend to help keep my mind off of things. I shopped at Toys R Us and bought a few toys for my son. At least someone had to get a gift today. Randy and I went out to the cemetery this afternoon. What a peaceful place. They do a great job keeping it up, so many flowers around. We think that the parent's of the little boy who is buried next to Jordan put a pinwheel by her tombstone. What thoughtful people. I guess there is a silent bond between parents who lost their kids at such an early age. SIDS is a terrible life steeling problem and we are doing what we can to help find the cause so that they can diagnose it early and avoid any more babies from missing their first birthday.

At times I feel guilty for being excited about a new baby. Just an honest thought, but we prayed and put it in God's hands. And we feel so fortunate to be expecting a new baby at the end of July. Life gives us so many ups and downs. We are a blessed family. I will never know why she was with us for just a short time. And why we are now the lucky ones to be having another baby. She will never replace our baby Jordan, but she will help complete our family.
Happy Birthday Baby Jordan, mommy will always miss you.
"Those we have held in our arms for a little while, we hold in our hearts forever"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Her Journey's Just Begun

A dear friend of mine at work gave me this card after we lost Jordan and I keep it on my desk as a constant reminder. I am sitting here thinking about what Jordan would be doing right now and I felt compelled to share it on the blog.

Don't think of her as gone away-
her journey's just begun,
life holds so many facets-
this earth is only one.

Just think of her as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years.

Think how she must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.

And think of her as living
in the hearts of those she touched...
for nothing loved is ever lost-
and she was loved so much.

Just missing my little girl today and every time I read this I get a little bit of strength. I still have days that I do not want to be the strong one. I want her back and I ask God why did you take her. These short verses tells me that she is at home now, in the arms of my mom and she knows that she was loved so very much.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day

As mother's day approaches I find it a bittersweet weekend. I am blessed to have a great 3 year old to celebrate with. I miss my little girl and find myself wondering what she would be doing now. Chase is hammering on his tool box while I sit on the couch and type. Jordan's 1st birthday is a little over a month away. What milestones would she be achieving now at 11 months?

It is those milestones that get me sad now, the events in her life that I will not get to experience, the first steps, first words, to hear her say "mommy". I thank God every day for the healthy boy who keeps me busy and baby Hope in my tummy who is due to arrive at the end of July.

I am reminded of a verse from Job in the bible "He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" I truly think this is a life motto for the Connell Family. He took our sweet baby Jordan in August and now I sit with a new baby waiting to come out to meet the world. What an emotional cycle of events our life has been through.

I walk into Hallmark to pick out cards for the many mother's in my life and I am reminded as I see the Daughter to Mother cards, plaques and frames. My mom who passed away 7 years ago is not here for me to give some of these great gifts to. To help me get through what would have been my first mother's day with baby Jordan. I look to God to try to find the light in each day. And the HOPE that a new baby girl will be here to meet us soon.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mom's, grandma's, aunts, mother-in-law's and ladies out there reading this. I am blessed to have several mother figures to help keep me going.

I love you mom and I love you Baby Jordan....I miss you both with all of my heart!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Wow, what an amazing God we have. So much happens on a daily basis that makes me really appreciate what he has to offer us if we just listen.

As a person who has gone through a huge challenging event this past year, I still often wonder WHY? My son is 3 and that one question is turning into one of his favorites these days. "WHY Mommy" there are a lot of times I find myself saying "Because Mommy said so" to him that is not a very good reason. And I look up to God and ask WHY did he take my little girl? "Because I said so" . To me that is the same lack of response that I get when I ask that question I probably sound just like to my little boy. Amazing how he truly is the Father, and everything happens for a reason.

I have a huge problem with worry. It is a trait that I got from my mother, and a challenge in my life on a daily basis. Our pastor is talking about giving God 12 weeks and he will change your life forever. Worry was one of his topics this past weekend. The Bible says "do not worry about anything and pray to God for everything" That is a phrase that I will need to read on a daily basis. Maybe I should put it on a post-it-note and stick it to my mirror to read over when I get ready each morning. Pray to God for everything.....I guess it is time to start.

God does not give us what we can not handle....I still look back and re-live that day. Today was a day that it really hit me. My phone rang as I was in the same spot on the road when I first got the phone call from our sitter and it all came crashing back to me. I went over that whole day on my way to a closing this morning. I had to freshen back up my make up because it still felt so real.

God is Great! He still gives and gives and gives. We have been blessed with a new pregnancy and are due to deliver a little girl at the end of July. Randy and I have decided to name her Hope. That was the theme of Jordan's funeral and something that we have held on to for dear life these past 6 months. Just 4 little letters make up one single syllable word and without it life as we know it can not go on. We could not think of a better name for a little person who has given the Connell's HOPE for life after a tragedy. Big Brother Chase is very excited.

We will never forget our little girl and Randy and I both read a lot of articles about SIDS and want to continue to do something to help raise awareness every day and are working on our new event for this year to keep the memory of Baby Jordan going forever. If we can save just one life, I will feel like that was her purpose. What an amazing person she could have turned out to be. I miss my baby Jordan every day!!! This new addition will not ever replace her, nothing will do that. But we are excited that God has given us the opportunity to introduce to the world a new little person.

HOPE....4 little letters with one BIG meaning.

One of my new favorite songs by Addison Road...Hope Now

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Breakthrough Research in a SIDS cause

Low Serotonin Production A Likely Cause For SIDS

Taking the next step in more than 20 years of research, researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have linked sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) with low production of serotonin in the brainstem, based on a comparison of brainstem samples from infants dying of SIDS compared to brainstems of infants dying from other, known causes.

The findings, published in the Feb. 3 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, may give a concrete approach to identifying babies at risk for SIDS, the leading cause of death for infants between 1 and 12 months old in the United States.

In the brainstem, serotonin helps regulate some of the body’s involuntary actions, such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure during sleep. The researchers, led by Children’s neuropathologist Hannah Kinney, MD, believe that a low serotonin level impairs the function of the brainstem circuits that regulate these activities, putting a baby at risk for sudden death from stresses such as rebreathing carbon dioxide when sleeping in the face down position.

The future goal of this work is to devise a test to identify infants with a serotonin brainstem defect early, and to develop preventive treatments that would correct the serotonin deficiency.

While this study provides strong evidence for a biological cause of SIDS, it also shows that other risk factors, such as sleeping on one’s stomach, can aggravate the risk. Of the SIDS infants in the current study, 95 percent died with at least one risk factor, and 88 percent died with at least two.

The next step in this research is to find out what causes abnormally low serotonin levels in the first place. Genetic variations may be partly responsible, says neuroscientist David Paterson, PhD, in Kinney’s lab, a contributing author of the paper. Kinney’s lab is searching for such variations. The CJ Foundation is also providing a grant to support Dr. Paterson’s work.

"What is also of significance", notes the CJ Foundation's Executive Director, Linda Tantawi, "is that by showing a presence of a SIDS risk factor in 95% of all cases in this study, this research underscores the need for parents and caregivers to be ever vigilant in implementing all safe sleep/SIDS risk-reduction practices. For parents who suffered the loss of a baby, perhaps this study, by finding strong evidence of an underlying biological cause of SIDS will give them peace of mind as well as hope that one day we will truly eliminate SIDS."

Video Link and article information

Hope for 2010

I thought I would start this blog with HOPE. It is amazing to me how much power just 4 little letters of the alphabet have to offer us. I attended our ladies night at my church and our pastor's wife was our speaker. She was diagnosed with Colon Cancer in the beginning of the year and she talks about her journey. Wow, she is young, energetic and a very Godly woman. She has become a pillar of strength for me. Her lecture was about things that she learned in 2009 and they really hit home for me and all that we have gone through these past 5 months so I thought I would share them.

1. God answers prayers. Yes he does listen. I know this because I do not think I would be able to be writing this without Him. Laura said that she would not have changed a thing over the past few months because she has gotten closer to God. Wow...those are powerful words. I read her blog every day and it gives me strength. I think that God works in mysterious ways and that he put us in this church so that Laura can help me. She is such a beacon of strength that her daily blog posts have helped me get through the day.

2. Be Ready. This was a comment that I for sure was not prepared for. Are you ever ready to loose your child? It puts everything into perspective. This tragedy has show me that my relationship with God was not ready, actually more like disarray. I learned that one of the most important parts of my life was not stable but my relationship with God has improved. I am still working on it daily, but it is better. I know he is there guiding my life. I am the passenger and God is in the driver seat.

3. Follow Me. 2 little words with such a huge meaning. This is a part of my 2010 goals. Let God lead the dance.

A few quotes of Hope that have kept me going. That was a theme of our baby girl's funeral and I am putting it into every day of my life in 2010.

Sara Paddison, The Hidden Power of the Heart
When the heart is enlivened again, it feels like the sun coming out after a week of rainy days. There is hope in the heart that chases the clouds away. Hope is a higher heart frequency and as you begin to reconnect with your heart, hope is waiting to show you new possibilities and arrest the downward spiral of grief and loneliness. It becomes a matter of how soon you want the sun to shine. Listening to the still, small voice in your heart will make hope into a reality.

Once you choose hope, anything's possible. ~Christopher Reeve
When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown

When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you're slamming the door in the face of God. ~Charles L. Allen

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Finally an answer....

After 4 1/2 long months we finally have an answer......Natural Causes. That is what the medical examiner's office concluded. That is when they call it SIDS. I knew in my heart that was going to be the outcome, but WHY did it take them so long to confirm what we already knew? There is a very large disconnect between the ME's office and research organizations that are working on finding the cause so that we can find the CURE! At least I have some closure to it.
Over the weekend we got a call from our Bible Group leaders, one that gave me goose bumps and a de-ja-vu feeling. One of our study member's sister was at the hospital, the same one we were at with Jordan, and they too lost their baby. I suddenly had flash backs and tears. What a horrible day for them. They were calling to see what the protocol at the hospital was, they were trying to get in to see their baby for the last time. My heart just reached out to them. I felt that God had put us with this group so that they would be a support source for us, and now in turn we can be there for someone else. Even if they just want someone to cry with. I have done plenty of that myself. And still do, I probably always will. But it is not as often, I have a comfort that she is in the arms of my mom and God in Heaven. There is no other place for my sweet angel to be.
We have made progress on her tombstone. It will have a vase that we can keep flowers in, 2 baby footprints and a baby angel. We have added the words "Those we have held in our arms for a little while, we hold in our hearts forever" I love those words, they are so true.
Things are going ok in the Connell family. Christmas was a little difficult not having her here. But Chase added so much joy. He was so excited for Santa to come. The morning of Christmas he woke up and was upset that Santa ate all of "his" cookies. Once he got over that, the opening began and he was a very busy kid. The good thing about 3 is he got up and got his own presents from under the tree. He would show me who the name on the card was and wanted me to read it to him, which of course most were for him, and he would tear into it. He wanted to make sure that every piece of paper was off the box. My boy is very detailed.
We are already talking about our event for 2010 and what we can do to help the cause. I found a great non-profit organization for SIDS that is based in Lake Jackson. Good people to talk to. I got some great ideas on how we can make a larger impact on the future of the families of babies being born in the Cypress area. With God's grace we will be able to raise more funds on a yearly basis to get this all started. I also want to work on getting to know other mom's in my area who went through the same loss. I believe there is power in numbers and the more we can get involved the more babies we can hopefully save.
It is a new year. The emails that I get from a grief website had some great ideas for the new year. My 2010 goal is every time I have a negative or sad thought, to replace that thought with a statement of thankfulness. " I am thankful for my family" Hopefully this will help me take it day by day. Another goal is to update this blog more often. It feels good to get my thoughts out of my head and into print. There is some therapy in that too.
Happy New Year!