|Shantel Andrusiak and her husband Lyle look over some|
keepsakes of their lat son Jayce
Photograph by: Troy Fleece, Regina Leader-Post
By Lisa Goudy
There was sadness in Shantel and Lyle Andrusiak's eyes as they recalled memories of their son, Jayce.
Shantel and Lyle have been married for three years and in early 2010, Shantel became pregnant with their first child. Everything seemed to be fine until, 28 weeks into the pregnancy, she felt like something was wrong.
When they went to the doctor, they discovered Jayce no longer had a heartbeat, but needed to be delivered. That moment - Aug. 18, 2010, at 8: 11 p.m. - is ingrained in their memories forever.
"That was the farthest thing from my mind that I thought was the issue," said Shantel, who is now 34 weeks into her second pregnancy. Her due date is Nov. 11 - 11.11.11. - and they believe it is a sign sent from Jayce, their "own little guardian angel," Lyle said.
"There's not a day that goes by where we don't think about Jayce," he continued. "The fact that Jayce wasn't really born alive doesn't have any bearing on how much we miss him, how much we love him.
"We'll never truly get over this. It has changed us."
They found some solace in support groups, such as the memorial put on by the Regina General Hospital.
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, the 12th annual memorial is being held at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre Auditorium.
Director of Spiritual Care for the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region Mary Brubacher said the memorial recognizes deaths up to two years of age.
"Most of the people taking leadership in this memorial observance are bereaved parents themselves . and we have a few staff who are bereaved parents," said Brubacher, who had a stillborn daughter. "The strength at the memorial is the teamwork that goes into preparing the memorial."
After the service, parents can write messages to their babies and fasten it to a balloon.
"You can see your balloons go further . and feel more like they're going up into the heavens."
Last year's event occurred only six weeks after Jayce died. This year, Shantel believes it might be even harder, because they've had time to take in what happened.
Shantel and Lyle want to increase awareness of the event.
"I know it'll be something that as long as we live in Regina, we'll go every year and that day will be about Jayce, even once we have more kids," said Shantel. "We obviously want them to know that they had a brother and . his birthday - which we call his Angel Day - that'll always kind of be a special Jayce day for us."
Did you know . . .
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (according to the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region)
Grief Support: Perinatal Loss Support System from the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region
News release from the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region on the memorial gathering