The Olive Harper Foundation
Due to the fact that the holidays were in full swing, we had a hard time getting an appointment with the Pediatric cardiac specialists. I called my OB everyday, 3 times a day, asking for updates. Imagine what it’s like to be told that a 2 ton truck is coming to run you over, you see it, but there is nothing you can seem to do get it to change its course. That’s what the days between Dec. 20 – Jan. 5 were like. Finally, we were told about that a specialist was available to see us – January 5, 11am.
I prayed that morning. To be honest, I had been praying since December 20th. Praying to my Dad, to God, to anyone who would listen. But on the morning of January 5, I prayed in a different way. I prayed for guidance, I prayed for strength and I prayed for me to be able to survive.
After the echocardiogram was done, the specialist walked us into a separate consultation room, similar to the room they took us into on Dec. 20. (Side note: If anyone every asks me to ‘please step into the consultation room’ again, you will simply see the dust of me running as fast as possible in the opposite direction. Nothing good happens in those rooms.) In that room we were told that there was no hope. That our little girl had a serious, heart defect – the words, “non-compatible with life” came up several times. We knew as we left that appointment that we would soon be delivering our angel. The days that followed were filled with numbness, anger, utter and complete heart break.
January 8, I was admitted into the hospital. I was assigned nurses that I can only describe as angels on earth and I was surrounded by compassion, love, and understanding. My OB, who I adore in so many ways, was on call that evening, providing some sense of familiarity in what was the most unfamiliar environment. My husband, who I love more than I could ever imagine possible, held my hand at every step and together we walked down the path of grief as we prepared to meet, and say goodbye to, our daughter.
There were many horrific moments but none that shocked me more than the delivery. I delivered my daughter, naturally, on Friday, January 9, 2015 and it was peaceful, spiritual. A fellow Mom who suffered a loss said in one of my group sessions, “I gave birth to death”. It’s true, I did, and it will be something I hold dear and treasure for the rest of my life. We were able to hold her, to kiss her, to dress her and read her stories. We were able to tell her how much she meant to us.
Our dauther, Olive Harper Allinson, was stillborn January 9, 2015. We have tremendous joy that she is a part of our lives, and our family, and she mattered to us.
We have two daughters. One here on earth and one in heaven. I’m a Mom of an angel, the greatest tragedy and the greatest honour. Molly is a big sister, except she is gifted with a little sister who is her guardian angel.
We have chosen to share our story because Olive mattered. Through Olive’s story, and in her name, we can make a difference.
The Olive Harper Foundation is our newly founded non-profit charity that will raise funds for a variety of pediatric causes through ongoing gift donations and an annual fundraising gala. This year, the charities are Emily's House, Gabriel's Gift and Sick Kid's Cardiac Research.
Allowing Olive's name to live on is what means the most to us and we are forever grateful for any and all donations.
How can I remember Olive and not be crippled with sadness? That I have an answer for. I can, along with Ashley and Molly, continue to keep Olive's memory alive by raising awareness. We can help to raise funds for future little angels, on earth and above.
The inaugural Olive Harper Foundation Gala will be taking place on October 29, 2016 and it will be an event filled with joy and love. Mark your calendars.
We are almost at the halfway mark towards our goal, which is incredible.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,
Amber, Ashley, Molly and angel Olive
We are very humbled by all of the support we have received to date - donations, sharing of our story, and moral support that we are doing the right thing in Olive's memory.
Today we would like to highlight our second charity, Sick Kids' Hospital for Sick Children - Cardiac Research.
One of the many specialists that we consulted with was a lead physician within the cardiac department at SickKids'. She was kind, considerate and walked us through every single answer to our million questions with patience and grace. Ultimately, comforting us when the realization of what was happening sunk in. Medicine has come so far in its abilities to save lives and with continued support and research it may be able to help many more.
The Labatt Family Heart Centre
To be the global leader in transformational congenital cardiac care.
We will produce measurable unsurpassed outcomes in cardiac clinical care, research and education by:
Creating an environment for our people to continuously innovate and create value;
Striving for exemplary patient and family satisfaction and staff engagement;
Embracing and enhancing our outstanding partnerships at all levels;
Championing education and transformative research and enabling our work with responsible and responsive operations.
Healthy Hearts. Healthier Lives.
Our vision of premier international excellence is based on the four pillars of our mission:
1. Unsurpassed, measurable patient outcomes
2. Innovative, practice-changing research
3. Superb education, training and quality of work life
4. Exemplary patient and family satisfaction
We thought within our updates we should share what lead us to select the charities for 2016. Today's update will highlight Emily's House.
Had Olive survived to full term, her heart defect was so severe that surgery was not an option. We were told several times that any care post birth would be palliative. While researching what palliative care options were available to infants, we came across Emily's House, the first Pediatric Palliative Care Hospice in Toronto, and 6th in Canada.
Although we were not able to experience their care first hand, a dear friend's daughter, Kiera, was able to find comfort there.