Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Monday, April 25, 2016

Path at Mason City cemetery to remember children lost to miscarriage
by Mary Pieper

MASON CITY — This year’s Leadership North Iowa class is raising money to help parents who have lost a child to miscarriage with the grieving process.

The goal is to build Lullaby Lane at Elmwood Cemetery in Mason City, a prayer pathway leading through Lullaby Land, the area of the cemetery where children are buried.

Parents who lost children to miscarriage under 20 weeks will have the option of having their child’s name and date of loss engraved on a paver to be installed in the pathway.

“It will allow them to have a place to come and remember their loss,” said Dr. Jonna Quinn of the Mercy Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic in Mason City.

Quinn is a member of the 2016 Leadership North Iowa class as well as the Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa Fetal and Infant Loss Bereavement Committee.

The leadership class, which is part of the Mason City Chamber of Commerce, provides leadership training for up-and-coming business people in North Iowa.

Each year’s class completes a community impact project.

When members of this year’s class were brainstorming ideas for a project, Quinn suggested Lullaby Lane.

Fetal loss and miscarriage is a tragedy that affects many people, according to Quinn.

Once a year cremains of children lost to miscarriage are buried in land owned by Mercy in Lullaby Land, with a single group marker with the year and a phrase such as “Our Littlest Angels” or “Our Smallest Miracles.”

However, these small markers don’t have individual names on them.

Quinn said anyone who lost a child to miscarriage under 20 weeks will be allowed to have a paver engraved on Lullaby Lane, whether the child’s cremains are buried in Lullaby Land or not.

Lullaby Lane will lead up to the headstone engraved with an angel and the words “We Remember” located in the middle of Lullaby Land.

Allyson Krull, marketing and leadership development director at the Mason City Chamber of Commerce, said the project was just announced but the organization has already received three calls from parents who lost a child to miscarriage and would like a paver engraved for the child.

She said this is “great and sad all at the same time.”

Organizers hope to have the money raised and Lullaby Lane built by October, which is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. A dedication ceremony will be held at that time.

“I think it’s great,” said Traci Koehn, a member of this year’s LNI class.

She said the project will be “very impactful for the community.”

Those who wish to donate to the Lullaby Lane project are encouraged to contact the Mercy Foundation at 641-428-7740.

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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Monday, October 0, 2016

Lullaby Lane dedication is Oct. 15 in Mason City

MASON CITY -- The annual memorial service for families who have experienced a pregnancy loss is set for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at Fullerton Funeral Home, 123 Second St. St. S.E.

Anyone who has experienced a loss at any gestation and at any time, even prior to this past year, is welcome to attend this service, which will be presented by the Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa Birth Center in partnership with Fullerton. Family members and friends are also invited.

Following the memorial service, an inurnment blessing and dedication of Lullaby Lane will take place at Elmwood Cemetery in Mason City.

Lullaby Lane is a community impact project completed in partnership by the Mason City Chamber of Commerce's Leadership of North Iowa Class and Mercy Medical Center–North Iowa’s Fetal and Infant Loss Bereavement Committee.

The newly-constructed paver pathway leads up to the current memorial headstone in Lullaby Land. Lullaby Land is a designated section in Mason City’s Elmwood Cemetery where children lost to miscarriages less than 20 weeks are laid to rest.

Those wishing to attend are asked to call 641-428-7219 with the approximate number of people attending.

Those who have lost a child to miscarriage and would like to purchase a paver with their child’s name and date of loss engraved on it to be installed in Lullaby Lane should call 641-428-7740.

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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lullaby Lane opens with dedication service in Mason City
by Meredith Colias

MASON CITY -- Each year since Allyson Eisentrager lost her twin boys, memorializing them each year has helped her find some peace.

In 2012, while 19½ weeks pregnant, her cervix opened too soon. She was forced to deliver her first children, twin sons — Emmett and Elliott.

“They lived for about three hours before they were gone,” said Eisentrager, now 26.

In a few precious hours, she bounded with her children.

“Emmett, actually before he passed away, kinda squeezed my finger,” she said. “So, it was kinda like he was telling me, ‘It's ok. I'm going to be fine.”

For a young mother, the shift from joy to grief moved fast: “My mom had to call the funeral homes when I was still in the hospital,” she said.

Since then, she and her husband still mark their birthdays. She has given birth to another son.

But she feels a need to attend a memorial service each year held by Mercy-North Iowa staff at the Fullerton Funeral Home on Oct. 15 — Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day — to mark their short lives and share their grief with other families.

“It’s anything to say, yes I do have these kids and I’m doing something for them,” she said.

“My husband and I talk to each other about them, but it’s hard to talk to people who haven’t been through that, because they don’t understand,” she said. “It's, 'OK, they’re not here anymore why do you care?”

Nearly two dozen people came to the dedication ceremony at Elmwood Cemetery on Saturday, including Mercy Chaplain Ross Erickson who shared how he and his wife, Paula, whose son Bryce James was stillborn 17 years ago.

In a small ceremony held at Fullerton Funeral Home prior to the Lullaby Lane dedication, he walked parents through the stages of some of his own grief.

"I still don't have the answers today," he said, "and I was encouraged not to" look for them.

Well-meaning people saying it was part of God's will was not helpful, Erickson said.

"That's not very comforting and it's not true," he said. "I truly believe God's is the first heart to break."

"You are all at different places in your journey," Erickson said. "There comes a time when you re-invest yourselves in life again."

This year, if they choose, grieving parents have a new way to honor their child at Lullaby Lane.

Parents who lost children to miscarriage under 20 weeks will have the option of having their child’s name and date of loss engraved on a paver in a new path called Lullaby Lane.

The Lullaby Lane path was completed last month as part of a Leadership North Iowa service project.

The leadership class — an initiative the Mason City Chamber of Commerce began in 1983 — provides leadership training for up-and-coming business people in North Iowa.

Lullaby Lane will lead up to the headstone engraved with an angel and the words “We Remember” located in the middle of Lullaby Land.

At least a dozen people have requested one, Mercy Foundation Development Specialist Jill Dean said in an email. Each one costs $100.

At the dedication ceremony, attendees who lost a child wrote messages and the names on white balloons and released them in their memory.

Dr. Jonna Quinn of the Mercy Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic — a member of the 2016 Leadership North Iowa class as well as the Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa Fetal and Infant Loss Bereavement Committee — suggested the idea for the project.

“I think it’s more beautiful than we ever expected,” Quinn said during the Lullaby Lane dedication on Saturday evening. “We do want to offer you that little peace. We hope that you can all use it as a part of your journey.”

Organizers raised nearly $16,000 for the project, said Allyson Krull, marketing and leadership development director at the Mason City Chamber of Commerce.

“Every year there’s new people here, which sucks,” said Eisentrager. “I don’t get all sad and mopey. I just find my inner peace.”

[Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original version to add quotes from Mercy Chaplain Ross Erickson. The original version also incorrectly stated Erickson's wife had a miscarriage. The child was stillborn, born after the 20th week of pregnancy. The Globe regrets the error.]

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2016; updated November of 2016

 

 

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