Now I Sleep (Solo Piano)

by John Albert Thomas

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about

In 2009, inspired by the compassionate work of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS), I set out to compose an album of original solo piano music for ten families who mourned the loss of a baby. I wanted to create a musical gift for remembrance and healing.

After ten emotional interviews, several months at the piano, and a few days in the studio, I was pleased to finally announce the release of Now I Sleep – Solo Piano in April 2011.

credits

released April 22, 2011

Composed, performed and produced by John Albert Thomas
Engineered, mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Studio

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John Albert Thomas Memphis

John’s music is a unique, thinly-layered style that penetrates the emotions while awakening the mind.

Purchase CDs and sheet music at johnalbertthomas.com.

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Track Name: Now I Sleep
Bob and Jenn from Ontario, Canada, were excited to be pregnant after 17 months of trying and could not wait to tell Jaimes and Jaide they were going to have a new baby brother. However, they soon discovered that their baby had multicystic dysplastic kidneys, posterior urethral valves (PUV), and large, distended bladder muscles, which all led to no amniotic fluid.

On Sunday, September 28, 2008 at 7:08 p.m., after 78 hours of labor, Jenn gave birth to a baby boy, Cameron.

“When he first came out,” Jenn recalled, “I felt immediate relief from the pain. But then a new pain began. I asked the doctor, ‘Is he alive?’ because we didn’t know if he would survive labor...He was! My baby was born alive. I held him, wrapped him in the blanket that I brought...I would smell that gown and cap in the weeks after I had him, so I could know that it was real. He was here. He was with me.”

At 9:15 p.m., little Cameron left this world, far too quickly.
Track Name: Fly Away
Darrell and Karen from Flora, Illinois had five children, and their oldest son just found out that he and his wife were expecting. You can imagine their surprise when Karen discovered that she, too, was pregnant. It seemed quite humorous to think that this baby’s niece was going to be older.

Their world came crashing down, however, when Karen was rushed to the hospital for bleeding. On July 16th, 2007, the doctors delivered Gracelynn by C-section. At 26 weeks she was only 1 lb. 13 oz. and 13 inches long. Her lung collapsed but she slowly recovered over the next 18 days.

Karen describes the terrible story of what happened next, “They were giving her my expressed breastmilk and she was tolerating it really well. Every day was a good report and I was able to take her temperature and change her diaper...Unfortunately one thing I wasn't able to do yet was hold her. I was told very bluntly by a pediatrician I had never seen before that she was dying and there wasn't anything they could do. She had developed NEC (necrotizing-enterocolitis) which had killed all of her bowels. Then we found out that a day and a half before they had started adding fortifier to my breastmilk because 'it's routine'. She couldn't tolerate it and it killed her. That was one of the hardest days of our lives. She grew her angel wings at about 4:45am August 4th, 2007. We held her and loved her for several hours.”
Track Name: Heavenly Peace
Lee-Anne Disel was 18 weeks along when she and her husband, Trent, found out that their baby boy had Potter's Syndrome. They were told that he would not live long after birth. They carried on with the pregnancy and at 36 weeks Lee-Anne gave birth to her son.

Isaac James was born on April 25th, 2009 at 2:46am. He was received into the arms of the Lord at 4:05am.

“In the beginning,” Lee-Anne wrote, “it was hard to even think about what was happening. I struggled so much with the thought that I would not be able to keep my son...the son that I had prayed for and wanted so much. I prayed every day for God to heal my son. I finally got to the point were it was too much for me to bear on my own. So I just told God that I was putting it in His hands, and I prayed that whatever happened would be His will and for His Glory and that I would be okay with it...just give me the strength to deal with it. I had a new found peace after that. I was able to function properly and carry on with the pregnancy like it were any other pregnancy. I knew that my son was in God’s hands, so therefore I knew he would be okay whether he was here on earth with us or in Heaven. There is peace in knowing that God is in control. We were in a situation that you think would be chaotic and out of control, but in a weird kind of way it was peaceful...a kind of peace that could only come from God.”
Track Name: Streets of Gold
Glenn and Cindy of Fairfield County, CT, where shocked and excited that they were going to have a sibling for their daughter. They were even more delighted when they found out that they were going to have a boy. They would call him, Jayden, which means “Jehovah has heard.”

In early February 2009, at 34 weeks pregnant, Cindy realized that she had not felt Jayden move in a while. Her worst fears were confirmed when the doctor could not find a heartbeat.

Cindy wrote, “It was so difficult leaving the hospital empty-handed. All we had to show for nine months of pregnancy was a beautiful floral box which contained several mementos including Jayden's footprints, hand prints, and a lock of his hair. I felt so empty, so sad. A part of me had been ripped from me. I would never be whole again. Why did God allow this? The answer to that question, I may never know on this earth. But one thing I do know for sure, Jayden is in His presence and experiencing no pain, no sorrow, no disappointment, no fear. He is perfect. And I know that God will somehow take care of us until we can be made perfect in Heaven with him. We grieve, but not without hope. We know that we will someday be reunited with our son. What a glorious day that will be!”
Track Name: Every Moment
Shaunna Merritt was diagnosed with Potters Syndrome, a fatal birth defect, at 18 weeks gestation. Darby, her mother, chose to carry her to term and cherish every kick, every hiccup session, and every last moment with her knowing that any day could be their last together.

On January 30, 2009, Shaunna was born into this world very much alive. She outlived the doctor’s forecast and blessed her family with two and a half hours of life. The Merritts cherished every moment with her. They enjoyed hearing her make sweet little noises, and gazing in her deep blue eyes. They held her close knowing their time would be short, locking into memory every detail of their precious Angel.

Upon reflection a year later the Merritts wrote, “I really wish that we could have been blessed with Shaunna for more than a few hours, but we are so thankful for the short time that we did get with her. I wish we could spend every milestone with her, like getting her first tooth, taking her first step, and her first birthday. Milestones are very sad days for us, but we praise the Lord that she is in Heaven where everything is perfect and painless.”
Track Name: Smile Again
Ed and Liz Gillentine were thrilled when they found out they were expecting their second baby, a boy named Christopher. Their excitement turned to grief when he was diagnosed with a fatal genetic abnormality. Through the days and weeks of ultrasounds and tests they clung to the faintest hope that Christopher would survive, yet they planned for the inevitable.

When Christopher's tiny heart stopped beating they were overwhelmed with grief. The following months felt as though they were on a dark road--a road on which they were ill-equipped to travel. They wondered if they would ever smile again.

In the midst of all the heartache and questions, they found that God was their only hope. In His grace, God brought to them another couple who had walked a similar road some time earlier. When Ed and Liz saw this couple smiling, they began to see that by God’s grace they, too, would smile again.
Track Name: Fantasy
Daniel and Stephanie Hitchcock were delighted to welcome their second daughter, Mackenzie, into the world on December 21st, 2008.

“She came out screaming,” Stephanie recounted, “and as soon as I said ‘There's my pretty girl’ she quit crying, squeezed my finger, and looked at me with her left eye open and right eye closed. Her daddy then said ‘Popeye!’ and she quickly looked at him.”

Shortly after birth Stephanie developed cold sores. Within a week Mackenzie was running a high fever and they returned to the hospital where they discovered she had contracted the Herpes Simplex One virus. She was already in acute liver failure, her blood was not clotting properly, and she needed oxygen. After surgery and many unsuccessful procedures, Mackenzie passed away on January 21, 2009 at 6:28 a.m.

Stephanie wrote, “I held her as she passed away, and right before she did, a big smile came across her face. My husband and I had walked outside and I looked up and the sky was so blue and not a cloud in it. I said, ‘She's so happy now and she is okay. Look at the sky.’ We believed in God before, but He has just done wonders. He provided so much comfort and love into our lives we will forever be grateful for. God is good.”
Track Name: What Do You Say?
Alecia Coco was 16 weeks along when her water broke. Her husband, John, was working nearby that unusual day and he rushed her to the hospital. According to the doctor their boy would not live another 48 hours, so they began the long process of letting go. After three weeks his heart finally stopped and little John, only 10 ounces, was delivered. They dressed him in a tiny outfit and held him for six hours, counting his fingers and toes, and marveling at his perfect form.

Alecia struggled with deep desire to receive comfort from her friends, but what do you say when a friend loses a baby?

Perhaps the best comfort is given just by listening--unreserved listening with an open heart, mourning with them, weeping with them, and praying with them. Perhaps God will speak to them through your love more than your words. Listen. Learn. Love.
Track Name: Earth and Heaven
Dwight and Stephanie Lemont lost two babies due to miscarriage within six months of each other. They have no names, but they are loved and missed just the same. A room was prepared for them; plans were made.

Remembering the first miscarriage, Stephanie said, “The hardest part was holding onto something in my heart that I could never hold in my arms.” She was able to hold the second baby as she washed it and carried it to the hospital, but she left with “empty arms and a heavy heart.”

When asked to describe her feelings Stephanie wept, “Shattered!” She felt she couldn’t share this with anybody and people struggled to know what to say to her. She felt alone and desperately wanted to hear someone say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” or, “It’s OK to cry,” or “Lay it at the feet of the Lord.”

“Here or in heaven,” she closed the interview, “I’ll always have a child with me. I can’t stand being alone. God planned ahead.”
Track Name: Velveteen Heart
Angie Smith was expecting her fourth daughter, Audrey, when she eyed a particular stuffed bunny in the store. Later that night she could not get her mind off of it.

Days later Angie and her husband, Todd, went to their ultrasound appointment. Upon examination the doctor diagnosed Audrey with an enlarged heart and polycystic kidneys. She had no amniotic fluid and her lungs were not developing properly. When the doctor asked how she was doing, her stunned response was, "I think that my Jesus is the same as He was before I walked into this room."

On the way home from the hospital Todd insisted they stop to buy the bunny. At the store Angie spotted two little bunny ears sticking out of the toy barrel. She pulled them up and there it was, the perfect bunny with a black, permanent mark on its heart.

Angie wrote about Audrey, “I think of her red hair, the bunny we used to teach the kids what was wrong with her, and the day we buried her and they ripped the bandaids off the stuffed bunny because she was healed...Her life mattered and it made a difference...It sounds trite to say but she has brought more people to the Lord than I ever will. :) She was such a gift...”
Track Name: Scandalous Grace
Outwardly petite, Melissa Ingino is a lamb with the heart of a lion. Her fervent advocacy for the weak is seen through her giving and support of Living Water International and lobbying Congress on behalf of Invisible Children. She will not rest while the world around her suffers.

As I read these words from Melissa, this music poured out of my own heart at one sitting. It was a sacred moment, a meditation, that led me to my own worship of the God she describes:

"something is broken in this world & i want to hold my tiny palms against the wounds so the Healer can later restore … i'm just a girl in a red hat. A lily among thorns. A dreamer. A free soul with a heart that is deeply Rooted. i believe in scandalous grace. i can survive living simply, as long as my friends and family are close. Someday i want to paint the nails of prostitutes. i treasure the art of listening and genuinely receiving even it means remaining silent.i believe in the practice lectio divina. i have a heart for the feeble and broken. i appreciate loyalty and honesty.i think the study of fine tuning in the universe is mind-altering. i believe in altruism and empathy. i'm a little dirt clod made from the dust but hold the Breath of my Creator. i was once dead but now i am alive. <><."