Last weekend, I got to honor out little Sarah Catherine by participating in the Star Legacy Foundation’s 2nd annual “Let’s Not Be Still” run for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness.
After losing Sarah Catherine, I found out that oftentimes, mothers are not able to see or hold their stillborn babies. And even more frequently, stillbirths are termed a “medical mystery” without any testing.
When we lost Sarah Catherine, we were fortunate enough to be at a hospital that recognizes stillborn babies as babies and acknowledges the loss. We were given photos from the ultrasound that confirmed our baby’s death. As odd as it sounds, I treasure those last photos of Sarah within me.
I was asked several times during labor if I wanted to hold the baby and know the gender (uhh…yes!) So I was able to hold my daughter. The doctors and nurses gave us as much time as we wanted (we stayed about 6 hours).
They gave us tons of material about grief and stillbirth. We have booklets for mothers, fathers, and grandparents. And even two children’s books for our boys. They gave us a memory box with a tiny ring and they took Sarah’s photo and foot and handprints and gave us a modified birth certificate. We had a baby hat and a fuzzy blanket and a teddy bear. A teddy bear, because no mother should have to go home with empty arms.
The delivering doctor sat down and just talked with us and loss and leaning on one another and funerals.
And my regular doctor came in on her day off (in fact, a day off because her own child was being hospitalized for pneumonia). And she ran absolutely every single test she could think of (we still didn’t find any answers, but I feel confident that we exhausted all avenues of testing).
And later, we were able to place a plaque on the Angel Memorial wall in the garden outside the hospital.
Wow, that got long quickly. But I really wanted to share the positive experience we had in a really tragic situation. My heart breaks that so many families do not have this support. Which takes us back to the Star Legacy Foundation. They’re aiming to get research and support and testing for families experiencing stillbirth and infant loss.
Getting back to the race, I kinda tacked this on to an out of town girl’s weekend, so Hubs was home with the boys (I definitely plan to bring the whole family next year), but my parents were able to drive up and do the race with me. It was so nice to have their support and it was a great way to honor Sarah Catherine.
The race was well done. We each received a t-shirt with the names of all of the lost babies printed on the back.
Then it was race time. I ran the 10k (6 miles), my dad ran the 5k (3 miles) and my mom walked the 5k, each of us remembering Sarah Catherine in our own way.
I finished the race in just under an hour, which was my goal (I was unable to train, having just gotten over a lung infection, so I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to race.)
After the race, which was run in 40 degree weather, with a windchill of 27 (brrrr!), we released butterflies on honor of all the lost babies.
Individual boxes, each containing a live (but cold and unhappy) butterfly we handed out to each team. In warm weather (I assume), the boxes would open and the butterflies would fly away. In cold weather, the butterflies very slowly woke up and flexed their wings before flight.
My butterfly was out cold. We took it to the car to warm up.
Then into my aunt’s house, where we were staying. And took a couple glamour shots. So pretty!
And the released the butterfly in her backyard.
The butterfly warmed in the sun for a few minutes and flew away to Sarah Catherine.