Walking the Steps for Our Baby

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. It’s a mouthful that means we honor those parents who have had to bury their babies all too soon. It’s also one of those little-talked-about tragedies in life. When you lose your child, everyone sympathizes with you. But when you lose your baby? It’s a tragedy that most people expect you to ‘get over’ once you have your next baby.

But, like most things in life, it isn’t so simple.  

And that’s why we’ve been involved with Forever Footprints and the OC Walk to Remember since 2012. Forever Footprints is a wonderful local organization that supports those families who have experienced the loss of a infant. Like us. I am in the 1 in 4. I am the mom who always hesitates when someone asks me if I have kids.  My standard answer is two.  But my heart hurts as I answer, and as I flinch, I’m sure someone astute can tell the lie.  

I know because I’ve uncovered that lie, I’ve seen the flinch, I have met many parents who I discover share a similar history to me. 

My middle child, Macy, would be ten years old right now. She was born with trisomy 18 and a multitude of other medical conditions that would not let her survive for long past her initial birth. But, like my two other girls, she was loved every step of the way, and my husband and I will continue to love her for the rest of our lives.

Intertwined with my pregnancy with Macy and her short life is my special relationship with Kat.

Kat was a precocious two-year old, and she pulled me and my husband through the muddy, tangled, dredgy waters that is the thing we call GRIEF. 

Kat and I sat side by side in the months after Macy died. She colored next to me, she looked through books next to me, she ‘cooked’ in her kitchen next to me, and we wandered through the aquarium, through playdates, through Target together in an effort to keep my mind off my grief. 

All the while, she kept chattering on and on. 

I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure I would have pulled through without her. 

So I think it’s very fitting that this Saturday at the 15th annual OC Walk to Remember, it will be just me and Kat. (This year, my husband and my youngest will be at a martial arts tournament.) In 2012, the first year that we distributed Special Delivery books, we had a huge group of over 30 people with us. In the years since, we have only missed one walk for my sister’s wedding and one walk where we decided to do the 5K run with just the four of us. 

This year we will be distributing books at the Inland Empire Walk to Remember for the first time. Since we have a limited number of books left, we decided to have a booth at the Inland Empire Walk so we can reach out to other families who we haven’t met yet. It is held on October 26 and is also affiliated with Forever Footprints.  

If you are new to the OC Walk and would like a free copy of Special Delivery, you may request one here.  

And if you see me on Saturday, along with my Kat who is now thirteen-years old and taller than me, you’ll see my bittersweet smile but you’ll also see a bit of joy there.  Because Kat will still be by my side. And though she is a teen now, she might still hold her mama’s hand. Because this mama, this mama appreciates each of her girls for their own special talents. And Kat has always been full of heart, with an old-soul silent understanding of what a person might be going through. 

So, for me, it makes sense to do Saturday’s walk not with my rainbow baby, but with my baby who walked through the grief with me. And we made it through to the other side. Together.