Yesterday my amazing friend Anna completed the Chicago Marathon. When we were texting back and forth afterward and she brought tears to my eyes when she told me that she ran mile 25, the last full mile of her very first marathon, in honor of Cale and all the other babies who are missed. The last .2, her victorious finish, she ran for Daren, who had planned to run another marathon after returning from Afghanistan.
I was just so touched, but not at all surprised, that in the last bit of a very long, probably painful, journey - the marathon itself and the training for it, that Anna was thinking of others - that she honored Cale and Daren with her incredible accomplishment.
Yesterday Miles and I went to the Packers game in Atlanta (Pack won 25-14, but I'll save my obnoxious fan blog for another day), and during the half time show they did a wonderful tribute to Breast Cancer. It was really beautiful and this little picture doesn't really do it much justice.
But during it I couldn't help but think "wouldn't it be nice if as many people knew what else this month represents?" Don't get me wrong, it's great and incredibly important that people know about and support Breast Cancer Awareness, but until we lost Cale I had never heard of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I'd like to think that one day we can find a cure for breast cancer. That by raising lots of money by wearing pink and running races and putting "Save the Ta-Ta's" stickers on your car, eventually enough funds will be raised to help science and medicine find a cure for breast cancer (ironically I'm wearing a pink For the Cure T-shirt as I type this - not at all planned). But I know it's not that simple. It's not just about raising money. And that's certainly the case for pregnancy and infant loss. No matter how much money you put towards good causes, like the March of Dimes, stillbirth research, etc, people will still lose babies. I'm not saying that funding these wonderful causes is futile because it's certainly not and it can and it does help in many important ways, but this tragedy of pregnancy and infant loss will unfortunately never end either. That's part of what makes it so heartbreaking. Cale was a perfectly healthy baby. The screening and tests run during my pregnancy came back negative (not that it would have mattered to us), and he was always growing right on track (or ahead of schedule). He was perfectly formed, perfectly sized, perfectly perfect. And he didn't make it. A cord accident, a very rare problem in a pregnancy, killed him as I went into early labor. The very thing that gave him life took it away. No amount of money could have saved him. And although I struggled with this early on, I know that nothing could have been done to save him. I had appointment after appointment during my pregnancy with Finn. Ultrasounds, amniotic fluid checks, non-stress tests, MFM visits, you name it - we did it. But the fact of the matter is that Finn was statistically no better off than Cale was.
My to-do list today includes putting together some candles that I'll send out to some friends and family to be lit on October 15th. October is important for me because it's a chance to raise awareness. Well, I'll be doing this my whole life, but it's still nice to have an official month and an official day of remembrance.
Sometimes terrible things happen. And there's nothing we can do to change them. But we can remember our babies. We can honor them by ensuring others recognize them and are more aware of what this month means and not afraid to support Pregnancy and Infant loss - to talk about it openly, to share stories of babies who have little stories to share. To think of them, like Anna did, in times of personal triumph, or moments of personal reflection. And most importantly, to never ever forget them.