It was March 20, 2009, a day that should have been one of my happiest moments ever. I was excited to bring big sister McKenzie to my doctor's appointment that morning to listen to her baby brother or sister's heartbeat. Instead of hearing a heartbeat on the Doppler that morning, all we heard was silence, pure silence.
The doctor decided to do an ultrasound to further investigate what I already knew in my heart. All she could say was, "I'm sorry. There is no heartbeat." My baby's heart stopped beating just two weeks before her due date. This became the day my sister, Tracy, refers to as the day the sun never shined.
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McKenzie and I rushed over to Labor and Delivery at the hospital in shock and disbelief. So much was consuming my mind. What could have happened to my baby? I thought moms lost their babies only in the first trimester! Is this a dream? Why me?
When we arrived at the hospital, the doctor consoled my husband and me, and told us she planned to induce labor. She said we hopefully would find answers after the baby was born. It was a long night. At 5:06 the next morning, on March 21, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl we named Kiley Marie. She was 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and 20 inches long. After her birth, the doctor was convinced we lost Kiley due to a cord accident, as she had a true-cord knot and her nuchal cord was wrapped around her neck twice.
The days following Kiley's death were extremely difficult for my family and me. Fortunately, I had several support systems to help me through my grief during the most challenging time in my life. Through my darkest days, I leaned on family, friends, online support groups, SHARE nurses, and, most of all, SHARE's support group. The Edward Foundation SHARE Program at Edward Hospital helped me realize I was not alone in my grief. It was comforting meeting other families who understood my pain and knew exactly what I was going through.
Through SHARE, I learned about A Walk to Remember, and this is the fourth year I will walk to honor my daughter Kiley. This day, like Kiley's birthday, is a time set aside to honor Kiley's short but meaningful life. These days are important to my family because it helps us keep her memory alive and reminds my husband, Kiley's sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and me of how her short life has impacted all of us.
Losing a child has made me a more compassionate person. It is fulfilling to support those who are experiencing loss, by listening and supporting grieving families as they describe their pain, by writing children's names in the sand for their parents, and by creating memorial crafts for families.
In addition, through active volunteerism with SHARE, I assist in planning and hosting A Walk to Remember, and I create memory boxes for grieving families at Edward Hospital so that no one who loses a baby has to go home empty-handed. I am grateful for the opportunities for support and giving back that have been available to me through the SHARE Program, after experiencing such a painful loss.