Thursday, June 5, 2014

South Shore Mom's Walk to Make a Difference

2014 is the first year that three moms, Shawna McAuliffe, Rebecca Hayes (and husband, Brian) and Emily Carbitses joined forces and teams to form Cape Cod Family Team, Only Once In Your Lifetime. They are a committed group of mom's who have come together through grief and healing to make a difference in the lives of other families. We are grateful for their courage and support. Here are their stories of why they walk in March for Babies:

Why we walk: Only Love In Your Lifetime
The birth of a new baby brings joy and happiness to all -- but what happens when your world is torn apart when your baby dies? When you leave the hospital with a heart full of emotions and arms full of nothing but a memory box?
We met two years ago at South Shore Hospital’s Pregnancy and Infant loss support group and immediately bonded over the losses we all endured.  Having the support from others who were walking the same path was a saving grace.
We will be walking this year as a team for many reasons. We will walk to honor our babies and to keep their memories alive. We will walk to raise awareness about pregnancy and infant loss and break the taboo associated with it. We will walk for the miracle babies that get to grow on earth instead of in heaven. We will walk to bring hope and support. We will walk to bring healing and peace.


Why I walk: Emily
I walk for every baby that has left this world far too soon including my daughter.  Eva was born in June of 2012 at 26 weeks due to a placental abruption.  She weighed a tiny 1 pound 11 ½ ounces and was 16 inches long.  She was referred to as the miracle during my 6 week hospital stay. She should have been gone when my water broke at 20 weeks, yet somehow she kept growing and thriving.  We had so much hope for her.  Yes, she would be extremely premature but with all the advances of science I thought surely she would survive.  Shortly after she was born, her heart stopped beating.  My baby was resuscitated right in front of my eyes and rushed to the NICU. Even through the shock and confusion of it all I knew one thing- she was beautiful.  Seeing her open her eyes and feeling her grip my finger melted my heart.  When her health quickly started declining overnight we had to make the gut wrenching decision to remove her from life support. I got to hold my baby as her heart stopped beating. As her soul moved from this life to the next, and for that I feel extremely blessed.  Even two years later, the pain feels just as raw, yet has been coated in a protective layer for my survival and sanity. This year I am honored to walk with some of the strongest people I know as the “Only Love In Your Lifetime" team.

Why I walk: Shawna
At 12 weeks of pregnancy we found out my son had a birth defect called gastroschisis. This is a birth defect where the abdominal cavity doesn't fully close and the intestines grow outside the body.  Although serious, this birth defect has a 90% survival rate.  At 18 weeks we found out he was a boy and immediately knew he was going to be called Elliot. A name I think was meant for him. We were closely monitored between Brigham and Women's and Boston Children's Hospital.  Just before 32 weeks I went into labor and had an emergency c-section.  His last ultrasound showed he was just over 2 lbs.  Elliot Padric Bruce was born on June 3rd 2012 weighing 4 pounds and was 19.5 inches.  He had his closure surgery that night and was recovering very smoothly. Elliot was off all breathing support and pooping within his first few days of life.  He was the rockstar of the NICU and our family and all his nurses were in awe of his soulful big blue eyes, big hands and feet and his strong personality.  He loved his binky and to be held.  He made tons of silly faces and little squeaky noises.  We were so amazed by his strength and loved watching him progress.  He looked so different every day and we thought we were going to be out of the NICU in no time.  Elliot was showing signs of being sick on the day before he passed but kept all his vital signs normal. The day Elliot passed was very unexpected and traumatic.  June 13th, 2012 will forever be the worst day of my life and the images of him leaving us are scarred into me.  Through an autopsy we found out he had e coli in his blood and urine. 
Although Elliot is gone he certainly is not forgotten. He continues to make an impact on the world and makes his mom proud every single day.  With the help of friends I have met through support groups, I have gained the strength to help others like they have helped me.  I want to make Elliot as proud of me as I am of him. This year I am walking for Elliot, Eva, Colton and all babies gone too soon.
Why We walk: Rebecca & Brian

We found out in August of 2011 that we were expecting our second baby.  We were over the moon with excitement!  At around 18 weeks we found out we were having another boy!  We decided to name him Colton.  My pregnancy with Colton was perfect, his heartbeat was always where it was supposed to be and I felt even better than I did with my first pregnancy.  We had an appointment at 26 weeks on January 10, 2012 and everything looked great.  We had no idea that would be the last time we heard Colton's heartbeat.  The evening of January 13, 2012, I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt him move.  I wasn't positive so I didn't think much of it.  The next morning I still hadn't felt him move but thought I would try all the tricks before calling the doctor.  Nothing worked but I convinced myself I just hadn't paid enough attention and if I didn't feel him the next morning I would call.  When the morning came, and I still hadn't felt him, I called and went straight to the hospital.  I STILL thought I was just crazy so we didn't call anyone, and even brought our 16 month old son with us.  When we got to the hospital, the nurse started searching for his heartbeat.  I remember she had picked up mine and it had been so fast that my husband and I thought it was him.  She searched and searched but nothing.  She asked why I had waited so long to come in, I still don't really know.  The doctor came in next with a portable ultrasound machine.  He searched and told me that there was no heartbeat and my baby had died.  I felt like I was dying.  I wanted to die.  They then sent me for another ultrasound just to confirm and of course nothing changed.  We learned that we would deliver Colton, stillborn.  Going through labor, knowing that instead of a healthy breathing baby, you will give birth to death, is a feeling that is not possible to describe.  There just aren't words for the deepest of heartaches.  Colton arrived, after two days of labor, on January 17, 2012.  He weighed 2lbs 14oz and was 16.5 inches long.  We spent the day saying hello, and goodbye.  We gave him lots of cuddles and kisses.  We told him how loved and wanted he was.  We are so grateful for the nurses at South Shore Hospital who took all of his pictures that we will cherish forever and helping us to create a lifetime of memories with him.

Colton has changed our lives forever and has blessed us in more ways than we could count.  We are so grateful that we were chosen to be his parents.  We will always wonder who he would have been, but we know that his little life has made a big difference to those who love him and we are so proud.
We are eternally grateful for the parents we have met through our beautiful babies.  They have been our light and support through the darkest days of our lives. 

My husband and I are walking this year to remember and honor all babies that were taken too soon and to make a difference to parents who are missing their precious babies.

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