Our Hearts 5k

Today I completed my first 5k! Granted, I walked most of it, it required lots of effort and I am SERIOUSLY worn out, but it was a fantastic experience. In my defense, I was pushing a double stroller with both of my children on board, which was like 70 extra pounds!

The Our Hearts foundation raises money to help provide memorial services and funerals for families in the central Maine area who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. They also provide a network of people who understand this pain and support families that are going through it.

This cause is very close to my heart, since I had a miscarriage on September 20, 2011. I was 7 weeks along. It was a devestating thing to go through, especially because I felt so alone. So naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in this fund raising event.

The day was fantastic! There were so many businesses and individuals that donated and volunteered, so everything went really smoothly. They had tons of prizes, and every participant got a grab bag that was full of all kinds of goodies. I was able to include a business card and coupon to my new website (fromraychelshands.com) where I sell unique handmade gifts.

They also had tons of custom made balloons with their logo. Originally, people were supposed to write names and dates on them for the babies they were walking in memory of, then we were going to release them. However, our location was too close to the airport, so we weren’t able to do that. Instead, the balloons were tied to golf tees, and after the babies names were written on them, we “planted” them all over the front lawn of the hospital grounds the event took place on. It was an amazing visual to honor the children that had died.

After the event was over, I took the balloon for Baby Brewster and brought it home with me. I went out back of our apartment building and released it. I videotaped it floating up through the sky. Once I couldn’t see it through the camera anymore, I shut it off and continued to stand there and watch it get smaller and smaller, until it disappeared from view completely.

It was incredibly emotional for me. After I had lost the baby, I didn’t really talk about it for a long time. I kinda felt like it shouldn’t have been so devestating to me because I was only 7 weeks along. I also got pregnant 2 weeks later with my son (who is happy and healthy at 3 months old today!), so I didn’t want to talk or think about the baby I lost. It was a really hard time for me because with a pregnancy so closely following a loss, I spent months being constantly terrified that I was going to have another miscarriage. I felt so alone because I didn’t think the people around me could understand how I felt. I dealt with so much guilt because I thought there must have been something I did to cause it, or something I could have done to prevent it. I was so angry at God for allowing this to happen to me, and so angry at my husband because he didn’t seem to be affected by it like I was. I tried really hard to shut the whole experience out of my mind.

Today, seeing so many people who were standing together to support those who have felt this pain, it opened that part of my heart up again. I realized that I’m not alone in these struggles. It was so comforting to see so many people that are passionate about surrounding women and their families with love while they go through this devastating pain.

As I watched that purple balloon disappear into the heavens, I allowed myself to grieve the loss of my precious child. I sobbed and sobbed for what seemed like an eternity. Once the tears and the balloon were gone, I took a deep breath and imagined what my sweet baby looks like as an angel in the arms of Jesus.

Even though there will always be an empty space in my heart and arms where my little one belongs, I felt a peace knowing that my angel will never have to experience the struggles and pain that belong to this world.

If you or someone you know have had to deal with the pain of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death, please go check out the Our Hearts website. They also have a Facebook page. You will find lots of support and love through the people there. And please remember that you are not alone.