Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New York Times post

Our stillbirth story
Although these stories crush my heart, my heart is simultaneously warmed that the New York Times has featured stories of stillbirth.  These stories are heartbreaking and full of deep, deep love.  This article shows that many loving families have experienced the tragedy of stillbirth, yet it is still such an isolating and personal journey.   

I’ve written before that our bereavement nurse, Barbara, was an incredible contributor to our healing.  In my New York Times post, I talk about her care.  Immediately following Barbara’s care, I was embraced by my sister who drove all night after receiving the news.  I’m honestly scared to think of where I would be if it weren’t for Barbara’s care followed by my sister’s embrace.  After their care, I am so lucky to have had the support, compassion, and love of my two sister-in-laws and a huge number of other family and friends. 

This connection to other people is one the largest motivators of my blog.  Giving a hug or providing a loving shoulder to cry on (either in person or virtually) is so important and I can say from experience that it can change the direction of your life.  No one can ever know what another person goes through, even if you've shared a similar experience, but in our compassion we can help each other heal.  

My New York Times post can be found here (also below): 

The full stillbirth article can be found here:
New York Times stillbirth

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Daisy Award

Stillborn professional pictures
My heart is singing because I recently received the most wonderful phone call.  In Quinn’s memory, we, along with a small amount from Quinn’s memorial fund, made a donation to the bereavement nurses at the hospital where Quinn was born.  The donation is to fund the purchase of a professional camera for the bereavement nurses. 

Currently in place, there is a photography service available for newborns, including stillborn babies, during daytime hours.  This is wonderful, and does not exist in many hospitals across America.  However, if the stillborn baby arrives at night, as Quinn did, the baby has to wait until daytime hours for the photographs.  By then, unfortunately, the baby’s sleeping features have been kissed by death.  

In our case, Quinn’s skin had cooled and her pink had turned to blue by the time her photographs were taken.  We are so grateful for our photographs, for they are one of our few memories of our beloved daughter.  However, they do capture how Quinn has been kissed by death.  Fortunately, we had snapped a few pictures on our own of her soon after birth that remind me she was full of life for 40 whole weeks.  

With our donation, the bereavement nurses can take their own professional photographs of the baby soon after birth.  This way, they can capture the baby’s pink quiet beauty without having to wait for the professional service’s daytime availability. 

The best news, however, is the Co-Coordinator of Perinatal Palliative Care Services has informed me that she has used our donation letter to nominate our bereavement nurse, Barbara, for The DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses (The DAISY Award).  This award is to honor the super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day.”  Barbara is so deserving of this award and I will be crossing all fingers and toes in October when the DAISY Award is announced. 
Dear xxx,

The enclosed donation of $xxx is to fund the bereavement nurses at Capital Health with a new camera to take the very important pictures of babies who were stillborn or otherwise died before they could get chance to live outside the womb.  This is a very important project for my husband and I because our second daughter, Quinn Amelia Wilson, was stillborn on February 16, 2015 at 3:38am.  Her birth, although still, occurred at Capital Health.  She was born on her due date – 40 weeks exactly – and was healthy, strong, and ready for life.  Unfortunately, the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck 3 times, and robbed her of life. 

Then, fate put us in touch with a woman who changed how we would live the rest of our lives: Barbara xxx.  She held us as we heaved in despair and disbelief, gave us comforting words that ring in our heads each day, and was the first person to show us true compassion after our worst nightmare occurred. 

During a time of sheer confusion and shock, she very gently nudged me to have professional photographs of Quinn taken.  She even obtained a lock of my precious baby’s hair, which I haven’t brought myself to open yet, for fear my baby’s smell disappearing.  I absolutely treasure the pictures of Quinn.  I am forever grateful for Barbara’s gentle nudge to get them, for they will help keep the memory of her alive in all of our minds. 

I am so grateful for Barbara’s care.  My husband and I truly believe she put us on a journey toward healing.  She is caring, compassionate, and kind.  I think she has the hardest, most important job on the planet, and I’m so grateful to have had her care. 

Although nothing can bring back what we truly want - our baby - we have found comfort that we can support other families in need with this important project.  We hope the pictures bring other families some comfort during the most horrific moment of their lives, and perhaps even more so since the camera was donated by a loving family who eternally longs for their own daughter.

Part of this donation comes from Quinn’s memorial fund, which includes the generous gifts of our family, friends, and community.  After we left Barbara’s care, it was these people that held us in their compassion and love.  We are honored that the camera donation can be a gift from them as well. 

We can only pray that Quinn’s camera won’t be needed, but we unfortunately know that won’t be the case.  Not everyone who enters the maternity ward is so lucky to carry their new baby home in their arms.  This camera is for all the families that carry their babies home in their hearts.


Jessica & Joshua Wilson

Friday, July 24, 2015


Trusting, grateful, inspired Fridays

Brené Brown in "The Gifts of Imperfection,” has inspired me to write a TGIF post each Friday: Trusting, Grateful, Inspired Fridays, to help me be more intentional about bringing joy back into my life after experiencing stillbirth.  What is your TGIF?  

Happy Friday and I hope joy is part of your day.

Here is my TGIF for this week:

I am trusting that my marriage is stronger than ever.

I am grateful for my husband whom I love unconditionally.  In marriage, I think we are quick to nag and focus on negatives.  I think we sometimes take the other person for granted and overlook all the positives, especially during challenging times.  This is my pledge to celebrate the reasons I fell in love with my husband every day!

I am inspired by other couples who have made their marriages stronger after experiencing tragedy.  

Love story

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A big little life

Joy and meaning after stillbirth

After Quinn’s stillbirth, I have a renewed consciousness about life and living.  I strive to live a big LITTLE life and fill the little moments with joy and meaning.  I don’t force myself to do this; rather, I try to let it develop organically.  When the deep moments of sorrow do come, I feel them, honor them, and respect them.  I do something that connects me to Quinn and I make sure to only surround myself with people who understand.  However, most days I am able to hold Quinn in my heart and she is my inspiration to fill as many moments as possible with joy and meaning.

Our family is trying to take full advantage of the summer and live a big LITTLE life.  Here are some recent highlights.

I’ve been running – a lot.  Running has been incredibly healing for me both physically and mentally.  It has been my honor to dedicate several of my runs to other stillborn babies and their families.  Their memory and their families’ stories give me strength and inspiration to push forward.  I have my eye on a marathon mid-September to run in honor and memory of Quinn and all other stillborn babies.
Joy and meaning after stillbirth
This picture does not do justice – the dense forest trail opens up to the most breathtaking open fields.  I get emotional each time I have the pleasure of running this way.  It is so beautiful and reminds me how grandiose the universe is.

I try to scatter a few date-days with Riley throughout the spring and summer.  As Riley has been growing up right before my eyes, I decided that I was going to “date” her.  I don’t want a feeling like I am at work so much that I miss her growing up.  So, I take off special days to be with her, when we can do ordinary things and just be together enjoying each other’s company.  For our last date-day, we went to a music class, the pool with her cousin, and the library.  All wonderfully ordinary things that she LOVED.  

My heart melted when she arrived to the library and squealed sheer joy when she saw all the books to choose from.  After a delightful time looking at them, she did an activity and we went home with books about horses, cats, and dinosaurs (her requests).
I also love Riley’s fascination with the wonders of the world.  She, as children do, loves the funny looking praying mantis that sits in our garden, seeing deer and groundhogs on our run, and chasing after butterflies (and rabbits, and squirrels, and…)  I love that she has reminded me that world is quite magnificent.  When she stops to smell a flower, the old me would have rushed her inside to get on with the next to-do item.  The new me, however, stops to smell it with her and we spend time talking about that wonder of the universe.  

Oh how Quinn and Riley have brightened my life and brought our family to living a big LITTLE life. 
Joy and meaning after stillbirth

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Be well

Be well after stillbirth

In the days, weeks, and months following Quinn’s stillbirth, I held feelings of jealousy and hurt toward pregnant women and their successful birth stories.  Two examples were the anxiety I had over meeting my neighbor’s newborn and a panic attack during meditation.  However recently, I had the most ordinary, fulfilling day with my living daughter Riley, and I thought, “Motherhood is truly a gift.”  It hit me like a ton of bricks to let go of these jealous feelings, and to be kind to these women instead.  Motherhood is a gift – and I am happy that they will be able to experience this great gift, even though my journey to becoming a mother of two children ended differently.

Dr. Amit Sood has helped me let go of these feelings of jealousy and hurt.  He conducts an interesting talk (below) about the “Happy Brain: How to overcome our neural predispositions to suffering.”  He talks about the 5 – 3 – 2 method: 

5: Think of five people you are grateful for.  He, like Brené Brown, makes an argument that gratitude is a key component to happiness. 

3: For 3 minutes when you return home, greet and be with your family like you haven’t seen them in 30 days.  Put aside distractions, fully be present, and walk in excited to see everyone.

2: For 2 seconds, send “I wish you well” energy to people you encounter.  Sood makes an argument that the way we encounter others changes our lives. 

All of these tips have helped me make meaning along my new road and have helped me in healing after stillbirth.  However, the last point has liberated me.  At first, it was a little forced: see pregnant person…try not to cry…say “I wish you well” in my head.  Repeat. 

Then, after this wonderfully ordinary day with Riley, it clicked.  Of course I wish you well.  Motherhood is terrific!  Why wouldn’t I want you to have the gift of motherhood?  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 

After 6 months since Quinn’s arrival, I think I’ve been able to separate the stillbirth of my daughter from the birth stories of other women.  As I've been executing the 2 second rule, “I wish you well” has turned into a simple and genuine “be well.”  I also send this energy: “My one request, however, is that you have a consciousness about the miracle of creating and nurturing life.  Motherhood is a gift that cannot be taken for granted."

Be well.
I recommend Sood’s website to anyone looking to bring more healing and happiness to their lives.  He has great video clips about happiness and resilience.  He makes an argument that research shows there are three contributors to happiness:
  • Genetic makeup – 50%
  • Life situations – 10%
  • Chosen thoughts and actions – 40%
To some degree, we have control over 50% of our happiness.  Sood gives you many tools and ideas to shape your 50% of happiness.  I have found great insight and encouragement by participating in his Happiness: A One Week Journey program.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Life Lessons

Life Lessons by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler

After Quinn’s stillbirth, I came to the sobering realization that death was real and I had numbered days left on this planet.  My beloved daughter wasn’t given the chance to live, but I was.  This experience made me look at my life critically – am I living my best life?  What do I want to teach my living daughter about life? 

However, I was stuck - How in the world am I supposed to go on living after meeting death?  The book, “Life Lessons” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler was a tremendous resource and helped me address some of these questions.  The authors interview the dying and talk about their advice for living.  Who better to learn about living than those who are at the end of their lives? 

The book gives lessons on 14 topics: authenticity, love, relationships, loss, power, guilt, time, fear, anger, play, patience, surrender, forgiveness, and happiness.  I took away something genuinely helpful in each category.  This book has helped me live in the now and understand that life truly is a gift.  The people in your life are gifts.  If you are given the good fortune to life another day, how are you going to live it? 

I won’t spoil the book by giving details on each lesson, but the lessons that have helped me the most are about time, fear, and play:
  • Time: When we have truly lived our lives, we don’t want to live them again.  It was the life that was not lived that we regret. 
Since the stillbirth of my daughter, I have a choice about how I will live the rest of my life.  I can surrender to the grief and live a life of sorrow.  I can be jealous of other pregnant women and the new life that they create.  Or, I can hold my love for Quinn in my heart and do something with it.  I can do positive work in her honor.  I can live a meaningful life and do it for Quinn, because she can’t.  I can teach the lessons of love and life to my living daughter.  I don’t get another chance at this life - the time to live it is now.
  • Fear: Our fears don’t stop death – they stop life.
My fears and “what-ifs” are what most challenge my ability to really live.  Life is fragile and I often feel vulnerable.  I am told this is a normal part of grieving and this book has helped remind me that I need to be aware of my fears and work to manage them so I can really live.  Otherwise, my fears hold me and my family back from living and experiencing life.
  • Play: People’s number one regret in life is that they wish they didn’t take life so seriously.
After Quinn’s stillbirth, I learned what really matters in life.  For me, it is family, love, friendship, and nature.  I learned there is possibility for joy, love, and friendship in each day.  You don’t have to wait until tomorrow – it is there today.  So today, do something that brings meaning and joy to your life.  For we only really have this moment, right?
There are many lessons like the above in this book.  Anyone who has a consciousness about living the life that they truly want would benefit from this book.  It was touching to hear people’s stories and hear their wise words on life and living. 

Friday, July 17, 2015


Trusting, Grateful, Inspired Fridays

Brené Brown in "The Gifts of Imperfection,” has inspired me to write a TGIF post each Friday: Trusting, Grateful, Inspired Fridays, to help me be more intentional about bringing joy back into my life after experiencing stillbirth.  What is your TGIF?  

Happy Friday and I hope joy is part of your day.

Here is my TGIF for this week:

I am trusting that my body is strong to carry me through the second half of my running training. 

I am grateful for the gift of running.  Yes, it is a gift.  Not only is it a gift that my body has the ability to run, but it is a gift to experience running.  Above all, it has given me an immense amount of healing.  In that, I have been able to surround myself in nature, see wildlife, and revel in the enormity of the world in which I am such a small part.

I often feel like I am with Quinn when I run.  I'm still trying to find out where she is, but I do believe that the energy of world is now different because she existed.  As I experience the world I can experience her.  Recently, I went on a run as a storm was ending in hopes of chasing a rainbow.  It was a breathtaking experience – to chase a rainbow, and to actually find a huge full rainbow where I run to be with Quinn.  Instead of dedicating my run to her, I felt like my baby dedicated that run to me. 

I am inspired by bereaved parents who take on enormous physical challenges after losing a baby.  They run marathons.  They hike mountains.  They cycle across the country.  They are triumphant.  

Rainbow after stillbirth
I caught the most beautiful rainbow during a recent run.  One of the many gifts of running.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

6 Months

Today, on the difficult 6 month anniversary of Quinn's stillbirth, I share our pastor's closing words at Quinn's memorial.  Her words are beautiful, so true, and continue to have more and more meaning as time passes.  I strive to embody her words each day.  They are my inspiration and she has helped bring light into my life again:
"This winter has been cold and hard.  This winter has been long.  But the world has given us light again, sunshine again, cool earth waking up - with roots stretching and stems persisting and flowers bringing color, again.  It is Spring, and all around us, despite our deepest aches of refusal and denial, this life teaches us that there is promise in tomorrow, there is beauty because of small and miraculous things. 

This is now your charge: When you look out in the blossoming world think of the joy and love and beauty of Quinn Amelia and the family that made her possible.  When you go out into the world, love one another, care for one another, create for one another.  And in your comings and your goings, may the light of love shine upon us, out from within us, be gracious unto us, and grant us peace.  For this is the day we are given.  Let us rejoice for love.  Let us rejoice for family stretched beyond blood or title.  Let us rejoice for the life of Quinn Amelia Wilson.  Let us rejoice for the promise of this day and the blossoming tomorrow.

Go now together.  Go now in peace.  Amen."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Stillbirth run dedication

It was my honor to dedicate Sunday’s early morning long run to a beautiful girl, Cerys.  As I began my run, holding Cerys close to my heart, it was like we were the only ones awake on the planet.  The sun was bright and enthusiastically welcomed us to the trail.  The birds sang their hello and Cerys and I were on our way, ready to discover a new adventure.  The cicadas cheered us on the whole run, their songs echoing in the quiet forest and through the open fields. 

Even early, the sun grew hot.  I sought reprieve in some shady nooks and found a charming wall covered in ivy.  Even so, the sun managed to slip in between trees to find us.  I loved this because Cerys brought so much brightness to my run, and filled my heart and soul with warmth and light.

When I received Cerys’ dedication request, love overcame me.  I had an overwhelming feeling of the family’s love for Cerys and Cerys’ love for others.  I felt connected to her right away, and thoughts of her instantly warmed my heart.  I was inspired by her love to write her name on an ivy leaf, which nature created as a perfect heart.  The sense of love I felt when thinking about sweet Cerys filled my soul and powered me through many miles of brilliant sunlight.

Cerys’s mother, Lorien, shared this about her story:

“My daughter Cerys was stillborn, leaving behind her identical twin sister Lea to face life alone without her sister. Maybe she gave her life so Lea could survive, we'll never know. I will never stop loving her.”
I am inspired by Lorien’s strength because she had to nurture life despite experiencing the greatest tragedy.  Lorien’s love for both children shines brightly like beams from the sun and has touched so many people.

As I finished the last stretch of my run, I let the sun that Cerys brought me invigorate and fuel my final miles.  Time with Cerys lit up my soul and truly warmed my heart.  Her memory and her mother’s strength will continue to be an inspiration to me for many years to come. 

About run to heal:

I run to heal.  It’s where I learn to hold my grief in my heart as love.  It’s where I practice putting one foot in front of another.  It’s where I honor Quinn and other babies who are gone too soon from stillbirth, miscarriage, or neonatal death.  In preparation for my first 
Mother’sDay as a parent to both a living and dead child, I asked my friends and community to dedicate a workout to Quinn.  This was a powerful, soulful, and healing experience.  I felt lifted up and loved by the community.  I was humbled that so many people carried Quinn’s spirit with them.  I hope to accompany others on their journey after child loss and hold them and their son or daughter in my heart.  It is an opportunity for me to honor their child and learn their story.  Together, we will learn how to put one foot in front of the other and run to heal.  Dedicate a run here

Friday, July 10, 2015


Trusting, Grateful, Inspired Fridays

Brené Brown in "The Gifts of Imperfection,” has inspired me to write a TGIF post each Friday: Trusting, Grateful, Inspired Fridays, to help me be more intentional about bringing joy back into my life after experiencing stillbirth.  What is your TGIF?  

Happy Friday and I hope joy is part of your day.

Here is my TGIF for this week:

I am trusting that the travel that lies ahead will be done safely. 

I am grateful for friendship.  Kind, supportive and understanding friends are a true gift.

I am inspired by the wonderful work of Mel and Lesley who are committed to both comforting families who have experienced loss and to stillbirth advocacy and education.  I feel truly blessed to have met them.

Here are some daily inspirations that have helped me get through this week:

Forgive yourself after stillbirth
It is so hard, but I will try to let the weight of guilt and regret slip away.

Stillbirth quote
Whatever images come to me in my grief that bring me stability and peace are gifts.

Stillbirth quote
I will welcome and care for the ways in which my loved one continues to live on in me.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Stillborn baby
It was my honor to dedicate last night's run to a beautiful boy named Chris, who was born sleeping on January 23, 1988.  Although lightened by the time I got home, it rained all afternoon and I was planning on going out anyway.  I opened the door, walked outside, and the rain stopped.  A few rays of sunshine pushed through the remaining clouds and brought delightful evening light to my run.  I smiled, touched Chris’s stone, and went out into the wilderness with my companion held close to my heart. 

As I entered the forest, the drops of rain still lingered on the flowers and plants that hugged the trail, and there was a light mist dancing above the ground.  The forest felt enchanting and full of life.  Sunbeams peaked through the dense forest and sunlight sparkled on the trees’ glistening leaves.  As I turned a bend, I came across two rabbits in the middle of the path.  I stopped and quietly tiptoed around them. 

The sounds of the birds penetrated through my headphones so I turned off my music to listen.  I heard the most beautiful symphony of birds singing and calling to each other.  They called to each other from one side of the forest to the other, so I heard their music bouncing back and forth above me on the trail.  The birds’ music was spiritual and it was a very loud sense of quiet.  It was so peaceful and quiet, but so loud and alive at the same time.  I am delighted I could share this enchantment with Chris.  

I didn’t encounter anyone else during my run.  It was just Chris and I.  Others probably gave up on the weather, but Chris gave me the encouragement to go outside anyway, which was a beautiful gift to experience this magical forest.  As I was entranced by nature’s symphony, my breath huffed into the air and my feet pounded on the dirt path.  The birds’ songs echo in my ears as I write this and I’m grateful that Chris has reminded me that the world truly is a beautiful and magical place. 
Running to heal
Chris’s mother, Lesley, founded a non-profit organization, ComforTED©, which has an inspiring and compassionate mission to comfort families who have lost a child.  She makes a pair of teddy bears for bereaved families: one to be placed with the baby and one to be kept by the family.  She shares more about her story and ComforTED©’s mission:

“26 years ago in January 1988 I did not have the opportunity to see or hold my son Chris who was stillborn at 29 weeks. No encouragement was given to ‘make memories’ and even his funeral was arranged and carried out by the hospital/council. In hindsight I would have done more, but in the fragile state you are in and if no encouragement is given then you just go with what is deemed as ‘for the best’.

I work for a Funeral Director and in January 2014 I created ComforTED©. He is offered to parents as part of our service to encourage memories to be made. One TED is placed with the baby and the other is kept by the parents with the hope that knowing they hold a keepsake that is also with their child and in time bring will bring some comfort.

A pair of ComforTED© can be obtained with no charge other than the postage - which can be discussed when you make a request via private message on this page. ComforTED© are made personally by me so I can guarantee that there is love stitched into every one.

I am brought to tears by the beautiful and compassionate mission of ComforTED©.  Lesley’s organization is impacting many people and bringing much needed comfort and love to families who have experienced the loss of a child.  It was my honor to carry Chris with me on my run and I am powerfully touched by the kindness of Lesley and her wonderful organization. 

About run to heal:

I run to heal.  It’s where I learn to hold my grief in my heart as love.  It’s where I practice putting one foot in front of another.  It’s where I honor Quinn and other babies who are gone too soon from stillbirth, miscarriage, or neonatal death.  In preparation for my first Mother’s Day as a parent to both a living and dead child, I asked my friends and community to dedicate a workout to Quinn.  This was a powerful, soulful, and healing experience.  I felt lifted up and loved by the community.  I was humbled that so many people carried Quinn’s spirit with them.  I hope to accompany others on their journey after child loss and hold them and their son or daughter in my heart.  It is an opportunity for me to honor their child and learn their story.  Together, we will learn how to put one foot in front of the other and run to heal.  Dedicate a run here

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

To my living daughter

Letter to daughter

To my living daughter,

You have taught me so many lessons in a time of such darkness for me.  You can’t comprehend it yet, but your sister died during birth.  We told you, but you are too little to understand what it means.  However, as a family, we continue to honor and remember your sister each day.  We collect shells and river rocks to paint for her, we watch the flowers grow and tend to the garden, and we do special hikes and walks that bring all of us together. 

You have taught me such grand lessons about life, love, courage, and resilience after losing Quinn.  After such despair, what is there left to do?  Live.  In life, we hurt and grieve but we also love and have joy.  You have been kind and gentle with me – coming to me to give me hugs and kisses in moments of sadness.  Oh how I love feeling your arms around my neck.  You pat my back and I am engulfed in your love.  You ask me if I’m sad in your tiny little voice and you care so much.  Your sister has taught me so much about love, but so have you.  My love for you has transformed, reshaped, and deepened.  It has transcended all that I thought I knew about love.

You have taught me that the days keep moving forward and there is beauty and wonder in the world every single day.  You help me see it.  You help me live in the present, which is such a powerful lesson and one that fills my life with wholeness.  You stop to pick me flowers or show me a bumble bee.  You stare for long minutes at the interesting creature called a praying mantis sitting on our day lilies.  You go joyously with me outside in bare feet and the rain to chase a rainbow.  You squeal when you see an airplane, truck, or lawnmower, and show me the wonders of the world each day.  Seeing groundhogs, deer, and rabbits on our runs together brings you such joy and reminds me that world truly is marvelous.  Sometimes we are blinded by our own darkness that we can’t see it.  But Riley, I am so lucky to have you to remind me how to live.

You have taught me how to be courageous.  You have showed me how to leave my comfort zone and be brave.  You talk to children you don’t know at the playground and immediately play with them.  For days after, you continue to talk and ask about them.  When I’m with someone new, I think of you and strike up a conversation.  You have brought new friendship to my life and you have helped me discover the goodness of others. 

Oh my child, how you are resilient.  You have shown this to me over and over again, and this is the lesson I need most.  When you were nine months old, you had a major surgery.  While you recovered in your hospital crib, you were crawling all around, and standing up against the rails.  You were getting all of your wires and tubes tangled because the last thing you wanted to do was rest.  I think about that moment often and how strong you were then and how that was an indicator of your strength today.  When I need strength, I get it from you, Riley. 

I know this is only the beginning of the lessons you will teach me.  In our lifetime together, I have so much more to learn from you.   I’m the luckiest person in the world to be your mom.  You have truly changed me, Riley.  Thank you for being my inspiration on this journey and for showing me the way.

All my heart and all my love. x 

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Stillbirth run dedication

I dedicated my 14-mile run today to a beautiful boy, Finley.  I saw more animals on this run than I ever had before and I’m honored that I could carry Finley’s spirit with me to see them.  I saw three foxes, deer, a number of rabbits, and more birds than I could count.  I even had a little white butterfly follow me for a good portion of my journey through the backwoods.  I am touched that sweet Finley’s spirit brought all of these animals across my path.  It warmed my heart that nature was buzzing with such vigorous activity while the rest of humankind was still asleep.

Since Finley brought so many animals to me, I was moved to take his picture near the horses along one of my favorite stretches in the backwoods.  This horse was so gentle and was very curious about my presence.  I think it was Finley’s company that brought the horse so close. 

Stillbirth run dedication

As the miles went on and my body grew challenged, I gained strength from Finley’s strong mother, Mel Scott.  She is an author and has shared Finley’s story with the world in her book, “After Finley” and continues to do incredible outreach and education through her website, Finley’s Footprints.  Her book is described as: “Frank, insightful and moving, After Finley is an unexpectedly captivating book that gets right to the heart of the meaning of love. 

With me, she shared this about her story: 

"On August 2nd 2009 my life totally changed. My waters broke at 41+5 weeks, I went to the hospital and there was meconium in my waters so they kept me in. They sent my husband home, as I wasn’t having contractions yet. Sadly things deteriorated, and his heart rate started dropping. I had to have emergency surgery and I woke up to the news that I had a baby boy, but that he would never wake up.

We spent 3 days in hospital as a family, making many memories.

That little lad will soon be 6, but it feels simultaneously like yesterday and like a lifetime ago. He has changed my life, and inspires people worldwide, who read his story, attend my study days or receive support from my charity."

My heart is with Mel and the many other parents who have to leave the hospital with their baby in their heart instead of in their arms.  Mel’s love for Finley is so potent and powerful, and I truly felt that today. 

I was graced by the presence of beautiful animals and nature while running with Finely.  When I needed strength I reached into my vest pocket, close to my heart, and held his shell.  I am honored to have shared my morning with Finley and to post about his legacy.  His mother, Mel Scott, inspires me to keep putting one foot in front of the other and complete each mile with love. 

About run to heal:

I run to heal.  It’s where I learn to hold my grief in my heart as love.  It’s where I practice putting one foot in front of another.  It’s where I honor Quinn and other babies who are gone too soon from stillbirth, miscarriage, or neonatal death.  In preparation for my first Mother’s Day as a parent to both a living and dead child, I asked my friends and community to dedicate a workout to Quinn.  This was a powerful, soulful, and healing experience.  I felt lifted up and loved by the community.  I was humbled that so many people carried Quinn’s spirit with them.  I hope to accompany others on their journey after child loss and hold them and their son or daughter in my heart.  It is an opportunity for me to honor their child and learn their story.  Together, we will learn how to put one foot in front of the other and run to heal.  Dedicate a run here

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The journey of resilience

I think bereaved parents are the epitome of resiliency.  What’s important to understand, though, is we must be gentle on ourselves and realize resiliency is as much a journey as grieving is.  There are times when we can break through the ground and begin to rise upward.  However, there are times when we are smacked back down and wave our little white flag to the name of grief.  We can’t live in the triumphant moments all the time – our grief, love, and longing for our babies is just too strong. 

Feeling the hurt is part of the resiliency journey because somehow, despite these feelings, we find a way to GO ON.  Not move on – but simply go on.  To eat, to get out of bed, to keep our careers moving forward, to care for ourselves and those in our lives who depend on our care.  This is resiliency.   Despite the heaviness of grief, life still awaits us.  And we choose to face it.  We have to figure out how to live despite having met death. 

Yesterday, I had a very intense collision of joy and deep sorrow.  I started my day strong in the wake of resilience, dedicating my day to two very important projects in Quinn’s honor.  I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the projects that the joy of them powerfully collided with my deep sorrow and longing.  I was left beat down on the ground, surrendering my white flag to grief. 

Just as my being processed the grandiosity, meaning, and beauty of the projects, I was hit on each side by joy and sorrow simultaneously.  Why do we even have to do these projects, I thought.  All I want is to have you back.  But look at what a difference we are making because of you.  All of this beauty is because of you.  I had sustained my resiliency as long as I could, but yesterday, the grief won.  I still call myself resilient though, because today, I woke up and am trying to figure out how to live in this world as a bereaved parent all over again. 

You can’t fight the grief all the time.  Even when you are weak you are still strong, because you are on this journey and surviving each day.  Following moments of surrender, there are moments of resiliency - when we pick ourselves back up.  These two daily inspirations speak this roller coaster:
Stillborn grief quote
It’s OK to not be OK
Stillborn grief quote
The best thing to do when the grief is raw and overwhelming is to honor it
Mary Whitmore Hickman, author of “Healing After Loss,” once again hit the nail on the head.  You can’t fight the grief and suppress it.  You won’t win!  When it comes, honor it.  You can only be true to yourself and to honor your feelings at that moment.  For me, that might mean being alone to cry, talking to someone who understands, or if at work, giving myself permission to close my office door for a minute to feel it – accept it – and move forward with my day. 

Tomorrow, in the name of resiliency, we’ll do it all over again.