Monday, March 28, 2016



"An angel in the Book of Life wrote down my Baby's birth, then whispered as she closed the book, 
'Too beautiful for Earth.'" - author unknown

It was my honor to dedicate Saturday’s run to baby Natalie and her family.  As I exited the protected and shaded trail hugged with trees that showed evidence of budding new growth, I was overcome by the vibrant sun and vast blue sky.  On this crisp, early-spring afternoon, the sun warmed the chill from the air and I slowed down for a moment to feel the sun kiss my skin and revel in this gift.  Inspired by the sky’s fresh brightness, the emergence of buds on trees, and the bountiful rays of sunlight, I then propelled forward, taking Natalie with me every step of the way. 

I am so grateful Natalie brought the gifts of new spring to me – a bright, abundant, full sun dancing overhead and new buds of green enriching the previous winter’s bleak canvas.

No mother should ever have to bury her child, but the day after Leah did this unthinkable act she wrote:

“Natalia Rose was born on 9/11/13 at almost 32 weeks, 3 lbs 10 oz, healthy and breathing on her own, with a head full of dark, wavy hair and long fingers. She was born at 11:28 am via c-section, and I saw her for the first time late that evening. She was doing great and I was so happy. At 3 am I was awoken and taken to the NICU. Natalia's heartrate had suddenly dropped. I watched for 30 minutes as they tried to no avail to save my baby, treating her for shock and infection. I held her briefly and she passed away in my arms.

We found out later that fluid had accumulated around her heart and caused it to stop. It's an unlikely risk of the catheter used to feed preemie babies; such an extremely rare occurrence (one-tenth of 1% risk) that the doctor did not even consider it or treat her for it.

Yesterday we buried her in the Little Angels section of the cemetery. Please remember our sweet baby girl, who we love dearly and wanted so badly, and all babies who are gone too soon.”

Sweet Natalie lived outside the womb for just one day, from 9/11/13 to 9/12/13.  Leah adds, “Her given name is Natalia, but we call her Natalie. She should have survived. There is one-tenth of one-percent risk of cardiac tamponade (fluid buildup around the heart) anytime a preemie is given a feeding catheter. It is treatable, but the doctors were unable to detect the problem in time.”

For beautiful baby Natalie who is gone from this world far too soon, my run full of light, love, and natural beauty is dedicated to her and her beloved family.


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

Friday, March 25, 2016


Stillbirth resilience

Maybe you know it.  Hitting rock bottom.  Having your life crumble and slip away between your fingers.  Losing a piece of your future.  Having a part of you die inside.  For me, it was the stillbirth of my daughter.  I was thrown off a cliff, my fingers slipping down and further down as they tried to hold on.  I could have let go.  It would have been so easy to just let go and plummet into a dark crater where I could feed and fuel my depression and hurt.  But, for some reason my fingers held on and eventually began to lift me up a little higher and higher until I finally reached lightness. 

This is resilience.  A word that too many people intimately know – cancer patients, abuse victims, people who have experienced tragedy or near death experiences.  To be given life’s biggest blow and to be smashed, stomped on and run over again and again, and then to pick your broken self up and by some miracle of strength, GO ON.  To put one foot in front of the other.  To run.  To challenge yourself physically and fight for life when it would be so easy not to. 

I am honored to be included in Lexi Behrndt’s project called On Coming Alive and to have my story alongside so many people that I received so much courage, strength, and hope from. 

These are the faces of resiliency. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Breaking the Silence: My Miscarriage Story

Break the silence on miscarriage

Miscarriage is a lonely journey, but it doesn't have to be.  The best thing we can do to support each other is to break the silence about miscarriage and share stories.  Inspired by the Real Woman article about breaking the silence, I want to share my miscarriage story.  I would be honored to hear your miscarriage story and in turn, we can help break the silence. 
Following the stillbirth of my daughter Quinn, the doctor recommended waiting 16 months between deliveries.  My husband and I had the month marked in our calendar…October.  This would be when hope was restored, when we could give our dreams another shot, so we thought.  We got pregnant right away and we thought “this was it.”  “This HAS to happen.”  I had eight months to think about how I would treat a new pregnancy and from the moment I saw the two pink lines on my pregnancy test in November, I began living my post-stillbirth pregnancy mantra: live this moment. 

I was proud of myself for “living the moment” and had moments where I let myself be happy and hopeful.  I daydreamed of a new summer birthday (how novel in our family!) and reveled in the idea that Riley was finally going to be a big sister to a living child!  My OB confirmed the pregnancy and even let me see the heartbeat at such an early stage. 

However, a couple weeks later during my dating scan, the ultrasound tech told me there was a problem and the doctor confirmed - I would miscarry.  I was 9 weeks pregnant.  My world crumbled and crashed all over again.  The darkness that I worked so hard to escape after my stillbirth rushed over my body and mind, leaving me in a lifeless slump.  Again. 

I asked the doctor if we could wait a week and re-scan to be sure.  During that excruciating week I clung on to the hope that a mistake was made.  After all we’ve been through, this pregnancy had to succeed.  It was not possible for a family like us who wants another baby so much to endure another loss…was it?  However, I started to miscarry the eve before my confirmation scan and as the blood began to escape my body, so did my hopes and dreams.

I was worried I would start gushing blood with little time to take action.  However, this was hardly the case.  I had warning when it was coming and the bleeding was very slow at first.  Over a couple days it got heavier – similar to a period – then heavier still.  At this point, I was a bit taken aback by how much blood there was and it was emotionally pretty tough to deal with.  During the progression, I was still at work and it was almost impossible to survive the day.

I am grateful I was off on holiday break for the second half of the miscarriage.  The bleeding was quite heavy, including passing blood clots.  Through it all I was vigorously running and exercising as I was really worried about the miscarriage not completing fully on its own.  I have a long history with running and I thought exercise would help the progression.  Not only did it help physically but it was an emotional comfort that my dear friend running was there to see me through this dark journey. 

On the morning the embryo passed, I went on a hard, hard run.  For the rest of the day I didn’t have any contractions and the embryo passed that evening (without warning).  I am grateful I was in the loving care of my husband and in the comfort of my home when it occurred.  The OB advised I go to the hospital the next day, since it was a Saturday, and the ultrasound confirmed the miscarriage was complete.  I continued to bleed a week more, the whole process lasting about 3 weeks.  Through it all I was very nauseous. 

As my miscarriage happened days before Christmas, I had a particularly tough holiday.  Not only was it our first Christmas without Quinn, but I was fresh with grief. 

The miscarriage really broke me.  After my stillbirth and much healing, I got to a place where I thought it would be possible to have another living baby.  After my miscarriage, however, my hopes and dreams were again shattered and I dived back into despair.  Suddenly my world of “when’s” turned into a world of “if’s,” and this little word change makes all the difference.  My hope morphed from: “when I have another baby” to “if I ever have another baby,” and the accompanying sinking feeling.

I am not triumphed, however, and I can once again see the light and goodness in the world, and I appreciate this with full gratitude.  As such, I am dedicating my year to practicing gratitude, remembering that people are gifts, building my bond with my living child, and focusing on my family’s health and fitness.  However, the question still lingers…what is next for our family?  I have learned that true love exists as much in death as it does in life, but when is it time to embrace the completeness of my family even though it is forever incomplete?