‘Walk for the Angels.’

One in four pregnancies end in loss.

My heart knows that fact, but even with online support, it’s hard to see that statistic in person. Maybe that’s why when I heard over six hundred people registered for the God’s Tiny Angels ‘Walk for the Angels,’ my heart skipped a beat. It was still just a number until I saw the line of people waiting outside the church to register. Even then it still didn’t click.

Yesterday was my first remembrance walk since Jensen has been born. I made big orange and navy buttons with a white J in the middle. We went out and bought bright, orange bandanas. I needed to be prepared for the day because I didn’t really know what to expect. It would be the first time I was around a huge amount of people who have been effected by loss, not just the small groups I was used to. There would be a lot of stories and emotions all in one room that I had to be aware of. I probably should have warned my family and Frank about those raw emotions that radiate off.

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Then there we were, in the sea of people in an ocean of grief.

The board members of God’s Tiny Angels spoke of sharing, healing, and helping. Their pillars of support and what they strive to do. I cried as the spoke knowing that each of those have shaped my grief journey. Jensen and I’s support heard those words for the first time, that didn’t come out of my mouth. They heard and they saw love, loss, and the magnitude of how many people are touched by angels. I think the heaviness of sadness was felt by everyone there, but we could surrender ourselves to that emotion and let hope flow in by walking for them.

Each step of the walk, I kept thinking of taking the steps for Jensen. He’ll never be able to take the steps for himself, but he had so many people there for him. As did all the babies gone too soon. The walk was peaceful and hundreds of balloons floated above our heads, symbolizing Jensen and all of his friends being with us. I also thought of the walk as journey of grief too. Although we have to take our steps to move forward, there are always people around to help us keep walking. AND we are always surrounded by our angels.

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As we got back to the church and went to the courtyard to release the balloons, I really could see how many people were there. Families grouped together with their buttons representing their child and packs of pink, blue, and white balloons everywhere you looked. Music was being played and we were asked to release our balloons and messages of love to the clouds, knowing our babies would see them. We let go of our pack of blue balloons with the glimpses of orange lettering on the cards. They danced up to the clouds, not alone, but with all the other balloons from each family. In that moment, it clicked. Each of those hundreds of balloons represented a baby gone and a family whose life was changed forever.

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I watched Jensen’s balloons until I couldn’t see them anymore. Tears fell down my cheeks, the release of love and loss is therapeutic. Although I couldn’t see the balloons dancing in the wind anymore, I knew he still saw them. He grabbed them and played with the balloons in awe. Maybe he was read those messages, but he already felt the warmth of the love we have for him. That’s all he’s ever known.

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1 in 160.

Today is the final day of this journey. It also marks five weeks since Jensen has been gone. Five long weeks since I’ve been without my beautiful boy. In those five weeks, my love has grown so much. It’s a complicated love; a mother’s love without here child physically here. Instead of nurturing him, I’ve been finding ways to nurture my grief. One day at a time, I’ll continue to survive. I’ll continue to tell Jensen and I’s story. I’ll always love him.

Instead of a prompt, we were asked to join to celebrate on the Still Mothers Facebook page. Their website provides a multitude resources for bereaved mothers that do not have living children. They provide support and guide mothers into life after miscarriage, still birth, infant and child loss. It’s just one of the many great sources I have found in the past five weeks.

I wanted to take this final day and share some of the information I have found and websites that have helped me tremendously.

Here is Day Ten…

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Facts:

1 in 4 pregnancies end with a baby dying.

1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth.

1 in 100 babies die from recurrent miscarriages.

1 in 4 babies die after birth.

Jensen and I are the 1 in 160 pregnancies ending in stillbirth.

He was 38 weeks and 1 day. I had an ultrasound 4 days beforehand and everything looked perfectly. Jensen was kicking and moving the 1 day beforehand. He did nothing wrong. I went to every appointment, ate what I was supposed to, took my prenatal everyday, never took any type of medicine during pregnancy, got enough sleep, drank water, didn’t lift anything, and the list goes on and on. We did everything right; it ended wrong.

I’m sure the stats for infant and child loss could go on and on. I’m unaware of those statistics. I don’t mean to scare anyone or upset anyone with those numbers. They are the truth. I didn’t know those numbers while I was pregnant, I don’t even know if that would have changed anything. I never thought this would be my life.

For the past week, you’ve followed along and know mostly where I am. You know my love for Jensen, my feelings, and how thankful I am for the support I’ve gotten. Most people see those numbers I listed above just as numbers, I see them for what they really are. I am the one and I’ve met so many other “ones.” I see them as the beautiful mothers to perfect angels.

I’d also like to share some of the websites and other sources that have helped me. It’s a nice source for bereaved mothers and everyone.

  • Faces of Loss  is a website where women can submit their stories and support others. The stories can range from early miscarriage to infant loss. It’s a way to really connect with others and read their stories in detail. People can comment on each story, anonymously or not, to comfort and let mothers know they’re not alone. I actually submitted Jensen and I’s story and it was recently posted. If you’d like to read it you can here.
  • The Carly Marie Project has been a great resource for me. I’ve read through her website, watched her videos, and saw her amazing art; she is a beautiful soul. She posted a meditation video on her Facebook that I’ve watched over and over. Plus, she wrote Jensen’s name in the sand on Mother’s Day that brought me into tears.
  • Molly Bears is an organization that allows bereaved parents to fill their empty arms. They take the weight of a baby and make a teddy bear that weight. It allows a parent to remember what their child’s weight felt like. Their story is beautiful and they have helped so many families.
  • BurdenBearingBaskets although I did not receive a basket, I love the idea of helping another bereaved family through this Etsy shop. Jessica and Melissa provide a personalized basket to help a parent navigate their grief. The contents in the basket are beautiful and the shop owners are wonderful to talk with. I’d definitely recommend checking their shop.
  • Still Standing Magazine the sister site to Still Mothers. They also provide so many resources and support outlets. On Mother’s Day, they posted all throughout the day to reach out to bereaved mothers. It was nice just to watch videos, listen, and reach out when I was in the low of the day.
  • I also would recommend support groups online and in person. I have been trying to be as active as I can be in the online groups. There are local ones and national ones that will welcome you. This month I am going to my first group support in person. I’ll have to write afterwards, but they have been so supportive when I asked information about their groups through email. If you’re in Ohio, I’d love to share some of the local groups and in person groups with you.

As I look back on the ten days, I’m so thankful I found this program. I have met so many beautiful women and have been able to express my grief without any judgement. I’m so happy Jensen and I’s story has made an impact and helped other people. It means so much that his name is remembered and said by so many. He is the reason why I go on as strongly as I do. He is the reason why I’m a mother.

Although I might not be posting every single day in the near future, I plan on writing frequently. I created this blog to share Jensen and I’s story and I feel that I have so much more to share. It humbles me to see all of you read our story and be so supportive.