It’s been 4 years since my husband and I were completely blindsided by the loss of our firstborn, Sadie Rose. I, like most first time mothers, was naïve to the idea of loss and the drowning heartache that follows. From what I knew, and had heard from friends, I was out of the danger zone after the first trimester and now with only 8 weeks left it would be smooth sailing to the finish line.
The days leading up to August 19, 2016 are etched deep in my memory, like graffiti scratched into an aging tree. Never fading.
The Saturday before I found myself alone in a hospital room, I attended my first baby shower. Friends and family came out of the woodwork to celebrate Baby Sisemore. At the time we were unaware of the baby’s gender, something my husband and I thought would be fun to reveal upon delivery. In the weeks and months following our loss I couldn’t help but think the baby shower was a cruel joke from the universe, one last hurrah before it all came crashing down.
Sunday evening I managed to polish off the leftover shower cake and prepare for a typical workweek. It was, like every August in Oklahoma, hot outside but besides being uncomfortably pregnant in the boiling heat I had no reason to think anything was wrong. By Wednesday afternoon I noticed our little acrobat in utero wasn’t as active as normal and headed to the hospital to be checked out.
At the time, my husband was 5 hours away for work, so I went in by myself not thinking it could be something serious. Remember earlier I said I was naïve, this confirms it. It wasn’t until after the deafening words uttered from the doctor’s mouth, “We can’t find a heartbeat,” that I called my husband and family to let them know what had happened. Once my husband arrived later that evening, the induction process started. Labor was long and painful, but two days later on Friday evening we finally held our sweet Sadie Rose.
It was then that the nurses arranged for a NILMDTS photographer to come in and capture our first and only photos as a family of 3.
In the weeks after our interaction with the volunteer photographer, I started following NILMDTS on social media and discovered the Virtual Walk. I instantly registered and threw myself into planning a small local gathering for our friends and family to celebrate Sadie. Just two months after the loss of our daughter, we participated in what would become a yearly tradition, the NILMDTS Virtual Walk. On the day of the walk, we reserved pavilion space at a local park, ordered food and balloons, and had fifty of our closest friends and family join us. At the end of the evening, we captured a photo of a majority of the attendees, as a memento to compare to future walks we would plan. The memories made from the walk will never replace the ones that “could have been” but they allow us to continue to have new memories in Sadie Rose’s name.
Our family has continued this tradition yearly. The fellowship we experience on walk day is invaluable and another memory our family can forever contribute to Sadie Rose. The people in our group photograph change from year to year, some come and some go, but the purpose of why we are there remains constant.
As we prepare for our 5th annual walk in honor of our daughter Sadie, I can’t help but credit a large portion of my healing journey to this organization. Through NILMDTS we not only received priceless images, but I was able to find a shred of purpose again following our loss.
The planning and preparation for our first walk helped me to mother Sadie when, at the time, I had no other outlet to do so. It filled my hands and heart with purpose in the name of our firstborn and for that, I will be forever grateful.
Our family looks forward to participating in this year’s Virtual Remembrance Walk. While miles may separate us, there is comfort in knowing that countless other families are making those same memories in honor of their babies at the same time and day that our family will be.