"Nothing will ever be okay again." Those are the words I said to my then thirteen-year-old son when hugged me and told me that things were going to be okay as the ambulance pulled away with Sadie.
That morning I had found her in her crib and I knew our baby was gone. Though my husband and I knew we would never have a full life with Sadie, nothing would soften the blow of losing her. My husband came home from work and we were left to figure out how to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives and move forward.
After all, we have five other children and they needed us. Sadie's twin sister was not quite a year old. Our family needed us, all of us. Not just a part of us while the rest was in a dark place somewhere.
The next week was a blur between notifying family, friends, and the team of doctors Sadie had. There was a funeral to plan and things to take care of. Our nursery for two babies now became a room for one. It was all so overwhelming and some days I felt like I was drowning.
Our family leaned on one another more than we ever had before. We knew that together we were going to get through the pain, but it was going to take some time. Losing a child is not something a parent should ever endure. Losing a sibling as a child is not something you ever want your children to experience.
Just four days after we lost Sadie, we celebrated her twin sister turning a year old. It was the most bittersweet day of my life. We were so lucky and blessed to have Sarah, healthy and happy. But Sadie should have been there. It was hard to keep the anger in check sometimes.
The days turned to weeks and then into months, and the grief wasn't as heavy. Our family found a new normal and we were able to move forward together. We celebrated Sarah's milestones and honored Sadie. Her memory is still very much alive in our home, as her pictures and memories still grace our walls.
Fast forward several years and I felt drawn to help NICU families in some way. My husband and I had talked about starting a nonprofit, but we were not sure where to begin. There are already many successful nonprofits that help support NICU babies. Then it hit me- support the FAMILIES! Everyone thinks about the babies (as it should be) but the families sometimes get overlooked.
I knew that if I decided to embark on that journey, it would mean needing to share our story. I had to be sure I was ready for that because outside of our family we had never really talked about losing Sadie. I felt that I was strong enough. I have to admit, it is still tough and I am not sure there will ever come a time when it won't be. But I know that by sharing, we can help other families just beginning the journey we made seven years ago.
Once I knew what direction I wanted to go it was like a fire was lit in my soul. I had a plan and we started to execute. I wrote out my ideas and excitedly told my husband what I thought would work. Together we would make this dream a reality.
I filed the incorporation paperwork for Sadie's Purpose in March of this year. Now just five months later, we're closing in on being able to make our first round of donations at the NICU where Sadie was cared for. It has been a whirlwind ride and we are just getting started.
Our story isn't done. Still to come- how did I decide what we would donate? Why support packs? And so much more! Be sure to join our mailing list so you don't miss the next post!