Yesterday was a very big day. First of all, it was your 6 month birthday! 6 months baby boy, you would be 6 months old. Everyday I wonder how big you'd be and what you'd be doing. Even though you are not here for us to buy presents, Mommy and Daddy got to do something very special for you on your 6 month birthday.
We walked in March of Dimes March for Babies on your team, Marcellus's Marchers. I didn't know what to expect when I started the team. I just knew I wanted to do something for you. I knew I was going to do my best, but I had no idea how big everything would get. We had about 20 people walk with us here in NC yesterday. Did you know you also had people walking in MN and CA? The walks in MN (that's right, you were represented at 2) were yesterday, one even at the exact same time as ours. The walk in CA was today. I know you already know about all this stuff, but I still like to feel like I'm telling you about it. I hope everyone knows how much it means to has to have them involved like this. One of my biggest fears is people will forget about you, or stop talking about you. But knowing that all these people were walking for you and supporting us in this walk shows me that they will never forget about you. Lots of people were even already talking about our team for next year! How awesome is that? Every year we will have a team just for you.
Between everybody across the country, you raised $13,500!!! Here on earth we did put a little work into it, but you are the one that truly raised all that money. You are the one that has inspired and touched peoples lives. Marcellus, you are the one making a difference. Me, I'm just your mommy. The amount of money and the number of people that came out to be on our team makes me so proud. I am so very proud to be your mommy sweet boy, so proud and thankful. That money was enough to put us in 2nd for family teams at our walk. Your name was announced over the speakers when they gave out the awards. Everyone got to hear your name.
We also got to go up on stage before the walk because we won best family team t-shirt design. Daddy worked really hard on those. He did a great job. Of course, we all know what won everyone over with the shirts...you're beautiful wide eyed face on the front!
As well as our team did though, it was a hard day. I almost didn't want to go. But, as someone (or many people) said to me. I wasn't choosing to do the walk because it was easy. It was very overwhelming. I spent most of the time before the walk zoning out and unable to focus on people talking to me. There were a lot of people there and it was loud. There were a lot of babies there. A lot of babies that had been in the NICU, even some from the same NICU you were in. They are babies that made it and they with their parents that got to take them home. Instead of having you with us, I carried around Marcellus Bear. I didn't put him down once. I didn't get to have you in my arms. To have people come up and say "Oh look at how big he is...you can't even tell he was born at 28 weeks!" Instead I don't now how big you would be today. Instead I have a teddy bear that weighs what you did when you were born. That was hard baby boy. Really hard.
They had someone give an inspiring talk. A mommy whose baby was born unexpectedly at 23 weeks...23 weeks, 5 weeks earlier than you were born. That baby was a lot earlier, a lot smaller, and had a lot more problems than you did when you were born. But that baby was there, over a year old now. Your chance of survival was so much higher than that little boy's. And yet, you are not here. How does that work? I would never think "it should have been that baby that died"...no, I don't think that. I just think if that baby could live, why couldn't you too? Why did you have to die? Why do any babies have to die? It's so backward.
Once we got walking it was better. I could focus more on you and why we were there. It was also powerful to see so many people walking for the same reason. Yes, some were walking for their living babies and others, like us, were walking for their babies that are not here. But everyone was walking for their babies, to give babies a healthy start to life. If the money we raised can help even just one mommy and daddy not have to go through this, to help one baby have a better chance at life, then we've helped honor you.
We got to see some of the nurses from the NICU you were in. A couple of them had taken care of you. One nurse, she always called you "lover boy." She had you matched up with the little girl in the pod next to yours. When she saw Daddy and your picture on his shirt she said, "There's my little man. He's so handsome!" She was talking about you. It felt really good to have her react that way. To know that she cares about you too and still thinks about you. There was a nurse there that hadn't taken care of you, but was there when you were in the NICU. She remembered that she had helped us with k-care one time. It was either my first or second time k-caring with you because she said I was still in my gown. She also told me that one of the other nurses had just been talking about you the day before. The nurse that was talking about you took care of you when I got to hold you for the first time. I think she only had you one other time, but she would always check in on you. And she was charge nurse the day you died. She's the one that brought you the blanket and hat. You're wearing that hat and Mommy and Daddy kept that blanket. I carried it around with me for a very long time.
We actually had lunch with the first nurse I mentioned today. It's really nice to talk to people that knew you and spent time with you when you were alive. Other than us, they spent the most time with you and knew you the best. They are also the only people that ever got to see the three of us together. You, Daddy, and I all together being a complete family. I always like to think you were the favorite of the NICU and today your nurse told us that you were her favorite! I know she could say that to all parents, but I know she meant it. Because you really were baby boy. I could tell the way they interacted with you. You were feisty, but a little charmer. Just perfect.
After the walk we went with our team to have lunch at your tree. It was the first time everyone got to see your tree, your special place here in NC. They all said it is a beautiful tree. It had so many more leaves on it than it did the week before when Daddy and I were there. It was nice to get to show everyone your tree. It was also special that everyone wanted to come see it. At first I was worried that people would think it wasn't a big deal. But it is a big deal. You aren't here to show off, so I am glad people are interested in seeing the special things we have for you and participating in the special things we do for you like the walk yesterday.
I wish you were here little squirmy wormy. I wish I could have shown you off at the walk yesterday. I wish I was oblivious to the loss side of the NICU. I just want you here with me. But more than anything I am thankful to be your mommy. I wouldn't trade that for the world. And as your mommy I am very proud of you. Proud of everything you have accomplished. You are one amazing son. Missing you every day sweet boy and loving you right up to the moon and back! I love you I love you I love you! xoxox