On April 7th, I “met” Heather Spohr. I say “met” because her and I have never had a conversation or seen each other’s faces in real life, but I started reading her blog. I’ve talked about her daughter Maddie here before. April 7th was the day that Heather and her husband Mike lost Maddie.
Maddie was born premature and spent 68 days in the NICU. And then she came home and got stronger and healthier and bigger, and then one day she caught a cold, and a couple of days later, she died. Heather has been sharing her life with the world ever since that heartbreaking day. And today would have been Maddie’s 2nd birthday. Ever since April 7th, I have been introduced to a world where not every baby comes out OK. Not every baby comes out even alive. There are no guarantees in life, and one of the saddest facts of life is that not every pregnancy ends well.
I know that there are a lot of good causes out in the world. Especially today, Veterans’ Day, you stop to appreciate what you have. You have freedom of speech, and freedom to demonstrate and freedom to bear arms, and freedom to raise your child how you wish. There are many parents who never get to raise their children how they wish. They don’t get to celebrate birthdays and kiss them goodnight and teach them how to climb up the stairs or swing a baseball bat. They have to parent a child who is in heaven. I can’t imagine how difficult that job is.
Heather and Mike are doing the best they can to honor Maddie’s life and her memory. Since they spent so much time with her in the NICU, they have created a foundation to help parents of NICU children. They also support the March of Dimes, since Maddie lived past her first day of life with drugs and research developed by the March of Dimes.
I have chosen today, Madeline Alice Spohr’s 2nd birthday, to be a Friend of Maddie. It is as simple as donating a NICU pack to help give support to one family after the birth of their baby. A baby that, I am sure, they would love to see grow up tall and strong, to celebrate birthdays and climb jungle gyms. So today, November 11th, consider becoming a Friend of Maddie. Or consider donating to the March of Dimes. Or you could support your local children’s hospital. You could do it for Maddie, or another baby that you know that maybe didn’t get to see their 2nd birthday. Or you could even offer up a simple prayer, a prayer for all babies who don’t get the fairytale beginning that every parent hopes for.