A few years ago I had no idea that October was about anything other than breast cancer awareness. And don’t get me wrong, it is an incredibly important cause and because of all the awareness breast cancer now has nearly a 98% survival rate. But October is also pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. That is a cause that is also very near and dear to my heart.
You see, before I even became pregnant with Wyatt and Olivia, I was pregnant with a baby that we would lose at just 5 weeks into the pregnancy. Our baby had implanted in my fallopian tube and passed away on its own before the ectopic pregnancy was discovered. We have no idea if that baby was a boy or girl or what he/she would have looked like, acted like, etc had everything turned out differently. That was a horrible loss, but still doesn’t even come close to the pain that would come just a little over 2 years later when we lost Olivia to brain cancer at 20 months old on October 22, 2013.
Olivia was a complete light in our family. From the moment she was born her calm spirit and complete inner beauty brought so much peace into our home. She was a true angel here on earth and the 20 months we had with her would never be enough.
Olivia never got to have a normal childhood. She never learned how to feed herself. She was never able to crawl or walk or learn to speak. Mentally she had the same intelligence and emotional needs as her twin brother, but she didn’t have the physical ability to act on what she wanted. Cancer stole that from her.
So for our family, pregnancy and infant loss has happened twice over. Each and every day we know that we are without two members of our family. The picture included in this post was taken at my maternity photo shoot this past weekend. The only way we can have a somewhat complete family portrait will always be by holding up a picture of our beautiful girl in Heaven. Landon (our little boy due in November) won’t know his sister until he joins her in Heaven some day. He will only get to hear about her and see pictures. That knowledge is enough to break my heart over and over again. Let alone the fact that Wyatt has to grow up without his twin sister. His other half.
This October I implore all of you to support breast cancer awareness. But don’t forget about what else this month represents. Don’t forget about the countless children who went to Heaven far too soon with no chance to grow up. And many of these children lost their lives to cancer, just like Olivia. Go gold all year. Remember our children. Fight for them. Never forget.
Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. All proceeds benefit the neuro-oncology research team at Children’s Hospital Colorado. You can learn more and donate by visiting www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.