Yesterday was the March of Dimes March for Babies. I was originally told it was a 4.7 mile walk, but it turned out to only be a 4.2 mile walk. Since I was pushing 150 pounds of stroller and baby, the 1/2 mile savings was a welcome one. Thanks to the support of my wonderful friends, family, and friends inside the computer, I exceeded my original $500 goal, and then even exceeded my lofty $1000 goal and raised nearly $1100 for the March of Dimes. How awesome is that!
Seth and I got up bright and early (well, no earlier than usual) and fed babies, and got everyone dressed up in little jogging suits:
We packed up the car, packed up the babies, and drove off to the site to register. I met up with Mel and her husband and kiddos there and the rest of the team I was walking with and sat down to feed babies one more time before the walk (Mel had been kind enough to meet us there early so she could help feed one of the babies... we've got more babies than we do arms these days... best quote of the day came from her husband: "Are we seriously here this early so that you can feed a baby?" and Mel's quip back, "Yes, we sure are!").
Mel admitted to me at the beginning of the walk that she takes shortcuts on the walk. Really? You can do that? Ohmygosh! I didn't really think I'd want to take a shortcut, except that right at the start of the walk, we went up a long hill. And it kept going. And going. And did I mention the 150 pounds of stroller I was pushing? I wanted to die. And so when we came to a traffic circle, Seth said, "Hey you wanna cut through the middle of it?"
And I said, "Yeah, I totally do, but that would be cheating, wouldn't it?"
Mel looked at me and said, "So you wanna do it?"
"Totally, let's go!"
So through the traffic circle we went. It didn't cut much distance out, to be honest, but suddenly, the walk felt doable. It probably helped that after that point, the walk was on level ground except for one other smallish hill. I felt some guilt for the short cut, except hello? 150 pounds of stroller! And truly, we were walking to raise money for the March of Dimes, and we accomplished that. We weren't walking to torture ourselves. The torture was just a bonus.
We were so lucky that the weather was absolutely gorgeous, in the mid-60's to low-70s and breezy. I had Mel to talk to along the way.
We got a lot of attention with our monstrosity of a triplet stroller, of course. But it was all positive; not one person asked if my triplets were natural. Instead, people asked, "How far did you make it? 33 weeks? That's great!" They asked how long Sam, Ellie, and Abby were in the NICU. They asked how long I was on bed rest. They congratulated us for making it so far. They told us how proud they were of us and our accomplishments already. They said, "keep up the good work." People didn't ask us about the conception of our children, they asked us about how our babies came into the world and about their lives.
Even more importantly, people shared their own stories with us. "How early were your triplets? I had identical twins born 3 months early 35 years ago... they didn't make it. But I'm here today walking for Lucas who was born at 24 weeks and he just turned a year old last month and he's doing great!" one woman shared with me. I wanted to cry for her. I'm not sure, even 35 years after the fact, that I could do this walk after such a horrific loss.
Yesterday I walked for the March of Dimes. I walked to raise money for an organization that touched my life and quite possibly saved my babies' lives. I walked to thank them for the healthy start they helped give to Sam, Ellie and Abby. I walked to remember the babies that were lost this year. Lennox, and Zoe. Jack. Sweet Zoe Rose. And so many more.
We had to cut out the last mile of the walk because Abby was throwing an absolute fit (she's teething) and I felt a little guilty, but also incredibly lucky... I was lucky enough to have a healthy, thriving baby who was here throwing a fit. Not everyone can say that. Some people were walking in memory of their babies, not pushing their babies, and I was keenly aware of that. When I found out I was pregnant with triplets, never did I take for granted that a year later I would actually be pushing a stroller filled with babies... but look how lucky I am!
Thank you to everyone for all of your support. We'll definitely be doing this walk again next year, hopefully with an even loftier goal.