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About the Walk to Remember Inland Empire Founders

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Sarah Miles

Two lines changed my whole world. I went from being a wife, student, and preschool teacher to a mommy; a word I longed to be called for years. On October 31, 2006 at 5:30 a.m., I woke my husband up in the early morning hours to make sure my eyes were not playing a trick on me. He confirmed, two lines. And so, our journey with our first child began. We were the epitome of excited, proud parents. We spent months dreaming, preparing and anticipating bringing our sweet child home. We found out we were having a boy at 18 weeks and rushed out of the doctor’s office to buy him his first stuffed animal, a blue dog. We named our son Brayden Jordan Miles. He was the center of our world. In the final weeks of my pregnancy, we were ready and just waiting.

Then at 37 weeks 3 days gestation, I had lunch with a good friend. We were sitting on a bench eating ice cream. I placed my hand right under my right rib cage in attempt to get Brayden to move down. He kicked my hand 3 times, one right after the other. That was the last time I would feel my son move. The next day I realized I had not felt him move in quite some time. My husband and I rushed to the hospital to once again have our whole world change. This time it was not two lines, but the doctor’s words, “Yeah, there is no heart beat here.” Lying in the hospital laboring for the next four days, I tried to wrap my mind around what was happening, but I couldn’t. Not until later in my empty home, wandering Brayden’s nursery did I know that I would never be the same. A piece of me left with Brayden. I was surrounded in pain and grief. I felt as if no one understood me or my hurt, anger, and frustration.

But I was wrong. I slowly came in contact with mommies like me who had no baby to hold, but loved their child all the same. Those women became my lifeline. In sharing our stories and pain, we became more than friends, more than sisters. We had a bond that was beyond words and only one that mommies like us would truly understand. Those connections were what helped me through my darkest moments. I soon realized that I had to offer that connection with other mommies who had lost a baby. Since losing my precious Brayden, I have been able to give comfort to other families in desperate need of a lifeline as well. After meeting Amanda and recognizing my own passion to help others, we began to plan the Walk to Remember, Inland Empire. My hope is that Walk to Remember will continue to reach the grief-stricken families in the Inland Empire that are in desperate need of support and that we can create a community of families that will share and walk with each other through our journeys with our precious babies.

Thank you,
Sarah Miles
Co-founder of Walk to Remember Inland Empire and proud mommy to Brayden Jordan Miles
and his three living brothers

 

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Amanda Balderrama

After 20 blissful weeks of pregnancy with my first son, I was devastated to learn that I would never be bringing him home due to a terminal condition. There would be no wailing first cry that is music to a mother’s ear, no baby to cradle as we proudly walked out of the hospital, no baths that would fill the house with that wonderfully sweet baby scent…. all of these much anticipated firsts were now replaced with darkness and grief. I carried my son and fought for him an additional 4 weeks, not knowing what to do or where to turn. Fernando Michael Philip was born and went to heaven on August 24, 2004.

I was in complete shock when they brought my son to me in a bassinet. I could not believe my eyes! I was in awe that my husband and I had created a beautiful baby boy, perfect from head-to-toe. How I longed for him to just start crying. That beautiful sound never came and I left empty with just an envelope of his tiny footprints and two pictures.

The days that followed are a blur. No one knew what to say and I felt complete solitude. It became easier to not talk about him, to push away the grief. After all, I didn’t have anyone to relate to. Of course, my husband lost his son too, and my family lost their grandson, brother, and nephew. But not one of them bonded with him for 24 weeks like I had. I felt very alone and had no direction.

I closeted my grief for about 4 1/2 years until I met a friend who lost a baby girl. I could not believe how strong she was and how differently she handled her grief. I felt comfortable in talking about my son; without much explanation, she understood my pain. I realized that it was okay to remember him and recognize how he touched my heart forever. She was someone I could finally connect to, someone who shared my tears. In October 2009, we participated in a Walk To Remember in another county. This was a turning point for me in that it allowed me to begin to heal. I walked away from that day knowing that I was destined to help families the way that it helped me.

Shortly after, I was blessed to meet Sarah, who shared my passion in giving families the support that the Inland Empire so desperately needed. We started the organization shortly after we were introduced in 2010, realizing how important sharing our grief was. The connection we had that we shared with no one else helped us walk through our journey. It is our mission to give those families who are devastated by the loss of a baby the support that we didn’t have. We want to walk with you on your path of remembering your baby and healing your heart…

Amanda Balderrama
abalderrama@foreverfootprints.org

Director of Journey to Remember Program

Co-founder Walk to Remember Inland Empire and proud mommy to baby girls she holds in her arms
and two babies she carries in her heart

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