So this year marked the 5th year that I was a mom on Mother's Day. Granted, I wasn't supposed to be a mom the first year, since Sebastian was not due until June, but he had his own agenda, and we went with it. I thought I would include pictures from all the runs we have done now.
The first year, a group of coworkers ran with me. This was truly special and meant a lot that they would come out and support us in such a special run. It was highly emotional since Sebastian was still in the hospital making the most of the NICU units at the time!! I remember reaching the start line and tears were welling up in my eyes. Oh, and this was when my broken leg was still healing, so 5km was the farthest I had been in a very long time!! We stopped by the hospital on the way to the run, and again afterwards. I can't remember for sure, but Sebastian probably weighed around three pounds by the time Mother's Day rolled around and would have been about 6 weeks old, at 34 weeks gestation.
The second year, the weather was a bit rough. It was rainy before the race began (thus the rain cover on the stroller). Sebastian slept for most of the race, and again we just walked the 5km. It was special as he was finishing the race with us, when a year earlier, he was still in the hospital. So it was a real treat to bring him along, plus there was a NICU Grad celebration afterwards, except the weather didn't really cooperate for that one!!
The third year, Sebastian was in a tv promo for the race. It meant a lot to share our story and help promote the race. We wouldn't have him if it wasn't for the NICU staff and what they do, and the money raised at the race buys new equipment for the unit to help the babies get the best possible care, so really, how can we not run!! This year, I ran the 10km, while Jeremy ran the 5km. I played a special list on my ipod of all the songs I listened to back and forth from the hospital. Once again, it was a very emotional run, but in the best way possible. I will never forget the fear I had when we found out how sick Sebastian was and that he was going to be born the day he was. It was such an intense feeling of fear and helplessness. There was nothing we could do to help him, except for hope and pray. Doing the run this year, and listening to all those special songs was a perfect way to celebrate him and how far he has come.
Last year, my friend Cindy was running the Mother's Day run as her first ever 5km. This was a big accomplishment for her and so I ran the 5km with her, Jeremy ran the 5km on his own, and Cindy's mom walked with Cindy's boys. We finished and afterwards we all met up for snacks on the city hall plaza. The boys had a great time racing back and forth across the plaza.
Which brings us to yesterday. This time we had Jessica (Jeremy's sister), and Scott join us. It was nice to have people to run with and Sebastian was beyond excited to share the race with his aunt!! Every year we decorate our shirts with little phrases, "Proud Preemie Mom", "NICU Saved My Son", etc. This year though, was the first year that Sebastian's shirt was a race shirt, since this was the first year he was a registered runner, with a chip for his shoe and everything!! And he did great!! It was very typical four-year-old running. Lots of stop and go, but man, when he's going, he really motors!! He was darting in and out of people, and it was great. His shirt got noticed several times, so that was a good thing too (spreading awareness etc). He had a super time and finished in 50:21. Way to go my little super trooper!! We are soooooooo proud of you!!
And now, we'll look forward to next year. I'm sure Sebastian will be excited to run this special race again. After all, NICU saved his life!! We've been raising money for the race every year except the first year. And to date, have raised over $5000. I'm so grateful to all my family, friends, and coworkers that have supported us over the years. It means a lot that you donate, and I assure you, that the money goes directly to the equipment that is purchased, and the equipment is what is most needed on the unit to help out with the babies. This run gives the unit a chance to get some of the new technology that comes out, like the vein viewers they are buying this year. They even had those on display at the Fitness Fair. Very neat way to see veins so that there aren't any unnecessary pokes when trying to get an IV in (just imagine how small the veins are on babies who weigh less than two pounds!! So thanks again for your support!!
So there you have it. Five runs in a row. Looking forward to the next five!!