“Her name is Mayson and she is where our family’s story begins.”
Tosh Taylor wrote those words on Facebook this year, on what would have been her daughter’s 10th birthday. It was one of the first times she publicly shared about her eldest daughter.
Mayson was born at 20 weeks, weighing less than one pound. She had Trisomy 21 and hydrocephalus, conditions Tosh and her husband Jason knew about before her birth and were as prepared as possible for, thanks to the staff at the Maternal Fetal Care Unit (MFC) at The Moncton Hospital.
Most people in the Greater Moncton Area probably don’t know much about what happens in the two small exam rooms that make up MFC, but for many of us who experience difficult pregnancies, those rooms become a focal point of the experience. The unit helps hundreds of families through high-risk pregnancies every year, accepting referrals from Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec, and throughout our province.
“Maternal Fetal Care has been a saviour,” says Tosh. “Thanks to their love and support with Mayson, we knew of her diagnosis and so her early birth did not come as a surprise.” The staff in the unit also followed Tosh during her next two pregnancies, with both babies also showing signs of Trisomy 21 and 18. “Without them seeing us weekly to asses and put my mind at ease, I am sure I would have never had another child. I think highly of many people but not nearly the same as I value the opinions and knowledge of this staff. We are beyond grateful for them and the unit here in Moncton.”
The Taylor family will be one of many taking part in the second annual Walk to Remember in Moncton. The event (taking place Sunday, October 23, 2017 at the Moncton Hospital) happens during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and was started last year by Kim Nelson and Amy Boljkovac. Kim and Amy are both local teachers who lost their babies within a few months of each other in 2012. Organizing the walk was a way to honour their children, as well as promote the work done by the MFC unit and create a community discussion about pregnancy and infant loss.
“We want to provide support to families who have lost late term, still birth, early miscarriages, and families who are unable to conceive,” Kim told Pickle Planet Moncton last year. “Your baby is your baby. It doesn’t matter if you lost them at 6 weeks or 26 weeks, you become a mother when you choose to be a mother. This is a place to go for your child to be remembered, talked about.”
Tosh sees Mayson’s legacy every day.
“She came to create the Taylor family,” she says. “She might not have stayed, but she brought with her the two amazing daughters we have today and for that, every single day I am grateful that she chose us to be her parents, no matter how short the time.”
The walk is open to everyone, those who have experienced loss or just wish to offer support. It is a free event, though you are asked to register online, and there is an option to donate online. Money raised will go to the Maternal Fetal Care Unit at the Moncton Hospital.
“We were really pleased with the turnout at Walk to Remember last year,” says Kim. “We had about 200 people come out which really confirmed for Amy and I how many parents are seeking this kind of support and are looking for a way to remember and honour their children. The focus of this walk will always be to support grieving families and remembering their children, however, even without a focus of fundraising, more than $6,000 was donated for the Maternal Fetal Care Unit.”
Like Kim and Amy, Tosh sees the need for such an event in the community.
“Ten years ago I could have really benefited from this walk or some outlet to share our experience,” she says. “I’ve always said we were lucky even after losing our child. We were lucky to have MFC to guide us properly, give us the correct information, and be someone to talk to. But I know I’d have been even luckier had there been other mothers to talk to who had been where I was at the time. I doubt I’d have carried as much guilt for so long with them to share with.”
The walk takes place on Sunday, October 23rd, 2017 starting in the Atrium at The Moncton Hospital. Registration will begin at 1pm, followed by opening remarks and a short walk. There will be refreshments afterwards at the hospital. You can find more details about Walk to Remember on its website or Facebook group.