Warren and Tracy Showalter Medrano have turned their devastating loss into an opportunity to help other bereaved parents. For them, it is another way to remember the son who died unexpectedly at 29 weeks a year ago.
"I wanted to find a way to carry on Hudson's name," said Tracy, "to remember my own experience and to help others at the same time."
The couple with the help of family created a special fund called "Hudson's Heart" to collect donations that would benefit other families whose babies were stillborn or died shortly after birth.
Although the Medranos live in Philadelphia, they chose to have the fund benefit Calvert Memorial Hospital because Tracy grew up here and has many family members and friends who live in the county. Giving to the fund is a way for them to show their support and to continue to celebrate Hudson's brief life.
"Creating this fund was a positive experience for me," said Tracy. The couple is pursuing charitable status for the fund so other families who experience similar loss can use it. They have already used some of the contributions to give a digital camera and printer to the nursery at CMH. The equipment is used to take photos of newborns who are transferred or for bereavement photos.
When little Hudson was stillborn the Medranos were given a remembrance box containing his footprints, a lock of hair and other precious mementos. In the days and weeks that followed the box proved to be a tremendous comfort to the grieving parents.
"We plan to continue to collect and to give funds to help others like us," said Tracy. Other plans for the fund, she said, include continuing education for staff to help other parents and families dealing with bereavement and purchasing books that helped her during the healing process.
"Warren and I were fortunate," said Tracy. "Our family and friends were amazing. They took care of our home, taking down the crib, cleaning and cooking meals. But we realize there are others who don't have the same kind of support." She would like to provide in-home resources for these families.
"It really helped me when others acknowledged what happened," she said, "and I was able to talk openly about my loss."
Tracy went on to add, "I would tell other moms to take the time they need to deal with their emotions and feelings. Healing doesn't happen overnight. But reaching out to others, especially those who have had a similar experience, does help."
To make a donation to "Hudson's Heart," please send your check payable to Hudson's Heart, c/o Ryan Showalter, Miles and Stockbridge, 101 Bay Street, Easton, Maryland, 21601.