What you don’t see in pictures

We sat on the back deck last night, in the dark, soaking in the last night of summer.  I sipped a glass of wine, my husband smoking a cigar, the baby monitor on the table between us.

I had that pressure building in my chest all day.  It started with those memory photos that Facebook so kindly shows you.  It showed me, two years ago, smiling in front of hot air balloons with my sister and Rebecca.  If anyone looked at that photo you would just see a couple of happy, smiling, girls.  That is how Facebook can make you look to the world, like nothing is wrong. If you were to know the truth, I was standing there forcing that smile, hiding my baby bump behind that sweatshirt, feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, no make-up on my face because I cried constantly.

I was pregnant in that photo and many others from that day.  Pregnant and carrying a baby whose heartbeat, we had just learned and saw, had stopped.  We went on with our weekend because that is what happens, life goes on and we had to do something to fill the space before surgery was scheduled.

It was just two years ago but the end of summer and change to a fresh season will forever be marked by the loss of our first little girl.  It is hard to just let the day go by.  Several days of pain and waiting, marked in my memories.

So there we sat last night, my husband and I, suddenly I let the tears go.  For him, it is harder to understand.  For him, he looks at the sleeping baby on the monitor and knows everything worked out and it all happened for a reason.  For him, as he said, he didn’t have the physical attachment.  It isn’t that he doesn’t care, he does, but I think for him it is easier to look at Cora and just be okay with it.

For me, I wish I could move on from it and not let it bother me.  I wish it wasn’t such a painful reminder that comes around once a year.  I want to look at Cora and say that she erases that painful time.  But it did happen and from time to time my heart strings get tugged and I’m right back at that place.  It is such a fucked up thing to think if our first little girl made it to this world, we wouldn’t have Cora.  So I can’t wish for one over another.  I feel bad wondering what one would be like today when there is a healthy, little girl, sleeping away in her crib.

There is a baby book at the top of Cora’s closet that was started.  It holds words that I wrote, several ultrasound photos and I bet if you closed your eyes, you can hear the conversations my husband and I already had about that little girls life. Cora’s holds the same starting words, the same ultrasound photo’s but hers keeps going.  The babies that make it and the ones that don’t for reasons we don’t always understand.  For the mamma’s that carry them around in their hearts, wondering what they would be like.

I dried my tears last night, sitting there in the dark.  My husband slowly easing the conversation to something less heavy.  The life we lead because life does move on.  We are looking at swim lessons, planning a first birthday party and easing our family into fall.  I finished my drink, he finished his cigar, we blew out the candles and he gave me a hug.  Grateful for the baby here on earth and the baby in our hearts, the memories will always be there.



10 thoughts on “What you don’t see in pictures

  1. Such a sweet memoir. I went through this with my best friend. I took her for the surgery and then we spent the day together. It was difficult. I don’t know her pain but I sensed and felt it. Reading this will help me be a better friend to her, especially on that date, so thank you for sharing!

  2. I had multiple miscarriages and I keep what would have been their birthdays marked on my calendar. The oldest miscarried baby would be 11 years old now, the youngest 8. Every time their birthdays come around I light a candle for a couple of days in their honor. This is an acknowledgement to the universe that I love these lost children and still hold them in my heart. I feel the grief as deeply now as I did 11 years ago, but my husband has moved on from most of the pain as we have a 5 year old living child now.

    I certainly know some women who weren’t affected deeply by miscarriage, but for some of us the loss will always be there. Many hugs, mama.

    1. I am so sorry for you losses. I love that you light a candle for them. What a sweet reminder to them and the universe that you hold a special place in your heart for them. I do believe every woman handles it differently and clearly our men for that manner. I think men can be a little more black and white where as women we carry more emotions with us. I will say my husband came home that night, after I wrote this, with flowers and a card. The card alone…so many tears and such a beautiful way to remember her.

  3. I don’t know your pain but I just wanted to comment on this saying what a beautiful and sad memoir. How lucky Cora is to have a big sister who played such a huge role in her being here, I’m sorry it’s so hard, I can’t even imagine.

  4. What a beautiful post. Your first baby girl is still very loved even though she’s not here on earth. She would have been lucky to have you as her mama.
    We have a friend whose baby didn’t make it past 28 weeks in gestation and she had to give birth to him. It was only one month after H was born and I was a wreck as I enjoyed my newborn son and also realizing they would never have that same feeling with their son. We stood by them and helped them in every way we could. They moved out of the country shortly after and, this weekend, we saw them for the first time since it all happened. She speaks openly about their son, but when she does there are tears in her eyes. She is incredibly strong, but I know how much pain she is still in a year later. Nothing will ever take away the love you have for your first baby girl. Keep thinking about her and about what life would have been like with her here. That’s what you do when you are a mom. Keep her close to your heart. ❤

    1. Ugh, tears. I just could not imagine having to give birth to a stillborn. Absolute worst nightmare. Your poor friend! My friend had her baby 5 days before I lost mine and two weeks later I threw her a baby shower. Hello alcohol to survive that time. I’m glad your friend speaks openly about him. She should!

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