Normally here on the Pond, we like to keep things fun or at the least entertaining. But yesterday was a day of remembrance and sadness. For those who are more familiar with this Mama Frog, you know that almost 10 years ago our family was touched by the loss of our son E.R. He died on Christmas morning from SIDS at 16 days old. Several months later we also lost a little one to miscarriage. We have been blessed by the addition of 5 more healthy children, but the losses of our two babies has forever shaped our family. Pregnancies are no longer innocent events, Christmas has become a much sadder season and I have become a part of a community that I would have never thought I would belong to- the pregnancy and infant loss world. So many of my friends are celebrating the lives of their babies, cut too short, and watching in sad-joy as their rainbow babies reach the milestones their angel babies never will. And for some of those friends, babies in heaven are all they will ever have. After almost 10 years of living with the loss of E.R. you would think that it would be mostly a dull pain now. Most of the time, you would be right. Every time I look at my Froglets I see one missing, but I have accepted the loss of my son the best way I can. However, sometimes things happen and our lives are touched in ways that impact us deeply.
Flashback 361 days ago. I was 5 months pregnant with Tiny Tadpole, and excited by the group of pregnant mamas around me. Among those was my sweet cousin. Recently married, she and her husband were expecting their first baby. Due on her birthday, at the end of July, my cousin was full of innocence and wide-eyed wonder at this miracle of conception, growing life and birthing babies. I have to admit, my birthing history has been rough (more so than I am willing to get into for this internet space) and I was feeling pangs of jealousy for the birth I knew she would have. Then, on June 3rd, I got a message from my aunt Ro telling me that my cousin, kind, lovely Vee had lost her baby. The day of their baby shower no less. I can only imagine that devastation, that utter heart-break. What I don’t have to imagine is the way I felt, my world spinning, cradling my own pregnant belly and sobbing into my husband’s arms. Stillbirth is my biggest baby fear. I have lived through SIDS and miscarriage. What I have never had to live through is a baby waiting dead inside my belly to be birthed. Stillbirth. Vee, who is honestly one of the most lovely women I have ever had the privilege to know was struck by the ugly hand of baby loss- forever marred by its cruelness.
I wracked my brain for things that would have helped me when E.R. died. I have so few pictures of him, no memories after screaming for my husband to come- that something was wrong with him. Luckily my Aunt Ro is as awesome as her daughter and went to work amid her own grief helping locate a pregnancy loss doula, and made sure there were lots of pictures. And on June 5, 2013, Vee gave birth to her darling sleeping daughter, the spitting image of both her mama and daddy. Although the birth was over, I knew, as I still know that Vee had/has a long road ahead of her. Grief is a very demanding emotion. I could only hope that I would be able to offer her a safe place as she began this journey through loss. It has been hard, from this side of loss, to reach out to her- harder than I imagined. While she was moving across country and trying to put her life back together, I was giving birth to Tiny Tadpole. As she celebrates the milestones her baby (also an E.R.) will never reach, I am sharing Tiny’s milestones with my friends and family across Facebook.
Yesterday was her daughter’s birthday. One year gone. Yesterday I lit a pink candle and along with friends and family remembered a tiny life that ended too soon and honored one of the strongest mamas I know- strong not because she isn’t scared and sad. But strong because she keeps going. Every day.
My Froglets know about death- they know they have a brother that is no longer here. They know that sometimes mamas lose babies. And yesterday, we talked about those babies we know about (and we know a lot) who are no longer with us. And they each spent some time watching our little pink candle burn in honor of little E.R., Vee’s daughter. Always remembered.