Thursday, September 23, 2010

Picture This

Photo: K. Schneider, 2008

This was me. This was me over 2 years ago, pregnant and anxiously awaiting E's arrival. That pregnancy I did a ton of yoga, read all the books, got prenatal pictures taken, never really thought anything terrible would ever happen to us.  I have plenty of pictures of my expanding belly, like this one:

As my due date approached, came, and went, I got bigger, more anxious, and more ready for E to be born.

Then, almost a year later, I became pregnant with Calla.  And as that pregnancy continued, we never really took any pictures of my belly. I don't know,  it kind of slipped away from us. As I got bigger the weather got colder, and well, I just don't know why we didn't take any pics. Until the night before she died. We had our prenatal photos done as almost an afterthought, a quickly scheduled session. The next day we found out Calla was dead.

I feel like a heel.

Did I subconsciously know something was wrong? Why didn't I celebrate that pregnancy as I did the first? Who knows. All I really have as proof that Calla was here are random photos with me in the background, side shots, belly as an afterthought. I can chalk it up to being exhausted, to chasing a toddler around and not remembering to capture the little moments. But I was a real pain during that pregnancy, and what I remember most is not happy anticipation, but irritation. I was uncomfortable, my clothes were ill-fitting, I was tired, I was grumpy, I was nauseated, I was unsure how I was going to manage two under two.

And then it all ended, out of the blue.

And we still haven't ordered any of the prenatal pics from that night. Right now it's the only message in my inbox--I keep things pretty tight in there. Dated January 21, 2010, a link to the photos. Only a handful of times have I looked at the link, through the photos. We are going to order some, I swear. It's just, well, it's just hard. The last time I remember smiling without a backdrop of sadness.

This time, I've not really taken any pictures yet, either. I don't want to jinx anything. We're NOT doing the photo session/studio picture thing. I just can't bring myself to do it again. A friend may take some shots of me, and of us, and I guess it should happen soon. It makes me nervous.

This past summer, this hot, ridiculously humid, miserable summer, I actually put on my bathing suit and WENT SWIMMING. It's gotta be pretty darn hot for me to actually go in a pool, but I did it. Two piecer and all. And I never once got a picture of me in that swimsuit. Huh. It would have been the easiest way, I guess. But once again, it got away from us.

Here's the closest thing I have:

And speaking of pictures, here's another confession: I still haven't done anything to bring the pictures of Calla home. They're on my hard drive, uploaded to a web album somewhere. I keep meaning to make them into a book. And I will. I really should, before this new baby arrives (however he makes his way into the world, Universe willing fingers crossed). Only a select few have seen the pics, and it's really difficult to look at them. I couldn't even force myself to smile in any of them. The look on everyone's faces is sheer misery, sadness, despair. 

Here's one:

A thousand words? Try a billion tears.


  1. Oh I can relate a few months ago I searched and searched for a photo of me pregnant with Jack and although he was a preemie I thought I might have one ... but nope but yet so many with Owen. That photo is both a thousand words and a billion tears. Hugs.

  2. It all changes, and nothing is as simple or easy as it once seemed. We have four pictures of Lyra from the hospital...we didn't know about NILMDTS in the area, so we just have the pictures a nurse took. It's hard to look back on...I didn't smile either. There's so much love, and thus why a billion+ tears.

  3. You are brave, brave, brave, and strong, strong, strong.

  4. I have seen so many of these pictures now, given that I've been in this babyloss game over two years, and each and every time they bring me to my knees. Why? Just why?
    God I wish she was here.

  5. I have those belly pictures and a belly cast. I don't know what to do with them. I can't look at them, can't get rid of them. Can't go back in my time machine.
    Most of my pictures of Juniper are on my cell-phone. We had some "real" ones taken by my sister, who is a professional photographer, they show all too clearly what he looked like, but I like my phone ones the best.

  6. oh Mary Beth, I don't have any words. Sweet Calla is so beautiful - that picture makes me ache. You are both so beautiful, and there's such love there. I know I don't have any sort of wisdom to impart, or anything to say that makes it easier...just know that there is so much love in the world for both of you, always.

  7. "The last time I remember smiling without a backdrop of sadness."

    Calla, you could not be more missed.

    Cathy in Missouri