Friday, October 5, 2012

Capture Your Grief Days 1-5

The wonderfully Carly Marie (of Christian's Beach, where she writes and photographs babies' names in the sand. See Marcellus's here.) started a photography challenge called Capture Your Grief specially for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The challenge started on October 1st, so obviously I am behind. But I would like to post the pictures all at once now up until this point. Here's what I will be posting for each day of October so far (in Carly Marie's description, found here):

Day 1. Sunrise I thought it would be sweet for us all to capture the beginning of this beautiful project and important month by us all getting up early to photograph the sunrise from wherever we are in the world. I know depending on where you are and what climate you are in that there may not be a sunrise, but if you can still get to a window, snap a photo of the morning! When you share your photo online make sure you write what State/Country you are in and the time of the sunrise {just for fun!}
Day 2. Before Loss Self Portrait Share a photo of you before your loss. You could share a drawing/skecth or painting you have done if you would prefer that!
Day 3. After Loss Self Portrait Share a photo of you after your loss. Sam as yesterday if you would prefer to you can share a drawing/skecth or painting you have done!
Day 4. Most Treasured Item Something that relates to your baby/ies/child/ren. Maybe it is their hand and foot prints or a photograph. Whatever it is we would love to see it.
Day 5. Memorial This could be anything you have had done in memory of your baby/ies/child/ren. It could be their plaque at the cemetery or a tree that has been planted in their memory, anything at all.

And now here are my photos.

Day 1: Sunrise
This picture was taken on October 1st (on my way to work at about 7:20 am. Yes, I know I shouldn't take pictures while driving, but I did anyway). It was a rainy, cloudy, miserable day. But I thought it was fitting. The start of October, my sweet boy's birth month and he's not here to be planning a first birthday party for. My heart was heavy that day and sometimes when the weather matches how I'm feeling, I feel like God is grieving with me.

Day 2: Before Loss Self Portrait
I thought a lot about what picture to use for this. I went back and forth between some of my favorite pictures of me with Marcellus. But I decided on a pregnancy picture instead. This picture was taken at 27 weeks 6 days gestation, 6 days before Marcellus was born and 18 days before he died.. It was a Saturday night and Mike and I were just hanging out at home. My belly had started itching and I was using Burt's Bees Momma Bee (an all natural belly butter) on my tummy. Must have smelled good because Perk immediately started licking me. I went downstairs in a sports bra to show Mike and we decided to get out the camera. I didn't mind pictures of my bare belly, I loved that belly. Perk was licking away. Of course, we knew it was because of the body butter, but I like to think of it as his way of interacting with Marcellus. Those pictures are the only ones I have of them "together." I chose this specific picture because of the look on my face. I remember laughing hysterically over it. A laugh I haven't laughed since. The pure happiness on my face. The excitement I remember feeling at that time of my pregnancy. We were just starting to really prepare for our baby. We spent that weekend registering. I wish I could feel that way again. I wish I could feel that way about this pregnancy. The pure elation and on top of the world feeling.

Day 3: After Loss Self Portrait
Now this one I really really struggled with what to post. Do I want to share the intimate moments immediately following when Marcellus's little heart stopped beating? And the truth is yeah, I do. I mean the reason for this Capture Your Grief Photo Challenge is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This is part of the awareness, the moments we've had to live through as grieving parents. So I warn you here I guess that this photo is very emotional. It's of Mike and I holding Marcellus moments after he was pronounced. In this picture you can only see the very top of Marcellus's head. I just don't know about sharing those pictures of him and his little body. They are absolutely beautiful to me, but I can't imagine what I would do or how I would feel if anyone said anything negative about them. I wish I didn't have to worry about that. I wish I could share them freely and say "look, there's my beautiful baby boy without all the tubes and wires on him. Look how precious he is!" Maybe someday I will, but not tonight. Tonight I share the embrace Mike and I had in those immediate moments. I think it says a lot about that moment. The hurt, the love for our son, the love for one another, the clinging to each other we immediately did, the desperation, the devastation.

Day 4: Most Treasured Item
Another one that was hard to choose. We have so many treasured items of Marcellus's. His lock of hair, his hand and foot castings, his blankets, clothing and other things that were bought for him. But my most treasured are the many pictures and videos we took of him, especially the videos. While of course I have my memories of him, no matter how strong they are, those videos bring me right back. Right back to being in that NICU with him, right back to the happiest moments of my life. Our little video camera, a Kodak Play Touch, nothing fancy at all to it. Mike got it the day after Marcellus was born on one of his many trips to Target to get me things. How very very thankful I am he thought to get that! And so my most treasured item is my favorite video we have of Marcellus. It's a little dark because it was taken around midnight 11/3-11/4 (6 days old). Every night after k-care he would be super wide-eyed like this (that is after both eyes were open, this was the first night they were. He was born with them fused shut). It was so difficult to leave and if it were up to me I would have never slept. The nurses had to convince us that we needed to take care of ourselves too. I wish we would have never left though, especially when he was so awake like this.

Day 5: Memorial
This is the most recent picture I have of Marcellus's spot. It was taken on 9/28/11, his 11 month birthday, when I was recently in MN. His headstone has his name and dates with our names on the bottom. In the middle is part his bedtime song Mike wrote him while he was in utero. It is etched in my handwriting and says, "Sleep tight little baby, sleep tight. Mommy and Daddy love you with all their might!" I had just gotten him some fall decor this day. His grandma had brought him the mums a few days prior and I got him the sunflower spinner, little pumpkin, and orange flowers. I wish I could visit him more. I hate that we're so far away from his spot.


  1. For some reason I had never seen this post until today. What a beautiful (and yet heartbreaking) collection of photos.