Today marks a very unhappy anniversary for me. For us.
Four years ago, this happened.
When we lost that baby, our daughter Story was almost two years old. An incredibly articulate, empathetic, understanding little sprite, her heart also broke when we told her our baby had died. We didn’t tell her we “lost” the baby. We didn’t tell her it “went away”. I crouched down and looked into her eyes so filled with questions and I said, “Our baby has died, Story.” And she held my hand, hugged me and told me she was, “So sad, so sorry, mommy”. When I think about how incredible that response was, it blows my mind. Our son, who will be three years old in December, still wouldn’t be able to grasp such a concept. But Story was different. She knew.
When others wrote off my pain (“It’s just a miscarriage.”), I steeped in it. Waiting to be induced to deliver a deceased… a what? Fetus? Baby? What did it matter what it was called? I had to be induced and deliver… I don’t even want to rehash it. I wouldn’t wish loss on anyone, at any stage, by any means.
I have a lot of regrets surrounding the birth of that baby. If I could change our decisions, I would, but I know that we made them as best we could at the time. We never found out the sex, so “it” has no real identity though in my heart I felt it was a girl. I’ll never really know, though.
Story felt she needed to name the baby. And, being 23 months old at the time, she chose the best name she could imagine: Marshmallow. Marshmallow often comes up in conversation, and Story recently drew this picture. This is Story’s interpretation of our family tree. (It’s actually her contribution to a tattoo design I’ve been discussing with Ryan, though I’m not entirely sure I’ll choose her submisssion.)
From left to right: Daddy, Story, Mason, and Mommy holding Marshmallow.
So today is Marshmallow’s birthday. And yes, the raw pain of that loss has numbed over the years, and the joy of having Mason in our lives is amazing. If we’d had Marshmallow, would we have had Mason? These are questions we’ll never know the answers to.
What we do know is that on Marshmallow’s birthday, we’ll remember, with love, that one small life lost.