Repost: Unhappy Anniversary

** This is a repost of last year’s blog about our loss. **

Today marks a very unhappy anniversary for me. For us.

In August of 2008, 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.

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50 thoughts on “Repost: Unhappy Anniversary

  1. *hugs* Four years ago seems so long, and yet so short a time too. And I won’t forget either. I remember how excited Story was: that Murmel baby would come to be her brother or sister.

    I’m glad that Marshmallow has a place in your family. Cherished, and not forgotten.

    1. Oh, god, yes. Murmel Baby. That brings me to tears. We don’t read that book here at all. Ever. Thanks for remembering, Jane.

  2. Wish I could reach out and your family and hug you all with real arms instead of virtual ones.

    I wish I knew what to say to make it better. Instead, just know that I’m thinking of you and your family today

  3. September 20th – I’d have an 8 year old. Feb 7 2004 – the day after my birthday started as one of the best days I’ve ever had….. and that night turned in to the worst day. Ever. We too never found out the sex. I feel it was a girl as well. It was something that I will never forget, although I have been able to move on. It was our first child, and always will be. However, I love the two amazing, wonderful, fantastic and fabulous more than life itself and don’t think I’d want anything to have changed. It changed me as a person, and I truly hope for the better. It has made me take a different look at things….. having been told at age 17 that I may never be able to have children, I’ll take the way things have played out.

  4. The thought of someone saying “it’s just a miscarriage” makes me want to throw a tantrum.

    I’m so very very sorry for your loss. And Story? I’m certain that she’s going to do great things in the world. She just seems like she’s going to grow up to be that kind of person.

  5. Even years later the pain can still be so raw. My heart aches for you and I know the pain all too well having lost 5 babies. I would never wish this on anyone but no one seems to really understand unless they have gone through it themselves. Wishing you lots of hugs.

  6. Hey Alex! Twenty years ago I had a miscarriage. I know what you are feeling. I still think about my unborn baby every day. To think I would have an adult child in my life is pretty weird. (Yes I was a teenager when all this happened). After 13 years of not getting pregnant I wasn’t really sure it would happen. And then 7 years ago (in October) my daughter was born…a year later my son! I’m so grateful to have them. Thinking of you on this day. If you need a hug I’m just down the street!

  7. Thinking of you and your family today. *hugs*

    I cannot believe someone would say “it’s just a miscarriage.” Obviously someone who does not have an ounce of sympathy or kindness in them. I have not experience a miscarriage (as far as I am aware) and even I know how deep the loss of a baby can be no matter at what stage of pregnancy it comes in.

    1. Thanks, Brandy. It happens all the time. ALL the time. I know there are other losses, larger agonies, but today I’m just a little wallow-y.

  8. Happy Birthday Marshmallow.

    Alex we both know today is a day to be endured and reflective and to survive as best you can.

    Sending you & your family peaceful loving vibes.

  9. I feel your pain throughout the pregnancy journey I have had 9 miscarriages and they all hurt and you dont forget about any of them.
    But I too have an upside that I have a beautiful daughter that who just
    turned 14 !!!!!!!!!!!! ((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))))

    1. Oh, wow. Nine. I can’t even imagine the repeated pain. I’m so sorry for your losses.

  10. Thank you for sharing such a heatrwrenching and personal experience. I believe it is good to remember despite the pain and sadness, because that loss was a life, an opportunity, a “something” that can never be fulfilled.

    Thank you also for the statement about any loss at any time. I had the “just a miscarriage” write-off response when I”lost” a pregnancy during month three. But it didn’t much matter to me what the state of development was or how soon we could try again…all that mattered was that this life, this being, this already loved-beyond-measure “appleseed,” as we called it, was somehow just gone. It hurt and if I tell the truth, even though it’s rarely mentioned, it still does.

  11. Oh, Alex. I remember this like yesterday. It makes my heart ache still. I adore you and the way you handle things, from the joyous to the horrific. You shouldn’t be so surprised at Story’s intuition or tendency to reach out to others. It’s obvious to me where those came from.

    I love you my friend!

  12. So sorry for your loss…. We lost 3 in a row when our son was 3, before our daughter was born. It was the worst of all times, absolutely devastating, especially feeling alone and as if no one understood. Looking back, I can now say that I would not take back that time as our daughter is such a wonderful little blessing and the most dynamic 6 year old. It did change us completely and made us appreciate so many things in life.

  13. <3 Story is a remarkable little lady…and Marshmallow is a perfect name. Whoever said "just a miscarriage" never knew the pain of it and I don't wish it on anyone so I'm glad for their ignorance in that. I <3 you! You're definitely a person who's touched my life in many ways with your honesty and devotion to your family.

  14. I didn’t realize what today is. I’ll be thinking about all 5 of you today. I hope you are able to spend at least part of the day doing what you need to do to honour today and remember Marshmallow.

  15. So sorry, Alex. Thank you for writing about your experience. Many of us don’t talk about what we’ve gone through. I’m sure your words will help someone who is grieving the loss of miscarriage.

  16. Today is a hard day for me too. For your loss I can’t phathom. I was never supposed to be a mom and now have 2 miracles. I love that you told Story real words with truth. It’s what we told our oldest when family passes. Hugs!! Bravo to speaking your truth. Xo

    1. Loss is hard, in all its forms. I’m so sorry your Mama isn’t here to see what a truly remarkable person you are, Danielle. xo

  17. I can’t find the right words, but wanted to say something. I think you’re incredible. And your kids are incredible. And all I have is a hug. A big, squishy, lingering-slightly-longer-than-socially-acceptable hug.

  18. I find it’s a time of reflection. For me around Oct I get a little quieter, a little more thoughtful of life. 12 years since I gave birth to a beautiful stillborn baby boy. We have a few pictures in the bedroom, and the imp (now DD10), was about 3 just turning 4 ,she was naming the people in the pics. She got to him, and said “that’s me”. DH kinda stopped because how do you say anything. What he did say was “No, before you, Mommy and Daddy had a baby. But he died and is in heaven now”. She looked at him and said, “I need a moment.”. Mystified he left and came back a few minutes later. She sat with the picture in her lap with tears. He asked why she was crying. Her response. “I have a brother, but I can’t play with him.” She has known for the longest time, that she is one of the few people in the world who know who their guardian angel is – her big brother 🙂 Hugs to you and the family. The sorrow is always there – it changes over time but you never forget.

  19. I remember that day. I remember how our hearts all broke for you, and what you had to go through on top of your loss. I hope time has healed your heart, if even a little. xo

  20. I, too, remember that day. It hurt MY heart, what you were going through, the end of that little life, then end of hope. I remember for quite a while afterwards, you were a very different person.
    I am so glad that the pain has numbed now, though, and you do have 2 beautiful babies. I’ll never forget the third, either. <3

  21. For you (and R) I send my love and one of those virtual hugs that I hope you can feel around your heart. For Story and Mason I send them big hugs too and a “Do you know how amazing your mom is?”. And for Marshmallow, I hope that my little brother, who died way too soon, has met her and is keeping her safe in the ever-after.

  22. It’s a pain only you will ever know Alex. You articulate it so well. Loss is never easy to explain or even comprehend, you are amazing. xx
    Marshmallow is the best name ever, Story. <3 xxooxx

  23. Big hugs as always on this sad day. I actually got through our unhappy anniversary this year by not noticing it until the next day. A first I was horrified, but then upon reflection, I was really okay with it. I think perhaps, 7 years later I am now fully at peace? I don’t know. I do know that the pain when I think of him is not quite as crippling. Thank you as always for sharing your story so eloquently.

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