Monday, May 9, 2011

The Most Wonderful Gift

I'd like to think I showed progress today, but it's probably just the grief train going easy on me right now, in this very moment. I'm not counting my chickens, however, because we all know it changes like the wind.

Today our NILMDTS photos arrived in our brand new mailbox. {My husband is quite handy.}


My heart was beating out of my chest as I clicked the CD into my laptop this afternoon. I propped the Kleenex right next to me knowing that at any moment I might burst into hysterics. But you know what?

I didn't. I was just in awe of what incredible beauty he was. He is. For the first time since he was born, I was proud. Up until now I've been ashamed, frustrated, angry, embarrassed. But today, seeing those photos made me incredibly proud to be the mother of that little boy.

These photos are 5 months, 4 days old, and the same age our Andrew would be if he were here with us today. I have been on pins and needles hoping to receive them since at least January. Finally, they're here. He looks nothing like a dead baby-- but a newborn (as he was). The photographer did an incredible job capturing his gorgeous features. They look no different than a photo shoot of a living child. Perhaps a discerning eye could tell, but to me, they're perfect.

I guess my only sadness is knowing that this is it. There are no more special Andrew photos making their appearance any time, ever again. This is all we've got. About 5 of our own images, roughly 30 printed copies of poor quality from the hospital, and 17 from the professional photographer. Just about 50 photos of my child. I have more photos of him inside my body than I do on the outside and there is no turning back. No more photos are there to take. No body present to be photographed. I suppose those photos are even more precious as all of them were taken when he had life in his body. He was breathing. He was growing. Those are my happy memories.

I hesitate to share these. I don't believe this is the forum, though I know others might disagree. Because he is our only child and only 3 people besides the hospital staff and our photographer have seen any photos of Andrew at all, it feels sacred. He is sacred to me. His body, his photos. While I would be willing to share with people, I don't feel it belongs broadcast on the blog. I want to have the opportunity to share them with people I know, love, and respect. I know, love, and respect many of you who read, but there are many people I don't know that in cases of stillbirth, (still) do not fully understand how important it is for our children to be treated as something beautiful rather than diseased. I refuse to allow a single scoff at the sight of my child. I can't control that via the internet. My son deserves protection from his mother and I'm proud to protect him.

Maternal instinct kicking in? I guess. I'm still not sure what that's like if I'm being really honest.

But this boy... he's beautiful. Downright gorgeous. I hope Andrew's future brothers/sisters have some of his features. I'd love a piece of him carried on through our family in the flesh.


Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful post. I'm sure that Andrew is just beautiful, never even doubted it. I hesitated to show pictures of Adam in the hospital for similar reasons. They are sad, and I'm sure scary/disturbing to some. I think they are beautiful. Anyway, I love how you described your need to protect Andrew. (((Hugs)))

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

OH! I am SO glad you got them and that they are wonderful! Great news! You know I feel as you do about sharing my photos. I absolutely want people to see them, but I want them to take a moment with them, and I feel like you do about the Internet. I am so thankful they brought you some comfort!!

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

Oh Brandy, I have no doubt that he is a gorgeous little guy. You and your hubby are super cute, so I imagine Andrew inherited these same traits. :)

I know what you mean about sharing the photos, and I too would hate for someone to see photos of Jack and gasp/think it was morbid/etc. I share only his alive photos, but that's because that's all I have.

Glad you had one last reveal of your baby boy. :)

Keleen said... [Reply to comment]

Oh Brandy, I am soooo happy for you. They sure took their time getting to you, but at least they are everything you wanted and more. Happy Mother's Day a day late.

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

That is wonderful! I am so happy you got the NILMDTS pictures, I bet they are beautiful.

Olaina.PhotosAndArt said... [Reply to comment]

I'm so happy that you are feeling proud. I know that feeling of shame and embarrassment and I hate it. I also don't understand it. We didn't do anything wrong. It all just happened. I'm also glad you're feeling protective of your precious child; I think you're right, it is maternal instinct. It is your right to share only what you feel comfortable sharing. And, sadly, it's true; blogs are oddly public places.

Solange, Nik and Caitlin said... [Reply to comment]

I'm so happy you finally got your pictures. I have no doubt that Andrew has beautiful features because he inherited those from you and Ray. :)

Tiffany said... [Reply to comment]

♥ so glad that you received the pics and that you have found comfort in them. he is perfect, i'm sure of that too. don't worry about not sharing them. if not sharing them brings you even more comfort, then that is what you need to do. sending you love...

Erin Farrell Speer said... [Reply to comment]

Good for you in keeping those pictures for you to share as you choose. I am so, so glad to hear that you finally received them. I can only imagine how gorgeous he looks in your photos! :)

Shae said... [Reply to comment]

I bet he is absolutely beautiful! Precious, precious boy.

Sherri said... [Reply to comment]

I'm so glad that Andrew's pictures brought you some peace! I bet they're beautiful! I did post pictures of Kristen, as you know.. I thought about it for quite a while, there are some that I don't feel comfortable sharing.. I can't say I don't like them.. they are the only pictures I have of my daughter.. but the two that are on my blog, are the two that I felt fine adding. The others, I have tucked in my bible, and I've only looked at them twice. They don't look like the baby in my memory.

boo and stacy said... [Reply to comment]

Love hearing this....I bet he is just precious.

d.a.r. said... [Reply to comment]

I am so so very glad you have these. I hope they bring you some measure of peace.