Friday, May 6, 2011

A Year Ago

A year ago on Mother's Day, I found out I was pregnant.

And now all of the anniversaries that Eliza was a part of begin.

The contrast between where I was a year ago and where I am now has me reeling.  These last few days have been rough and I'm not sure when things will even out again.

A year ago in May, I found out I was pregnant, I graduated from my PhD program, my husband got a much-wanted job promotion, and I got my first academic article published.

I thought I was leading a charmed life.  Everything we'd hoped for and wished for and worked for had all worked out.  All at once!  I was happier than I had ever been.

My family came in town for my graduation, but we weren't ready to announce my pregnancy yet (I wanted to be finished with the first trimester.  Obviously the irony is more than a little grim.)  I remember thinking that there was no way my mom wouldn't notice--I took a nap in the middle of the day (totally unlike me) and bought almost nothing when we went clothes shopping. 

The robe hid my non-existent bump and I thought the high-heel-wearing months of pregnancy would last forever!

My mom was apparently distracted by the fancy robe and all the visiting family, because she was so surprised and happy when we made the announcement to them six weeks later.  Father's Day weekend.

My new summer weekend drink of choice.
We spent the fourth of July here in St. Louis, with friends of ours visiting.  They were expecting twins a week before my due date.  We all went to the Cardinals game.  Baby Duck was a Cardinals fan from the start.

The next day, the boys went golfing while the girls went shopping for maternity clothes.  And maybe a baby outfit or two.  Lindsey and I talked about how excited we were, and how fun it was that our kids would be so close together in age, and what great dads David and Dennis would be.  We were both so full of hope and excitement.  This year we both know how it feels to lose a baby.

Over my birthday, we were vacationing in Korea.  My bump was just starting to show.

ArtBox in Seoul is one of my favorite stores EVER.  We also bought a children's book about Korea at one of the museums we visited.  We imagined reading it to Baby Duck and telling her about the trip she made to Korea before she was born.

David's birthday was right before our first photo-op ultrasound.

Pictured:  One happy mama 20 weeks pregnant and the cutest ultrasound pictures I'd ever seen.

Labor Day weekend we hosted our "gender party" and announced that our Baby Duck was a baby girl.

I had not asked for this saying on top of the cake and I remember thinking it was slightly offensive--I wasn't wishing for boy or girl, I just wanted a healthy baby. 

David had just started his new job and his coworkers made him feel so welcome--they were celebrating our pregnancy right along with us and after we announced our baby was a girl, David arrived home with this:

Cookie cake is David's favorite.

We met up with my parents over Halloween weekend for shopping and golf. We took pictures at David's grandparents' house on Table Rock Lake, planning to send them out with Christmas cards. (Those cards got ordered.  They arrived two days after Eliza died.)

Introducing pregnancy fat face.  Fat and happy.
Thanksgiving week was bookended by baby showers with baby duck themes.

Make face look smaller by placing it next to enormous present.

Opening gifts with my very special assistant, Paige, my cousin's little girl.
The next weekend we had an early Christmas with David's grandparents. 

My coat barely zipped and I thought that was funny.  This picture was taken on Saturday, December 4.

And then Eliza was born December 6th and Christmas was a dark blur of tears.

These last months have been so hard.  I am not sure how to prepare myself for all of the upcoming anniversaries.  How can it have been only a year ago on Mother's Day that I saw two pink lines?  How has it already been an entire year?

I guess we get through these days the same way we've gotten through the rest of them.  One at a time.

I know I need to keep busy.  I need to move forward.  There is no cure for grief except time.

But how can I keep from dwelling on the past when there is nothing in the present or the future that I want as much as I wanted that baby?


  1. Oh, Brooke. As if Mother's Day isn't hard enough. You ARE a beautiful mother, I just wish Eliza were here, in your arms, where she belongs. You will get through, one day, one minute at a time. Sending you so much love.

  2. MDay without your baby sucks, totally & completely. With its added meaning for you, it's got to suck doubly. :( Sending you (((HUGS))).

    By the way, I recommended your last post for the Stirrup Queen's new Friday Roundup Second Helpings feature. ; )

  3. Thanks to Loribeth (up above and a person I've been following for years) ... I stumbled on to this blog. Sending HUGS your way, Brooke.

  4. SO freaking true and unfair. What I wouldn't do to have that baby back.

    BTW, you're a super cute pregnant lady. :)

  5. Thinking of you, your husband, and Eliza.
    I just love the gender party cake and agree with Laura, you are a super cute pregnant lady!

  6. Sweetie, these pictures break my heart. How does one go from that place to *this place*. I can't believe it for me. I can't believe it for you. My "first" Mother's Day fell at the nine month anniversary, the same week my grandfather died. The only saving grace I had at that point was I was very newly pregnant again. I feel for you so much and know the day will be brutal, but I also know you will survive it. There are so many of us here to hold you up if you fall.

  7. MDay is just hard. Please be gentle with yourself. I'll be thinking of you and your Baby Duck this weekend.

    These photos are so full of joy - as Sally says, it's heartbreaking to know what the difference between that place and this one.

  8. Oh friend.

    The pictures are beautiful and heartbreaking - all that hope, that joy, that expectation and that love shining through in every single one. You are hands down one of the cutest pregnant women I know...

    Sending you love from across the country on this craptastic weekend especially.

  9. Sigh.. so many beautiful memories mamma. These pictures are so beautiful and so full of hope and happiness..I only wish they could have led to so many more.
    I haven't yet figured out how not to dwell on the past.. somedays I think I have resolved myself to the fact that the past will simply always be a part of my present and my future in a much bigger way than I ever could have imagined.
    Sending you love and light...

  10. Remembering is hard, which is probably why I have avoided it at all costs. I know it's not much, but I do hope you have a peaceful weekend. Will be thinking of you and sending love your way~

  11. I remember those pictures of the big sex reveal-- I think that was right around the time I started reading your blog. I am thinking of you this mothers day.

  12. Thinking of you this is impossibly hard knowing our babies aren't with us. I look back at my pregnancy pictures with Lily and feel like it was such a bittersweet time. It's odd to look at that happy unsuspecting person in the past and know her whole world is about to be turned completely on its head. You were very cute pregnant! I also felt like I had "fat face", it's odd how our bodies adjust to pregnancy.
    Sending love your way and hope that tomorrow is a gentle day ((hugs))

  13. This post made me totally bawl my eyes out. We all have those pictures of the happy announcements, the growing bellies, and our happy smiles - all oblivious to the horror that is about to come. It's like watching a movie where you KNOW the ending, but you are yelling at the screen anyways "no, run the other way, the killer is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!!!!!". But, no matter how much you yell our shield your eyes, the outcome is the same. I read ahead as I didn't get to this post in time and saw that you had an okay mothers day, so I am glad you could find some comfort, and I'm glad you have such a rad husband. You deserve so much happiness...

  14. I think about our weekend trip to the StL quite a bit. Those were much simpler times.

    I wish you were coming out with Duck this weekend. We could play golf with the boys. We played on Mothers Day also. I didn't set out to play best of two, but it turned out that way more often than not!

  15. I don't know how I missed the fact that our losses were three days apart from one another. Dec. 6th was actually the last ultrasound I had, where my son had slowed movement but all tests were deemed within "normal ranges" so I was sent home. Ugh. I too thought I had it all. I was pregnant at my graduation ceremony after earning my Master's Degree...I didn't know it was twins at the time. I thought everything was finally really coming together for me. I think those of us who feel we have a lot going for us just fall that much harder, in a way.