The Photo I Really Wanted to Share

Green Bay WisconsinI have a vision for everything. I am easily influenced by space and clothing and light and color. I can see how one thing connects to another thing to convey mood and emotion. It’s why I love planning parties and putting together outfits and making art. All of these things use my creativity and my analytical brain to assemble beautiful stories.

Pandemic Pregnancy

When we found out we were pregnant in July, my brain immediately strung all the joy together in neat little rows. An April due date meant sweet pastels for clothing and bunny stuffies for their first Easter basket. It meant late winter maternity photos in a grove of evergreens and announcement photos in an apple orchard (perfect timing as I would be 14 weeks mid-September). Three and a half years seamed like a wonderful age difference, and we talked about what it would be like to share the news with Juniper and how great she would be as a big sister. I was carried away as if this wonderful news were a symphony that lifted me straight through into the future. I could see it all.

I envisioned the nursery – white furniture and a brand new bookcase filled with all the art I had made while pregnant. There would be windows that needed replacing, and we should probably switch Juniper to the larger room, that’s only fair, and maybe the crib would need repainting, and should we get new carpet now before that baby is old enough to crawl or is it better to wait until both kids are grown?

My mind could see it all, but my actions were more hesitant. We didn’t buy the cute baby booties or tell all our friends the news. In fact, I tried to suppress that visioning instinct. After all, it was early. And we had been here before.

Miscarriage / Infant Loss

The tests looked normal, my levels were rising well. I ordered the clothes for our apple orchard session and booked the photographer. Then one day I woke up and I didn’t feel pregnant anymore. Shortly after, I ended up in the E.R. and heard the thing I really didn’t want to hear. I choked on sobs through the double-layered masks I had worn to keep myself and my new baby safe. It was all happening just like before.

At the hospital they wouldn’t let me see the screen or print a photo. I was hearing that it was all over, that there was no heartbeat, but I hadn’t even seen the baby I would never meet. I walked out of there with nothing. No sign that this baby had ever existed, no tangible way of knowing that this baby I had carried for 9 weeks was anything more than a fever dream. And it hurt. There was the hurt of losing the pregnancy I desperately wanted, but there was also the hurt of having nothing to remember them by, of losing this entire future I had imagined for us together.

After more ultrasounds to confirm (with a plea for a photo) and the physical act of miscarrying, our apple orchard outfits arrived.

I folded them up and left them on the dresser. The thing they had arrived to celebrate was no longer happening.

I was grieving. And even with the support of those who love me best and the reassurances of people who had been there before, I felt alone in my grief. I was grateful for my little ultrasound photo, but I was haunted by the fact that I never got to celebrate this baby. Those outfits sat on the dresser as though the life I had planned for myself had been cancelled. And I realized that I wanted those photos. I wanted to celebrate my pregnancy in an apple orchard with my family. I craved a substantial way to hold onto all the joy that this pregnancy had brought us during those 9 weeks in the midst of a pandemic. When there was next to nothing around us that felt good, this baby was our bright spot, here to bring us hope.

Our Bright Spot

So here it is. The photo I really wanted to share.

The vulnerability of the act of sharing makes me uncomfortable. I am not healed; I am still in the middle of this. My impulse is to never let anyone ever know I wanted something I couldn’t have. I worry you will think I’m ungrateful for the child I already have. I fear your pity, or worse, your deep and exposing empathy. But I am writing this because I need to celebrate the best thing that happened to us during this pandemic. Though the time may have been brief, the love is without end.


Read about our first miscarriage: Loving a Baby After Losing a Baby and The Fog of Grief.

7 Comments on The Photo I Really Wanted to Share

  1. Emily
    September 24, 2020 at 11:16 pm (1 month ago)

    Thank you for sharing. You are so loved and inspiring.

    Reply
  2. Matt and Nikki
    September 25, 2020 at 1:06 am (1 month ago)

    We are so sorry, thank you for sharing. This is so beautiful and sad, but real. Thinking and praying for you all.

    Reply
  3. Barbara
    September 25, 2020 at 3:50 am (1 month ago)

    You are a treasure.

    Reply
  4. Lynn G
    September 25, 2020 at 3:53 am (1 month ago)

    This is a very big and very sad loss, Kasey. I am sorry.

    Reply
  5. Maggie Wellert
    September 26, 2020 at 10:18 pm (1 month ago)

    Miscarriage is so challenging. Even the name makes it feel as if you did something wrong …. you mis-carried. This happened to me twice, in between other babies. You indeed feel the grief of the lost one…. thank you for sharing in the midst of your vulnerability. Grief, as I have learned, simply becomes part of who your are. Blessings, dear one.

    Reply
    • Kasey Hock
      September 29, 2020 at 4:40 pm (4 weeks ago)

      Thank you. Yes, it’s all so true.

      Reply
  6. Lori
    September 30, 2020 at 1:43 pm (4 weeks ago)

    Thinking of and walking alongside you as you walk this journey again. What a wonderful perspective on this, esp. during this time in our world. It can be difficult to choose our focus in the midst of this suffering but you do this so well, in so many ways! Thank you for choosing to share.

    Reply

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