On Friday, June 13, 2008, the Man and I learned that we lost our first child just before the end of the first trimester of life. Five years later, we are a family of five. We think of our never-born first still and always. For the baby that was and was not, the baby that came and went, the baby that lived and died. This message is for the little love we never got to hold but will never let go of…
 You lived.
No matter what anyone else believes, you lived. You were real to me even before that beautiful pink line appeared. I felt you before I had any visual confirmation of your life. You were created from a love between me and your father. You were a wish come true. You were an answered prayer. You existed in me. You changed my body, my mind, and my soul. With every day that passed, you became more and more a part of us. You had a life, a heartbeat that we saw with our own eyes, and a presence that we felt honestly and deeply. You lived. You died. Two true and remarkable events in the journey of our lives.
 I love you.
I saw your inspiring heartbeat in all its black and white glory, and my own heart burst into a technicolor wonderland. I loved you then, and I love you now. I can still picture you. I can still see your little curves that didn’t develop into a button nose and chubby arms and meaty legs and bright eyes and luscious hair. You were mine, though my outsides never touched you. My insides held you closer than I’d ever held anyone before. How could I not love you? We nicknamed you. We etched your due date in stone. Like a simple switch that was flipped, the knowledge of you brightened our lives and hearts immediately. That love won’t fade. It didn’t then. It won’t now. We will love you, always.
 I have not forgotten you.
Oh how I remember you, sweet angel! I remember where I stood and how I felt with each milestone of yours. I remember who I told and how and when and what their reaction was. I remember how you felt. I remember how you made me feel. I remember what I wanted to name you. I remember how I wanted to dress you. I remember all the places we planned to take you, people we planned to introduce you to, experiences we planned to share with you, life we planned to build with you. I have not forgotten you. Your time was so short, but every moment remains with me.
 I think of you.
Your memories aren’t the only parts of you that I carry with me. Thoughts of you drift to me often. Where did you go? What do you look like? Will we meet? Will I ever get my hug and kiss and proper hello? The hardest, most heart-breaking, uniquely painful thoughts. Are you hurting too? Do you need me? Was this my fault? We share lighter, sweeter moments too. How proud you would be of your sister learning to share. How well you would have played with your brothers. How accomplished you would have been at this age. How much Daddy still thinks of you too! I think of you, my baby. Glimpses of you catch the corner of my eye and the deepest part of my heart…in a mirror, around a corner, in a shadow. You’re with me still, and I do so love that about you.
 I hide you.
Even with all of the love and beauty that you brought to us, I am ashamed to say that I hide you. The pain is hardest for us, but hard for others too. They say hurtful things in the name of being helpful. They dismiss you in an attempt to lift us up. They negate you as their way of being positive. They did then, and they do now. We live, we grow, we multiply, and we continue. We do all of that WITH you. Without harm, shame, or confusion. But their inability to just let you be with us causes awkward silences and forced conversation, and in order to avoid the blank stares, I hide you. I’m so sorry for that, my love. I’m sorry they don’t understand that a nod, a squeeze of the shoulder, a pat on the hand, an upward curve of the lips, or a light in their eyes would be more than enough. I’m sorry that they don’t understand that it’s okay to love your children no matter where they are or how long they lived with you. I’m sorry that they don’t know you like I do. I’m sorry you aren’t here to prove to them how worthy you are of simple acknowledgement instead of swift release. I’m sorry that there is so much confusion and secrecy around a life that we all hoped would be so much more.
You lived too briefly, but I love you always.
I have not forgotten you, and I think of you still.
My darling baby, I won’t hide you anymore.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is October 15th. Participants the world over are asked to light a candle at 7pm local time on this day and leave it burning for one hour. The result is a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a twenty-four hour period in honor and remembrance of the children who passed during pregnancy or shortly after birth. For more information, visit http://www.october15th.com/