A year ago today, I found out your heart had stopped beating and I had lost you.

I was not prepared for this and then had to go through the difficult task of giving birth knowing what awaited me. They tried to warn me that you wouldn’t look like a normal baby because you weren’t full term. I didn’t even know what to expect or what that meant. I didn’t want to do it, didn’t think I was strong enough to do it. Surely, this had to be a mistake and there was another way things could play out. I was given the option of being induced right away or waiting until my body went into labor on its own. I chose to be induced because how could I walk around knowing you were no longer there?

Sarah holding her stillborn baby - A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, you were born and I didn’t get to hear you cry or open your eyes.

I held you for the first and the last time. You were so beautiful and will always be beautiful to me. When they placed you in my arms, I was surprised at the weight. You were only a little over 4 pounds, but felt so solid. I held you just like I held my son. I made sure your neck was supported and held you close. I had 24 hours I spent with you. I had the photographers come so we could have some memories of your birth. Pictures I couldn’t even look at at first, but now cherish because it’s one of the few things I have.

A year ago today, I had to place you in the arms of the hospital worker, who so tenderly held you, and I had to walk out of that room knowing I would never see your face again.

I had to go a funeral home and sign the paperwork. And then I had to wait almost six weeks before I had your ashes back with me again. I went home and just wanted things to go back to normal, or as normal as they could be after such a tragedy. I had to deal with my milk coming in, which was just another horrible reminder of what I had lost. And I just wanted to laugh and be happy again.

A year later, I still think of you every day.

I still wonder what you would look like. Would you look like your dad, just like your brother? Would you have my cheeks or your dad’s eyes? Would you look like your brother? Would you be as active as your brother or would you be more docile? I miss being able to see the interactions between you two because I know he would have been an amazing big brother to you.

A year later, I still have the blanket we wrapped you in when you were born and the clothes they put on you.

I still have all of the things we got at the baby shower we had for you. Some of them will be used for your sister, but some of them are set aside because they were yours and will always be yours. Although we are having another girl, she will never replace you, and I also want to ensure that she doesn’t live in your shadow either. You are two separate people who are both so important to me.

A year later, I am 26 weeks pregnant with your sister and I know that her birth will bring up so many emotions that I am scared to deal with.

I still have a hard time on some days because I just miss you so much. Little things remind me of you, sometimes unexpected things. Most of the time, it’s just easier to push the tears and sadness aside because honestly, being sad is hard and it’s emotionally draining. And I am just now letting out some of the grief and tears that I have tried to hold back because it’s just too painful.

A year later, I am trying to think of what to do to properly honor your birthday.

Do we have cupcakes and sing happy birthday? Do we plant a garden in your honor? Nothing seems like the right thing to do because it is all new territory. It’s a day that will always be important to me and I want people to remember that you existed and that you are important.

A year from now, I will still think of you.

I will still wonder about all the possibilities of how you would have lived your life. I will miss seeing the interactions between you and your brother and between you and your new sister, who will be almost one at the time. I will still grieve over all of the missed milestones that you would be hitting.

A year from now, I will still wear the necklace with your footprint on it, and I will still remember the day you were born.

I will still keep all of the items with your name on them and the bear that weighs the same as what you weighed when you were born. I will still remember the happy moments I had during the pregnancy when I could feel you move.

A year from now, I will still share your story in every possible place and way that I can.

I will still speak your name and have your picture on our wall. I will still be an advocate for pregnancy loss. I will make sure your story always means something. I will still celebrate your birthday every year. I will still tell your siblings about you and make sure you are never forgotten. And most importantly, you will still be my first daughter and I will still love you with every part of me.

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