We only have five pictures of Sidney. No photographers from Now I Lay Me Down to sleep came –it was the middle of the night, and we found out Sidney had died when I was already in labor. At that point, I barely knew the concept of stillborn, had not found other mothers who blogged about their experiences, or web sites advising mothers to take pictures, to hold their babies, to spend time with them. Instead, I was in shock (and also the ‘normal’ intense pain of labor). I held Sidney, I kissed him, but I did not examine every aspect of his perfect body. I did not hold his hands, open his eyes, get to know the physical presence of the little boy who had been inside of me for nine months. Through another group, I found out about a web site that will fix photos of dead babies–change the colors a bit, or take out medical equipment, so I thought that I would look into it. The two pics they fixed came back today, and I am disappointed. I don’t know what I was expecting–but I have come to realize that my slightly discolored baby is now how I know Sidney. Changing colors won’t make him be alive, won’t give me a whole new batch of pictures to stare at. I have included one of the pictures here, and it looks so unnatural to me, he looks so made up. He still does not look like a living, breathing baby, but instead like a dead baby wearing make-up. And that seems even more wrong somehow, like I am dishonoring him by not accepting him in the form that I was able to meet him. I don’t know. Yet, it seems like society is more willing to digest a baby in that form, than acknowledge that my discolored dead baby is all I have. (Does anyone know how to make pictures into black and white?–maybe that would be a better option)
My heartbreak continues as the fall season begins. My husband went to back to school night because I could not bear to do it–instead I stayed home with Eli. I did not want to bring in a picture of our family to describe to Eli’s teacher, to talk with other parents and hear about their multiple children. There is no picture that can be hanging on Eli’s classroom wall that adequately captures our family. And that breaks me.