Monday, July 28, 2014

You See One

Today, Piper is three months old.  Everyone tells you that you're never really prepared for a newborn.  The loss of sleep, being constantly covered in goo of some kind, and the complete shift in family dynamics is a bit jarring, I admit.  But, that's not what I was unprepared for.   What caught me off guard was the flood of emotions from not having Kenley.   It was like being right back at the beginning.  With the arrival of Piper, I felt like I'd lost Kenley all over again.   There was (and is) this weird balance of being joyful in my second daughter's birth while still grieving my first daughter's death.

Every day, as I take care of Piper, I think about how I will never be able to take care of Kenley.  When I give Piper a bath and scrub her soft baby belly, I think about how I never got to even see Kenley's belly.   When I put socks on Piper's feet, I remember how I never got to touch Kenley's toes.   When I look into Piper's eyes, I wish I could have seen Kenely's open.   

Like any mom, I take pictures and videos of Piper all the time.  Within just a few weeks of her birth, my phone was full of all sorts of poses and activities.  I have videos of her farting, sneezing, cooing, and just laying there.  I have pictures of her trying to smile, of her sitting in her swing, of her propped up on pillows.  I have dozens of her just sleeping.   I have four pictures of Kenley. I will never have more.  I took more pictures of Piper in her first two days of life than I will ever have of Kenley.  Every single time I take another picture on my phone and see the grid on my screen full of my youngest child, I am reminded of this.   

When I go out and about, pushing Piper in her stroller through the mall or the park, people love to stop and look at her.  They smile at her.  They wave.  They tell me "congratulations", and I say "thank you".  And I want to say, "She isn't my only one, you know.  She has a sister.  A beautiful, wonderful sister."

It's a strange feeling.  People see me, Mike, and Piper and they see a happy family.  They don't see Kenley.   I know she existed.  Mike knows.  Piper will know.  But, strangers don't.  And sometimes, it feels like I'm presenting a lie. A lie I can't dispel.  

I post pictures of Piper on Facebook fairly often.  She's my daughter.  She is beautiful and wonderful and a super-genius.  And I want to share her amazingness with the world.   But, I also want the world to know I have another daughter.  A daughter that didn't get the chance to be amazing.  Sometimes, it feels like people are so happy that Piper is here because now they don't have to think about how sad it is that Kenley is gone.  Sometimes, it feels like Kenley is fading from their memories because holding on to her is just too sad.   I have a horrible, horrible fear that the world will forget her.

You see one.  I have two.  


  1. I will never forget her. In fact when I think of you, I think of Kenley. Always. Ithink if you a lot. I'm sure many people feel the same but don't always tell you. I have not really told you that but I do. Piper is gorgeous and perfect and she's Kenley 's little sister. I always think of Kenley first and sometimes feel bad about it. You are a mom with two beautiful girls. It's unfortunate that the rest of the world won't see that as you walk through life but so many do know.

  2. Kenley and Piper two beautiful sisters <3 <3 I haven't been able to have a rainbow baby since I loss my little girl Janessa who was stillborn 4 years ago. I have miscarried 3 rainbow babies since then. I have been angry and bitter because of those miscarriages. As I read your post today I realized how hard it must be to parent your living rainbow baby yet grieve for your loss angel baby as well. I never thought about those little things like putting socks on your rainbows feet and that causing an ache for the angel baby you never got to do that for. That has got to be so hard and as I think about all those things I realized had my rainbows lived it would have made my grief for Janessa even more. I am truly content with where I am now and I pray that you and your husband will find peace and joy amongst the different route of your grief journey. Thank you so much for sharing this post and providing a different perspective that rainbow babies do bring joy but it is not all happily ever after--that there is still real pain and grief amongst the happiness and joy. I really needed this today <3

  3. wow, they look so much alike in those photos. I can't even imagine how hard it is. I'm having hard time trying to balance how deeply sad and how much I miss Jack, with being so happy and hopeful for his sister at the same time - all the while trying to remind myself, in 2 months i'm either going to go through what you're going through - the happiness mixed with sadness over bringing your live baby into the world, yet having to navigate the true reality of experiencing what you missed out on with the one you lost. or - the chance that I might lose this one too looms over me. I can't completely understand what it must be like, but I can in the way that right now at this moment I have one living baby and one who is not, and that is so very, very hard. <3 I don't know about you, but sometimes I find comfort in the sadness. It's like, a way of reminding me he's still around. But truthfully overall, making room for the new baby does feel a little bit like he's being pushed away, and that is so incredibly difficult.

  4. I'm finally going back into your blog, so I know this is a new comment on an older post. I am glad we met, even if I'm sad it's under these circumstances. These are the worst circumstances ever.

    I can relate to much of this post, even though Piper lost her older sister and Ethan lost his younger sister. People are always telling me "be thankful for the one you have" like I'm somehow not, or like somehow having him here erases the loss of his sister. I'm not sure what people think half the time when they speak. Maybe they're just trying to make themselves feel better. Like you said, because then they don't have to think of what makes them feel sad.

    I can promise you I will think of Kenley and I won't forget her as I won't forget Wylie. We have that in common, that bond, that membership to the "club" no one wants to be a part of. We will forever fight for our daughter's memories even if the world desperately wants to shut them out.

    I have four pictures of Wylie, too, plus one of her feet and another of her hands. That's all. I think the same thing whenever I fill up my iPhone with photos of Ethan each month. I can't help but feel like I'm shortchanging her somehow.