Eleven years ago I gave birth to our first child, a stillborn son named Ethan, at 28 weeks. Last year, on his tenth birthday I shared our story of him here.
For many years I kept quiet, stillbirth wasn't really an open discussion. I kept everything buried deep down and moved along in life. Over the last couple of years, I have been slowly bringing stillbirth into the open around me, to let others know that it happens. That it's ok to talk about. That my son did exist. He may not have taken a breath, I may not have ever heard him cry. But he was here, on this earth, in my arms, even if just for a moment.
We have spent this past year talking about him more with our three other children. They ask questions, they give what ifs, they love him even though they never met him. We stop at his grave every so often, and it's not a sad time. They run around his headstone, they touch it, they are my crazy littles that they always are.
We have moments at the dinner table when they say things like, 'If Ethan was alive, there would be 3 boys and 3 girls in our family.' Or car rides when something triggers a conversation about how or why he died inside my belly, and my four year old tells me from the back seat, 'Momma, remember when I was in your belly and I didn't die!' And I can't do anything but laugh. Laugh for the innocence of a child, the unbridled comments that come into their heads. And I encourage them and say 'Yes, Molly I do. And I'm so glad that you didn't die.' And she smiles proudly in her booster seat.
This year I wanted to do something a little more special to remember and honor Ethan on what would be his Eleventh birthday. So I asked my dear friend Krystal from Images of U if she would do a family session for us with Ethan's headstone. Our family as a whole. She told me after that she was a bit nervous because she knew how important this was to me. But she nailed it, as usual, and I wouldn't have trusted anyone else to help create my vision in my head. I'm ever so blessed for her coming into my life, and becoming a steadfast friend that I can always share my feelings and thoughts with. And I'm so thankful that our schedules linked up for one evening and the rain gaveway for an hour so that we could capture these wonderful images.
Happy Eleventh Birthday Sweet Angel. We love you <3