I was scrolling the 5,306 pictures and videos I have saved in my phone this morning.
I watched some funny GoPro videos my husband and I made when we were on vacation in the Seychelles in December 2018. We were splashing around in the clear crystal waters. The water was very calm and hardly came to our knees, although the shoreline was some distance away. Beautiful rock formations against a blue sky and the green of the mountains completed the backdrop of perfection.
If I didn’t know better, I would have assumed we were newlyweds, enjoying the honeymoon of a lifetime.
That is not who we were though.
This trip was planned with less than 30 days notice. This was our baby-mourn. That summer, I had had an egg retrieval - a failure by all measures. After weeks of intense drugs to stimulate my ovaries, my body produced only two eggs. By some miracle, one of them made it and she was a perfect PGS-normal beauty of an embryo. We transferred her on our 3rd wedding anniversary. This had to be a sign! It was all meant to be!
But it wasn’t. We lost her.
Our little Eden, I called her. My husband had stopped naming our embryos after we lost our little Winston the fall before. Hence, our baby-mourn in the Seychelles. I remembered that as we exited the water that afternoon, we looked back and saw a baby shark exactly where we had been playing.
Danger was watching us and we had no idea.
In Hindsight, it felt like a premonition for what was to come next in our journey to our baby. I loved both Winston and Eden with all my heart and losing them hurt so much. Their pictures sat on the chest of drawers in our room, until recently when I put them in Jasper’s keepsake box. I used to think about Winston and Eden all the time and cry for them. Nothing had ever felt more painful than losing them.
As I looked through my pictures today, I saw Winston and Eden and I felt a fondness for them but not the deep sadness like I used to. I can’t honest say how much I actively thought about them since I got pregnant with Jasper either. I saw their pictures everyday, but I have stopped wondering who they would have been. I never wondered while I was pregnant with Jasper what it would have felt to carry them longer or instead.
I wonder if there will be a time when I will feel the same about Jasper - fondness but not the pain of longing. I know it isn’t the same - Winston and Eden were “just” 5 day old embryos and they didn’t stick around and implant and grow like Jasper did; I wasn’t technically pregnant with them. I never heard their hearts beating. They were not "born" of my body into this world. I never kissed their cheeks.
But I did see a future with them. I had hopes and dreams of who they were going to be. I looked at their pictures every day, just like I do with Jasper’s pictures. If I have another living child, will the place for Jasper change? And will it change even if I don’t have other children?
Is it forgetting or is it a change to a subconscious remembering, especially when you don’t have a lot of memories to retrieve and replay?
I don’t think I would mind forgetting to feel the pain I do now. I don’t think I won’t mind recalling Jasper only with love and not with sadness. I don’t think I could really and truly forget him though, or even Winston and Eden for that matter.
Jasper’s name is tattooed on my forearm. It is the place where his head rested. I will see his name for as long as I can see my arm.
I cannot forget him and I won’t stop loving him, but I may not feel it as acutely as I do today.
I think I can be okay with that.