In honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
This post is an extremely personal one. On June 21, 2013, my sister, Rachel, gave birth to a still born baby boy, Bryce Robert Ruding. She was 30 weeks pregnant. The family was able to spend some time in the hospital with the baby and each other. My sister asked if I would document their short time together, words can’t express how honored I was to be able to give them these images. We used some the photograph’s at Bryce’s memorial service, but up to this point, not many have seen them. Rachel and I decided that today, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, would be be an appropriate time to post some of the photographs, use my blog to give my sister a chance to tell her story, as well as honor all the families who have endured such a loss.
When I woke up the morning of Wednesday June 19th, I never imagined ending that day by sitting on the floor of the finished nursery, saying goodbye to our baby we hadn’t even met.
At 7 months pregnant, the night before we went back to the hospital, Sara captured our moments of grief and even though to look at the photos may be difficult, it is our life and these photos are one of the few things we have to cherish of our little boys life here on Earth.
Less than forty-eight hours after my routine Doctor’s appointment, where the ultrasound technician did my sonogram and was telling me the screen showed “my cervix looks good, the baby’s head is down” but I knew something was wrong when the she asked if I “…had any injury or if I had been feeling movement” and then left the room to tell the other nurses what she was seeing or wasn’t seeing-our baby’s heart had stopped beating.
At 9:34am we met our second son, at 4lbs, 16inches, peacefully wrapped in a little cocoon of blankets we held our little boy Bryce for the first and last time. We held him from the minute he was born to the minute we left the hospital. He never made a sound, but holding his life in those moments of silence is a memory we will let sing forever.
Bryce’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice at the time of delivery, with the sonogram technology my doctor was able to tell that it had happened within the past 24 hours. There was no sign of distress…I had been feeling movement, in fact the days prior to my doctors appointment I had been feeling a lot of movement. So much that I had been letting everyone touch my belly to get a feel for what excitement of a little life was growing inside.
My husband and I held his tiny feet in our hands. These same little feet that were kicking and making all that movement in my belly suddenly lay still in our palms. We will never get to see those little feet take their first steps or walk to school or kick his brother…we will only have this photo and his footprints that the phenomenal nurses at Jersey Shore gave to us in a memory box.
Today is the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Since October 1st, I’ve been taking part in the Carly Marie Project Heal
“Capture Your Grief 31 Day Challenge”. Witnessing all the other families who have suffered similar loss, and being diligent about posting and sharing everyday, has given me another way to express my grief, as well as a way to heal. Most importantly, my husband and I hope to use these posts to chronicle our experience and use it to be able to one day explain to our almost-2yr old son why his little brother isn’t with us, and help keep his memory alive. We are so grateful for all our family and friends who are a constant source of love, laughter and support. We love you.
For those in need of a similar photo service, there is a wonderful organization that offers their photography services, free of charge, call Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.