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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Reflections on my Earth-bound princess

I realized that I have posted so little on here about Ms. Mia.  I honestly have no idea how women can go through a stillbirth before having a child and come out on the other side.  I literally have no idea if I would have survived this without my little ray of sunshine.  Mia keeps me smiling, keeps me moving forward, keeps me getting out of bed every day, keeps me sane.

In retrospect, I feel a little bad about not writing more for Mia.  I've been keeping up with her baby book, but that's about it.  I don't have a journal that I've kept up with.  I've taken about a million photographs (not as much of a hyperbole as one might think) and a lot of video, but I know there are many precious memories that have fallen through the cracks.

In the last two months, since Charlotte died, I've tried to not take a second of my time with Mia for granted.  I got to spend only 12 hours with Charlotte in my arms, and she didn't even get to spend a minute being held in her life.  It really makes me realize the extent to which I have to treasure every moment, every milestone, every smile, every tear.  I've been trying.  Sometimes I get mired down in my own swampy emotions, and it's hard.  For today, I want to focus on the good.  I have so much to be thankful for.


The Start

Mia is just over 16 months now.  Wow, time flies.  I look back at the pictures of her as an itty bitty and I'm just absolutely dumbfounded.  Was she really that small?  Was she really so helpless?  ...did she really stay in one place when I put her down??

I remember writing about being nervous about the emotions I knew I would feel when Mia was born. I was scared because I knew they would be incredibly strong, and I knew that, no matter how much I prepared, I would never be prepared for the ties that would bind us.  I was right.  From the first day she was born, Mia has felt like she's always been in our lives...a constant.  As if it always was and always would be.  It's overwhelming to feel that way, especially after only a few minutes.

When I look back, I remember feeling like she was growing up too fast from the time she was a week old.  I still feel that way.  I'm terrified she'll be all grown up the next time I blink.  It already seems like it. 

So tiny!  This is us the day we came home from the hospital.


A Year Ago

I was thinking today about what Mia was like a year ago.  She was just starting to try to sit up.  She couldn't really do it on her own, but she was trying.  For her four month picture, I put her Boppy under the sheet to help her balance...but she kept falling over throughout my photo shoot.  She never did like that silly Bumbo (or pseudo Bumbo, in our case).  She just looked miserable in it!  I bought her a little knit pumpkin hat at Gymboree that I put on her almost every day from September through November. She was so adorable in that thing...and she didn't know how to take it off yet!  She was just starting to (finally) like her jumpy seat.  She would sit in that silly thing for 45 minutes at a time, happy and laughing and screaming away.


One Year +

I feel like she just turned one yesterday.  It's been four months.  How did that happen?  OK, granted, the last two months have been a bit of a blur.  I wish time had gone by so quickly when I was pregnant! seems like just yesterday that I was taking her to the playground for the first time, buying her first pair of real shoes, holding her hand to help her walk.  When did she get to be so independent?  On her birthday she couldn't walk farther than the length of our family room.  We bought her a little toddler slide for our back yard, and she was too little to really "get" it.  She was scared of the water at the park.  She needed us so much more: held our hand everywhere we went. 

 First ride on the swings.  Before this, every time I tried to put her in the swing she would scream.  Suddenly, on her birthday, she pointed at the swings.  She was ready.  She loved it!

I miss the days when she had to hold our hands.  She still holds our hands now, and in a way it's even better, as she does it because she WANTS to...but it was nice to be needed, too.


The Beach

We took Mia on her second beach trip this year.  She had come with us when she was two months old last summer.  I took her down to the beach a few times...and she promptly fell asleep under the Shade Shack tent I bought specifically to keep her out of the sun.  She slept through the majority of our dinners out, and hung out in her baby car seat when we went together at 6am to get Duck Doughnuts.  This year...not so much.  She played in the sand.  She put her feet in the water.  She went in the pool.  She took good naps, but she was alive, awake, and alert for every meal.  Though it was much harder, this year was so much more fun.  I think she probably ate about a pound of sand...but boy did she have a fun time doing it.

 The Beach: 2011
The Beach: 2012


The Dog

We own a Rottweiler.  He's huge, and he's drooly, and he's loud.  He's also the cuddliest, sweetest love bug of a dog I've ever met.  People are scared of him because he's a Rottweiler.  He also has a tendency to bark when he's excited, which looks and sounds scary if you don't know him.  

Mia's not scared. He's been around her whole life, so, to her, big huge loud dogs are just a part of life. She follows him around, and plays tug of war with him.  She gives him kisses...sometimes with more drool exchanged than I'd like.  She feeds him food from her high chair.  She gives him hugs and pets him.  Poor Sam.  I think she runs him ragged.  They love each other, though.  Always have.

May 2011
October 2011
April 2012
September 2012


Mia today.  I don't even know where to start. She is my light.  Quite seriously, on the darkest days she is the only thing that keeps me going.  It's so hard to not smile when she's around.  It's so hard to not enjoy life when she smiles.  It's so hard not to be grateful when she hugs me.  As I said before, I literally don't know how I would have gotten through the last two months without her.  One child doesn't replace another, but that one child can put a soothing balm on the jagged hole left by the loss.  Mia doesn't replace Charlotte, but she makes it easier to breathe without Charlotte.

I tell Mia every day about her baby sister Charlotte.  I point out the butterflies that pass and say, "Maybe baby Charlotte is trying to say hello.  Let's say hello back."  I tell her to say thank you to baby Charlotte when good things are happening.  She doesn't know what I'm talking about yet, but I'm hoping that the memory of baby Charlotte will be like growing up with a Rottweiler.  It's something that will just always have been a part of her life, so it's not scary.  I want the memory of her baby sister to be a positive force in her life.

When I watch Mia play, I know that baby Charlotte is looking out for us.  I think Mia feels it, too.  Sometimes it feels like she hears and sees things that I don't.  I like to think that maybe it's because she can still talk to baby Charlotte.  Even if it's just pretend, it's a happy thing to pretend.  I wish Charlotte could meet Mia in real life...but I know Charlotte's with her, somehow, every day.



I feel guilty sometimes for being so happy with Mia, but I know that Charlotte wouldn't want us to be sad.  I know she loves us.  I know that she is ok, wherever she is.  I know that she'll always be missed, but she wouldn't want us to dwell in sadness. There are too many butterflies for that.

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