Behind the Photographs



Every morning, I look at my “On This Day” from Facebook, usually right up there with reading the news and checking the weather.  I have thirteen years’ worth of history to scroll through.  As I look at photos, I usually try to remember the situation, event, feelings, or why I decided to snap a picture at that time.  There is a lot that the captions don’t tell and often little context for day-to-day activities. Continue reading

Forever Children

This week, Autumn turned three months old.  Based on my due dates, Nelle would be 22 months and Iris would be sixteen-and-a-half months.  But Autumn is older than they will ever be.  Once I passed 16 weeks, 1 day of pregnancy, and 21 weeks, 1 day of pregnancy, Autumn will always be older. Continue reading

A Love Scene

There are a lot of photos of me pregnant with Nelle.  We took a family trip to Hawaii when I was around 11 weeks.  I announced the gender to my parents, siblings, and uncles on that trip.  I was nauseous every day.  At eleven weeks, I can see my shape in the photos.  Blissfully unaware.  It is incredibly hard to look at those photos now, as I can never erase that she was in the pictures with us. Continue reading

Image Embedded in Memory

It was August 24, 2015, at what should have been the completely routine mid-pregnancy ultrasound.  Ger almost didn’t attend the appointment since we had done this before with two previous kids, but I insisted that “this is the big one!” And he should be there.  I saw the image of my baby girl on the screen, and my eye immediately caught the estimated gestational age based on measurements:  16 weeks.  That couldn’t be right, I thought, since I was over 19 weeks into pregnancy.  The ultrasound tech was tight-lipped. Continue reading

Outside of the Photograph

Every year around this time, I trip across this photo, thanks to a variety of social media reminding me what I was doing “on this day.”

In Chicago, standing in front of the theater, about to see the musical Wicked for the first time.  8 years ago today.  We were living in Madison and had traveled to Chicago for the show.  Every time I see this picture, I know exactly why I was there and what was going on “outside of the photograph.”

A few days before, I had a miscarriage.  Did not know I was pregnant until I went to the emergency room with severe pain.  Likely I was under 5 weeks pregnant, likely an ectopic pregnancy because of the pain, but too early to see anything on an ultrasound.  The doctor didn’t wait to find out.  After beta level tests confirmed that it was not viable, I was given medication to help nature take its course, if it hadn’t already.

We had plans to go to Arizona, but the doctor did not want me traveling, to add insult to injury.  So we made plans to see Wicked, as a small distraction.  Thought it was essentially over before I even knew it began, I was still devastated.  My status update from just a few days prior to this photo simply said “I’m hurting.”  Physically and emotionally, just hurting.

I look at this photo from last spring.  I suspected that I was pregnant, but did not know for sure yet.  I can almost see the anticipation in my face.

I look at a photo from last October, my birthday.  A mere 5 weeks after losing Nelle.  We took the kids to see Blue Man Group, again with the distractions.  I know what is going on “outside of the photograph” and I can see the pain in my face.

There are so many other photos.  I take a lot of photos – I love them and the memories they capture.  But they capture so much more than what is visible inside the frame, in the senses they evoke.  What is hiding under the surface.