Jenny Hintze

"We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams." – Willy Wonka

A tough night November 5, 2009

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Last night was tough. While I was at Target with the boys I got a call about a family at our local hospital who wanted pictures of their little one. Those aren’t happy calls. I never look forward to getting those calls. I went to the hospital about an hour later after the baby was born. Last night’s session was the first time that I have cried while with the family.


Being in that room surrounded by a family brought together and torn apart for the love of a baby was just a bit too familiar. Brokenhearted grandparents, hugs where people hang on, a big brother still too little to understand…just all too familiar. And it was tough. I couldn’t help feeling like an intruder on this family’s precious time together. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of just…Holiness. The presence of God was thick in the room and I’m sure everyone there must have felt it. I didn’t want to disrupt it or interrupt it with my presence and my camera but I knew that some of those moments had to be captured. Their sadness and love for this child is, in a way, his legacy and his impact on this world. And he deserves to have his impact seen. The world outside that little room carried on unaware. Unaware of his life and unaware of his death.


So I took the pictures that I wish I had of the moments with our son. And I hope that I was able to capture a glimpse of the presence of God in the room. And while last night was tough for me, I got to walk away. I got to pack up my stuff and go back home to my sleeping boys. But this family doesn’t get to walk away from this. They will carry yesterday with them for the rest of their lives. They will feel pain deeper than most people can imagine. And they might have moments where they feel completely abandoned by the One whose presence enveloped us all in that room last night.

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Love. Complete. October 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhintze @ 12:33 am
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I was scared to lift the blanket that covered his face the first time we met. A handsome young man named Brandon brought him to our house. I couldn’t help being surprised that they let a single young man deliver a baby but he was just as qualified as any other, I suppose. And I was scared to lift the blanket. Scared and excited and hopeful. Hopeful that the face I was about to look into was the face of our child but scared too that he was just a fill-in until our real child arrived. Secretly scared that he might have three eyes or two heads. Secretly scared that I could love no one like Jackson. And then we lifted the blanket on top of his carrier. I unbuckled the straps and lifted his tiny scrunched up body to my shoulder and fell in love. Completely in love.


And now as he sleeps in his bed, even more beautiful than the day we met, I stand in awe. A complete stranger became a piece of me. A piece of me that I felt was missing but never really knew. A complete stranger completed me. Completed us.


When I think of the pregnancies, I often think of them as one thing. One time in our lives. I like to sum them all up by simply referring to them as “the pregnancies.” It seems more pleasant that way. More easy to comprehend. We were a family of three, happy-go-lucky, and then “the pregnancies” happened. There was our life before “the pregnancies” and there has been life after them. It’s like this piece of pie that I sometimes just want to remove. Just take that little sliver out and nobody would ever know the difference. But in reality “the pregnancies” evolved me with each moment I lived them. Each drive to Houston. Each doctor visit. Each parking garage ticket paid. Each time cold gel was squeezed on my belly. Each heartbeat heard and each heartbeat not heard and every moment surrounding all of those other moments.


And each of those moments, whether triumphant or gruesome, brought me closer to him. To the one who sleeps in the next room, the one with the floppy hair and angel eyes. The one whose mother I was always supposed to be from before there was time.

 

A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List September 27, 2009

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I did not write this. This was on a blog that I read. I thought it was worth sharing. When we lost Evan and the other babies, there were many people who just didn’t know what to do or say or how to act. I understand. I didn’t know before that either. There were people who hurt me because they did or said the “wrong” thing. Or worse, they didn’t say or do anything at all. They didn’t mean to hurt me but it’s hard to get over that kind of thing. Phillip and I were transformed over that 2 years. We came out of that time different people than we were going into it. I hope that no one you love ever loses a child. But if they do, this might give you a little insight into how they feel and ways that you can be a good friend for them.


A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List


I wish my child hadn’t died. I wish I had him back.


I wish you wouldn’t be afraid to speak my child’s name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that he was important to you as well.


If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. My child’s death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.


I wish you wouldn’t “kill” my child again by removing his pictures, artwork, or other remembrances from your home.


Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you more than ever.


I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.


I know that you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my child’s death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know things through a phone call, a card or a note, or a real big hug.


I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die.


I am working very hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child, and I will always grieve that he is dead.


I wish you wouldn’t expect me “not to think about it” or to “be happy”. Neither will happen for a very long time so don’t frustrate yourself.


I don’t want to have a “pity party,” but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.


I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I’m feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.


When I say, “I’m doing okay,” I wish you could understand that I don’t feel okay and that I struggle daily.


I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I’m having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I’m quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.


Your advice to “take one day at a time” is excellent. I wish you could understand that I’m doing good to handle it all at an hour at a time.


I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with him. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.


I wish very much that you could understand – understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. But I pray daily that you will never understand.

 

Whole August 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhintze @ 11:35 pm
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I’m up late tonight trying to finish up some editing on a NILMDTS session I had a couple of weeks ago. I have probably delayed finishing up these pictures longer than I could have, maybe longer than I should have. I’m still within the time frame I gave the mom but still I need to buckle down and get this done. But this is the hardest part of it. Being there with the baby was hard but I was behind my camera a good bit of the time. And I was in photographer mode most of the time. Getting the lighting right, positioning right, camera settings right.


But now I’m up working in photoshop of pictures of a baby girl who never drew breath. And it’s just not right. These photos aren’t right. They shouldn’t have to be. And as I work on making her little body look “right” as best I can, I know that she is already whole and perfect in her Father’s arms. What is taking me hours to try to fix is already fixed. She’s perfect. We don’t do this work for the babies. We do this work for ourselves and for the parents of these little ones. We do this work to try to mend as best we can our own broken hearts and hopefully the parent’s broken hearts too. And someday when we meet up with them again, we’ll all be whole together.


As I was packing up my equipment to leave this session, the baby’s sweet mommy let her guard for a moment. She talked to her daughter as a mother should talk to a new baby and she showed her a teddy bear. She danced the bear briefly in front of her baby’s face. I can’t get that moment out of my mind. As difficult as it was to photograph the baby and now edit the pictures, that moment just breaks my heart.


This world is very broken. And sometimes I just long for Heaven. I really do.

 

Evan’s journal August 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jhintze @ 12:07 am
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I almost feel that I no longer have the right to talk about Evan and the other three babies we lost. I sometimes feel that I should be “over” that. Over him. Over them. That my life now is complete and shouldn’t require reminiscing about the past. That it’s a sign of weakness. Something this evening prompted me to get out some of my journals and flip through them. I have a friend who is in pain. And I guess I just wanted to connect to her pain somehow.


I started a journal when I found out I was pregnant with Evan. I started that journal on February 21, 2005 with the statement “Positive pregnancy test and scared to death! Here we go again.” I ended the journal on July 9, 2005 with a few details of Evan’s memorial service and the signatures of those who attended. I wrote 15 pages in that journal during those 5 months. 15 pages to document a life. And some of the pages aren’t even full; just a few sentences. Evan’s ultrasound picture is on the cover. This journal rests in his box with his ashes and his footprints and the measuring tape they used to measure him. And that’s all I have of him. And I’m not “over” it. I’m not “over” him. There is a hole in me that will never go away. I try to hide it but it’s still there.


from May 9, 2005
“I love the idea of two boys running around the house in their little underwear with spiderman or whatever. I’m praying we get to meet this little guy. I think once I finally get him in my arms I’m not going to want to ever let him go.”


But I did have to let him go. And the world moved on like it should have and I had no choice but to move on with it. Because that’s what people expect. That’s what makes people comfortable. Eventually the world forgets. But I can’t forget.