Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Today is Jessica's first birthday.
Today would have been Georgina's first birthday if she had survived.

Happy first birthday Georgina and Jessica.
My sweet girls. I can't believe that it has been a year since I first met you.
My two beautiful daughters.
I am so proud of you.
I love you so much.

I wish that life had dealt us a different hand, one where I welcomed two healthy little girls of an adequate gestation kicking and screaming into this world. Breathing. Pink.

Not stifled by your own underdeveloped lungs.
Not bruised and battered by your own mother's body.
Not red and shiny and taut with prematurity.

One where my husband and I didn't mourn a daughter.
One where my parents didn't mourn their first grandchild.
One where my younger sister didn't mourn her first niece.
One where Jessica didn't mourn a sister and a relationship that I can never hope to comprehend, that of a twin. How will that play out? I just don't know.

But I could never, ever wish for either of you to be different.
Not by a single atom.
Not a single hair on your tiny heads.
If this is how it had to be to have both of you in my life then I count myself amongst the very, very luckiest.

Georgina, if I don't speak your name aloud today.
If I don't cut you a piece of cake.
If I don't wrap and unwrap a birthday present for you.
If I don't light your candles or look at your pictures until everyone else has gone to bed and I'm alone.

It isn't because I have forgotten you. I never do. I never could.

When that photograph is taken. Of your sister in my arms, when she is wearing her crown and I am wearing your crown. You will know that you are not forgotten. Even if mentioning you results in an uneasy silence.

It will be a secret between you, me and Jessica (I'll whisper it to her) and all these people here. They won't tell. You won't tell. Will you?

But today has to be about your baby sister, Jessica. I know you understand that.

Today is for my bird girl. My tiny, fragile baby bird girl who has grown so much.

This post contains a video of Jessica at various times over the past year. I tried to add some pictures of Georgina but I couldn't, I just can't bear to scan them in. The photographs look so very different from how I remember her.

I'm not sure whether I should even be posting this here. I don't want to upset anyone.

Please be warned that this video does include pictures of Jessica shortly after birth. NICU equipment and so on. It also includes pictures of her as she looks today. She is now wire-free and has been for the past three months.

I do appreciate that this might be hurtful or upsetting and I hope that the video will only start if you click play. I thought it might shed some light on my on-going struggles with the word 'miracle.'

This video was going to have a different soundtrack.
It was going to be either 'Do You Realize??' by the Flaming Lips or 'Bright as Yellow' by the Innocence Mission. The latter is a song that I have come to associate very strongly with Jessica ever since my sister told me that it played and played on repeat in her mind during the first few days in the NICU.

However, I put the photographs together listening to 'Amazing' by Janelle which was one of the options available on the player. This song is not my usual thing at all but now it just seems to fit and I can't bear to replace it. I've become sentimental.

For my daughters.

For my sweet Georgina.
Who is lost to me for the time being.
I hope and pray I will find you one day my tiny girl.
I want our conversation to continue. It was cut too short.

For my sweet Jessica.
For my little bird girl.
The person who showed me that, when I thought my heart was broken, it was only cracked.

'There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in.'

I hope you know that I think you are both amazing.


  1. Jessica is so beautiful. What a long journey its been to get here. I'm so happy she doesn't have any of those wires anymore. She looks good, real good.

    My little boy saw me playing this video and asked me if I was looking at Jordan. I told him that this was Jessica and that she was sick but was now much better now. And I told him that Jessica has a sister who died. "Like our Jordan" he said... "Now they are both stars" he informed me and I nodded and said "Yes."

    Happy birthday Jessica and Georgina. Much love to you Catherine. What a painful and joyful day for you. It is okay to be both.


  2. Both your girls, and you, are in my heart all day. My tattered and broken old heart, will beat for you all today. Off to watch the video now, will grab tissues.
    Love you bunches Catherine. You're a wonderful mummy.

  3. "But I could never, ever wish for either of you to be different.
    Not by a single atom.
    Not a single hair on your tiny heads.
    If this is how it had to be to have both of you in my life then I count myself amongst the very, very luckiest."

    This really resonates with me for if this is the only way I could have my girls in my life, then that is okay...I wouldn't change a thing.

    Jessica is amazing, her big sister is amazing and you are amazing Catherine. Happy birthday sweet girls, happy birthday.

  4. Oh...I forgot to say that I loved watching the video and the transformation Jessica has made in a year. I loved seeing how chubby she got compared to when she was born. Thank you for sharing this with us, she is beautiful!

  5. Catherine, I am too choked up to write much. Beautiful post and video. Happy 1st birthday to your beautiful dear girls. Much love to all of you today on this bittersweet day.

  6. Catherine - I have been thinking of you all day today. I just have to tell you that this is probably the most beautiful post I have ever read. The video is beautiful and Jessica is such a gorgeous girl - her eyes are the most beautiful blue. Thank you so much for sharing your girls...

    I know that today is not what you had hoped it would be, but I have a feeling that Georgina is right there with you. Happy First Birthday Jessica and Georgina.

    Thinking of you and sending much love across the ocean...

  7. Catherine,

    This is a perfect tribute to your girls on their first birthday. Jessica is beautiful (and so sturdy-looking in those recent pics). And I'm sure that Georgina is equally beautiful.

    I heard that Flaming Lips song today and I instantly thought of you and your girls...strange.

  8. It's a beautiful video for a beautiful girl. ((hugs)) to you today as you celebrate your gorgeous girl, but also mourn her beautiful sister. I will be thinking of you and your family. xxx

  9. That beautiful video just made me cry. What a lovely girl you have. My little Magnus was born at 23w6d, and lived just a short while. I have a feeling that he and Georgina may be cheering for every milestone that Jessica reaches.

  10. I hardly have the words- I can only imagine the pain of celebrating Jessica's first birthday without Georgina..... what a beautiful little bird she is Catherine. My heart aches for you today xx

  11. You are in my thoughts and prayers today. And I have remembered your precious girl who isn't here to celebrate her birthday.
    Much love
    Sarah xxxx

  12. What a wonderful video. As I was watching it Ava came in and was so captivated by Jessica that we watched it 4 times. Thank you for sharing her with us.

    We'll sing a rousing rendition of 'Happy Birthday' for both your girls today.

    So much love to you all xx

  13. Catherine, I am at a loss of what to say to you right now, not having reached the one year birthday milestone yet. Your post brought me to tears, so full of love for your girls. It's amazing to me how strong love can be for our babies that are no longer with us. You are blessed to have beautiful Jessica to give you an idea of what Georgina might look like today. I can only wonder myself. Wishing both Jessica and Georgina a Happy Birthday, I'm sure that despite the distance they were together on this special day. Many hugs to you

  14. Catherine, Jessica is so gorgeous. And that video is so beautiful...what a journey this past year has been for her, and for you, of course. The quote that Tina pulled out, that took my breath away. You are an amazing woman and mother to both your girls. With much love.

  15. Oh, Catherine. What a beautiful post and video. I'm speechless. Happy Birthday to both your beautiful girls. I'm holding you all close in my heart.

  16. Oh, Catherine. You are so amazing and so strong-I know it's hard for you to see that, but you are. You are a great mother to twins. I can't believe the video. She is so beautiful. My babies were born/died at just one day earlier gestation wise than yours and I just can't even imagine what this past year has been like for you.
    Happy, happy birthday Jessica and Georgina. You are so lucky to have such an amazin gmom.

  17. Of course we won't tell. Your secret is safe with us, and with Jessica. One day soon she will remember with you, even as she celebrates herself.

    Thinking of you and your amazing girls today.

  18. Thank you for sharing this love. It's beautiful, and Jessica is SO beautiful. Happy birthday little girl.

    It was incredibly powerful and uplifting to me to see the transformation from teeny wee nicu baby to BABY baby, complete with the chub (which, I totally adore - she is very smooshable). I never got to see that transformation in real life and...I mean, I know intellectually that it happens but to *see* it gives me more hope than I thought I could have. thank you, and happy birthday girls.

  19. Happy Birthday Jessica... thinking of you and Georgina... I know you are, too. Much love to you all.

  20. Happy Brithday to Jessica and Georgina, and to you, too, Catherine! When I watch your wonderful film I think we sometimes could/should to celebrate the mothers on birthdays, too. For what you have done, how you shine, you make them proud, both your girls.

    xx Ines

  21. If I can see to type through the tears, I will tell you what an amazing mother you are and what amazing daughters you have. There was a point about half way through the video when I was caught by the wisdom in Jessica's eyes. I don't know what I believe but I do think that Georgina is somehow very, very present with her sister.

    With love and peace.

  22. I am with you, remebering your sweet girl with you. I really don't know what to really say. I can't imagine how bittersweet it must be.
    You have been in my thoughts all day.
    You wear that crown with pride and honor..
    Much love,

  23. I know you are so proud, and sad. You have all been through more than anyone should and fought the entire way. I feel bad that all the time you were leaving me sweet comments, I never looked to see what a fighter you are, and what fighter's both of your daughter's were.
    May this day be a day for memories. Celebrate the triumphs and the sadness.
    Thank you for the video. It was beautiful to watch.
    Much love Lindsay

  24. happy birthday to jessica and georgina both. thank you for the beautiful video - just amazing. thinking of you lots today. xo

  25. Happy birthday baby girls! I so wish Georgina could be celebrating with Jessica on this special day.

    The video of pictures is beautiful. Your little beauty has made such progress, it's remarkable.

    Sending you love and peace...xo

  26. WOW. Amazing is truly the word. Every one of our babies is a miracle...the ones who died, the ones who lived. But Jessica is a real, true miracle. My eyes were filled with tears watching your video, but not from sadness. I witnessed a living, breathing miracle in those photos! I am in awe of your beautiful daughter.

    And I would love to see photos of Georgina someday. I know how hard it is to see the stark pictures. Their little skin was so translucent, pictures didn't do them any justice. They didn't look like that at all, I know. My twins were the same way.

    Happy birthday, Jessica and Georgina.

  27. Happy Birthday, Georgina and Jessica! Sweet, sweet girls... Happy Birthday.

    If this is the only way we can have our children, you are so right. Then we are lucky for that alone.

    I am so touched by the video... So very touched...

  28. Catherine, Jessica is beautiful! Brand new and today. There is nothing upsetting about her photos. Please do not be afraid to share them. They made me cry. Both happy and sad tears. Happy tears for sweet Jessica, for her health and the long life I pray she has ahead of her and also sad tears for the sisterhood she is missing. Sad tears also for little Georgina and the lifetime and sisterhood she has been deprived of. So unfair. So bitter sweet.

    I appreciate how honestly you share your emotions with us. How you share your mixed feelings of gratitude for Jessica and sadness for Georgina, soo... I've nominated you for a Honest Scrap award. Check out my blog.

    Big hugs!

  29. Honest Scrap Award for you for you too!

  30. What a beautiful first year video - thank you so much for sharing it with us. Happy birthday to both Georgina and Jessica, and peace to their loving mother.

    I felt so much love in this post. So much that death certainly cannot contain it from your sweet girl.

  31. What an incredible journey...a belated happy birthday to both Georgina and Jessica.

    What a beautiful post & video Catherine. I'm sorry your girls aren't together here with you to celebrate their birthday.

    Much love to you...

  32. Lovely to see how she's grown and changed. I'm glad she is wire-free now, though it's important you didn't shy away from showing her throughout her life. I know some people don't like to see all the equipment, but that was her reality and yours. Thank you for sharing. I've just found your blog and am starting to catch up on your story and your two girls.

  33. Jessica is a pretty girl. I guess she has 'caught up' because she looks like a normal one year old. Nice girly features, eyes especially.


  34. Wow - that really took my breath away... to see the incredible journey that you have made with Jessica, and all the while grieving for lovely Georgina... just incredible.