Knowing and Honouring Our Baby Dates
One thing I’ve learned from the infertility community is that we all have dates. Most remember the date they pulled the goalie (i.e. started trying). For those of us who have gone through miscarriage(s), most remember the expected due dates of their lost babies. Some remember the dates of devastating ultrasound news.
For me, I have a weird relationship with our dates.
I have a list in my phone of all my CD1’s, beta levels with each pregnancy, fetal heart rates with each pregnancy, date of confirmed fetal demise, etc. But, without looking, I don’t know any dates except for my current cycle date.
But, here’s the odd thing. I have never really known any of our expected due dates, and I have never really kept track of our daily/weekly progress. I knew the first one’s due date, but then deleted everything from my phone and scratched it from my memory in the aftermath of our loss. I was told our second due date, but then never paid attention to it. I never even bothered to learn our 3rd, 4th or 5th due dates. With the exception of our first loss, I have all the CD1 dates in my phone still, so I know I could figure it out with a couple quick Google searches if I really wanted to. But, I have not bothered and don’t expect to now. At the time, for better or worse my thought process was to just take it it week by week and focus on the one in front of us. And now, I don’t look them up because I just don’t see the point on marking multiple days out of every year with sad memories. I would rather hold onto the happy memories that we do have, then to dwell on the negative.
Some might say not knowing these dates is a practical approach that is true to my personality; others might say it’s sad that I don’t know these dates to honour our babies; and, others might say that it’s about self-protection. I would venture the guess that all these perspectives are at least partially true.
See, just like I said, I have a weird relationship with our dates, mainly because I don’t really have a relationship at all. From what I can tell, nearly every other person in the infertility community knows there dates, particularly their expected due dates that never happened.
But, I have to share that I out of all of our experiences and all of our losses, I have engrained only three dates into my mind and my heart. Yes, that’s right, only three.
First, I know the date of our emergency D&C that was the end of our second pregnancy. I know it because it was also the very first surgery I ever had and it was also just before my 30th birthday. I don’t really hold onto that date as important – in fact, we’ve already had the first anniversary of the date and it really didn’t bother either of us. At the point of the D&C we had already experienced waiting for our baby die and learning that it was actually dead. So, the D&C was more of a necessary evil, and little emotion was wrapped up with it. For me there was no fear on the surgery day, probably because I was so emotionally drained by then that I just want it to be over (although I think my husband suffered miserably as he waited at the hospital without being able to help).
The second date I remember is the day we found out we lost our 4th baby. You see, for the first time ever with this baby we had a healthy fetal heart rate. My husband was over the moon excited. I was convinced something was wrong from day 1 to the point of annoying the heck of my husband. This gut feeling prevented me from really embrace the good news of the fetal heart rate. I couldn’t, call it mother’s intuition, but I just knew something was wrong. In the end, I was right and our baby died without us knowing it. Anyways, we found out this baby died 3 days after my 31st birthday. For 2 years in a row, my birthday has been marred by absolutely horrible experiences. So, now I know, for the rest of my life, I will always remember these two babies when we celebrate my birthday.
The third date I remember is our darkest moment – the day we terminated our third baby. The first anniversary of that date is today. It has been one year since we made the decision to let our little baby go. A decision I would never wish upon anyone. A decision that still hurts, even though we felt compelled to make in order to potentially save my life while knowing that our baby would eventually die regardless. A decision that will undoubtedly stay with us for the rest of my life. A decision that no parent should ever have to make. My husband, he’s much more clinical about this decision because the possibility of losing me simply wasn’t an option in his mind. Me, I know, I absolutely know, it was the right decision. But, I was and am much more emotional about it. Regardless, we both loved that baby so incredibly much. I will continue to love her, and hold her in my heart for the rest of time.
So, today, I will not dwell on this anniversary. I learned long ago that for me the anticipation of hard anniversaries (i.e. April 7), is actually harder than the day itself. So, I am confident that the worst of the anxiety is behind me. I will silently honour our memory of our baby girl (I have no idea how, but I’m sure I will even if it’s just within my own thoughts). I will cherish the conversations I had with her when she was still with us, and the glimmers of hope that we had when she was part of our lives.
And, just in case the day is harder than I anticipated, I should be okay as by some coincidence, we have out of town family who stayed with us last night and we are off to celebrate my Great Uncles 80th birthday tonight. For me, this means that I have a great distraction, and will be surrounded by mostly unknowing family members who will double as a great distraction. And, I highly doubt the only two people at the party outside of my husband and I who know about this anniversary, will remember the actual date.
Anyways, that’s it for today. I’m off to keep myself busy and to find a few happy moments where I can.
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