June 26, 2006

Turning bad days into good

One of the very first things that women do when they found out they are pregnant is calculate their expected due date. Besides staring incessantly at that 2nd line, freaking out in the bathroom, running to tell their significant other and calling their girlfriends, of course. That date becomes a magical, highly anticipated date that is ingrained in their memory. You wait with anticipation for the day that you'll hold your beautiful baby in your arms, smelling its sweet newborn scent and staring at its tiny features.

That date is one that you'll never forget. That magical anticipation changes drastically though when you suffer the grief and heartache of a miscarriage or a stillborn loss. That date is still one that you'll never forget but it takes on a whole different meaning. It changes to a date that fills most with sadness and trepidation. That date becomes a reminder of what they've loss. A reminder of the incredible joy that they should be experiencing. Many women that experience such a loss hope/pray that they'll be pregnant again by the time that due date passes, in an attempt to diminish the pain associated with that given day.

When I was pregnant in the spring of 2005, my due date would have been December 9. After I lost the baby in May I constantly hoped that I could find joy in that date. I hoped that I'd be pregnant again by that time. As the summer passed and I found myself putting more and more unsuccessful cycles behind me the depression mounted. December loomed in my mind like a dark cloud. I dreaded the Christmas holiday and the constant thought of how we should be celebrating with our families and the first grandchild.

The middle of October I found myself staring at two lines on a pregnancy test and filled with the relief that December would be easier to cope with. I knew that I'd still mourn the 9th but would be carrying a new life inside of me. I would still have that magical time with a newborn, although slightly delayed. Much to our dismay (and amidst the wonderful engagement news of both of my sisters) the pregnancy was lost and filled us with heartache as quickly as it had filled us with joy.

So now I was faced with two heartwrenching days on my calender: December 9th and June 22nd. I wanted so desperately to find a way to fast forward until fall of 2006. Pushing myself past the worst of the heartache and hopefully into a place where life was brighter.

The beginning of November brought the beginning of some of the most nerve wracking times to my life. Kristin began having the symptoms of pre-term labor and Miss Victoria threatened to make her appearance into the world, much earlier than anticipated. And desired. November saw Kristin in and out of the hospital, pumped full of steroids, antibiotics and medications to stop the contractions. Her strength and optimism gave me hope that I'd make it through December without too many bruises. During one of our many (almost daily) phone conversations I casually quipped that I had a due date in December that wasn't going to be used if she wanted it. We both brushed it off just as casually as it was mentioned, commenting that Miss V had better stay situated longer than that.

A phone call at about 3am (MST) on the 9th woke me from a dead sleep. It was the phone call that I had been hoping to not receive until well into the New Year. Victoria was here, born at a little less than 30 weeks and weighing slightly more than 3 pounds. Although her journey has been tough, Victoria proved to be stronger than any of us gave her credit for and she's now a constant source of smiles for me. December 9th turned from a dreaded day into one that will always be cherished. The birthday of my angel became the birthday of a beautiful miracle.

It occurred to me last Friday, the 23rd that June 22nd had come and gone and I hadn't given second thought to the sadness associated with the date. The birthday of my other angel is also the birthday of an incredible friend. All week long I looked forward to Kristen's birthday, constantly reminding myself I had to celebrate that day (although in spirit) for her. The past couple of weeks have been difficult for her and I've tried my hardest to be supportive and help her through the tough time. At one time she made the comment about how she thought she would be at such a different point in her life by the time she reached this birthday. I reminded her to look at the things that she had accomplished, to relish the good in her life.

In helping her, I helped myself. The 22nd came and went and I never paused for a moment to grieve over what should have been. I looked towards the future and what it holds, only looking back to see how far I've come.

For me, I've been fortunate that those dark days have been turned into such wonderful times in my life.


Marz said...

Awww.. that was a nice post, sad but nice (and happy too re Miss V)

Lorem ipsum said...

My first due date was September 11 - and I was thrilled, because now our family could reclaim that day.

My second due date was March 11 - three days before my birthday. My cousin and his wife, who have a mania for one-upmanship starting with my engagement, suddenly decided they wanted kids too after my first pregnancy and got pregnant themselves. She delivered on March 11. They 'forgot' to send me an invitation, then was told that I was left off the list intentionally because... um... well...

My third was supposed to be February 18 - four days after our third anniversary and two days after my dad's 66th birthday. This was supposed to be for him. But it's also two years to the day after we had our first ultrasound ever, and there all our troubles began.

Maybe future years will bring something good. But it's hard to shake in general.

Sami said...

I'm going to refrain from coming up with any due dates until well... someone else tells them to me with some degree of certainty. We've managed to have due dates land on some of the best things in our lives... my birthday, my husband's birthday, our anniversary... you name it.

My motto now is that I don't want to know the due date until we know for certain this is going to go somewhere... preferably in my arms etc. I know that sounds a bit cynical for my usual pollyanna ways, but that about sums it up for us.

Now... as for you - I'm so very glad that that glorious baby V happened on Dec 9, and that Kristen's bday was on your second... I think that helps more than anything.

I'm also delighted that things are moving forward for you guys... in all directions.