Sunday, October 14, 2012

An Anniversary

This past week was the anniversary of our due date with A. As you know, I’ve had an increasingly difficult time as his first birthday approaches, but I hadn’t expected the due date anniversary to be so harrowing.

I went to work like normal but immediately I found myself fighting back tears. All morning my mind kept revisiting that day last year – how coworkers who had bet on my delivering that day in the Baby Pool ribbed me during the day, how after work E accompanied me to our regularly scheduled weekly appointment, how everything checked out perfectly, how we sat just the two (three) of us while doing the non-stress test, how E was intrigued by the monitor and printout, how the paper in the printer ran out but the office didn’t have any more of the special paper in stock, how the midwife looked at the abbreviated printout and explained the graph and how it depicted the desired number of fetal heart accelerations and recoveries, how we discussed with her our desire to wait until labor started naturally emphasizing our faith in my body and the baby to know when the time was right, how I was a little disappointed I didn’t have the energy to go out for dinner that night – I wanted to have a due-date date.

How on that very day exactly one year ago we heard our son’s heart beating for the very last time.

Blinking back tears I tried to focus on my computer screen and work assignments. It was futile. My brain (and whole being) was too dialed-in to my child and my maternal responsibility. Like a repeating movie reel it played the events of the due date and the following day then the next when we finally went out for what we believed was our final nice meal out for a long time, then the following morning when we sat through a long Happiest Baby on the Block class where I felt him moving around inside me, how I was starving and thus cranky by the time the class ended, how we drove to the store to pick up special swaddling blankets, how the next morning I didn’t feel his usual pre-dawn activity but shrugged it off and got busy with final baby preparations, how we took a belly picture which I emailed to family and friends along with photos of the finished nursery, hours later I remarked to E that I hadn’t felt the baby as much as usual and then all that happened next

By noon my chest was tight, my head hurt and I couldn’t focus on work at all. I tried releasing some tears first in the bathroom stall and then in a back abandoned office, but it wasn’t enough to ease the tension. I toyed with the idea of leaving and going home because that’s all I wanted; I just wanted the security and privacy of my home to cry at will.

Ironically, or perhaps not, I am feeling very similar to how I did last fall shortly after A was born. That familiar atmosphere where I don’t want to leave the house, I don’t want to cook, I don’t want to do anything but distract myself enough to get through the day until I can go back to bed and tick off another day on the calendar. Last year at this time I had the world’s permission as a newly bereaved mother to shutter myself in. I had 6-weeks of maternity leave to hibernate. Now I do not have that luxury but it is exactly what I am craving.

A’s actual birthday is in a few days and I have been bracing for that. But the due date really caught me off guard. You’d think after 12 full months of living in Griefland I would learn to expect the unexpected. 


  1. Oh, your retelling of your over due days sound so familiar. You are one of the few stories I've followed where we are similar....where we will have to face a due date BEFORE our child's birthday. Losing a baby while overdue seems so particularly cruel. And yes, I know losing is all the same in the end, but my god, to make it to the end...and then wait more!...and then have them slip away. Who do you turn to? What doctor could possibly make sense of such a senseless way to lose a child?

    I too wanted to labour naturally. Let it all come when my able and willing body was ready. I look back now, and remember that week...and just wish that I was different. I wish I opted for due date, and no further! Or, ideally, that I on my own went into labour sooner...and would be so different.

    I'm so sorry. I'm thinking of you in these tender days.

  2. Love to you. Take care of yourself. I am here, remembering A, thinking of you.

  3. Thinking of you, wishing A happy birthday and a peaceful week to you and E.

    My counselor reminds me that 6 months, 12 months, 15 months, etc. is still so recent. When it feels like the rest of the world thinks I should have moved on, I need this reminder. I'm pretty sure a lifetime will not be enough to escape the agony of what has happened (though the rawness and intensely painful days do lessen so much). And being pregnant again, with all the hormones, memories and worries for both of your babies only adds to the emotional toll. XO

  4. I've been thinking about you and A so much. I'm here, remembering and missing A with you always. xx

  5. I think it's very true that in the early days you have 'permission' to grieve, but as time rolls on, the tolerance for that grief lessens.

    A full year sort of piled on the pressure to be 'back to normal' and sane again... and I think I haven't helped myself - feigning the role of functioning almost normally again. I seem to have permitted people to forget about him - and that simply hurts.

  6. This post really struck me. Mostly because the flashbacks have been happening a lot lately. The world is lost in these moments as we can remember with detailed precision the events that took place. I'm sorry that you are in this place. I'm thinking of you and A and wishing it was different.

    1. There are times when my pragmatic mind shuts off for a moment and I wish that Dragon will be the magic pill to my pain and longing. That once this baby is here alive in my arms I won't feel like a crazy lady anymore, that the sorrow and anguish of the past year will cease. I know this isn't true and I do NOT want to put that onto this new child. It isn't fair and it isn't Dragon's responsibility. But I am so tired of feeling this way.

      More realistically, I am hoping that once (if) Dragon is here alive and well that there will be a discernible shift in my emotions and my perspective; whichever way it shifts, just something different. But like you know, because you are living it right now, even after the rainbow baby arrives the sadness continues, the flashbacks don't disappear and you'll always, always want Camille to be here.

      Sending you love as you continue this grief journey, just now with a darling bundle of new life on your lap.