Looking back through my 1998 datebook, it's fun to see how many things I was doing at this same time of year then that I am still doing now (waiting on tax receipts, enrolling in the benefits program at work for the new year, watching figure skating, making calls to the plumber to deal with leaks in the bathroom, albeit in different spots these days...!), and things that have changed (the noon hour workplace Toastmasters club I no longer belong to, haircuts with a hairdresser who moved away, calls to friends I've lost touch with, free Thursday nights because we weren't involved in our support group yet). I didn't know anything about charting back then, but I did track my monthly cycles, including (ahem) possible dates of conception. I've since realized I tend to ovulate somewhere between day 19 & 23, & that month, days 19 & 21 are possible dates when the wee embryo that was to become our Katie sprang to life.
Day 21 was Saturday, Feb. 28th, & we attended a 65th birthday party for dh's aunt at her daughter's that night. He has several aunts, but this one is particularly special to us because she took special care of dh, his dad & brother after their mom died -- cleaned house & did laundry for them, had them over for dinner just about every night. Even though I wasn't Italian ; ) she welcomed me with open arms to the family, the soul of generosity.
I was looking at the photos from that party recently as we prepared to attend her 75th birthday party, which was last weekend. Dh's family are not big drinkers, but I remember her son-in-law pressing a glass of butterscotch schnapps on me & some of the other women. Of course, forever afterward I felt guilty, wondering if that one minuscule liqueur glass of schnapps at the point of conception somehow contributed to my daughter's subsequent stillbirth. When we first started ttc, of course, I was extra cautious about things like drinking & even taking asprin for a headache, especially if I felt I was ovulating or on the 2-week wait. But when you've been ttc 2.5 years without success, you tend to let some of these things slide after awhile.
The following week, the first week of March, my cousin & his wife (now ex), who were married the same year as dh & me, had their third & last child, a baby girl.
I noted on several dates in my book that I felt tired and crampy or had a headache. I went to bed early several times, & popped a few ibuprofen to alleviate the aches & pains. At work, I met with a vice-president -- I was working on something for her around the time of my loss, and was blown away when she sent me a note saying how very sorry she was to hear the sad news about my baby.
The week of March 16th that year was spring break (this year, it's this coming week). Then as now, I was not affected, except in the sense that parking spots & seats on the commuter train were easier to find, and people I called at work were harder to get hold of. I had lunch with my college roommate that week (who had recently loaned me a book on "how to get pregnant" that she said had helped her conceive her only son at age 37).
Saturday the 21st, there was a a big snowstorm. We hunkered down at home and I did some laundry.
Our lives were about to change forever.