Friday, March 23, 2012

Red-letter days


Yesterday, I noted in my last post, marked 14 years since the day I took a home pregnancy test. Aunt Flo was late, but she'd been late in the past & turned out to be only teasing me, in the 2+ years we'd been ttc.

So I was not prepared for the sight of two bright blue lines almost immediately popping into view. Off we went on a rollercoaster ride that, in some ways, has never quite ended. Today is 14 years since I went to have my blood drawn at my family dr's office; tomorrow is 14 years since I went to payphone, hands trembling as I dropped the quarters in the slot, and heard the nurse telling me, "The news is good!"

It's funny the power these "anniversaries" can hold on our memories and our emotions. For years & years after Katie was stillborn, I used to circle the 5th & the 7th every month in my calendar in red ink -- August 5, 1998, being the date I learned her heart was no longer beating; August 7 being the date I delivered her, the "official" date that's on all the paperwork and on her niche marker at the cemetery. I would also write in the box for that date "8 mo" or "9 mo" -- and then, as time passed, "1 yr, 5 mo," "5 yrs, 3 mo" and so on.

I did that for YEARS. Without rummaging through all my saved datebooks, I'm betting I did it for well over 5 years & probably more like 10.

Eventually, I came to realize I wasn't really noticing the dates anymore. And even when I did take note of them, circled & written in my datebook, more often than not, I felt... nothing. I would pause, remember ("oh yeah...")... think a bit about my baby girl... and go on with my day.

I did feel a pang of guilt when, filling out a new calendar for the year, I finally made the conscious decision not to circle & note the 5th & the 7th of the month anymore.

But there are still certain dates that are forever engraved on my heart (& still noted in red in my calendar), including:
  • Feb. 8th: first day of my last menstrual period, pre-conception in 1998.
  • March 24th: positive hpt (1998).
  • July 18th: the date of my first post to an iVillage message board for childless-not-by-choice women (which, sadly, no longer exists) in 2001 -- which I view as the start of my journey to acceptance of childless/free living.
  • Aug. 5th & 7th (as described above).
  • Nov. 14th: the first of many due dates I was given (1998).

Do some dates still have a certain power over you, even years later?

9 comments:

  1. Unlike you I finally got my happy ending...but yes...

    March 10th-first day of menstrual cycle
    April 8th-positive home pregnancy test
    April 10th-positive beta

    May 1st-miscarriage

    December 15 due date...
    2008 was such a defining year. Sigh.

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  2. Yes. Gabe's due date was this week. I remember.

    And Betty, thanks for your words. It's great to know that Lorineth and I have no chance for happiness. How thoughtful of you to say that.

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  3. I've been thinking recently about how much power dates still have over me:
    28th April(2008) the day I lost Starchild
    6th Feb (2009)the day I lost Matilda
    24th Dec (2009) the day I lost my Little Stars
    26th Nov (2008) - Starchild's due date
    14th July (2009) - Matilda's due date
    Maybe the dates will never lose their power, but perhaps someday they'll lose some of their pain?

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  4. The day before Purim -- it floats on the English calendar, but it's always the 13th of Adar on the Hebrew calendar. And like most Jewish holidays, I feel like I fall into the funk and the memories the night before (the 12th of Adar) and it continues through Purim. Maybe that is why I do Purim so big every year -- I'm trying to drown out those thoughts.

    Sending love as you remember Katie.

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  5. Hugs, Loribeth.

    Dates for me are:
    4 Dec 2001 (My father's birthay) - First positive pregnancy test.

    The entire two weeks before Christmas - undergoing methotrexate treatment for ectopic pregnancy.

    19 Dec 2002 - Second positive pregnancy test

    25 Dec 2002 - Temperature dipped. Worried. (was a second ectopic that took about 4-5 months to resolve)

    August 31 - due date of second pregnancy, and birth date of the daughter of a friend (who had also been through ectopics)

    20 Oct 2003 - My birthday. Learned I would never have children of my own. Great birthday present!

    The pain of these dates has eased. I can remember how happy I was at the positive pregnancy tests, and smile. And now, sometimes, the dates go by without notice.

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  6. Nope, can't say I do. I pretty much "forget" traumatic days.

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  7. My due date was December 25th. It's quite difficult to forget. I find Christmas time so uneasy.

    We found out I was pregnant in April, so springtime always remind me of the early happy days of my one and only pregnancy.

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  8. Yes, I remember. BFPs on October 31 and November 11. Miscarriage on November 18th, D&C on December 23, Due dates of July 7th and July 20th. My first pregnancy, and my latest one, 7 years apart. I think that getting pregnant in October probably isn't a good thing for me.

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  9. I always note the date of my cancer diagnosis, hysterectomy and last period ever. Yes, and in time, those dates fade, which is nice... but sometimes, they are still noted.

    hugs to you. so strong, smart, and a wonderful writer.

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