A lot of parents who have had a stillbirth or neonatal loss talk about how “anniversary days,” are hard especially in the beginning. Like, if you lost your baby on a Tuesday, then at first every Tuesday is a rough day. I don’t really get that. I have so many memories and associations with the pregnancy and the loss, enough to cover nearly any day of the week.
Tuesday is the day that I gave birth to our daughter, and the day that she died. Friday is the day that I started having contractions and we landed in the hospital. Sunday is the day my water broke and we began preparing for our baby’s death. Thursday is the day that marked each new gestational week, the day I got e-mails from Babycenter announcing all of the cool things the fetus within was now doing, the day that we pulled so hard to get to in the hospital. Wednesday is the day that we had all of our prenatal appointments. If I had to pick a particular day tinged with sadness, it’s Thursday, because that was our day that we counted our pregnancy milestones. On Thursdays, I still think, “if we’d made it to today, she might have had a shot,” or “if she had made it, I’d be 27 weeks pregnant today.” So yeah, Tuesday, April 3rd, was a shitty day, but just the fact that it’s Tuesday doesn’t make me more sad.
I was pregnant every day of the week. And now our daughter is gone, every day of the week. Some days just happen to be better than others. Some days, I feel practically normal. And then I feel guilty, for being okay. How can I be okay when she’s not? And the guilt is a spiral, what more should I have done? Nothing. We all did everything we should have done. Really by any measure, even on Friday morning, if I had not called the doctor, that would have been what I “should” have done. My symptoms did not merit any particular alarm. So, okay, we played by the book, but then it’s well, what COULD we have done. I could have insisted I be seen more often. That was the original plan. But everything was going so well, they switched me back to the regular, low-risk schedule. If I had insisted, if I’d gone in at 22 weeks, would things have ended better? This is how you drive yourself crazy.
It’s been three weeks now, and I have more and more moments I’m okay, days where I’m okay. More and more days where I only tear up a few times, or only cry once or twice. I think there might have been one day this past week that I didn’t cry one single time. I can see that eventually, I will simply be okay, even if what happened never is. And that makes me feel disloyal to our little girl, but I’m not sure there’s anything to do about that. I’m here. She’s not. That’s horrible, but it is what it is. I did everything I could do. I did more than I ever thought I would, or could. Hopefully, somewhere, she knows that. Hopefully she’d be okay with my being more okay.
Also, an update for my last post – I found a dress. It isn’t going to be my favorite dress, and it’s two sizes larger than I wish I were, but it’s flattering and appropriate and most importantly not a dress I bought in a giggly pregnant shopping spree, and it was on sale. It is also red. I thought a splash of color would be festive.