No one ever expected me to make it to my due date, it was more of a guideline date to keep track of how far along I was, rather than an actual date upon which I expected to go to the hospital and deliver my babies. Because of this, I assumed that when it came, I would not be as affected by it as a woman who had lost a single baby and actually expected to deliver on or near her due date. Somehow, it escaped my attention that although the date was not going to be the date I delivered, it would likely be around the time I would have brought home my two healthy, beautiful baby girls from the hospital to start our lives together. Only as it approaches, both too quickly and not quick enough, have I realized my naiveté.
Last night the hubbo and I went to dinner. Like a date. With lipstick and everything. I told him how I had been writing a letter to one of the women on one of the grief boards who also lost her baby, at 31 weeks, and I had a realization. Shortly after our loss, I was upset because a long time close friend of mine had not reached out to me. She’d called once or twice, but never left a voicemail, only a short, not very ‘touching’ text message. She didn’t email or try to contact my husband to see how I / we were doing. She just assumed we needed space and for over 2 weeks gave us plenty of it. I said to my husband at the time that I felt like it was a cop out. I know it’s hard for her to relate. I know she does not know what to say. I remember saying then that a few days prior I was on “that side”… a person that would have no concept of how to relate to a person on “this side,” but I would like to think I would have made a bigger effort than she did.
Now, as we approach the due date, it occurred to me I no longer can relate to the ‘me’ on that side. I can no longer access in my mind the part of me that made that statement. The girl that could relate emotionally to someone who has not gone through this… That girl is gone. It’s a strange thing. Like your perspective on the world has suddenly shifted and what you see now is Me 2.0. Like, when I was 10 years old and we got our first microwave. 2 weeks later you don’t remember a life before the microwave. How did people reheat leftovers?!? Sorry, nope. Can’t relate.
The day we learned that we’d lost the girls, I also remember telling my husband that I had been reading a lot of the posts on the message boards from women who have experienced the loss of their babies late in their pregnancies, and I didn’t understand why these women seemed ‘stuck’ as much as they did. After all, these were not ‘babies’ and they needed to move on with their lives. Another sentence I can no longer relate to. These are babies. They are loved as much as any living child has ever been loved, and these women have moved on with their lives. But they have moved on with a scar on their hearts that, though healed from the raw open wound it once was, will never disappear. The people around them will forget. The days return to “normal” for everyone else. New babies will be born and old people will be the ones thought of when thinking about those that die. But the mother of a dead baby never forgets. She never forgets all the birthdays without the child to celebrate them. She never forgets the milestones and achievements her baby will never experience. She never forgets the lifetime of smiles that child was supposed to bring her. Now I understand.
We are trying to conceive again. (TTC to the online world with which I have become intimately familiar.) I know that when we do the likelihood of it being twins is so slim. In a way I am grateful, and hope that we will have an entirely uneventful pregnancy resulting in a beautiful, healthy baby. But in a way, despite the dangers I now know exist in twin pregnancies, that makes me sad, because I will never get to be a mother of living, identical twins, and that was supposed to be my special thing, and it sucks.
I’ve bought myself a gift, these two necklaces, and I will wear them together on one chain whenever I want my girls close by. I think I will be wearing them a lot.