I was feeling off-kilter and out of sorts all last week. We had our 25-week growth scan on Friday, and I was worried, as always, though it took a different form than usual. I found myself dwelling on early losses--reading stories, reliving the key points of our miscarriage experience, crying in therapy about how sad and awful I felt in late '09/early '10. Even with Smudgie obligingly thumping away against my pelvis and ribs--hard enough for Lawyer Guy to feel a subtle little kick for the first time!-- I still kept returning to the past.
It's funny how these obvious things suddenly click: Yesterday was the m&m's due date. The date I calculated myself based on my late ovulation that cycle. The date I've both never considered "real" because it didn't come from a doctor and the date that felt more real to me that any other during those painful seven post-miscarriage months. June 26th--it seemed like the perfect birthday to me then and it still does, even as I anticipate October with growing excitement, impatience, joy, and worry.
Maybe my bad, morbid mood owed more to the post-V Day crash in hope and enthusiasm I was experiencing and that I experience after every successful milestone, but I have to believe it was somehow connected to that tenuous little thread the m&m sent out into my life. In one sense, this is natural and right, I suppose. I loved that baby and bonded more whole-heartedly and unabashedly with it than I let myself with Smudgie. Miscarrying was like being hit by a truck when crossing what I thought to be a deserted street--shocking, devastating, requiring an entirely new perspective on the world and my place in it.
But at the same time, I'm still surprised. Perhaps because I never let myself play the would have/should have game following the m&m's death. I immediately deleted the "Your Pregnancy This Week" e-mails I signed up for from Baby Center (and I just realized I never signed up for them this time around, did I?). I as quickly as possible taught myself to forget what week I might have been at any point during that phantom pregnancy, and I succeeded. If called upon or inspired to figure it out, I'd resort to a calendar and some calculations and then quickly put both out of my mind again once the task was done. I've never once in the year since last June thought to myself "I should have an x month baby right now," because I never believed I "should" or "would" have had any such thing. I didn't have a baby. That was the end of the story. The rest was just pointless wheel spinning*
* To my friends who do follow their lost babies' wished-for progress, this is not in any way meant as a slight against you. It's just what I had to do to keep focused on my IF/loss path and the way my mind and heart wanted to handle things.
I didn't and don't think that any of these feats of amnesia helped me to "forget" the m&m or how much I loved that baby. That's not possible and wasn't even the point. But they did help me to cope, to move on with testing and treatments, to direct my thoughts toward the baby I hoped for rather than the one I no longer had.
But I could never erase June 26th. All I think of when I hear that date is my m&m. (This is probably why I refused to calculate an EDD for Smudgie until the Ob's office told me one at 10 weeks). I suppose that date will always belong to my first baby, the one who never had a chance.
It's strange to remember something so sad while living through something so happy and with such potential for even greater happiness. It's strange to lie on the couch crying as I remember the exam room where the ultrasound tech told us the heartbeat was gone while feeling my (apparently) healthy, strong, 1lb 11 oz karate master whomping on my upper belly. Other women have written much more insightfuly and movingly about the experience of mourning lost babies while celebrating the one that perhaps would not be here if not for the others. I don't even try to reconcile the two thoughts. I love my Smudgie. I can't wait for his or her healthy (pleasepleaseplease) arrival some time between late September and mid-October. And I'm also sad--not crushingly sad, somewhat wistfully and surprisingly sad--when I remember how ruthlessly my hopes and dreams of 20 months ago were dashed.
That may be all I can give you now, m&m. I hope it's enough.
I'm back, and it's hopefully not a once-off!!
8 months ago