And of course today, being today, holds a little bit of a bang. Not a huge one, but enough to sting. It's the anniversary of the estimated due date for the second pregnancy. That one lasted the longest, looked healthy, betas were beautiful... I started to think it might last. And then it didn't. The estimated due date coincided with the same week of one of my nieces and one of my nephews birthdays, oddly enough. So I get to mail out their cards, visit with them, but never see my own.
I know, it's just a date. I probably wouldn't have had her around then, or anything like that. But the day still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I hate what I went through with that pregnancy. I hate how it turned out. I hate that I should have a baby turning one this month, but I don't.
That pregnancy has a lot of heartache attached to it, for so many reasons. Not just waking up to all that blood, at the beginning of the end. Not just the physical pain and horror from using Cytotec to induce it when my body refused to let go. Not just the waiting to confirm the worst. The useless bedrest, the defeat. Not just how far along I was that time. Not even because I got to see it, that little starter placenta on that perfectly intact and yet broken gestational sac. The physical pain while recovering, which I couldn't have imagined.
Those aren't the necessarily the worst things though... I think right up there, is the piece of me that died inside. I always knew that nothing was guaranteed; I mean, good grief, my niece was stillborn at 42 weeks! But now it's completely and utterly solidified in my heart- perfect betas mean nothing, doubling tripling, even getting over 5,000... means nothing. A good indication, maybe. But it doesn't promise anything. I know that measuring on time doesn't mean you'll continue to measure on time either. I know that hope is better put in other things.
I wasn't so naive as to believe that things would work out, but I hoped they would. I started to believe they might. And afterwards, I knew I'd never have that again. Not that hope. Not that belief.
Instead I'm left with a nightmare forever engraved within my heart. Some days it really does feel like that, a living nightmare. That miscarriage haunts me more than the other ones. They were all hard, in different ways. But this one brings a lot of grief, a lot of pain, a lot of horror. I don't think about it every day, it doesn't haunt my every waking thought, but it does still haunt me.
I miss her. I miss who I was when I thought she might live. I miss what I lost with her, everything I lost. Losses I'm only still beginning to recognize, losses I've felt since the day it began, losses I might not even fully recognize for years yet. Grief is like that, always lurking in the shadows, waiting. I let her in, I embrace her, and then we part. She doesn't walk with me through every breath, but she's always a step behind.
Just... reflecting a bit today. Remembering the future we lost, and what happened instead.
But life goes on and all that. Sometimes it's really hard though. I'm trying to be optimistic about where we're going, I'm making plans, I'm letting myself get hopeful... but I'm not just facing the grief of infertility at every tug and pull. I'm facing loss, I'm facing a future I almost had but inevitably lost. And all these losses sting of something bitter, and each grief is unique and painful in it's own way. I never thought I'd be here today, having went through what we have. I couldn't understand what it was like for someone to keep going through this, to have gone through this, to survive it. Now, I can imagine it perfectly. And I realize I lost a great many things along the way, but... shock and surprise, I'm still here.