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A year ago today…
That phrase has run through my head at least a dozen times since December. I never realized how much holidays and milestones become a part of grief.
In fact I avoid the calendar so much now. Being a Type A personality, I used to live and die by the calendar. I knew what day and date it was all the time. I wrote down everything on the calendar, multiple calendars in fact, and then crossed off the day after it was done. Now I barely look at it, and I haven’t crossed off a single day since Christian died. I don’t count the days and weeks because I don’t want to know how old Christian would be or how long he’s been gone from me. Because the longer it is, the more heartbreaking it is.
A year ago during the end of December there was such a strong undercurrent of excitement in our lives. I had stopped birth control early, the week before Christmas, to start getting my body ready for ovulation. I was so excited, knowing we were just this much closer to getting pregnant and starting a family. The anticipation trumped all the other awful things going on in my life.
A year ago was the start of the greatest gift and greatest pain I’ve ever known. Being a Type A planner, I was not going to leave anything to chance if I could help it. I took ovulation tests all the time after stopping birth control. In January I was giddy when I had my first confirmed ovulation. It meant my body was actually doing what it should. And then a month later, our beautiful baby boy was conceived on February 24th. It was the day before my first runDisney Princess half marathon. That day this year was so bittersweet, thinking of how it was the beginning of such a momentous change in our lives.
A year ago on this date I found out I was pregnant. After several weird days and inexplicable naps, I became suspicious. I finally got up the nerve to take a pregnancy test, and so started our journey. I remember how I didn’t really know how the Hubs felt about it until he came home from work and gave me the most sweet and adoring look. At that moment I knew he was happy, too. My glow and excitement for the future were unflappable. What a sweet time of bliss and ignorance it was.
A year ago we were actively hiding my pregnancy from both of our families. And yet it was probably impossible to hide our joy. Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays (other than Christmas). Aside from the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection at church, it means the true beginning of Spring and a celebration of life and flowers and birth. I was in the middle of it, basking in the glow of carrying a new life and dreaming of the new Easter dress or suit I’d buy for my sweet baby the following year.
Now I can barely look at children’s Easter baskets or outfits in the stores without tears. Something I’d wanted so badly is so completely out of my grasp. And when I imagine my Christian in a little Easter suit of his own with a little blue bowtie… well my heart just breaks. I don’t know if I’ll even celebrate this year because there will be no shopping for new Easter outfits, no Easter basket, and no new toys for my baby boy.
A year ago it was the day of my first ultrasound and the Hubs joined me for the appointment. It was so exciting waiting to see our baby for the first time. The three pictures the technician printed out were as good as gold. We were so in love with the pictures of our little “Peanut.” It was glorious!
Then the bottom fell out. The doctor told us he was concerned about extra fluid on the back of Peanut’s neck. We consented to extra testing and they drew a decent amount of blood. It was the beginning of months of tests and specialist visits. Possibly one of the most happy, yet anxious days of my life.
A year ago on Mother’s Day I was humbled with the knowledge that I was beginning the journey of motherhood. I knew in a year I’d be enjoying the fulfillment of that journey with my own little boy. My excitement, even with some misgivings, was incredible. Yet again, I am truly unsure if I’ll be able to celebrate at all. It just hurts too much to even contemplate celebrating something that I cannot physically be. Without Christian, my joy in the holidays wanes with the knowledge that they cannot be celebrated the way I so badly wanted to before his birth.
If you need some ideas on how to get through Mother’s Day during a time of grief, check out my post on surviving Mother’s Day.
A year ago on my birthday I thought it would be the last one without the gift of a baby in my arms. I was so excited to be able to share that day with my infant son. My birthday was two days before Father’s day last year. Father’s day was special because I knew that in a year my dad would be celebrating as a grandpa and the Hubs would have his first Father’s day with his new son. In my excitement, I bought the Hubs a large tumbler that says Dad and has lots of pictures of dad things. It’s still his favorite to drink coffee out of and he displays it proudly.
Then, just three days after my birthday, we went in for another ultrasound with a specialist. Even though I was high risk, ultrasounds were my favorite, getting to see his sweet little face and body. That day was not the joyous occasion I was hoping for. He was so concerned that he order an amniocentesis, a painful and nerve-wracking experience. It was the beginning of a week lived in worry, terror, and depression.
There are so many more “a year ago today” moments that will come up the closer I get to the anniversary of Christian’s birth and all of the moments we had together last year. It’s the oddest mix of joy and despair as I look back on those days. Those moments were and are still so precious, yet they are so bittersweet without that beautiful baby to hold.