Raising kids is stamped with firsts. First steps, first words, first day of school, first time driving a car, first date. There were many other firsts in the year following baby loss. First Christmas without my babies. First time a close friend had a baby. First time I attended a support group meeting for parents that have lost babies.
Instead of all of the joyous events throughout the year with a child, I have other days.
- September 4th: the day Nelle was born. It was ironically Labor Day weekend that year.
- January 14th: my due date. A day only meaningful to me, but a day I always remember because that’s the day she should have had a birthday. It also happens to be my wedding anniversary.
- February 13th: The day Iris was born. I was so relieved that it was not Valentine’s Day, knowing the day would then always be wracked with mixed emotions.
- July 28th: My due date with Iris. See above.
- June 6th – Annual SHARE Garden Blessing and Butterfly Release: This will be a different day every year, but a day to honor our babies. The names of the babies were read aloud; one of the few times that I get to hear their names aloud.
- October 14th – Walk to Remember: This will also be a different day every year, but another gathering of the SHARE group to honor our babies. Their names are also read aloud here.
- October 15th – Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day: A day when all grieving parents can come together and be surrounded by love and support from friends and a day where the community can better understand their pain and reach out to those grieving.
- November 2nd – All Souls Day: A day that has become meaningful for me, even though I do not otherwise attend Catholic church. But since first losing Nelle, I go, light a candle, and sit among those who have lost someone.
Eight days a year. Though they are never far from my mind, eight days a year to focus on our baby girls and everything we lost.
Here I am now, eight months pregnant. Drinking eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and minimize swelling. 80 degrees tomorrow.
1:08 am and I am awake. Again. I will not be able to fall asleep until I do kick counts. One-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine-ten.
My oldest son will be eight years old in September. It was never the plan to have such a gap between my oldest child and my youngest.
Eight. 08/08. August 8th: The date of my scheduled c-section. At 8:15 in the morning. Surrounded by eights.
Yesterday was twenty-five days. Now twenty-four. Three eights. Three children. Three babies. Eight. Infinity. Because a mother’s love is infinite.