One of the highlights of the movie Alice in Wonderland is Alice’s un-birthday party with the Mad Hatter. For many couples, however, an un-birthday is a time of grief and agony, instead of joy and happiness.
For parents of miscarried or stillborn babies, these pivotal dates can be a constant reminder of their loss. For some, the anniversary will be the date that they were told “There is no heartbeat” or the actual physical miscarriage or procedure to flush the baby out. For those who have gotten that far, the expected due date of the baby—what would have been that baby’s birthday—is a very poignant time. For others, it is the actual delivery date for those who have suffered the heartbreak of a stillborn birth.
I honestly don’t remember the date of the ultrasound in which the radiologist discovered my baby had no heartbeat. I don’t remember the date of the D&C. But I do remember the anticipated due date: March 16, 2008. Ironically, that was my boss’s birthday. I don’t really know if that’s why the date has stuck in my mind. Perhaps it’s because it’s the day before St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t have to struggle to remember the date in the midst of other things because St. Patty’s Day is right there next to it.
I can’t say that I get overly depressed or despondent or grumpy. It’s just every time that date rolls around, I think about that baby that was supposed to have been born on or around that date. It marks an anniversary of the day I was supposed to have brought that baby into the world; the day I was supposed to have held that baby and given him or her a name that was chosen especially for him or her.
Birthdays are usually marked by balloons and parties and cake and presents. There are no such things on this day. I don’t really do anything what I would call special on that day, either. Just a little time to remember that baby that I never held.
I also remember the gestational age at which my baby was determined to have died: 11 weeks 2 days.
Empty Arms Discussion
If you wish to share your miscarriage anniversary/birthday story, please join us in the Empty Arms community group. Let us know, too, how you observe or survive these anniversaries and birthdays. Everyone has their own way of working through it. Perhaps you can help someone else by sharing yours.
General comments are welcome in the comment section below this article, but our group is the best place for support and understanding from other moms who know what you’re going through.
You may be interested to know that October 15 is actually designated as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. So if you don’t have any specific dates that mark your baby’s life and death, and even if you do, mark this date on your calendar.
Sources: www.americanpregnancy.org; www.opendoors.com.au; Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, MISS Foundation (http://dying.lovetoknow.com)