Never forget anniversaries

Kathy KrugerIVF, motherhood, perspective30 Comments

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This week marks two major anniversaries in my life – the 10th anniversary of adopting our beautiful daughter (23rd) and the 16th anniversary of losing our baby (ectopic pregnancy) on the 18th.

It feels strange, and I guess quite yin-yang in a way, for these two occasions to fall so closely together. We also received ‘the call’ to match us with our son on the 24 August – the fourth anniversary falls this week. So big things happen in threes, or sort of. Two happy anniversaries, one sad – I’ll take that kind of balance.

I want to focus on 23 August, 2004 when we welcomed our daughter into our lives, and the 24 August, 2010 when we learned our son would join our family (we finally met him on 1 November, 2010).

But there’s another anniversary that deserves acknowledgement, that remains remembered despite all that has happened since.

The worst day of my life  was actually the 15 August, 1998, barely a month after my 30th birthday, and the day that the scan couldn’t find our baby.

I wrote:

I felt myself curling up in a scared little sac of sorrow, as if taking the foetal position would somehow transform me back to the warmth and safety of my mother’s womb, rather than face the emptiness of my own.

From that fateful day, time stalked, slow-motion and surreal, for 72 hours until it was the 18th August and the inevitability of loss made itself known – the physical pain nagged all night, at times like the sharp piercing jab of sudden loss, at other times like the slow ache of inconsolable grief. Heartache hurt even more. And then as morning dawned I almost fainted.

We’d had our first (well technically second as an earlier cycle had to be cancelled mid-way through) IVF cycle (on top of earlier treatment failures) and three embryos had been ‘implanted’ in my uterus. One had somehow managed to not only NOT implant in my uterus (really much prefer the term womb) but instead make its way up into my right fallopian tube where it proceeded to get stuck. Our baby just got stuck. Meanwhile all the cruel signs showed I was pregnant, the blood tests had confirmed it, and we’d let ourselves believe it might really be true. After all we’d been through (who knew how much more was to come) why wouldn’t we?

The drive to the hospital remains forgotten in the reality of sinking blood pressure and the unreality of the situation, and then the morning moved morbidly forward as though I was part of this mawkish melodrama, a character in an old hospital soapie, rushed to surgery for an emergency operation, only it was real.

I woke up, groggy, later in the afternoon in the Maternity Ward. What a logical place for me to be in, having just lost my pregnancy! What the f#*k! I’d imagined I’d heard babies crying in that mixed up time when you’re trying to recover from the anaesthetic and reality is clouded, only it wasn’t my imagination. And I didn’t have my baby, or my right tube either.

BEANNACHT

On the day when the weight deadens

On your shoulders and you stumble,

May the clay dance to balance you.

These are the first three lines of a poem my Mum found for me later and I remember thinking that I just had to somehow stay up, steady myself, move on and try IVF again because as everyone said ‘you’ve fallen pregnant once, it will happen again.” How wrong they were.

We did our second IVF cycle just three months later, and looking back my grief was still so raw that it numbed me to the bad news we received, this time on the eve of Christmas. It was only then that I really mourned not only our lost baby, but the loss of any hopes that our IVF journey would be in any way an ‘easy’ one. The cycles of loss rolled around and around and it was all I could do to keep my balance as the earth danced beneath me and I felt like it could swallow me whole.

So now I remember, even if I don’t mark this anniversary – expect for one time when I was reminded of it only as a sharp intake of breath lying in bed that night, shocked that I’d almost forgotten. Sixteen years, makes me feel bloody old.

How do you remember anniversaries?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT, who I’m sure won’t mind me sharing my own link-up below to share the love.

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Kathy KrugerNever forget anniversaries

30 Comments on “Never forget anniversaries”

  1. Lauren @ Create Bake Make

    Those anniversaries are the hardest, and you never forget them. This is such a wonderful way to honour ALL of your children, I will be back later today to link my post up. Thinking of you and your family this week Kathy xx

  2. coloursofsunset

    Thank you for talking about this and sharing your story, and for the linkup so we can find comfort in knowing we are not alone. Sharing the pain somehow makes it that little bit lighter. x

  3. Pingback: I Remember

  4. Sonia Life Love Hiccups

    Oh hun – the waking up in the maternity ward is what got me too. You would think they could possibly find somewhere more sensitive for those of us who have just lost a baby. Thank you for being so brave with your story Kathy – I hope that you and others find peace with what we have all been through some how. xx

  5. mummywifeme

    I know that feeling of the earth wanting to swallow you whole while you try to dance. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for providing the link up. I admire you and the women above, who have been through much more than me, open up and share their stories. I’ve only touched on my journey here and there on my blog. I have written a longish piece for someone which is yet to be published, but I would like to participate in some way here next month maybe. I just need the courage and I think I will get it from the women above … or maybe I’ll chicken out again :) x

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Jodi – Losing the baby and even our IVF journey are a long time ago now and I feel lucky every day to have our kids, but there is just that lingering sadness, and it’s great to be able to swap stories with others.

  6. Jody at Six Little Hearts

    Such a lovely idea to hold this linkup. Thank you for giving everyone here the opportunity to never forget. I am sorry for your loss and so glad you have your beautiful children too.
    I too lost a baby to an ectopic pregnancy (an a fallopian tube.)

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Sorry to hear about your loss too Jody. So common really. We all have different stories but that loss experience is somehow universal. I’m very glad to have our kids too – a long road, but the one we were meant to travel.

  7. Pinky Poinker

    It must have been a horrible thing for you. I’m so glad you have something happy to celebrate as well. Your mother sounds like a truly, lovely soul who loves her daughter very much.

  8. mummywifeme

    Dropping in again to say hi via #teamIBOT. I couldn’t wait until today to read your post. What a great collection of stories you have linked up x

  9. EssentiallyJess

    Oh Kathy… I had no idea you had had an ectopic pregnancy, and I’m so very sorry for your loss.
    Sometimes I wonder what it must be like in Heaven, with all these little babies gone too soon, growing up surrounded by angels. I bet they cheer us on.
    I’m so glad that you had two good’s out of the three. You’re an amazing woman. xxx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Jess – there was a large sense of loss over the course of our infertility journey that I’ve put behind me but losing the baby still hurts. There are so many little angels up there in Heaven – reminding us that we should hold our angels here on earth all the tighter (even when they aren’t acting like angels)!

  10. Shermeen Ching

    Kathy, thanks for sharing this story. I often wonder how would my child who we lost through ectopic would be like. It is painful just thinking and reading this brought tears to my eyes. But, it’s nice to know there are people who understands what the pain is like. Big hugs!

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thank you Shermeen for visiting and commenting. Sorry to hear of your loss. I think there is a lot to be said for healing through sharing our stories. All the best to you.

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