Monday, July 14, 2008

The way we deal

Monkey is showing interest in chess these days. Which is fun, because JD and I met playing chess ridiculous number of years and an ocean ago. We made a mistake of showing her how to set up a full board a couple of years back, from which she concluded that that there was the object of the game-- to put all the pieces in the correct spots. So we had to wait it out, and these days she is more willing to learn about what the pieces do and how they can interact. We are just starting, but last week, while I was on the couch, and she was on the floor with my old tournament roll up board and a white knight, we tried the how many squares can you make it to on the board without ever stepping on the same square twice problem. We used game pieces from a board game to mark the squares she visited already, and with some help, she got 53. Not bad. Not bad at all. Yesterday we worked on bishops and their interactions.

It's fun to see her notice patterns. I am a patterns girl myself. Patterns and numbers. I see them, I notice them, I like them. In grief, I think patterns and numbers can help, some. The dates, monthaversaries, anniversaries, they can provide structure, they can provide outlets. But sometimes, they can also drive you a little mad, or fill you with anxiety, or both.

Niobe has been telling me for well over a year now that not having dates to focus on can be a calming thing. Never have I appreciated her point more than this weekend, when I came to a sudden realization that, should I still be, you know, pregnant with a live baby then, the DBD (dead baby day), 34 weeks 4 days, the gestational date at which A died, mapped onto this pregnancy? It will fall on July 31st. Also known as 18 months.

I don't know what to do with this realization. I don't know what I would want to do on that day, if I get a choice. I don't know whether I would want to have a monitoring appointment then, or, perhaps, a lobotomy. I just don't know.

What would you do? If you had a subsequent pregnancy already, did you mark the day or did you let it slip? Did it coincide with anything else for you?


Eliza said...

Two words: Doppler and Benadryl. Also, perhaps spend the day in bed with a good book (when you're not womanning the Doppler or passed out from the Benadryl). I've never been in that position, although I did have a preemie my first time a round, and spent the PBD (premature baby day) in the hospital the second time around, zonked on Mag. (an effective but unpleasant way to take your mind off your troubles), which five days later failed and I had Premature Baby #2. After all that, my husband had a vasectomy, because we were advised that I had 50/50 odds of carrying a third one to viability. But vasectomies don't always work, so I spent PBD #1 in the hospital zonked on narcotics to calm preterm labor, and PBD #2 at home zonked on Benadryl. Then went on to need inducing at 38 weeks 2 days because life, it likes to make the funnies, and I make 'em BIG (PB #1 at almost 35 weeks was 6lbs 13oz, which astonished the NICU team). So Baby #3 (a.k.a. THE LAST ONE EVER) earned me my first-ever episiotomy. OUCH! But I forgave the little bugger...nature makes them cute for a REASON :)

Wabi said...

I've written about not remembering a certain lost-baby date recently until after the fact. Similar to Niobe, I felt that forgetting some milestones now is a relief and a kindness.

But during a subsequent pregnancy? Oh, it's all so different when you are pregnant. Like you, I was very aware of how the current and previous pregnancies overlaid, week-wise. I didn't do any outward ritual on what you call the DBD. But I remember feeling like I was holding my breath as it approached, and then like I was better when it finally showed up. Like I was stepping off the map of my world once I moved past that date.

I wasn't brave enough to get too hopeful at any point during my actual sub preg, but at least from that point on I knew more clearly in my mind that things would all be different. And in small ways, different was enough to console me a little at the time.

Thinking of you. Wishing you a gentle few weeks.

Beruriah said...

My answer: I don't remember. I think I posted something about it, but well, I'm not going to look.

Niobe has a point, but I've found that even if I'm not consciously aware, I am in a shit mood and will have horrible dreams in the lead up to anniversary days. Afterwards I am like, oh yeah, that's what that was about....But at least I don't spend any time working out and obsessing over patterns. And I am a "patterns girl" in so many other ways in life.

Geez, Eliza, what misery. That's all I can say.

My advice: spend the day zonked out on the beach (under a big umbrella), watching Monkey having fun and being her fabulous self.

Catherine said...

I marked anniversaries just because it's hard to ignore them. But I was lucky as to comparison-shopping, since my pregnancy was on a completely different seasonal schedule from my loss it was easy to miss those dates.

kate said...

I never computed the exact gestational date that Nicolas died, i only know it was around 34-35 weeks. I know the day he died so i could easily figure it out, and of course i am sure it is in my medical records somewhere, that i have read through cover-to-cover without recollecting the exact day. So, yeah, somehow all of 34 weeks is bad for me, but less acute than knowing the *exact* day. I tend to go in for monitoring & try to divert myself somehow (book, internet?) Not that it works, really...but i did make it through ;)

Rosepetal said...

I didn't make it to the age where V died since he died at 40 weeks 4 days and Beanie was induced at 36 weeks 6 days.

But I still managed to map it - as V died the day before my scheduled induction and I had a scheduled induction with Beanie. So I pretty much shut down the night before, but did have monitoring two days before and on the day before a level 2 ultrasound, the usual kick counts and checked with my home Doppler. But I could hardly speak to anyone until I got to the hospital on the morning of Beanie's induction and was hooked back up to the monitor.

Tash said...

I can't imagine. I can somehow imagine, though, that I too would want a lobotomy, but then I'll need to be sedated for nine months and delivery if I ever go through this again.

I'm writing about dates and probability in a few weeks, myself. Must be going around.

And chess? Wow. Impressive. Bella already outpaces me at Candyland and Bingo, so I can't imagine I'm going to be much help there other than picking out the set: "Do you want the Simpsons? Or perhaps the American revolution?"

Ashleigh said...

I held my breath all day long. Or at least it felt like it.

Anonymous said...

I would remember. There is no way I could forget. How I would mark it, though? No idea.

niobe said...

Of course, you already know what I'd do.

christina(apronstrings) said...

NOT that it is the same, but i after the first m/c, i quit looking at due dates. and i let go of math overall. i'm on niobe's team.

the only useful(?) thing i have to offer--is to let yourself mourn. i think it is importantn. it is almost harder to pretend to not notice-because you know you will. i think a day of mourning, ended by a monitoring appt. would be a great way to survive that day.

Brandy said...

I had an early miscarriage with my first pregnancy but of course I still had a due date. I was lucky enough to get pregnant again 3 cycles later and ended up having the 20-week ultrasound with my son on my due date from the first pregnancy. I was so scared of that day but having a joyous event to celebrate definitely took the sting out.

Christy said...

My loss date anniversary brought me preterm labor at 26 weeks gestation, magnesium sulfate/poison, all because of the sadness and anxiety. I wish I hadn't been so easily influenced by the date. It took more drama and medical complications before my preemie grew into the healthy boy he has become.

c. said...

I think I might just be happy to let it slip by, unnoticed, if I could. It would certainly make things less stressful. I think.

thrice said...

Gosh, every personality is so different. I find comfort in categorizing events good and bad. If I were to forget a date/event, it would most likely mean, to me, that I don't care about that date/event/person anymore.

red pen mama said...

I definitely marked the anniversary both times (even, with the first subsequent pregnancy, probably month by month). Fortunately, my son was a summer baby, and both my girls are winter babies, so I didn't have a date coincidence to add to the mix.

sounds as if you've been through a lot! I will have to visit more often, and I will keep you in my thoughts/send you good vibes.

incidentally, I call my older daugher Monkey, too!


Tricia said...

My second son's due date was the one year anniversary of my first son's silent birth.

I tried to believe that this was a sign from my first son telling me that this pregnancy would be different and that he was watching over it this time. Most of the time I couldn't believe it but after having my second son...I do feel a sense of comfort knowing this date connection.

Bon said...

with both subsequent pregnancies, i've privately marked the 23w6d anniversary where my water broke, both times with anxiety, and the 26w1d anniversary when Finn was born, both times with a certain "phew, we're safely past that with no complications yet" kind of relief. the latter anniversaries were also sort of a way to honour Finn, to honour and recognize how short our time really was cut. but the first was also spent in hospital and the second packing to head to hospital (from which i got to go home!) so there was fear, too. fear for sure.

i hope the 31st treats you gently.

Anonymous said...

The point at which my daughter died was 39 weeks and 4 days. I was basically an insane person the entirety of my next pregnancy and because I fully blamed myself for Anily's death because I didn't go have the hospital listen to her heart beat the day before she died (I've said it before, I'll say it again, Mommy guilt rocks.) I also bought myself a heart doppler off ebay so that I could stay up all night long every single night to listen to the baby's heart beating and make sure it was still alive. I told the docs that there was, simply, no way in the universe that I was willing to still be pregnant with this child by 39 weeks and 4 days. Period. For that matter, if the fetus could at any point post 32 weeks be deamed capable of living outside of my very hated uterus, I fully expected said doctor to do anything possible to make that happen. We had an amnio at 36 weeks which showed very mature lungs and followed through with the induction. Early? yes, but I was insane, remember.

Aurelia said...

I always find that if I face it head on I feel better. If I ignore it and try to work through it, I'm a mess.

Facing it for me, means that I visit the cemetary with or without my husband, look at pictures, etc. and then my hubby and I go to lunch at a special restaurant near to the cemetary and hang out together.

Lori said...

I have no memory of my loss dates.

Well, I do have it narrowed down to March, 1998.

Bells said...

oh to have had a subsequent pregnancy when a certain date came by in April.

We planted a tree. And hoped for another pregnancy.

Still waiting.

mama o' the matrices said...

Not remembering the dates of my miscarriages, I'll answer this one sideways.

My husband, ethicist that he is, didn't want a second child. He fretted about the burden on society, should #2 have the same medical challenges as #1. Then the Eldest coded, and spent a while trying to resist the efforts of the folks at the local hotshot ER, then more time in the ICU while people told us how lucky we were. The whole thing was unreal - the Eldest with his face puffy and blue, then trying to blip out in the ICU, then steady, steady, steady - normal. Then we went home. We've had some nasty scrapes, but that was the closest call.

Two weeks later, the Man suggested having another child. I'm almost certain that he didn't think about the Toddles as the back-up kid, but it's inescapable.

The Toddles was born on the day that we nearly lost the Eldest. I cried a lot that day.