Due date (noun): The expected birth of a baby

You know how I’ve often said that the anticipation of a date or milestone (birthday, due date, mother’s day etc), tends to be worse than the actual date? Well, it turns out, that not thinking about the looming event and assuming you’ll be fine “this time” doesn’t work. It’s dread the event, or hate the date. I don’t think you can trick or skip the sadness. I gave it a good go though.

Today’s the 29th, one year on from James’ one-off blog and one year on from Summer’s due date. AKA the official reminder that we should have a one year old.

I think both friends and family (as well as myself) are trying to figure out if an expected due date is still a “thing” or not. Everyone does things differently: some people will want to mark it and always will, others won’t want to.

For me, I expect it’s a date that I will always be mindful of (not least because Summer shares her due date with our niece and our godson’s birthday). I’m still very aware of the due dates for all three of my pregnancies. But personally, and for Summer, I’m going to try not to focus on her due date too much, going forwards (I tried to do that this year, but I’ll try again next). The main reason is, Summer has a birthday. I went through labour, I gave birth, she arrived. (Fleeting thought: would some people scoff and think, “well it wasn’t a proper labour, was it? Probably not as long or painful as mine”? To those, I’d say “you try going through a labour you’re told will result in a dead baby and come and have a chat with me then”. Funnily enough (dark baby loss humour), despite all these blogs, I’ve still not discussed the hardest day I’ve ever lived. I managed to dodge it with my counsellor and I’ve dodged it through over a year’s worth of blogs).

I digress. I was trying not to let Summer’s due date be a thing anymore, because she has a birthday. She arrived in her own time, squeaking away. So we managed to come up with our own tradition “The First Day of Summer” (which exceeded all hopes and expectation!), which celebrates what did happen, rather than what didn’t.

Despite my best efforts (I went for a run, it’s really hard to cry while running, I’ve only managed to do it twice), this anniversary of the due date is heavy. I cannot help but think of a parallel universe (covid-free, just for good measure) where James and I are preparing for our little girl’s first birthday. She wouldn’t have been named Summer, by the way. But her middle name would have been Summer, or possibly Lara. Instead, here we are approaching SEVENTEEN MONTHS without our daughter, or any other so-called rainbow. James still loves rainbows, I can’t help but sneer at them a little now. I look at them and think “huh, these give the baby loss community hope, but they’re unattainable! There’s no end to a rainbow!”

Seeing as I’m full-on pantsing today, I’m going to say something else about dates. I don’t think I’ve told anyone this, as it sounds too weird, but stuff with Summer always occurred on certain dates. All of her big events, positive and negative, over the course of five months, happened on a family member’s birthday. It got so weird, that I started dreading the looming dates in the diary. What follows, are the only Summer-related dates recorded in my calendar, yet they always coincided with someone else.

Firstly, we found out I was pregnant, on my cousin’s birthday. All was fine for a while (there were no other birthdates in the calendar, except mine, which was just a nice preggo birthday with my girl(s)). But then Christmas Day I had a panic about my sudden lack of symptoms, so Boxing Day we went for an extortionate private scan, driving to the middle of nowhere. Stuff was fine for a while, but then the bleeding started, 10+5 like clockwork, on my bestie’s birthday. We went in to the EPU and thankfully all was ok. But later that week, the day I was prescribed and finally started taking progesterone, was on my brother-in-law’s girlfriend’s birthday.

The next week, my (first ever) 12 week scan was booked on James’ godmother’s birthday and we found out that our due date would be the same day as our niece’s birthday. The flu jab that followed (recommended for pregnant women, I’ve never had one before or since) was scheduled on our twin nephews’ birthday. That weekend, we had friends over, but we ended up in A&E again, on my brother-in-law’s birthday. The next big pregnancy scare I had, at work, was on my niece’s birthday. From that day on and for the rest of the month, I put myself on bedrest. There were no other family birthdays that month. Cue March. The day I was admitted to hospital and found out that the baby would die, was my cousin’s birthday. Five days later, Summer arrived, on my other cousin’s birthday.

There were no other family birthdays in the diary, other than those listed. It’s bloody weird, right? There were 9 birthdates. Ha! Summer was born on the 9th. Yeah I know, most will say it’s all just one big coincidence, which is why I’ve not mentioned it to anyone before. But today, seeing as I’m fixated on dates, why not?

So, how to wrap this up? It turns out, dates are important to me. But I guess I knew that already. Although, James does always joke about how little I know myself – apparently I react in a very predictably Anj way, though I never see it coming – this anniversary due date malarkey is a fine example, indeed.

Thankfully our friends know me (and my recurrent sorrows to drown) pretty well too…
… And also kindly sent us some due date Summer chocs to stuff our sad faces with.

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