If you were to ask me to tell you about the worst day of my life, it would without a doubt be May 18, 2012. It’s the day my baby died. It’s the day I terminated a pregnancy for medical reasons. It’s the day I never wanted to be. It’s the day I have relived over and over in my head so many times. It’s the day, months later, that I wished I had died. It’s the day that left me asking, “Is this really my life?” It’s the day that brought so much pain. It’s the day that changed my life forever. It’s the day my baby died.
Every year when the month of May rolls around, I feel it in the pit of my stomach. It’s coming – the loss anniversary. Usually anniversaries bring memories of happy times. But not a loss anniversary. A loss anniversary brings memories of the worst time. And no matter how hard I’ve tried over the years to ease the blow, it hits me in the gut every time.
Memories of pulling over on the side of the road on the way to the hospital because I was sick. Waiting in the hospital waiting room with tears streaming down my face. The sandpaper-like texture of the tissues they gave me as I waited to be rolled back to the operating room. Worrying that my husband had not had anything to eat all day. Crying as they wheeled me into the operating room. Waking up and telling the nurse in the recovery room that my heart hurt.
This year on May 18th, four years later, I’ll be wheeled into the operating room again; only for a much different reason. The thing I’ve fought so hard to preserve all these years (my fertility) will be taken away. I’m having a hysterectomy. It is my best shot at eliminating the pain caused by endometriosis, rather than merely managing the pain for the rest of my life. It is my choice and I know it is the right thing to do. I have two beautiful children and they are my main reason for doing this sooner rather than later. I need to be fully present for them, and I can’t do that if I’m in chronic pain. That doesn’t mean it’s easy.
When the nurse called with my surgery date, I hesitated for a minute. In my head I was thinking, “May 18th is the day my baby died. I don’t think I have room for anything else on that day. Plus, I’m supposed to go to the dentist.” But I went ahead and told her that was okay because it would probably be another month if I didn’t. There are so many emotions wrapped up in this day, in this surgery. But this year, I have decided that I am redefining May 18th. Yes, it will always be the day my baby died. But now it will also be the day that freed me from the physical pain that has tortured me since adolescence.
I’ll never forget the events of May 18, 2012. Why would I want to forget? It’s the day that changed me. Forgetting would mean not acknowledging the precious life that made me a mother. I’ll never forget, but maybe one day this day won’t sucker punch me like it always seems to do. Maybe. Or maybe it will always be hard. That will be okay too. Because looking back at those dark times lets me see how far I’ve come and how joyful the morning really is.
Until next time, keep hoping!