Shoulda, coulda, woulda

I don’t really keep track of how far along I would have been if our first transfer had worked or if had not miscarried last month. However, I’m reminded of those facts on SMO when I run across the due date tickers, ultrasound photos, and belly pictures of the surrogates that I cycled with in March and May. I would have been due somewhere around Thanksgiving with the first transfer and on my birthday with the second transfer. I don’t think I’ll be exceptionally emotional on these days, but there will still be the thoughts of what shoulda, coulda, or woulda been.

About a month ago I was talking on Skype to a blogger who has grown to become a good friend. That day and the two days that followed were the anniversaries of a line-up of tragic pregnancy and loss-related dates for her: surgery for an ectopic, a miscarriage, the loss of a prematurely born baby, and learning of two different pregnancies which also ended in premature delivery and loss all coincided in a wicked crash of a three-day time span. One can never know how she will react to a situation unless she’s experienced it for herself, but I venture to guess that if it were me, each year that three-day span would be enough to send me into a week-long shoulda-coulda-woulda suckhole. I asked my friend if it was harder for her having so many heavy dates slammed together like that and if she thought it would be “easier” to cope if there had been some distance among the occurrences. She replied that on one hand, having the dates compounded like that did make the week difficult, but on the other hand, it was just one week; she had other remembrance dates through the year, and having many of them fall in line helped give some space in the year before the next major date.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about these dates and how different people handle them for various situations. For infertility-related dates or otherwise – how do you cope with the shoulda, coulda, wouldas?

19 thoughts on “Shoulda, coulda, woulda”

  1. It’s hard the coulda, woulda, shoulda shit. I light candles. I love candles they bring my a kind of peace. I can sit and watch them for hours. I guess it’s kinda like watching fish in a fish tank.
    November is one of the hardest months and one of the best months in the year for me. God blessed me with my first born son but he also took my best friend. I love the smell of yankee candles clean cotton. It’s such a fresh clean scent that reminds me of a new life, it’s clean, it’s crisp, and just makes me sit back and relax. In November it is usually still dark when I wake up so I light the candle in the dark. I give myself about 30 min to cry and wallow in the candlelight. I talk to her….outloud….because I know she still listens to me. I truly believe that some of us are old souls and some of us are new. I believe that with every candle lit a presence is closer and stronger for me….to help me cope, to help me be strong when I feel like I can’t.
    This year will mark 8 years and the knife still cuts as deep as it did on that day. Donte is great and is always there but theres a type of pain that comes and sweeps over me that I feel physically and emotionally. It’s a solitary pain that I would wish on no one.
    Over the years I have learned how to handle it…but the hoopla about it will get better…it will hurt less is just hoopla. I have learned how to handle the pain but believe me it never gets any less. I no longer have to drag myself out of bed on that day but I have to emotionally hang on for dear life.
    We are all different and have done, and had different thing done to us that cause us great deals of pain. For most cases I turn to my family and friends for others I have to look deep within myself to find the comfort and the power to make it through.

  2. *Hugs*
    How do I deal? I just get grumpy and down for a bit, but then realize I have to push on…and I do, for the most part.

  3. I don’t know. I guess I’ll be finding out soon enough. It’s hard, tho, especially hearing from people who are as pregnant as you should be.

  4. I will randomly think about how our lives would be different if I hadn’t m/c. Would I have Addyson? Would I be having twins now? Probably not. That I think is more heartbreaking then losing the first in a weird way.

  5. Mine is not infertility related, as besides for the 2 failed IVF transfers for my current GS I have never battled infertility of my own.
    Mine is Christmas day! On my 9th Christmas my dad was taken from me! He had a blood clot in his calf that on Christmas morning 1984 immediately following oening our gifts, the clot moved and split in two, onne going to his heart but not before the other one sufficated him. He went code blue on our living room couch just after the ambulance arrived. The last words he uttered as they wheeled him out onthe gurny was “take care of my babies!”
    Now he wasn’t exactly my biological father, but he raised me form the a time before I can remember. He left behind my mother whom he had just finally married the December before, myself, my 4 year old brother and 4 month old sister, both of whom do not have any memories of their own father.
    Christmas is supposed to be the most joyous of holidays, but for me it is the hardest to get through. I now have 3 children of my own so I have to put on a hapy face and do them right. They deserve a happy day, but it is so hard, I find myself crying often as I think of the life we shoulda, coulda, woulda had with the best man that I have ever had the privilage of knowing and having in my life.
    That day comes around and I find myself worrying about my husband. Next to my father he is the best man I have had in my life. I know after watching my mother raise us, and 3 more children she went on to have, that I can do it on my own but I so do not want to have to raise my children without him there to help. I do not want my children to have to suffer through the pain of loosing their father.
    So, what do I do to get through that day? I put one foot in front of the other and I grin and bear it! Its been 24 Christmas’ and it has gotten better but the hurt NEVER goes away. I think of what a great grandfather he would have been to my kids and my nieces, besides my mother I am the only one that remembers him, the only one that still feels his loving arms around me when I am sad.

  6. I have been thinking about this as I have an unfulfilled due date coming up. With my other unfullfilled due date I tend to get miserable and usually that misery comes out via other irritations in my life which suddenly become insurmountable obstacles. It is only when I then register the time of year that I understand why I have overrecated in that way. For me it is like the way your period can sneak up on you even if you have a totally regular cycle and you only then realise why you have been such a crabby pain in the rear.
    I have a 4 day period in the summer where my two nephews’ birthdays follow hard on the anniverary of the death of their father. The shoudda, wouldda, coulddas are pretty unbearable around then.

  7. A Soldier's Girl

    We will start our first IVF cycle next week & I already know what my estimated due date will be (or the time frame) if it works. If it doesn’t, I’m sure I will be a mess come that date.
    Us IF’ers are survivors & the strongest women I know!

  8. I started to answer and then decided that I’d answer with a blog about it this evening. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Just resurfacing from my failed IVF, I am so sorry to hear you had a m/c.
    Some days the shoulda/coulda/woulda really gets to me, some days not. I have the hardest time with my 2 friends who got pregnant within a month of us starting to try, their children are very real examples of what we could have. Wish I didn’t think that, but I do.

  10. Hunh. I don’t think I have any dates… I believe if I do, I will probably deal with them by briefly being an alcoholic. Healthy, right?

  11. I don’t have any prticular dates, but the holidays are always a little hard. We started trying right before Thanksgiving of ’06 & I still remember how full of hope & optimism we were on our trip up to the parents. We picked out names- convinced that we were pregnant first month out- or at least would be by New Year’s. So every holiday season that passes without even a glimmer of a pregnancy is a little harder. But I manage.

    Pregnancy counters . . . whenever I am on someone’s blog and it hits the week number at which I m/c #3 (which was the pregnancy that lasted longest for me, though all 3 were early m/c), I kinda get sick to my stomach, to be frank. It’s not them, it’s ME. Those ones that have a little floating image of what the baby looks like at the point makes me physically ill because I start to have flashbacks . . . I think about what came out of my body, what it looked like, how it resembles what I see on those counters . . . you get the idea. Deep breath.
    Certain dates will always be hard for me. Christmas Eve 2007 was my due date for m/c #3, and despite KNOWING this, my sister-in-law was a massive b*tch to me and had me in tears at the dinner table.
    I know that this Christmas Eve will be a good one, but I will still have it on my mind.
    As time goes on, and things get further out, I am less cognizant of dates, and then I feel guilty for not remembering as much.
    Good topic. Thanks :o)

  13. Shanez: I’m so sorry for the lost of your friend. She was obviously someone very close to you. I tend to light candles too, though usually not in remembrance of someone. I do it when I need to quiet my mind and gain some focus. Clean linen is a favorite of mine, too.
    Kari: I can’t imagine Christmas being such a painful time! I always think that such tragic events tied to what should be a joyous occasion are always worse than it would be if it had happened on a plain, ordinary day. I can relate to fearing for your husband. I often feel the same fears about Frank and his MS.
    Betty: I’ve heard of others experiencing something similar. Even if the actual date is far from the conscious mind, somewhere inside is well aware of the date and is reacting to it. Hugs to you as you get through your unfulfilled due date.
    Soldier’s Girl – I’ll definitely be reading along more on your blog; I didn’t realize you were gearing up for a transfer! I’m sending you good thoughts and prayers!
    Poppy – I’m glad to see you back. I followed along through your cycle and I was so disappointed that your transfer didn’t work. Thinking of you…
    Io – I think brief spouts of brain-numbing alcoholism are warranted through failed transfers. I’ve been known to knock back a drink or five. 🙂
    Jenn: I can definitely relate to that. Frank and I started trying on my birthday and we saw three go by before we became parents. I pray that before too long, the holidays will be “merry and bright” for you once again.
    Ms. J: The floating baby tickers tend to spook me out a little, too. I can’t explain the root of my aversion to them, but yours makes perfect sense. (((HUGS)))

  14. I’m not sure if I would rather have all the difficult dates in my life clumped into one week, or spread out a little throughout the year. I think each one carries with it, it’s own heartache. And even if they were clumped together, each one would still be a separate experience etched on my heart – if that makes any sense or doesn’t sound too corny.

  15. there is no shoulda could woulda. there is only what is.
    of course I say that well aware of how old my son should be right now, but is not.
    when my failed IVF I never started focusing on what my EDD would have been. UNTIL a friend told me she was due then. with her 3rd. then it sucked, all over again.

  16. My brothers girlfriend actually had a baby around the time that I would have also been having a baby had I not miscarried. When my niece was born I cried and grieved again, but then I thought, I will just have to send all the love I would’ve given my own baby to this new niece. So when I get extra sad I try to focus on being an awesome aunt. Not always easy, but at least something positive.

  17. Stalker to Frank Foods..

    Well July 20th, was our special date. We were going to attempt our 2nd fresh and probably last fresh attempt-IVF. Then our surro became “accidentally” pregnant in May….and it crushed our dreams. We felt so lucky to find her and especially since she was willing to work with our comp..and now of course it feels like we are at -square 1 again.
    So to answer that question, when that time comes I won’t (well I’m going to try) dwell on what could’ve been (a BFP, or even TWINS), but what is happening now…and that is a good life, a loving husband..and a nice vacation to relax away any sadness we have left…
    I guess after you grieve, let go of any anger the next step is to just dust your self off and move the H*ll on…*smile* Nothing should stop your DREAMS!!

  18. I don’t really remember dates with mine. I am also different than a lot I have known in that I do not name babies I have lost. I have this belief that the soul will come back into the next and the next until they can be brought home by me.
    I mourn the losses deeply, but not with dates. Now since the twin loss though I have noticed a huge need for twins again, like both souls need to come back to me, that is a strong feeling.

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