For the last seven years, on the night of 4th December, I have gone to bed and lain for a bit thinking, "I should be clearing up from a 1st / 2nd / 3rd etc birthday party and where there is a room full of boxes there should be a baby's / toddler's / child's room". Most years I have cried bitterly, some years I have tried to shove the thoughts and feelings out of the way.
December 4th was the only due date we ever had for any of our 6 lost pregnancies. It was the first. After that, I put serious effort into not finding our or working out any others. This last Saturday (or thereabouts, since so few babies arrive on their due date), our first child would have been seven years old. I did think about it this year, but it felt different. For a start, that room that was full of boxes is now transformed into our bedroom but mainly, in about a month, we will (please God) be sharing that room with our baby.
The new life does not cancel out the ones we lost - it will never be OK that we went through that - but it does take away a lot of the pain. Since our losses were so early, I do not mourn an individual child in the way those who have lost babies later in pregnancy do, I mourn the loss of potential and the loss of a life we could have led as a family - and a whole load of other more hidden things that IF/loss does a number on (intimacy, confidence, friends, financial stability etc, etc). Finally, that potential and that life look like they might actually become real.
I have poked and prodded myself to see if my inability to have a genetically related child pains me much, and it really doesn't. In fact, as time goes by I a) feel so much that this child is mine in every important sense and b) think that not passing on some of my seriously dodgy genes is probably a very good thing - I mean, genetic clotting conditions, high blood pressure and all the other possibly inherited health issues are not something any child's going to thank me for.
So this year, on the night of 4th December, I still thought of that first baby and felt sad, but it was a different sad - a gentle, regretful sad, not a raw, stinging one. Next year, I will still remember, still feel sad, but I hope (I pray) that next year will be even more different in an even better way.