Initially there was some confusion on my due date. I thought it should have been February 7th, my first doctor thought it should have been the February 10th and ironically enough my OB finally put it in my file as February 4th to avoid any potential problems at the end of the pregnancy should I go over due and need an induction. How ironic in hindsight. That confusion also made the discussions during bedrest about viability and NICU interventions even tougher and more complicated than they already were. All of us in the preemie community know that the days between a 24w 1d baby (February 10th due date) and a 25w 0d baby (February 4th due date) are excruciatingly critical.
Despite all of the initial confusion we had very quickly embraced 2/4/12. We speculated whether the baby might come 8 days early for my birthday or maybe 3 days early for my sister and mother in law's birthdays. We worried whether we would need to drive the 25 miles to the hospital in a snowstorm. I had even bought a winter bunting just a few days before I went on bedrest. All that changed as the leaves fell in late September 2011. We immediately knew that I wouldn't make it to 2/4/12 but we hoped to have a 2012 baby. Things got worse and we held on hope for a December baby, and then again our expectations changed and we hoped to make it out of October. 2/4/12 seemed so far away.
During the first 2 months in the NICU no one talked about going home. This was for obvious reasons. After Virginia moved out of the ICN most nurses told us to expect that she go home around her due date. By mid January it was very clear that she was not going to make it home by her due date. In fact, at that point I think I tried to erase 2/4/12 from my memory. Im pretty sure I didn't talk about it, blog about it or mention her due date. There were bigger worries at the time and there was no timeline for discharge.
This year is different. 2/4/12 seems more significant for some reason. Thankfully there are less worries this year, so there is more space in the emotional part of my thoughts to think about the significance. It brings back alot of guilt and alot of what if's. We will always celebrate 10/22/11 (V's birthday) and 2/22/12 (V's homecoming) and hopefully the significance of 2/4/12 will fade away as we all continue to heal.