My First Due Date

Posted On: 05.08.12

Today. May 8. It was to be my first due date.

I remember having that lunch outside. It was summer and sunny. We decided we were ready. Ready to try. This decision brought smiles to our faces.

And we tried. And before I knew it I was in my little bathroom staring at a stick of plastic and a plus sign. It was too good to be true. And it was.

I called my doctor. Made an appointment. In we waltzed, all youthful bluster and optimism. On the tiny screen, we saw a tiny flicker. The heart beat. May 8, she said.

Four weeks later, and we were back. In the waiting room, we talked baby names and crib colors. That little room again. That little screen. This time, no movement. No life.

I am so sorry, she said.


Six years later. I am here. Here in the folds of my good life with my three little girls, creatures who delight me and drain me. Creatures whom I do not take for granted. Not for one minute.

Especially on this day.


Even though it happened a while ago and I truly feel like I have moved on, I feel strongly about writing about this experience because I now knowso many peoplewho have suffered, and struggled through, similar losses. I think there is a tremendous power inherent in sharing these stories.

I am linking up today with several wonderful writers over at The Extraordinary Ordinary’s Just Write.


Has it been easy or hard for you to build your family? Have you suffered any losses or setbacks in your efforts to have children? Why do you think people are so hesitant to talk about these things even though these stories are so unbelievably common?

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43 Comments for: "My First Due Date"
  1. JGH

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I too suffered a loss. More than one. You never forget these things completely, do you?

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      No, we never completely forget. And I think that is a good thing. I think these are chapters of our story, however slim, however defining, and removing them detracts from the entirety of the tale. Thank you for your words.

  2. Anon

    What a much-needed pre-Mother’s Day reminder to cherish the kids we have. It’s so important to remember that very often these paths are far from smooth.,

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you. Sometimes, I wonder whether this loss hit me even harder because I was due to have that baby right before Mother’s Day? I guess I will never know. I am realizing, and learning to revere, that life’s paths are rarely smooth; they are bumpy, and they contain lessons.

  3. JHS

    Your experience, and those of others who have experienced such a loss, remind those of us who never went through such a devastating time to be grateful. And help make us more compassionate people. I was fortunate: 2 pregnancies; 2 healthy kids. But like you, I have so many friends and family members who did not have such an easy time and my heart breaks for every one of them!

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Happy Mother’s Day!


    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, JHS.

      I do know many people like you who have an even match between pregnancies and children and I am so happy for them, and for you, that all of this has been smooth, and positive. I think it is good to remember that not everyone struggles in this area of her life, that there are many happy stories to be told. And you know what? I consider my story a happy one too, that here I am, six years after the fact, with my three sweet girls, in the throes of a really wonderful, and rich, life.

      Thank you for taking the time to leave your words here today. And Happy Mother’s Day to you too!

  4. Aidan Donnelley Rowley

    Okay. So 10:25 here. And I am watching my Inbox, waiting for those lovely comments to roll in. I have the two above and they are wonderful, but I expected MORE. Not because I deserve them. Not because this piece of writing is in any way better than other pieces that I have written. So, why? Why the expectation?

    I am realizing that I really do have a love/hate relationship with blog comments. When they come, and pile up, I love them and celebrate them. But when they are slower to come, I feel insecure. I imagine I am not the only blogger who feels this way?

    As many of you know, I am in the middle of a major site redesign and one question I have been asking is whether I want to keep comments open on my future site. Part of me thinks that getting rid of them would strip away a layer of worry I sometimes feel (a.k.a like now). But every time, I conclude that it is the comments – when they come – and the conversation – when it arises, that keeps me going in this world.

    Alas. This all deserves its very own post. Next week, maybe.

    Sorry for the ramble, kids. One more comment though, right? 🙂

    • Kristen

      I think this is a delicate topic. I thought about posting, but couldn’t find the right words. I could tell you my sister’s story or my best friend’s story, but those are not my stories to tell. I had no words. Perhaps the lack of comments isn’t that people don’t want to comment, but instead, they, like me, don’t know exactly what to say.

      • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

        Kristen – Thank you for this, for reminding me that this is not necessarily always about me. I choose to come here and write words and tell stories, but others make different choices. I respect the fact that people come here to read, to witness, to think, and do not feel comfortable chiming in.

        Also, there are times in life when it does seem that there are no words. This makes sense to me. A lot of it. What I have learned though – after my miscarriage, after losing my father, after holding friends’ hands through various traumas – is that words are 99% of the time welcome. They do not need to be perfect words, and there are no perfect words. But the mere act of uttering, of acknowledging, is really in itself wonderful, and welcome.

        That said, I get it. I really do. There are times when it is hard to say something, when it doesn’t feel right, and I respect this.

        Thank you for reminding me of all of these things, and for making me think bigger than myself and my story.

  5. I have not, but know many, many women who have. It is interesting. I think more women do talk about it now, but considering that 1 in 3 women suffer a miscarriage, not enough do talk about it. I think it is good to remember this date. Remember this, as all parts of our journey before and now through motherhood are important, vital, essential.

    It took us a while to get pregnant. On the whole spectrum of conception, probably in the middle area. And for me, the complications after were one of the rough parts of my new motherhood road. Nothing huge, but still mine, still an element I think about, how it impacted us then and now.

    You writing about this will help other women, help them see it is okay, no matter when these losses have happened stay with you, and it is okay, even years and many kids later, to feel, to mourn, to ponder.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Yes. All of it. These are our scars, our stories and even when they come to hurt less, and far less, and seem less important in the grand scheme, they are ours, and ours to remember, and to revere.

  6. We struggled for over a year, including a miscarriage, to conceive our precious little boy and we have been trying (unsuccessfully) for the last 17 months to conceive number 2. It is the most gut wrenching and emotionally draining experience I have endured. As a couple we have at times been drawn closer by the TTC woes and other times the whole process has slammed a wedge between us, to the point of some much needed couples therapy. Obviously you and Husband made it though the disappointment of that first due date loss, but I wonder did it alter your relationship in any way?

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Amanda, I am sorry that you have been through so much, but I am thinking good thoughts for you that #2 will be on his/her way very soon. I think these things can be so tricky for couples to endure as people struggle in such idiosyncratic ways. I am thankful that our loss six years ago only served to bring us closer and underscore for both of us just how much we wanted to become parents.

      Thank you for chiming in here with your own story, a story that I am sure will resonate for so many.


  7. Sara Joy

    The loss of a child, even a wee in utero babe never leaves us the same. Praying you comfort. (and you did the right thing in publishing, this is still such a hard thing for women…)

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Sara Joy. I think you are right. These losses, however small or gigantic they feel like at the time and years after the fact, alter us, and I think for the better. I think by going through these things, by feeling the depths of loss of whatever nature, we are forced to become bigger thinkers and bigger thankers. That latter one is not a word, but I kind of like it 🙂

      Thank you for your support, and encouragement.

  8. CJ

    Parenting takes on an entirely different tone when you’ve experienced that type of a loss….it makes us better moms.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Yes. Yes. Yes. I think these things, these hard things, and allowing ourselves to parse and process these hard things, does indeed make us better moms. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. That our experiences, even the tricky ones, especially the tricky ones, alter us in meaningful ways that can make us approach the world, and those we love, with even more affection, and awe, and clarity.

      Thank you for your words, CJ.

  9. I’m sorry for your loss and so happy to hear you have beautiful babies to hold in your arms.


  10. Jill

    I, thankfully, never experienced the loss, but experienced the WAITING, like so many others. My two kids are 5 years apart. Their vast developmental distance a constant reminder of the years of longing. (which I know were so much shorter in time than so many others).
    I engaged in years of fertility doctors (finding the right one, the weekly tests, etc.) My husband and I did all, or most, plus acupuncture, up until IVF- I conceived during my last IUI cycle after 2 years of assisted reproduction, the cycle before we were going to step it up to IVF.
    We used to joke that we were engaged in “conception by text message” as he would sneak out pre-dawn to provide his goods for pre-insemination washing on the way to work, and I would head out once the babysitter arrived to be with my daughter, to get my injection, often receiving his ‘mission accomplished’ text on my walk to the subway. I’ve alwyas meant to write about this….the longing, the hope, the pain, the joy caught in my throat every time I look at my son (now 2!). Thank you so much for asking. And Happy Mother’s Day to all.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      “the joy caught in my throat” – yes. I feel this often when I look at my girls, when I watch them immersed in a moment of play, or wonder, or simple life. It is something like awe. That they are here, that they are mine, that they are healthy, and loving, and everything.

      We all have stories. Stories that are imbued with reality and grays and rainbows. I have chosen to share my stories, or some of them at least. And sometimes, I wonder why I have made this choice, why I have opted to put myself out here in this enigmatic ether. But I know that it is what is right for me to do. I sometimes wonder what happens to the stories when we do not share them? When they sit in the recesses of our minds and never get air?

      I don’t pretend to know the answer to any of these things, but I want you to know that I so appreciate you telling a bit of your own story here today.

      Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  11. Jess

    Your words ring so true and I take comfort in knowing others who have gone through this feel the same. Even though I, as you, feel like I’ve come out on the otherside and have two beautiful little girls it is always a part of me. Just yesterday at a doctor’s appointment there was the question “how many pregnancies?” and the response when I say “Three” being “Wow, you have your hands full”, and then the explanation that I only have two children. For a moment it feels raw again, but you count your blessings, hug your babies a little tighter and make your peace. Thank you for sharing your story and I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Oh, Jess, I have always had a hard time with that question. It’s not an easy one to hear, or to answer. I am oddly thankful for the moments when it feels raw again. I don’t know why really and maybe this seems strange, but I think it just serves as a reminder of what was, and also a reminder of what is, too.

      Thank you for your words, Jess.

  12. Anonymous

    Please don’t be insecure about your post this morning! I believe that sometimes things are so personal and profound that people need to ponder them for a little while. Like you, I had a miscarriage before my first and your post immediately brought me back to that place this morning. Actually, I naively assumed that you and Husband always had an easy time with pregnancies and babies because you had them so close together. Truthfully, I was envious of that. Your post taught me a lot this morning…about assumptions, gratitude, and loss. Your revelation resonated big time. I am sure that is that this is not just the case for me either. Unlike when I speak, I sometimes like to let my thoughts marinate before putting them on paper (like Sister C perhaps – by the way, she and her beautiful family have been on my mind a ton). I am sure many of your readers feel the same.

    On another note, I think you should definitely keep the comments. I like reading them and imagine that others do too. You just might need to make a little deal with yourself. They can’t be the barometer of success or failure. Sometimes quality is more than quantity…and I bet many times quality appears in a personal conversation instead of a comment. (I even bet that it appears in the purchase or recommendation of a book by someone who has actually never mustered up the courage to post!)

    Thanks for helping me stretch my mind and my heart again this morning. You help me remember that the space in between my ears isn’t just an “okay” space be…it can be really exciting, intense and can be the key to connecting with others.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Part of the reason I feel so compelled to share this, and things like this, is that so many of us walk around this world assuming things about others, things that are far from true. If you saw me on the street, you might come to one conclusion, namely that I am a moderately put together and goofy mom of girls who carries a computer bag at all times. But if you sat down and talked with me over a big old cup of coffee and we allowed ourselves to get real, to go there, to barter bits of our real selves, you would get a more accurate, and compelling I think, picture.

      I think life is much more interesting and rich when we honor it for what it really is, and isn’t, when we force ourselves, permit ourselves, to be honest, to be real.

      And these comments? I could never let them go. But goodness do these things confuse me sometimes!


  13. yes. yes. yes. these stories need to be told. we need to hold each other through these times, even if they past long ago, they never leave you. you will always notice the passage of times in dates, in seasons, in life. thank you for sharing your story.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      and thank you for leaving a trail of words here today. I do think it is important, critical even, that we tell these stories, and cast light on the harder stuff. It serves as a reminder that no one of us breezes through the seasons of existence without struggle.

      Thanks, Tara.

  14. So sorry Aidan. Hugs.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, Ayala. I’m in a really good place about all of this today, six years later, but it feels good (and raw and real) to think back to that hard time. xox

  15. This made me hurt somewhere deep inside. Look at you now, though. Loss can eat us up, or it can make us stronger. Bravo to you for making it the latter.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much for these kind words, Lucy. I was just talking with a good friend today about the fact that so much of life is how we react to things. And loss. It is a reality of life, one that we have all faced, or will face at some future time, and how we react to, and embrace, loss, informs who we are.

      I have experienced a couple of losses now. And these losses have changed me profoundly in ways I am only beginning to glimpse, but in ways I am immensely and oddly thankful for. Does that make any sense?

  16. I’m so sorry for your loss. You are blessed to have had to faith to move forward to have your other blessings.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Moving forward. Yes. Isn’t that what life is all about? Thank you for these words, Alana.

  17. Aidan,
    This post hit me so strongly it brought me to tears. I have been trying to formulate a comment that matched the enormity of my emotions but it seems almost impossible. My due date would be this May 28th…Memorial Day. Unfortunately, I miscarried 4 1/2 months into my pregnancy, on Christmas Eve no less. To say this has been a brutal awakening to the tragedies of life, is an understatement. I don’t yet have the healthy children to help ease the pain…and I don’t know if I ever will…I only have hope. Hope that prayers are answered. Hope that things happen for a reason, even if the reason doesn’t seem to exist. What I have learned is that strength does come from tragedy. Strength comes in fits and starts when you least expect it. Strength comes when you find yourself laughing again, when you don’t think about what you lost every hour of the day, when you can comment on such a profound post and bring your own sad story to light. We write to make sense of life. We write to bear witness to tragedies. We write to acknowledge the little beautiful moments. We write so we won’t forget. For the longest time, all I wanted to do was forget what happened in December. But now that Memorial Day is approaching, I want to remember. I want to remember that it is possible to survive even the darkest days. Thank you, Aidan, for giving me this small space to bring my worst days into the bright light of hope and possibility.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Wow. Okay, so I read these words about an hour ago for the first time and I nodded and I smiled because this is why. This is why I posted these words here today. This is why I come here to this screen and say things. This is why I write.

      I write to tell stories. Mine. Yours. Ours. Imagined. Real. Very real. Painfully real.

      Jocelyn – your words are not only beautiful, but they are full of light and reality and love and hope. I can tell from the ebb and flow of your sentences and sentiments, that you are indeed beginning to emerge from something I can only call a fog. And I have been there. And it is rough and gray and plain old yuck but one day you do just start to smile and laugh and dream again and imagine how things will be.

      A good friend of mine lost a baby recently at 20 weeks. All of her tests had been great to that point and then, bam. And I was so impossibly sad for her and all I could say to her was that she would hold a beautiful baby in her arms and only then would the pain begin to recede. My friend just welcomed a son two months ago and I have never seen a happier human being in my life. It is honestly an honor to witness the love she has for that little guy.

      While I do not know the details of your story, and would never be presumptuous enough to ask them, I will say to you what I said to my friend: You will have a baby. And you will love her/him and you will remember what was and how strong you were to get through it, and how it shaped you in ways you understand and ways you will never understand.

      I am so sorry for your loss but so so confident in your strength. It is a genuine privilege that you chose to share your story here with me, and all of us.


  18. Heidi

    Thanks for sharing your story, Aidan. I read it while waiting for my OB at my first apt for baby #3. (But pregnancy #4) Since it’s my 3rd pregnancy & I’m a little jaded by this point, I didn’t even think about the fact that I’d (hopefully) hear that tiny speedy whoosh-whoosh heartbeat today. Until I read your post & was transported back to August 2007 when I lost my first at 12 weeks. I don’t go back to that place very often, especially now that life is full of 2 healthy little girls. Thanks for the reminder that life seems full because it once seemed so empty. (Btw, baby #3 has a very strong heartbeat & it’s all systems go.)

  19. Nicole

    Thank you for this post.

    My first due date was 12.25.2007, a Christmas baby, a December baby (just like me!). At 10 weeks, we no longer saw a heartbeat.

    My second due date was 3.31.2009. Thirteen long months of trying, this due date was the day after my parent’s 41st wedding anniversary. At eight weeks, once again no heartbeat. Testing was done, everything was normal, a little girl, no explanation as to why. Heartbreak.

    My third due date was 9.9.2009. How cool – three nines. This baby saw all 40 weeks of my pregnancy, and just to be safe a 41st week. He was born on 9.17.2009. He has brought so much joy to our lives.

  20. I have not checked in at ILI for a while, but was reading some of your recent posts this evening and saw this. We just found out our second baby, due in December, did not make it and are still processing the heartbreak. I feel so grateful for my healthy little girl, the knowledge that I can try again and the certainty that a physical separation doesn’t mean that little soul is not still with me. Thanks for sharing this, I agree these stories need to be told so that moms who go through this don’t feel they are alone in it.

  21. Francesca

    Hello Aidan-

    I was just introduced to your blog via another blog- a long tangle, that seems to now make sense why. This post attracted me- and when I got the the end- my eyes are full of tears.

    I miscarried at 11 weeks on Nov 16, 2012- I went in for a D & C the next day- exactly one week before my wedding. I got pregnant unexpectedly, shocked and surprised- but a welcomed surprise. Months later, my miscarriage is constantly on my mind, and especially harder because I have a pregnant best friend and 2 cousins ( all due weeks around my original due date).

    I am scared to get pregnant again. Scared to feel this pain again. I am also sad because that pure joy and innocence my husband and I had with the first pregnancy- I just keep thinking we will never feel that way again. When will I feel comfortable with the pregnancy, when will I make an announcement. We announced at 8 weeks- after our first ob appointment- after we saw the heart beat. I think back to that day- was it really a heartbeat that we saw- did the OB really say that everything looked good? How did my baby stop growing 1 week later?

    Anyone in my life that has miscarried, did so after having normal pregnancies. I feel like this is harder- I don’t have a baby to hug at home- I don’t have the assurance that my body can carry a child to term. I’m left with all the questions of what if- what if I don’t get pregnant again- what if I do get pregnant and miscarry again.

    And in the back of my mind- I hoped I would be pregnant again- by the time my original due date of June 7th rolls around. I still don’t know if that will happen- and I’m anxious to know what it will feel like to have finished the 9 months, no baby, and to see all the other women in my life have their babies.

    I’m sorry to lay it all out here like this- however I felt comfort in your words and I wanted to thank you for putting this story out there.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much for this comment, Francesca. Even years later, this is all very raw and I know how hard the place you are in is. Hang in there. I know you have happy days and chubby cheeked babes in your future. I just know it. So happy you found your way here.

  22. Francesca,

    I’m so sorry for what you have been through and I know exactly how you are feeling because I’ve been there, too. In the exact same boat…Literally!


  23. Nadine

    It’s been more than a year since your original post, but I’d like you to know that your words still provide comfort to people out here.
    My due date would have been May 12 of next year. We lost the baby at 7 weeks, never got to see that elusive first heartbeat. The weeks since have been bland and raw at the same time, alternating acceptance and moving forward with bursts of incredible sadness. It helps to have friends that had the same experience and now, just like you, have healthy children. I know this will happen for us, too, but it does not take away from the sadness.
    Thanks for sharing. Just what I needed today.

  24. Alicia

    Thank you. Even after a month of dispair and a week of relative normalcy the mention of Christmas (I would have been due Dec 8th)threw my emotions overboard and back to Googleing various miscarriage related articles. I ran across a Huffington Post article and found your blog. I genuinely, for the first time, feel not alone. You have captured the essence of my emotion, so many of our emotions. Your words are touching and I simply wanted to express gratitude for sharing. Thanks again.

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