Sometimes I wonder about the other women who were in Labour and Delivery the night I learned that A had died. I arrived there by myself, R home with E, and tried to stay calm as I explained what has happening, which was nothing: my baby wasn’t moving. I changed into a gown, peed in a cup, and then a nurse came in to have a listen at my belly. She couldn’t hear a heartbeat. I kept saying, ‘Oh my god, Oh my god. I can’t believe this is happening.’ This was my third pregnancy in the year. I was 29 weeks and a few days in. I should have been in the clear, and hadn’t I had enough loss? There were at least three other women in the assessment area, waiting for a delivery room. I could hear them puffing and moaning through contractions. Did they hear me, then, when the ultrasound showed what I already knew, that my baby girl was dead?
And then there were the babies we heard cry out as they were born. R and I returned to the hospital the next day so that I could be induced and deliver little A. The first newborn cry we heard from our room at the end of the hall was devastating. The nurses kept our door closed more firmly after that but we still heard them: baby after baby after baby, and sometimes, the room around them erupting into cheers.
I yelled while A was being born. I yelled from the pain, but also from the anger, from the unfairness, from the horror. I was scared to look as I pushed her out of my body. I was terrified that she’d come out in bloody pieces. She was perfect. Beautiful. Quiet.
I’m not sure why I’m writing here. It feels like a way to honour her, to acknowledge that she was here and that she is part of me now and always, but it also feels strange to me. I’m a very private person, normally, and I would not have thought I’d find myself writing about my life in a public space. (Even if no one is reading this, it is different than writing in my journal.) Yet, somehow I feel better after I write here. Maybe because it is a little like talking to someone, like sharing her, letting her be in some way, a part of not just my life, but of the larger world.
Today is the first day of spring. I feel like I exist in two times. Part of me has stayed still in that hospital room, January 14, with snow falling outside and a tiny daughter in my arms. Another part of me wonders at the daffodils I see everywhere now, signs that she should be here. Her due date is next week. And then begins a new time: the realness of our time without her. The daffodils will die and be replaced by irises, roses, hydrangeas, and she will not be with us.
As I try to find my way into this unexpected spring, I wonder if those women from Labour and Delivery, with their almost-10-week-old babies, ever think of me and how I cried, ‘No, no, no, no, no.’