Today I should have been 40 weeks pregnant. Tomorrow should be my due date. I never asked why my official due date was set for 40 weeks plus 1 day, because March 29 was my Nana’s birthday and I liked the association: newborn daughters and grandmothers. I thought of that due date – despite my better judgment – as a sign, and I needed signs.
Before I became pregnant with Anja, I’d had two miscarriages. A friend of a friend, who’d also recently had a miscarriage and who had had problems with infertility, became pregnant at the same time I did, and my friend would sometimes tell me how her friend was doing. We both made it into the second trimester and congratulated each other through my friend. When we were both just about 24 weeks pregnant, this friend-of-my-friend had a major bleed and her doctors warned her that she was facing a possible placental abruption. There was nothing they could do, they said, but put her on bed rest and wait to see what would happen. I thought about her constantly that week, knowing that her baby was almost exactly the same gestational age as mine, that what I felt inside me was what she felt inside her. I could not imagine what it would be like to lose that pregnancy. I felt sick for her, and worried and worried until my friend called and said her friend was going to be okay. Five weeks later and without any warning, I lost my baby. And her baby continued to grow and grow and grow and today, on my true due date, her son was born, alive and healthy. My friend gave me the news while I was on my way to the obstetrician’s office to discuss autopsy results and next steps. I cried the whole way there.
My family doctor delivered A, but there were was an obstetrician in charge of the induction and several others who passed in and out of our room while we were in the hospital. A few weeks after A’s delivery, an obstetrician’s office called me to book a follow-up appointment, but I was never able to figure out which obstetrician I was asked to see. As soon as I heard her voice from the waiting room this morning, I knew: it was the doctor who confirmed Anja’s death after watching her on the ultrasound. “I’m afraid what we were most worried about has happened,” she said then. She couldn’t say, “Your baby has died.” She didn’t have to. I already knew.
I have a vase full of fresh-cut daffodils on my table that I bought on Monday, hoping they’d be open tomorrow. So far only one flower has opened but perhaps tomorrow I’ll wake up to a cloud of starry yellow blooms. I hope so, though it will be small, small consolation for what we want but don’t have.
E drew a picture of me today with Baby Sister still in my belly. “Mommy,” she said, “I can use my magic wand to make Baby Sister come back to us. Do you want to see?”
I do, my love.