It is a drizzly cold grey 13th, much like it was on January 13th of this year, the day after Anja died, the day before she was born.
It is the first time in months that the 13th has been grey and cold and as I sit at my computer and try to work, my mind keeps moving back into that terrible day 10 months ago. The day I had to call my parents and tell them their granddaughter had died. The day we had to tell E that we would be going to the hospital later, that the doctors would help get Baby Sister out of my tummy, but that she wouldn’t be coming home with us. Of course, we had no idea how we should tell our just-turned-three year old what had happened. She yelled, ‘No. I want Baby Sister to come home with you. You can’t leave her at the hospital.’ I sobbed at the breakfast table and E’s eyes clouded in confusion, darted back and forth between her father and me.
We dropped E at daycare because we didn’t know how to keep standing, let alone how to be there for her, and because we needed to make arrangements to go back to the hospital for the induction. We walked around the lagoon and to anyone passing by, I would’ve looked like any other pregnant mother, except, probably, much sadder. We called a few friends, explained what was going on, sat together in shock on a bench that looked across the lagoon to the city and to E’s daycare and decided on Anja’s middle names. When we went home, I tore through the apartment throwing things out: my maternity clothes, the breast pump, the breastfeeding pillow, and I don’t remember what else. I took a shower and then, with a towel still on my head and my eyes swollen and red, took the only photos I have of my pregnant belly.
We picked E up at daycare in the late afternoon. Some of her teachers gave us hugs and kind but sad looks. Other couldn’t look at us at all. The three of us walked down a path through the park to the seawall, sat on a bench and watched the lights twinkle across the water. I knew it would be the last time I would sit like that with E and with A, together, sisters. We explained again that something was wrong with little Baby Cheeses, that she couldn’t come to live with us, that Gran and Aunt E would be coming to take care of E while mommy and daddy went to the hospital, that everything would be okay. We fed E supper, gave her her bath, tucked her in and I sang her songs. My aunt arrived shortly after E was asleep, gave us frantic, tight hugs, cried with us.
And then R and I picked up the bags we had packed, called a cab and put on our coats. The last time I would button my big winter coat over my giant belly. The last time I would leave our cozy home with my sweet little girl inside me.
The cab ride was dark and quiet. We must have been the quietest, saddest people that driver had ever dropped off at L&D. I hope we were. I wish no one ever had to endure a day like that one. I wish no one else ever had to walk through a waiting room full of happy, expectant relatives and announce at the desk that she was there to deliver her dead baby.