Posted by: Louise | May 8, 2010

not breathing – Laura’s birth story (i)

I’m holding my breath and I am moving forward, one step at a time, and all around the ghosts of this time last year are clinging to me.

It’s Friday. I’m having coffee with some friends after we’ve dropped our kids to school and I’m looking at the table I sat at last year, with the same friends, and remembering the conversation. I was joking about my really strong contractions. I left the cafe and as I walked up the road with a friend, who had been going through a difficult time herself, we both confessed our tendency to always assume the worst case scenario – in my case it was a fear I was going in to early labour. Oh, if only that had been the worst case scenario! I went home, spent the day completing my final assignment for my MA, descended the stairs after midnight (assignment written) and said to K, “All I need now is to feel the baby move and I will sleep well.” I wasn’t even aware I hadn’t felt her move. Did I dream that burst of kicks that night? I never dreamed them again.

It’s Saturday. I’m struggling to get up and I’m remembering lying in my bed a year ago waiting to feel Laura move. I’m remembering my yoga teacher who knew of the concerns for Laura’s health tell me to let the baby be my teacher. Your baby is who she is, complete in herself. And I closed my eyes and had such a clear picture of a little golden haired girl cavorting in our back garden that all my anxiety left. Astro boy came and joined me on the bed and together we felt her knee stick right out. I didn’t imagine that.

It’s still Saturday and now I’m at work with a colleague, a dear friend, and I’m remembering her call up to the house this time last year and sit with me all afternoon and proof read my assignment. I made repeated trips to the bathroom. With each trip I became more convinced that my bladder was not weak, but that I was actually leaking fluid and my fears of early labour came back. Within five minutes of her leaving I had rung the hospital and they told me to come in to calm my racing mind. I brought my handbag (that was all) and K and I told our au pair we would see her in an hour.

And so by this time last year we knew. The bottom of our world as we knew it had fallen out. The words had been said. The doppler, filling the admissions room with the sound of my heart beat had been turned off. The scanner was shut down. The first round of condolences had been offered. I was in a hospital bed. K on his camp bed beside me. My parents had arrived with a hastily packed overnight bag, sat in shocked silence, and left again.

We were in the space between. Our daughter had died, but we had not met her yet. She was still with us, but she was gone. Now we must wait and howl at the moon and wait.

And so I hold my breath and move forward, one step at a time……..


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