So it's May 2nd. I was already on my maternity leave, I had been since the 18th of April, unofficially. We had April Vacation from the 18th for 9 days, then I came back to work to write papers for 4 days, and actually, today, May 2nd, was my last real day with the kids. Of course, when I "left" on April 18, I had told them that I would "try" to come for MayDay, which was the celebration that took place on this day, this second of May, but I wasn't sure if the baby might already be born... little did I know. So I showed up on this MayDay (a beautiful celebration of spring at my old school), and I watched the adorable, beautiful kids exchange their sweet May baskets that I had helped them to make. I watched them wrap the Maypole, and teared up at the beautiful singing. I was so rosy and round, so huge and wonderfully full of life as I greeted all the parents and reminded them that the due date was on Monday and told them that I felt great. It was sunny, and warm, and it was the first day where I felt hot and pregnant and wanted to give birth.
In the afternoon I went to the doctor. I met with Joanna the midwife. It was lovely. "The baby" kicked on command, the heart was beating strong, I measured fine. I was 40 weeks. Yeah. Things looked fine, great, super. They actually were. Were they?
Maybe they weren't. When we met with the pathologist, she said it looked like Charlotte's cord had been compressed for some time, possibly even weeks. She said that for many babies, their cords do get partially compressed, but like an asthmatic that can cope moderately well with a limited oxygen supply, similarly babies can and do thrive with a compromised oxygen supply. However, it sometimes happens, she explained, that there is an "event" during which the baby can no longer tolerate the oxygen deprivation. For Charlotte, it was my water breaking. It was the act of being born, the only way she could get away from that cramped, squashed place, that ended her life. So perhaps, on that beautiful Mayday, when I looked so beautiful, and I felt so fine, and even appeared so fine to my midwife, my baby was already suffocating inside of me. I can't ever feel certain that she wasn't.