Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Seventh

Today was the day, for some reason, I had ingrained in my head she would be born. The seventh of May, two days late, an odd number (I never wavered in my conviction that I would never birth on an even day), and a lucky number, at that. I knew of two wonderful people who shared that birthday, and so I hoped that the seventh would bring me my baby, robust and healthy and ready to face the world.

The seventh of May was a Wednesday that year. I know that much. I imagine that I wore this blue, embroidered maternity dress that my friend Kathleen lent to me. But I'm not sure. This is the strange part, you see. There were years, years, where I could rattle off every single thing that I did for every single day leading up to Charlotte's birth, even those empty hours spent idly passing time on a quiet Wednesday six days before. But now? It is a distant memory. I do remember with some clarity the events of the weekend prior, and the day before is still embedded deeply into my memory as I'm sure it always will be, but the seventh remains a mystery.

But this I know is true: The apple blossoms were filling the air with a pure and gentle scent, the wind was warm, and the sun was radiant. I think that this was the day that I walked slowly on tender, winter bare feet into the back woods wearing only a sarong, and Greg photographed me in black and white. The best example still hangs on our wall, I am looking down at my belly, my hands clasped beneath her, my hair hanging over my face.

I had no idea.

Those photos, all of those photos of before, they haunt me. I only imagine how absolutely simple it would have been to save my daughter, if only we had known what was to happen.

So absolutely simple.

I hear so often, when mothers' conversations turn to birth, these "horror stories" of births gone complicated-- the cord is around his neck, the baby's head is stuck, the baby fails to breathe upon birth. And frightening as they may have been at the time, they truly aren't horror stories, because somehow these babies in these stories ended up with the luck: the timing of their misfortune was such that someone was there to save them. And truly? I don't even know if the reality that a baby could die would even strike a parent at that moment. I know it wouldn't have struck me.

Until it happened, and my poor girl didn't have that good fortune of being in the right place at the right time.

Would it be appropriate to say, Why me? Why Charlotte? Why, why, why?

Tonight, at the dinner table, I said that I could feel Charlotte all around us right now. Aoife said, "Maybe we'll find Charlotte. Maybe we can find her and we can bring her back to life."

If only.

I feel so sorry for my children that their sister is gone.


Hope's Mama said...

Oh Carol, I wish I could hug you right now. All so eerie and familiar, as always. Even after all these years have passed, there is still such a disbelief. "How could this happen to me, how could this happen to my baby?" I'm sure in the years to come, I'll still be having those thoughts, too.

Ya Chun said...

5/7. A day that will always be heavy for you...

Yes, we know true horror. No fakeness, no luck. Just grief.


Jen said...

I am inexpressably sad that Charlotte isn't here right now, in your house, surrounded by her loving family.

I have been thinking of you every day during this month of May, Carol. The flowers are beautiful and excruciating.

Inanna said...

"Why?" is the perfect question.

The only question.

I wish I knew.

Team Harris said...

Carol... my heart aches over this. I'm so sorry. I know we haven't talked in quite awhile, but I want you to know that Charlotte is still hard at work around me. I felt her yet again this past weekend as I held a sweet baby in my hands as he took his last breaths and beats in this life. I felt Charlotte's presence, as well as the baby I miscarried some years ago. It's interesting... because although I've never met Charlotte, I feel sure that I could pick her out of a crowded room. I feel certain I would really KNOW her if I had that privilege... because in a manner of speaking, I really HAVE met her. She is amazingly beautiful!

Heather said...

You're so right- the horror stories with happy endings aren't so horrific after all.

I so wish that Charlotte was here with you. It's so unfair.

Hennifer said...

Charlotte's name has been on my calendar for several months now. I see it every day now that May is here. I see it and I think of you, your family, and her, a precious little girl.

As Erin said on her blog today, you do such a wonderful job of filling out the world with all of Charlotte's goodness. It is as if she is always here.

I'm sorry.

THAT GIRL said...

I feel like I need to leave you a nice comment... but am speechless...

kris said...

Happy Mother's Day, Carol. Your love for Charlotte is forever, I only wish she could be here with you. I hope you had a great Mother's Day with Greg, Liam, and Aoife, and I hope that you caught a glimpse of Charlotte in your day.