Monday, May 3, 2010

The Inevitable

I had to do it.
It was a quarter past five in the morning, so I picked up the phone and I dialed the number. I knew it would ring, and that one of my parents would leap out of bed to pick it up, knowing it was me, knowing the news was coming.
It rang two times, and my father answered, breathless.
Dad, I said, it's not good news. I had to say that, first, to let him down easy. To prepare him, if there could be a way to do this, for what would come.

Our baby died, I said. We don't know why. I haven't had it yet.

My memory holds nothing of what followed, nothing at all, except that he told me my mother wasn't at home, that she had gone to the club to work out.

But I do remember what he told me about that morning, after the fact.

He told me that he was at the top of the stairs, when he heard the phone ring. He told me that he danced his way down the hall, with an enormous grin upon his face, and then picked it up. And he told me that when my mother came home, he met her in the little hallway at the top of the basement stairs, and he held her firmly by the elbows and told her the news.

I don't remember whether this is what happened, or what I imagine, but she nearly sank to the floor in grief, screaming, crying, they must be wrong, they must be wrong.

I had told them not to come, but they came right away, of course.

That was the only call I ever made. Ever. That day, after the family arrived at our home to wait for Charlotte to be born, my mother and my sister got out every single phone book I had ever kept and called everyone they could think of, and asked them to call everyone they could think of. They wanted to spare me from ever having to make that call again.

I was grateful for this.


Hope's Mama said...

Simon made that call. In fact he made four of them. All from the hospital. To my mum, dad, his parents and my best friend. He simply said through his tears "there's no heartbeat". Everyone rushed to the hospital at once.
When they all arrived, I handed my mobile phone to my sister and gave her instructions to call three specific friends, as I knew those three could spread the news far and wide.
As I promptly took myself off Facebook, I sent an email a few days after we got home from hospital to let everyone else know. It was months later when I was out and about, no baby, no belly that I had to actually TELL someone what happened. It still reduces me to tears when I have to do that, but that rarely happens these days.
More tears as I read your post today, Carol.

Adelaide's Mom said...

I remember that call. Your Mom talked to Nate. He told me the news in our backyard in Georgia. I sat by a big lavendar bush, in the heat and humidity of the South. My heart broke. You are a star Carol! So is Charlotte. xo

jojo said...

I remember my call(s) too, about Charlotte- first Cathy Swift (I was in my kitchen in Easthampton, completely incredulous), and then your mom (I was standing in the living room). I remember every word, with a broken heart.