Miranda and Elephant on the California Coast
Miranda and Elephant on the California Coast (Synch Media)

One year ago today, I went in for my last check up with the midwives. My son was due one year ago tomorrow. They measured my belly, they checked my urine. They asked if I had any questions or concerns. Was this a formality?

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That last week was difficult. My sister arrived, and one of her first observations was how my swollen face looked so much like our mother’s. I was enormous; I was waddling. I tried to get a snack out of the fridge one night, and my belly literally blocked the way. And through it all, I was ecstatically happy.

My sister cleaned the kitchen, went grocery shopping, got organized. I made freezer meals, and showed her the stock piles of diapers. The nursery was long ready, his clothes folded, stacked neatly in drawers. I lined the crib with aluminum foil so the cat wouldn’t jump in.

We came home from that appointment with a false sense of security. I came home and wrote two letters to my son. I had no idea. It wasn’t an option in my realm of possibilities that he would never read them.

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We went to my appointment together. They were busy. They were hurried. At the end, the midwife asked if I had questions or concerns. I said yes — “One morning I woke up to a searing pain on my right side. My blood pressure is high. My son has been less active than usual.” They sent me home. They told me I was fine. Eight days later, my son died.