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?
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.
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.