We got a due date.
When I had stopped bleeding. When I peed on the stick. When went to the lab for the blood test. When my partner and I held hands in the doctor’s office. When the ultrasound showed a tiny circle and a flashing light the OB called a heartbeat.
We got a due date.
And we started planning. When I would take parental leave, how we would arrange our finances, where the babies would go. Yes, babies – “twin sacs” the doctor uttered as he jotted down words in the file with my name on it.
Had I not bled, had they developed as planned, had I not miscarried . . . our babies would be one month old today.
The babies would have headfuls of wavy black hair, like I did. I would have carefully shaped their soft heads, like my Mama did mine. They would fuss and burp and nurse and cry and sleep and make faces I would swear were smiles and giggles.
My partner and I would be tired from lack of sleep. We would be dressing them in coordinating clothes. We’ve be doing laundry every day. We would be happy with the names we had chosen. We would have taken a million pictures and emailed them to friends and family. We would have hosted the grandmothers. We would have a new rocking chair – maybe two.
We would have one-month old twins.
Forget that babies come when they want to. Forget the odd dating of pregnancies – as if a woman could be pregnant the first day of her last period. Forget that twins usually come early.
I remember the due date.
I don’t remember the date the doctor said we conceived. I don’t remember the date he printed off the ultrasound picture that looks nothing like a baby. I don’t even remember the date I bled, or the date he confirmed the miscarriage.
I remember the date my babies were due.
I think I’m supposed to remember. In the midst of going to work, I should remember. In the midst of making dinner and cleaning the house, I should remember. In the midst of loving other children (future ones I will birth and those birthed by other women), I should remember. In the midst of forward-looking hopes and plans, I should remember.
I appreciate that I come from religious traditions that value memory. Being told to lay stones by the river, so that when our children ask what they mean, we can tell them how God brought us through the rivers of this land and the waters in our lives. The annual re-telling of how God brought us out of bondage and into liberation. The liturgical calendar that reminds us that how we die says something about how we live and how we should be remembered. Lighting candles, singing songs and doing dances for ancestors we’ve known and for those who have come generations before us.
I think I’m supposed to remember.
I’m supposed to remember that even though these babies didn’t make it . . . they are still mine.
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