We took the baby to be cremated yesterday. After a great deal of thought and discussion, we decided that we just could not bear handing her off for lab tests.
It was a miserable day--cold, wind, and heavy rain. We had to take two buses to get to the mortuary in Daly City. While waiting for the 28 along 19th Ave., car after car plowed through the standing water and splashed and soaked us. Some people took up defensive postures with their umbrellas; I just didn't care. Our task at hand overwhelmed me, and I didn't care who saw the tears creeping down my face on the bus.
We completed the paperwork. We reported the date and time of death. We signed off as her mother and father. We named her Marie. Marie Pesic. This was never intended to be her name, but I so often light-heartedly called her "Fetus Marie" after my own middle name that it felt right. We held hands as the kind staff member asked us the necessary questions, and when my voice broke with sadness Ivan took over answering them. We said goodbye before handing her over.
* * * * *
In the nights, I feel panic. I feel lost and alone and the pain and fear are still fresh in my mind. I curl up to Ivan--pressing my body against the length of him, but the darkness engulfs me and the cold creeps into my bones. If I manage to nod off for a bit, my mind places me on a tiny, unstable balcony hundreds of stories above a city at night. I am carelessly leaning far over the edge, looking down. I jerk awake. Over and over again.
* * * * *
People keep referring to the next time I get pregnant, and I have to wrap my sweater tighter around me to keep the cold out. The next time.