It will be 2 years-on July 22-that my very pregnant belly was cast.
In the dead heat of summer, I patiently sat in my mother’s living room on a chair (not the most comfortable, but what is when you’re 9 months pregnant?), legs propped up on another chair, as my mother and Linda took turns in covering my torso with strips of casting. There was no air-conditioning, only box fans, window fans and the ceiling fan were going. Yeah, it was hot.
And, yes, there are pictures.
As the crust hardened and separated from my body, I could feel my baby girl rolling around inside-she was a very active tumbler from day one-and the beginnings of the Braxton-Hicks contractions, very slight, not close enough to go to the hospital by far, but still-there they were.
A very small baby shower (with only about 4 people) was held the same day. I was so glad (in retrospect and at the time) for the private atmosphere this provided. I imagine if it had been with the rest of my family (you know, all of them), it would have been a situation of slightly controlled chaos.
Technically, she was due to come into this world on August 7, you know, any minute. Well, that day came and went, obviously. That day turned into a week and a half- almost two weeks. When she finally did make her first appearance, I, of course, was in love. To be honest, I don’t even remember anybody else in the room except my daughter and I for at least the first half hour.
The cast from that day holds many different memories, some light, some dark:
I look at my now two year old daughter (where did the time go???) bouncing around, climbing on tables and then to the cast, back again, and think: dear god-this bouncing girl grew inside my body. Of course, awe strikes me dumb and all I can do is smile (after I tell her to get down off the table, three times). Who knew you could love someone this much?
I think about how I thought the situation I was in before and while I was pregnant was okay when, really, it was not. And, more accurately, I realized it was not okay and didn’t do anything about it till the last minute.
And, every once in awhile, I think about Rose C. She was there at the baby shower that day, looking fresh and pink-cheeked with her news, so overjoyed and positively glowing.
I picked up the Sunday paper a few days later and saw an article about a ‘Worcester woman dies in car crash’. I didn’t read it-only skimmed through the paper-, but I had this very distinct feeling that would not go away, knowing it was her.
With a phone call that strange space between life and death tightened for one spare moment and all I could think of was Life: hers, mine, the one growing inside of me, in her.
The cast now hangs on my wall, a blank canvas still, a symbol of all these things, of a difficult yet insanely blissful time in my life.
I have not been able, for one reason or the other, to give it any color or decoration. I wonder if it is because it already holds so many things, events, feelings,-still fresh in mind- that there is no need to decorate it at this point.
Still, it certainly deserves some kind of adornment. I feel something should be done with it, but I know not what.