Faithfully Submitted

I wrote this story for my writing group meeting last week.   The women really seemed to like it so I thought I would share it here too.    It is a work of fiction. 

 

June 10, 2007

Dear Belly,

            If you were born on your due date, we would have been celebrating your first birthday today watching you mash sticky sweet icing with your chubby little fingers.   

            Your Dad and I tried for years to get pregnant with the help of countless doctors, pills, books, thermometers and pillows for propping.  The stick turned in our favor several times, but the heartbeat always slipped away along with our dreams.  Each time more painful than the last until eventually, we just stopped. 

Then without any fanatical fanfare, I was pregnant again.  I denied myself any hope for the first several months almost as if you didn’t exist.   I was frightened and did not tell a soul since I could not face the “untelling” again.  Caution gave way to a belly.   I had never before reached the stage where there was an actual belly.   And you were a magnificent belly: High and round.   I could not keep my hands off you.   Neither could anyone else.  Friends, Family, total strangers touched you and I reviled in it. Your father slept snuggled against my back with his hand resting on you.

We never found out your sex wanting the joy of the only real surprise in life.   We debated names. Your Dad naturally assumed you were a boy and liked “Earl” or “Mel” as  if you were going to be a trucker or own a diner.   I, therefore, voted girl and liked “Vivian” since it means lively. You turned and twisted like a dancer.  The debate raged on and we always just referred to you as Belly.    You were the ins and outs of our days. 

“How is Belly this morning?”

“Belly wishes she could have a cup of coffee.  Or tea at the very least”

“Would Belly like a back rub?”

“Belly loves Daddy”

You made many requests.       

 “Belly wants mint chocolate chip ice cream, Daddy”

And many proclamations. 

 “Belly has gas.”

We counted down the days.   On the morning of June 1, 2006, I was on my way home from a check-up at the doctor’s office.   I got off 287 and was waiting on the ramp to merge into the traffic circle for Westfield.   I daydreamed about squiring you about our cute town in your stroller in a few weeks.   

The phone rang. 

“Did the doctor say that Belly will be coming on or before June 10th?   I am running a pool at the office.”

I laughed at your Dad and glanced in my rearview mirror.  The truck was never going to stop.  I don’t remember being hit.    I only  remember looking down, seeing red, and screaming,  “My Belly!” 

Today I left a single red rose and a sign that reads, “Happy Birthday, Belly” on the exit ramp for Westfield.  As I hung the sign, I had a vision of you in a special birthday outfit mashing your birthday cake.  Then I went to St. Helen’s and lit a candle.  I wished for you.

Love,

 Mommy

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4 Responses to “Faithfully Submitted”

  1. Jules Says:

    Maybe I’m just tired, and the lullabye I happen to be listening to right now, Lullabye for a Stormy Night, but I had to wipe the tears away. Leah, you really got me with this one. I can see why the writers’ group wanted it published. A moment is all it takes to change a life.

  2. Liz Says:

    Wow, Leah.

    Words fail.

  3. John J Says:

    Leah, this is just an amazing story. Having been through my own share of disappointments and “untelling”, I found myself welling up. I’m really just a softee. We stopped watching “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” because we were using too many tissues.

    My biggest fear while my wife was pregnant was her being in an accident of some sort and losing “Wiggles” as our nephew named her “Belly”. That heartbreak would have been too much.

    Now that we have Sean, my fears have been reduced to the usual litaney of panics that strike parents.

    John

    PS: I hope I am not being seen as an interloper, knowing that this is really a mommy’s group. If I am, I can go away. I’m used to it… Just this morning I was forbidden from kissing Sean goodbye because I might wake him. I did it anyway, and he didn’t wake up!

  4. Become Pregnant Natural Pregnancy Says:

    Become Pregnant Natural Pregnancy

    Become Pregnant Natural Pregnancy

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