Today was a day just like the one upon which my girl was born. Grey, and neither hot nor cold, the air still with gathering weight as the rainy season approaches. But I didn’t think of the weather, nor my daughter’s Birth Day as we cycled off to daycare. I thought about her upcoming second birthday and weather I had the wherewithal and organizational skills to make cupcakes with pineapple flowers.
We road in silence towards the daycare, housed in the very building in which my daughter was born. At least once a week we see newborn babies, and marvel at these tiny, fresh new lives so full of hope and peace peace peace as they sleep in the nurseries while their mothers rest, joyful and at their recent accomplishment.
We rounded the corner and, there, at the entrance to the birth center, was an ambulance, blue and white and so much bigger than it’s physical size. My heart balled up.
On a day just like this day, the very same hour, nearly two years ago, there was an ambulance at these doors waiting to take my girl away.
She was born blue and not breathing. They took her out of the room soon after, and I didn’t hear anything. No one told me anything. I lay on the bed and I didn’t know. I had just birthed my girl, after 23 hours of unmedicated, pitocin induced labour, in a country I didn’t know in a language I didn’t speak. I set aside my fears and I did it. She was here, but I still hadn't seen her face. And I hadn’t heard her cry.
I didn’t cry. The shock was too big. Though I knew that they were taking her away to the biggest hospital on the island so that she could breathe and grow strong and clear her lungs, but I still didn’t really know. It has taken me this long and I'm stil not sure if I really know what was inside those moments and hours right after.
I got to touch her cheek before men in helmets carrying oxygen tanks took her away in an ambulance so big and blue, just like the one outside today. She was sedated and intubated, and I was in my room, no baby at my bedside.
I didn’t see her again until the evening of her second day, but she kept growing stronger and she did clear her lungs and four days after, we took her home.
I walked with my girl in my arms into the building. We padded up the stairs and my ears were pricked, I looked for signs in the silence. I looked for a gurney, for men in uniform, for people rushing about. I looked for life. But nothing. We made our way past the very room that witnessed my girl’s first moments, and I thought of that mother, of that baby, and of that father.
I dropped my girl off. She waved goodbye and bounded off to see the babies.
I turned and walked away, sick to my stomach.
The ambulance was pulling away as I got on my bike, and I wished so hard that in two years time, on a day just like this one, at an hour just the same, that mother would be thinking of cupcakes and weather or not she had the wherewithal to organize a second birthday party.