If the doctor who delivered Grace was reading this blog, I would tell her that nearly six years have passed and still, Grace matters. I would tell her that, no, in fact, there is no rush for me to take the drug that quickens labor, that hastens along the birthing process.
If the doctor who delivered Grace were to see me in the grocery store, she would not recognize me or remember me because to her I was just one more patient that wasn't even her patient who most likely got her out of bed several hours before she'd intended because this delivery was a surprise, was six or seven weeks early, because my doctor was out of town and so they had to bring in the doctor on call.
If the doctor who delivered Grace were to pass me at the bank, I would remember her because her short black hair and unwittingly superior knowledge of birth was evident to me in the beginning. Yes, we need you to start the induction now. We don't know how long this baby has really been dead and we don't know what could happen inside your body if we don't get her out soon.
If the doctor who delivered Grace were to see me at a soccer game, I would tell her in fact, Grace could have stayed inside of me another day. I would tell her that the thing to do would have been to give me a hug, no, to hold me up, to tell me that it might take time, but time, time is what we have now because time will never be the same again. I would tell her that in fact I could have waited for labor to start on its own. I could in fact have gone home to tell my living children, to pack a bag, to take some photographs of my belly, to take a hot bath before returning to the hospital to give birth.
If the doctor who delivered Grace could remember that day nearly six years ago, I wonder if she could remember how many cracks there were in the ceiling (eight); I wonder if she could remember the color of Grace's hair (black!); I wonder if she could remember how many boxes of Kleenex were in the room (none!); I wonder if she could remember the color of the walls (cream!); I wonder if she could remember how long Grace was (17 1/2 inches); I wonder if she could remember how much Grace weighed (3 pounds, 15 ounces!). I wonder if she could remember the ages of my other children who were in the room when Grace was born (5 and 2).
If the doctor who delivered Grace were in front of me now, I would tell her that next time she has to be at the delivery of a stillborn baby to pause, to wait, to hold her breath because this moment of birth will be the only moment the mother and child have together, because this moment of birth, these 6 or 12 or 15 hours of labor will seem in years to come like a split second because it is all we have, it is all we have.
And I will tell her that I will no longer let her bring her fear into my presence, that her fear of stillbirth is less about me and even less about Grace than it is about her inability to cry, her inability to pause and see that Grace matters, that Grace is more than just a body being born, that Grace is my heart split open and cracked and that Grace is the person who will eventually heal me, who will teach me what love is and what fear isn't, who with her closed eyes and still heart will teach me what it means to see the world not with rose-colored glasses but with eyes wide open and with a heart very much beating fast.
If the doctor who delivered Grace could stand before me now,
I would tell her that I'm sorry she felt the need to be
so separate from our lives
because if she had allowed herself in
even just for a moment
there she would see how
beautiful love really is.