“Heart is good,”
I texted my husband.
“Baby looks good,”
I could see her. Active. As always.
(At twelve weeks, I could feel her. I imagined emperor butterflies dancing to her pulse.)
“I already feel silly,” I told him. “Don’t leave work. I’m just going to make sure everything is okay.”
But three words seized the air, and snuffed out all sparks of hope
“three centimeters dilated.”
I was in labor. Twenty-two weeks pregnant.
Heart is good, heart is good?
The doctor asks: “What happened?”
No answers, only questions. “What happened?”
“If you deliver today, your baby is not viable.”
(How dare they say that about my baby?)
Nour Mourad Pierpaoli was born on November 8, 2019.
Heart was good. In our arms for one hour. Not viable.
No answers. Only questions.
A new nurse walks in after we said goodbye to our little girl.
“How are you feeling? They will bring your baby now.”
“There’s no baby to bring.”
The only mother on that floor with no baby in her arms,
the only baby-less mother in that hospital, in this city, in this world.
“They’ll bring your baby now,” she said.
Motherhood leaves me broken, widowed, orphaned.
At the hospital morgue, a container marked Frozen Fillet. Made in Vietnam.
(Don’t you dare put my baby in there.)
We run. Find a little box and some flowers.
My body doesn’t understand that you’re gone.
It is making milk for you, and no one.
I am your mother.
Imm Nour etched forever in my heart
March 8, 2020. Women’s day.
Nour, my shining beacon of hope
I will march again in the shade of your light