July is a time that has been full of heat and long hours of light; a time of the year when my body longs for the scent of black roads and fresh-cut grass, coconut oil sunscreen, saltwater on the skin, the juice of sweet fruit at the edges of my lips.
Instead, I dream of hospitals and I wake up to the cold.
I linger in bed longer than I should, encouraged by Joaquin and Zaviera; my night owls and sleep-in creatures. Their hands tangle in my hair, they reach for my arms, press their skin against mine, and they whisper, “Mommy, close eyes.”
And I do.
We remain a small fire, the three of us, for as long as we can, and then once we are broken up into three separate bodies, three embers, we continue on in our days, staying warm.
This week, the last week of July, nothing keeps me warm.
It isn’t until late at night, the rain rushing down over the house, a river, not a rhythm, that I realize:
This is the week I would be giving birth to our fourth child, the one we named Isobel. The one we lost at 13 weeks.
I crawled like an animal into the ER. Like an animal, they tried to train me, tried to get me to stop howling, to get up off of all fours, but I couldn’t.
They gave me so much morphine I vomitted and still the contractions broke my body.
They thought it would help me to show me the image of your small body perched at the edge of my cervix, ready for expulsion.
I told them I didn’t want to see.
I had already fallen in love with your small hands and feet and the curve of your skull.
Your father held my hands as we waited for you to leave my body.
You had to be taken from me. You wouldn’t even give up a drop of blood.
You and I, we didn’t bleed the way miscarriages are supposed to.
But at this time of year, every year, joy will leave my body. I will feel a tear in the veil between this life and the next.
On the eve of having lived another year, I will think of you – the child I have yet to meet.