I did a little ‘live blogging experiment’ – well that’s what I call an inability to cut down this post into a manageable size. 🙂 It started here with the book launch – part two.
This is the next part:
Life being what it is for working parents the day started off pretty damn ordinary. Luke had work to arrange. So did I. As well as grandparents to organise for school pick up and sleepover duty, bags and lunches to pack and assorted annoying things to attend to.
Not to mention the bloody Scottish pipers who had booked all the rooms in the city. I nabbed a last minute deal but I was sure we were going to be sleeping in a rat-infested place in some hellhole on the wrong side of town.
IKEA was our first stop. Now, I’m an IKEA freak. Hubby hates shopping. And that would be a red flag you can see waving right there.
But we managed.
Next stop, The City. We got lost.
We always get lost.
Tempers were being held politely in a stranglehold as we cursed the gods of ‘no right turn’.
But we got there. I checked in while Luke waited impatiently in the car – terrified of giving up his parking spot and risking an eighth drive around the block.
Then, a sliver of light. Our room number was 16. Sienna’s birthday number – December 16. It doesn’t sound like much, but it kinda was. I exhaled just a little.
Hankering after some unfettered prettying-up time I handed Luke the remote and got busy while he zoned out to Sky News. After an hour’s nap he put on a gorgeous shirt and tie (making no comment about how I looked, *sigh*) and we hailed a cab.
We’re not city folk, but this time we both fell in love with Sydney. How could we not? Our taxi dropped us under the Harbour Bridge as a light mist of rain tumbled down, the same kind of whimsical rain which fell on our wedding day. The Rocks spoke to us in the voices of the first white settlers – convicts and others who no doubt experienced tragedy and suffering which I cannot begin to imagine.
We found our destination – The Harbourview Hotel – and made our way up the stairs. Zoe greeted us – recognising me from my pictures (surprise surprise). As she stepped out from behind the table where she was signing books, I saw her in all of her beautiful, pregnant glory.
I knew Zoe had been pregnant when she started writing this book. After suffering her own heartbreaking losses she was having her happy ending. But then, I thought, she started writing this book a long time ago – much more than nine months. I bit my tongue. Never ask a woman when she’s due unless you can see the baby’s head crowning: a warning I had vowed never to forget after embarrassing experiences on both ends of that particular faux pas.
Luke and I were among the first to arrive so we wandered onto the balcony. There, we watched bridge climbers parade past us, outfitted in identical shell suits and shackled to one another, much like those early residents whose echoes I could hear. The mood was almost mystical.
A glass of red wine was exactly what I needed. We found another seat – a cosy lounge inside – and settled in. Sighing, I tucked in close to Luke and watched as the other guests arrived.
And so they came: people I didn’t know, and yet there was an incredibly pervasive vibe, the sense of membership I often speak about when it comes to the babylost community. As I looked around at the couples, the friends, the mothers and daughters I found myself wanting to ask, “So who are you? What’s your story? Was it your part of the book which made me sob my heart out? How are you? Do you have *your* happy ending?”
But, still feeling a little shy, we held back.
And then I saw the first bump. A glorious pregnant belly in a tight striped top.
Despite the fact that I hoped to be showing off my own belly I was unequivocally thrilled for this expectant mum. Unequivocally. Maybe it’s because I am blessed with two living children, but I have never felt jealous over other pregnancies. After all, that is not my child she is carrying. That is not the child I covet. My hunger is for my own child. Her pregnancy is her own joy and how could I ever begrudge anyone joy?
Plus, her presence at this launch hinted at a history of suffering which, although I was not privy to, I could only imagine. I grinned inanely at the bump.
And then another. Another beautiful swelling. Another little life on the way. Hope in a rounded belly.
Luke and I, quietly content in one another’s company, sat enjoying the ‘orr derbs’ – our own private joke. We relaxed, finally. We were reconnecting.
Just like Sienna’s funeral, this was about us – unencumbered by family or friends – entwined in one of the most intimate and painful shared experiences I imagine a couple can go through: the loss of a child.
Then, the white angel entered the room. Held almost aloft, one of the sweetest of life’s prizes, a baby. Maybe three, four months old – resplendent in a white satin dress, with mum, dad and (maybe) her grandparents in total thrall to her cherub self. I almost cried with happiness.