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This She, That She, We

Just over a month has passed since . . . well, since.

We’ve handled it well, I think.

I’ve handled it well, I think.

There was some tearfulness earlier on, around the post-pregnancy hormone-dump mark.

There always is.

We’d never told our Sophie Belle about the baby, so there was no untelling there.

I wrote about untelling in a prior post somewhere, about how it’s a non-issue for me.ย And it is, when it’s you. But it wouldn’t be if I had to untell my daughter.

For one, her supply of “whys” beats my supply of “becauses” by about infinity. For two, see “for one.”

So for her, unburdened by the could-have-been-but-wasn’t, one normal day has followed another has followed another. Some normal days she’s had a melancholic mama. Some normal days she’s had an overly kissy-huggy-snuggly mama. Some normal days we’ve stayed in pajamas until it was time to change into fresh pajamas. Some normal days we’ve been up just after the sun, chasing full tilt after our shadows. Normal.

Not many of these normal days have been spent here, on the retelling of the OtherSuch. Or so it seems to me. I miss my outlet. Sometimes. Often. We converse all the time in my head, you and me. Normal.

On one of these normal days, I helped her get dressed all “fancy” for a date with her Daddy.ย She picked out a poufy dress, one good for twirling. Because in her world, a date would involve twirling. And a crazy hat. And a scarf. And a beaded necklace. (She stopped short of asking for my fake eyelashes. Next time.) He rang the bell, presented her with a rose,ย asked for permission to take her out, promised to treat her like a lady and return her home before long. I tried to get their picture. I succeeded in capturing her native state in most of the shots,

before she ran and skipped and twirled down the sidewalk as the only snow we’ve had all season fell around her. Normal.

The normal day following that she and I pulled on leggings-under-jeans with shirts-under-sweaters-under-sweatshirts with hats and gloves and scarves

and went out to play as the last of the ice/snow melted away. She made the shortest snowish man I’ve ever seen,

and chased me around the yard with balls of ice/snow until we were out of breath, her knit gloves soaked from the melted ice, her cheeks

rosy from the cold and the effort and the giggles. Normal.

One normal afternoon not long thereafter had us, me and she, talking him, our he, into home pedicures for us, we three. Touching someone else’s feet is something I don’t do. But I did. Because I heart him. He was surprised enough by the gesture, amused enough by her giggles, that he permitted me to paint his toes. And then he painted hers. And then she painted mine. Our thirty toes

matching, sort of. Our bathroom echoing with the beautiful harmony of laughter. Normal.

A few normal days later, the followup with Dr. Bigger Picture. The “what we learned from the post-D&C tissue testing” appointment. And what we learned? The baby’s karyotyping revealed Trisomy 22, a chromosomal disorder that occurs when there are three copies of the 22nd chromosome instead of just two copies. Trisomies are not uncommon; however, while some trisomies are “compatible with life,” it is very rare for a baby with Trisomy 22 to survive the first trimester. Random. There is no more reason to expect that it could happen again than there is to expect that it wouldn’t. And so we got an answer, of sorts, and a piece of paper to reassure us (me) that there is nothing that we (I) could have done to prevent it, nothing we could have done to correct it, no way to have carried her to term.

Her. Her. Not he, like I’d thought. She. Normal. Abnormal. Which, you know, our normal.

So we did what we do. We do what we do. We move onward.

We busy our minds (here, with the freedom of pretend).

We busy our hands (here, with the hauling of rocks and bricks and gravel and the digging of our dirt).

We busy our hearts (here, now, always . . . withย each other).

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