I distinctly remember what I was wearing to the doctor's office on the day we learned Avaleen's heart had stopped beating: a white, flowing sleeveless shirt just loose enough to camouflage the slight swell of my 15 week belly. It wasn't a maternity shirt as I hadn't yet felt the need to dig into that musty Rubbermaid bin stored in our tiny attic crawlspace, just a regular shirt that happened to work well in the early stages of pregnancy. My doctor complimented me on it when she walked into the room that fateful day, all smiles and hugs, just moments before the Doppler came up silent.
I haven't been able to wear it since. I've pulled it out of my drawer numerous times during this pregnancy, thinking it would look nice, reminding myself there is no rational reason why putting it on could cause a miscarriage or bring any sort of bad luck. I know that sort of thinking is complete and utter illogical foolishness. And yet, every time, I've put it back on its pile unworn. The memories now woven into its very fabric are just too painful to carry so close to my skin.
I've struggled a lot with the little things this pregnancy: forgetting to take a supplement on a day or two, worrying about the traces of dairy I might have accidentally consumed, awaking in the middle of the night to find myself sleeping in the forbidden back position. It feels as if we're always just one little misstep away from losing this baby too, that any little mistake might be enough to end her fragile life.
In my head, I know that these worries are really about my desire to control, to believe that if I do everything right, things will be okay, life will move along smoothly. I know too that things don't work this way. Babies die in spite of our best efforts. Babies live against all odds. Life eludes our control.
But it is so hard to live this way, to put on the metaphorical white shirt, to relinquish the threads of perceived control we hold so dear.