It will be 10 years-on July 22-that my very pregnant belly was cast.

In the dead heat of summer, I patiently sat in my mother’s living room on a chair (not the most comfortable, but what is when you’re 9 months pregnant?) legs propped up on another chair, as my mother and a friend took turns in covering my torso with strips of casting. There was no air-conditioning, only box fans, window fans and the ceiling fan was going. Yeah, it was hot.

And, yes, there are pictures.

As the crust hardened and separated from my body, I could feel my baby girl rolling around inside-she was a very active tumbler from day one-and the beginnings of the Braxton-Hicks contractions, very slight, not close enough to go to the hospital by far, but still-there they were.

A very small baby shower (with only about 4 people) was held the same day. I was so glad (in retrospect and at the time) for the private atmosphere this provided. I imagine if it had been with the rest of my family (you know, all of them), it would have been a situation of slightly controlled chaos.

Technically, she was due to come into this world on August 7-any minute. Well, that day came and went. That day turned into a week and a half- almost two weeks. When she finally did make her first appearance, I, of course, was in love. To be honest, I don’t even remember anybody else in the room except my daughter and I for at least the first half hour.

The cast from that day holds many different memories, some light, some dark.

I look at my now almost 10 year old daughter, and then to the cast, back again, and think: dear god-this bouncing girl grew inside my body.

I think about how I thought the situation I was in before and while I was pregnant was okay when, really, it was not. And, more accurately, I realized it was not okay and didn’t do anything about it till the last minute.

And, every once in awhile, I think about Rose C. She was there at the baby shower that day, looking fresh and pink-cheeked with her own news, so overjoyed and positively glowing.

I picked up the Sunday paper a few days later and saw an article ‘Worcester woman dies in car crash.” I didn’t read it-only skimmed through the paper- but I had this very distinct feeling that would not go away, knowing it was her.

With a phone call that strange space between life and death tightened for one spare moment and all I could think of was Life: hers, mine, the one growing inside of me, in her.

The cast now hangs on my wall, a blank canvas still, a symbol of all these things, of a difficult yet insanely blissful time in my life.

I have not been able, for one reason or the other, to give it any color or decoration. I wonder if it is because it already holds so many things, events, feelings,-still fresh in mind- that there is no need to decorate it at this point.

Still, it certainly deserves some kind of adornment. I feel something should be done with it, but I know not what.

Photo credit: Shazamm | license 

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