On September 11, 2001, I woke up early to take a pregnancy test. Dear Husband had already left for the day. The test was positive. I had to get DramaQueen dressed and to daycare and drive to work, where there would be a company-wide meeting. Usually I turned on NPR and listened while I drove, but today I wanted to think about being pregnant. I missed my mom, who had died in June, and wished she could know about the new baby. I wondered how DramaQueen would react. I wondered how we would manage it financially. My thoughts wandered along these lines as I drove to daycare. I got DramaQueen out, and hauled out all her stuff for the day. And then I opened the door. This was an inhome daycare. The woman who ran it was talking loudly on the phone, her eyes riveted on the TV. It took a few moments before I understood what I was seeing. And as we watched, the second plane hit.
I left. I couldn't think to do anything but continue to work. I phoned Dear Husband from the driveway. As I drove to work, I started crying, and screaming. I wondered if all the other people in the lanes next to me were also listening to the radio. Why were we driving around as if this were any ordinary day?
At work we all crowded into a small conference room with a TV. No one was working. The company-wide meeting was called off. The CEO was on the phone, trying to find out the fate of friends in New York. We were all eventually sent home, to sit in front of the TV for the rest of the day.
How, I thought, can I bring a child into this? From then on I felt uneasy about being pregnant. The meeting had been rescheduled for that Thursday. It turned out to be an announcement of impending layoffs. I was ravenously hungry at lunch. Then I went home and threw up. Thus began unrelenting morning sickness. Thus began months of uncertainty--would I be kept on? Yes. Then, the company declared bankruptcy, and I knew I would be out of a job before I gave birth in May. I still felt miserable. Firecracker kicked a lot. It hurt. It felt wrong, but the doctors brushed it off. We went to Las Vegas and I was so tired walking through the shops. I found a sale at Baby Gap. What is this? I ased a salesperson. It's so small. It's for a preemie, she said. At least I don't have to worry about that, I thought. Yes, I actually thought that. Then one day at work, I began spotting and cramping. Two days later I gave birth at 26 weeks, in a room crowded with doctors and nurses from the NICU.
How many people, I wonder, oriented their lives around 9/11, however distant geographically. Everything in my life shifted and settled askew, all the small personal matters seemed connected in some way to that horror. No one I knew in New York worked there; no one I knew was injured. But I had lived there. That the Towers could be gone--something so integral to the skyline--I'm not sure I could go there and see that gap, and think of all the gaps, the missing mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons.