It was a Tuesday morning. I was about 6 months pregnant, and went in for a sonogram after working the night shift. There was no one to accompany me, I was not expecting the worst. I looked up at the screen, as I always did, expecting to see the little blinking light that signified a beating heart, expecting to see my baby girl turn summersaults as she usually did. But there was no blinking light. And there were no summersaults. The tech turned to me, after what seemed like forever, and said “Alright, do you want me to tell you, or do you want Dr. Atlas to tell you?”. I burst into tears and said “I already know”. She held my hand and said I’m sorry. She rushed out of the room and looked for the doctor.
And I was alone.
There were no openings at my OB-GYN’s office to perform the procedure to have her evacuated until the following week. So I walked around, looking very pregnant, for days, as people rubbed my belly and said “How is that baby doing?”. I did not have the heart to tell them that she was gone. I faked a smile and said “OK”. By Friday, I was going into labor. I was admitted to the Labor and Delivery Unit at Sinai hospital, to deliver my deceased baby girl. The same unit where live babies were being born. I could hear people clapping and cheering and shouting for joy as their live newborn bundles of joy were cradled in their arms.
It was the ultimate in irony.
In my room, the nurses looked somber, and spoke in hushed tones. I brought a Christening blanket with pink roses, and a little Christian cross to drape around her neck. I wanted her to know that Mommy loved her.
I pushed and groaned and moaned and set out to deliver my stillborn baby girl. They draped her in the blanket and put the cross around her neck. I held her in my arms, until I was “ready” to let her go. I named her Brianna, and then kissed her goodbye. Then they handed her to my mother, who nestled her, and wept and wept.
I could not cry. It was too painful to cry. I did not weep. I simply slept.
Then I went home, and in the weeks and months to come, I was alone.
For some time I did not weep. Until I was at my father’s wedding, and a song started playing. It was “Rhiannon”, by Fleetwood Mac. In my mind, I had substituted the name Brianna.
“Brianna rings like a bell through the night and wouldn’t you love to love her. …..Brianna, Brianna, taken by… taken by the Sky”.
I swayed in the middle of the floor, thinking about her, and wept.
And I was alone. …
Until I looked up, and surrounding me were four of my sisters, Chesa, Cathie, Susan, and Linnea. They joined arms and circled me, dancing to the music. I spoke not a word, it was like they read my mind. It was a dance of grief, a dance of sorrow, but most of all, a dance of comfort.
From time to time, Brianna visits me. There was the time that a friend claimed to see her little angelic form, and said she watches over me, like a little Spirit Guide. Then there was the time my husband and I were awoken in the middle of the night to what sounded like a little girl running and giggling on the porch. We went out to see what was going on, and there was no one there. A friend who has the gift of clairvoyance told me that it was Brianna checking on us, letting us know she was okay and happy.
But the best gift of all was the beautiful dream I had last December. In it, a little girl with blonde hair and an angelic appearance snuggled with me. She said “I love you Mommy”. She said her name was Brianna, then flew to the sky.
It was an honor and privilege to carry her for 6 months. It was worth it all just to hold her, to see and touch her beautiful hands and little feet. She looked like a little ballerina.
Today I wept, but….
I am not alone.
In loving memory of Brianna Lynn Borrelli, taken by the Sky.
This song’s for you, Bri….