It’s getting closer now, just weeks away really. Different dates and numbers are looming, thick mists of unknowning collecting and condensing.

35. Probably the week she died, definitely the week when something suddenly went wrong. In just about 3 weeks, I should be at the 35th week of this pregnancy.  The next one, the subsequent. Wondering, worrying if things will be going suddenly, unpredictably wrong again. Watching for signs I couldn’t see the first time.

36. The week she was born. Forever nullifying the entire cultural collection of metaphors and imagery where birth equals the beginning of life. That equation will never again be that easy, that automatic. The kernel of truth in that cliche will never again resonate. No matter what happens. And I wonder if I pass through that week, this time, successfully, how it will feel to start noting weeks with numbers I’ve never reached in a pregnancy before. As the numbers in this pregnancy increase, does the significance of my daughter, my first, decrease? Will those ticked off digits mark the inexorable diminishing of her presence, her meaning? It’s the fear of that that keeps me from knowing how to share the hope I’m hiding for this child.  Still angry and hurt that I didn’t hear from my parents on Malina’s anniversary, I’m already sullenly, contrarily rejecting imagined future cards and acknowledgments for her sibling. I need the dead to matter just like the living, I need all my children to be recognized. But apparently one, wanted and loved and nurtured for nearly 9 months, has already faded into abstraction, incomprehensible for nearly everyone but me and D. But then, I saw her face, and I still couldn’t recognize her. Gone somewhere in 35. Her body, already deteriorating for days, born at 36.

7s. There are favourable numbers marking this time, too. Not just numbers marking catastrophic ends and sparking anxiety and dread. 7s seem to be an important number for birthdays in my family, for people who lived. They mark mine, my father’s, my grandparents’. I’m taking hope from that tricky thing that is a due date. 7/27. Part of me really believes that as long as this one is born sometime in that magical month of 7, that everything will be alright. Even though I’ve given up on nearly every other form of hoping, star-wishing, sign-seeking, finger-crossing, and crack-stepping. Because I know it doesn’t matter what I want.

But still. I can’t help but wish that the calendar won’t creep from July to August and take this pregnancy with it, out of the safety of 7 and into the unknown of 8. I hope I’m not overdue. I hope.