How to Lose a Baby

| Heather Hall |

My body had not recognized that it had died but instead held on to the baby that had at some
point rolled its eyes to God and shut them. What once beat fast in a swooshing underworld now
just floated in resignation. The ceiling was cream. His voice undulating that we could try again
but I was already pregnant with something dead. The embryonic sac no longer looked like
anything dependable, more of a ribeye steak ready to be devoured. Surgery. Waiting to see if
my body would eject the steak out by itself. I thought of the other women before me, the
pilgrimage of carrying something unmovable inside; I decided to join them, to wear the badge of
a destitute land. But weeks passed- my belly expanded, betrayed, stupid. Sepsis was a
concern. Sepsis, something made rotten. A putrefaction, the answer I now gave when old ladies
approached at parking lots or grocery stores, asking when I was due. Never. It’s putrid. My
insides. The baby. The chasm in our marriage. His empty ribeye face. Back to the doctor. Four
pills inserted to dislodge the lodger. Sweating, cramping, a hatred towards him for all of his
apathy, failure. A neat flush to realize with horror our house is on septic. A hallucinatory terror
that it would make its way out of me and somehow reanimate in the water tank, feeding off
muck, tampons, and eventually find its way back. It is imperative I don’t talk about his fertility
problems during this time, he says, as I look down at my own inflated body, a visual marker of
absolute failure. It’s no ones fault and everyones fault, I offer, although I think what killed the
baby was the pirate dinner show we took the kids to. We all wanted to off ourselves knowing life
could end up as some B level actor hopping about in pastel pants, some chubby mermaid
waving over mashed potatoes. I can’t seem to get out of bed, trying to pinpoint the moment it
died, putting flowers on our septic system. Back to the doctor. Go on, she says.

Heather attended Pratt Institute for writing and got my masters at The Art Institute of Chicago. She worked with Northwestern making video essays, and has published with numerous anthologies. Heather has two young children, a mediocre therapist, and a Mr. Coffee Pot. 

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