Photo by Jessica Crockett


Tuesday, April 4, 2023

We speak gently

Into liminal space

We all see the faint flame, the wick in shallow wax

Her placenta - a tether between mom and baby that is waning

“Severe preeclampsia with severe fetal growth restriction”


I tell her

One day at a time

For each day has enough trouble of its own

I’m reminded of the Biblical origin as my words diffuse slowly through the room

24 weeks and 3 days


She already knows what it’s like to have a child born too early and lost

A nightmare she already lived and survived

Soon repeated

Neither inside nor outside is safe for her baby girl

When in the workroom, the doctors speak plainly of the perceived inevitable

Yet in the patient room, we remain still while they hope

One day at a time, we repeat


The father has been silently scrolling through his phone

Liminal space

I lightly touch his shoulder with my hand

Offering permission

And he sobs

I’m grateful for the mask that knowingly absorbs my own tears


Tomorrow arrives – Saturday

I watch through my apartment window as the sunrise burns across the San Francisco skyline

Clouds filled with kerosine, ignited and scorching red


I wonder if they see it too

I wonder if they feel it too

I open the patient’s chart from home

24 weeks and 4 days