I was pregnant for three months but only knew for five days. The father held my hand when while we faced giving up the rest of our carefree twenties to be parents. Neither of us could face ending the pregnancy so we named her: Birdy Valentine Turner. I loved giving her his last name although we weren't married. I loved having his child inside of me, even though I had never wanted to be a mother. I ate coconut and slept with one hand over my stomach and the other over his heart.
We decided we would paint her nursery with seahorses and cowgirls, in shades of red and turquoise, like the sands of the desert town I grew up in. He gently touch my face that first night and ask if I felt anything. I wasn't sure, I said, but that was okay. We smiled in the dark and knew our baby was going to be beautiful.
Four days later we lost her. There were tears and screams echoed in the clean tile of our bathroom. I had never wanted to be a mother before and then, betrayed by my body, I wanted nothing more.
It's been three years since I lost her and just two months since I lost him. The holes in my heart are twin shapes, one larger and raw, the other mostly healed. He is out in the world with new mothers-to-be and I am at home, with my seahorse stencils and empty bed.
Casey, Oakland, CA, Barn Ghost