Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the last book I ever read (Katharine Graham's Personal History, excerpt three)

from Personal History by Katharine Graham:

I had bought the things we needed for the baby, including three rubber sheets with the crib, although Phil protested that no child of his would need them. And I had gained a lot of weight and was quite uncomfortable, particularly when it started to get hot in Washington.

We were beginning to think the baby was overdue, so I suggested to my doctor that he induce labor, which he did, but it was too soon and the baby wasn’t ready. When after three days it finally began to be born, the cord was around its neck, a situation that ordinarily could be dealt with. Apparently, that night, with wartime help shortages, the doctor was delivering several babies at once, and by the time he got to my problem it was too late. We lost the baby boy.

When I came to after the long ordeal, I looked at Phil and groggily asked, “Is the baby all right?” When he said no, I couldn’t believe it. I had never heard of anyone losing a baby and was so disbelieving that I was sure it couldn’t possibly be true. But it was all too real. I was devastated. I will never forget getting back to the house, where Phil had removed all of the baby’s things so that it wouldn’t be even more painful. I began to realize not only that there was no baby but that Phil would now be leaving to go into the army and I would be alone. It was a terrible anguish, compounded by a desperate feeling that we’d never have children and an even greater fear that something might happen to him—all the worst dreads combined. Phil was wonderful to me, and we both were helped by my father. My mother was so upset I don’t remember seeing her until several weeks afterwards.

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