Friday, September 08, 2006
I awoke to the sound of my phone ringing. Sound asleep on my side with my 7 months pregnant belly taking up most of the bed, I knew that only important phone calls came at this time of the morning. I had stopped working and was preparing for the arrival of my first child by eating, eating and sleeping. I did an akward craw to the phone and actually managed to grab it before it went to voice mail.
My friend Stephanie's voice came through the phone. She sounded deeply saddened as she told me a plane had accidentally hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. I wrestled myself awake knowing a tragic thing had happened and should go and turn on the TV. Infact, that was what she kept saying to me, "Turn on the tv, turn on the tv." Then she screamed that another plane just hit the other tower. "Oh shit" was all I could think. Not once did I think terrorism. I thought wackos. I thought of the people on the planes. I thought of the people on the 20 or so floors in each tower that had just been killed by this carnage. I pulled myself together and went downstairs. It was now just past 9 am and I am thankful for my TIVO. I had a season pass to the Martha Stewart Living show which then aired at 9 am on CBS. Instead I got the CBS morning show which was interviewing a person who had full view of the towers when the second plane hit. This person was on the phone with Bryant Gumble and in the middle of explaining what he saw of the first plane, then said that there was another plane coming. He gave a second by second account of what he was seeing including the second crash. We still have this recording on out TIVO and watch it every 9/11. We have also put it on DVD for our children to see one day.
All I could do was sit on the floor rocking my large belly hysterically crying. Then the pentagon was hit. Then I got scared. My husband called and said he was leaving his office in downtown Boston and coming home. I called my parents and woke them up on vacation in San Francisco. They both grew-up outside NYC so this was going to be particularly tough on them.
When the towers fell I think I went into a shock. By this time there was much talk of terrorism, of other cities getting hit, of the possibility of chemicals. I was truly scared. I was pregnant and scared. This was my first baby and I will tell you now, she was really, really, really, hard to get. The talk of chemicals terrified me and I started to get frantic, wanting to get away to a safer place. But where was that safer place?
Then it hit. We live in Boston. We just moved back from NYC. Was anyone we know on the planes, in the towers, near the towers, at a meeting in the towers. Well it came to pass that of all the people we know and love, there were a few close calls but no tragic losses.
I spent much of that day on the phone with my friend of 15 years, Stephanie. She was equally terrified as she was home nursing a 4-week old baby boy. Her father had flown in that morning from the west coast on one of the planes that then turned around and flew into one of the towers.
A week earlier, at my 7th month check-up, a nurse accidentally told me the gender of the baby I was having. I was so pissed. I did not want to know. I wanted to have the experience in the delivery room of the OB saying "its a....". In my usual manner, I unloaded my disappointment on my friends and family only to hear them say "OK- so what are you having???" I told them at least if I was not going to have the experience I had been looking forward to, I was going to let my husband have the experience of coming into the waiting room to say "Its a ....". So I kept quiet about the fact that I was having a girl, much to the dismay of my mother who had been dying for me to find out all along.
In my family, I am the 5th generation of first born girls. I am the eldest, my mother is the eldest, her mother is the eldest and so on. It was going to be really special for my mother to see me have a girl first. I was very set on no one knowing that I was having a girl. I at least wanted to keep that secret. However, a few days after 9/11 my parents were still in San Francisco and needed to get home. On an airplane. When they finally got rebooked on a flight, I spoke with them nearly every hour the day before they left. I was so scared to have them get on a plane. I needed my mother by my side as I had my first child. She is my best friend and I could not imagine life without her. A few minutes before I knew they were leaving for the airport, I called her. We both cried feeling this new-found fear of air travel. Then the words came out of my mouth, "I can't let you get on a plane not knowing..."she interrupted me knowing what I was doing and said "no! don't tell me. It is important to you to keep this a secret until ..." I interrupted her saying "I'm having a girl. I need you to know you are having a granddaughter." She kept my secret all the way through until L was born. We did steal out in secret to go buy pink things though.
Each year the week of 9/11 I bring out a few things I have tucked away in a drawer. The Time magazine from that week. A few newspapers I saved and some books I bought as remembrances. We watch our TIVO recording from that morning and I watch the names being read on TV. I am still struck with so much pain from that day. It is still so fresh for me. My heart and soul goes out to families and friends who did lose loved ones that day. I will never forget.