The Best Thing for the Baby


December 1, 2015 by The Citron Review

by Jennifer Fliss


After I lost the baby, I kept going to the prenatal yoga classes. I had bought a ten class card and had only used four. It’d be such a waste to not use them. At the end of class, we lay in savasana, after being told by Lotus, the teacher, that we are doing the best thing for the baby. That I am doing the best thing for my baby. That, I am being present in such an important time in my baby’s creation.

I still have a belly pooch. The swelling will go down, they said. In time, they said. But it’s been a month and every time I chant oooommmmm I feel the vibrations in my uterus. Maybe because it is hollow now; I don’t know. I sometimes still feel her kicks.

I got an email the other day about how after my baby is born, I still have three months to get things off my registry for ten percent off. I deleted the email. I should just delete the registry altogether; just this morning I got a message saying that my cousin purchased us the baby cot. We haven’t gotten around to telling everyone.

Actually, we haven’t gotten around to telling anyone.

After class I’m in my Volvo, purchased for maximum baby-safety. It’s a bit large, a station wagonesque vehicle. For now Doug and I fill the space with uncomfortable silence. But the trunk space is nice.

I think I’d make a terrible mother since I didn’t even know when it happened. I went in for my normal appointment and oh, the stillness that filled the air, like a muted electricity. It was in mid-sentence that the hush took over. It wasn’t a monumental silence. I could still hear honking cars outside, four stories down. An alert being sounded over the PA out in the hospital corridor. My breathing. But I didn’t hear the thwomp-thwomp-thwomp. No one did. The hush was reserved for the room we were in, a cocoon, it held us in its embrace. Maybe if they said nothing, it would be fine. The heart would be found, small, beating, hopeful, and everyone would collectively breathe again, smile, and say, there it is! Sneaky little dodger, that one!

Anyway, that didn’t happen. And when the door pushed open, the hush exhaled right out of the room and in came a maelstrom of medical jargon and you’re being sent down to imaging for an ultrasound. They didn’t even ask. And off we went, Doug and I and our dead fetus, though we didn’t know it at the time. She was still the size of an eggplant and still had a name, Bella.

The technician was kind. She ensured I was warm with blankets just out of some heating unit. She moved slowly, deliberately. A doctor I did not know was also in the room. He watched, arms crossed, teeth pulling at one corner of his lip. He stood only in the corner and only to make the pronouncement. And when he did, he uncrossed his arms, whispered something to the technician, put his thick hand on Doug’s shoulder. I’m sorry.

I really liked that technician. She was a twenty-something girl with a bouncy blond ponytail and an effervescent way about her. She wasn’t bubbly in a daft sort of way, she just seemed to really enjoy her job. On a previous visit, she said she too wanted children and oh! A girl! It was like she was as happy for me as she would be for herself.

She cried; I don’t remember her name. But when I started heaving and Doug wiped a tear from his face, her eyes watered up too. Then she excused herself and for a short while before I was taken away for the procedure, Doug and I sat by ourselves in the purple glow in a room made up of plastics and rubber and rustling paper sheets. But the warm blankets helped.

At the beginning of class, we all go around sharing our name, how far along we are, and if we’re experiencing any pain or have any issues we would like addressed.

Elaine. 27 weeks. The pain is immeasurable.


Jennifer Fliss is a New York raised, Wisconsin and California schooled, Seattle based writer. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming with publications such as Brain Child, Zelle (Runner’s World), Prime Number, Foliate Oak, Silver Birch Press, Blotterature, BookerMarks, and The Well Read Fish. She also has been known to do the flying trapeze. A little more info can be found here:


8 thoughts on “The Best Thing for the Baby

  1. Ben says:

    Well done, Jennifer!

  2. Hey there,
    I really enjoyed this story! I’ve been perusing through WordPress today, looking for good writing.
    My name is Rachel and I’m one of the contributors for Short Tale Shrew, an online community for Flash Fiction/Microfiction writers. I’d love to see more of your writing! We’re currently holding a contest for a cash prize of $50 USD, and I think you’d be a solid candidate if you entered.
    Come check out the site. If you want, enter the contest. In any event, just know I really appreciated this piece of writing.
    Have a good day!

  3. jerxiong says:

    Beautiful. The last line is utterly perfect and it haunts me still.

    • Jen says:

      jerxiong, Thank you for reading this and taking the time to write a comment. Thank you,, too for your kind words. This piece seems to have hit something personal with readers and it’s made me all the more grateful that I wrote it.

  4. Kathleen Latham says:

    Such a moving, beautiful piece. Well done!

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