Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On September 11th

6 years ago today. A Tuesday. I was 36 weeks pregnant. Lumbering and uncomfortable as I boarded the 7:22 a.m. commuter rail bound for my job at a law firm in Boston. Arrived at work after 8. Was chatting on the phone with a friend, discussing our baby showers that had both taken place that weekend. Mine on Saturday, hers on Sunday (our poor collective friends!) while our hubbies frollicked in New York City at a Yanks/Sox game. One of my friends from Florida had flown up for my shower. She flew out of Logan Airport in Boston on Monday morning. I was interrupted from my conversation when a co-worker peeked her head in and said, "Your husband is on my line. He needs to talk to you." So I said goodbye to my friend (who was home, but didn't have her TV on) and got on the line with Hubby. "Do you have your computer on?" he asked breathlessly. "No. I just got here and was on the phone with Mary. Why? What's up?" "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center! They don't know many details yet though. TURN ON YOUR COMPUTER!" Slowly the buzz began to spread on my 21st floor. We were directed into a conference room to watch the breaking news on a projection screen. That was when I saw the second plane hit. Shortly after, a firm-wide e-mail was delivered. Our building would be closing at 10 a.m. We were all to evacuate immediately. I called Hubby back. (Meanwhile he had been frantically trying to call me. The firm's phone lines were being inundated.) Hubby was nervous that they were going to shut down all public transportation. That I wouldn't be able to get out of the city of Boston. 9 months pregnant.
My friend Michelle (who was also working in Boston at the time) and I miraculously got through to each other via our cell phones. We met downtown, so we could walk to the train station together. It was eerie. Practically everyone in downtown Boston had been evacuated. The city streets were packed, yet it was oddly hushed. Everyone was rushing, furiously punching buttons on their cell phones, desperately trying to get a signal. I tried to call Hubby from the train station to let him know what my (meager) train options were to get back home to Central Massachusetts. There was only one train heaed towards home, yet it would only take me as far as Framingham, about a 45 minute drive, and NOT where I had parked my car that morning. But I couldn't get in touch with him. The lines were jammed. So I waited until the last possible minute to board that train, worried that Hubby might already be driving into Boston to collect me; nervous that he wasn't, and that I indeed NEEDED to get on the train. Finally, as the annoucement was blaring, "Final boarding call!", Hubby and I connected. I SHOULD take the train, and he'd pick me up in Framingham. As you can imagine, the train was packed. Every seat full, every aisle space occupied. But so silent. Someone kindly gave me a seat. I let a few strangers borrow my cell phone. Everyone lost in their own thoughts. Fear, stifled but present. Uncertainty. I spent the next three days on the couch in my uniform (the comfy maternity clothes that were the only ones left that fit), glued to the TV. Alternating between grief, disbelief and horror. What kind of world was I bringing a child into? Unsafe. September 11, 2001. I will never forget.

22 comments:

Janet said...

I had just woken up for the morning, after nursing a newborn several times in the night. Hailey was 15 days old. Drew was still in daycare for the month. It was a beautiful, sunny day. As I collected my baby from her crib, I felt so rested and happy. Then the phone rang. It was my husband saying, 'They've hit the World Trade Center!'

'What do you mean?' I asked. 'Who hit the World Trade Center? With what?'

'Just turn on the TV,' he said. 'I'm picking up Drew and coming home.'

I sat in front the TV, nursing my baby and watching the horror unfold. I cried and cried and stroked my infant's soft, downy head and wondered the exact same thing that you did: What kind of world have I just brought another baby into?

Thanks for writing this, Sarah.

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

How frightening. Still frightening. I won't ever forget, either.

Annie said...

What is still so frightening is that we're no further on, even after all of this.

You captured that gut wrenching fear that so many of us felt - not knowing when, where or if they would strike next.

Carla said...

Wow. 6 years ago and it still seems like yesterday. Watching it all on tv like it was a movie. Surreal. Joshua was 4 and in preschool and Sarah was 1. I called my husband and asked him to come home. Just be with us and hold us.

Her Bad Mother said...

Being pregnant during that? So hard on the heart.

Amanda said...

Sean and I had just signed our first lease. I was just back from LA and was bound once again for Logan to fly to Seattle. At 8am I asked Sean to drive me, I didn't want to take the T. It was completely out of character, so he said yes. We heard snippets on our way to the airport, but until I stood in the lobby, airline workers sobbing, broken, and complete strangers embracing one another while they blindly fed quarters into pay phones for one another, did I begin to understand the enormity.

I will never forget or ever stop being grateful for my blessed fate that day.

Thank you for writing this.

MadMad said...

I've been thinking about this all day, and am so glad it's pouring rain and not the brilliant blue sky-ed day we had six years ago. I don't think I could stand that. It's interesting to hear what people were doing that day. I had never heard from anyone in Boston. (Weird, huh, since I'm HERE.)

painted maypole said...

a friend of ours called us and woke us up (we lived in CA at the time) and just said "turn on your TV"

slouching mom said...

I was six months' pregnant with Jack at the time.

I thought, What a huge mistake I have made to have brought a child into this world.

cate said...

that must have been so frightening for you...

i was visiting my mom, and we watched the whole thing happen before our eyes on TV...it was awful, and completely unforgettable.

i cried this morning while i was writing my post...for today, the feelings are as raw as they were 6 years ago...

Smiling Mom said...

It's incredible how the details of that day are so clear to all of us. I'm one who forgets everything... but not September 11th. I remember every.single.thing...


I'm glad to hear that things worked out for the best for your family.

pinks & Blues Girls said...

I know. It's one of those "where were you moments" that EVERYONE knows the answer to. We will never forget.

Jane, Pinks & Blues

Shauna Loves Chocolate said...

Thanks for sharing. That must have been so scary - and to be pregnant during it all...

QueenMother said...

I haven't written my post yet, but I held a newborn as the first plane hit, and I honestly thought I would never want to bring another child into this scary world. Much love to you on this day.

Debbie said...

Thanks for that post. You captured the mood so perfectly. We lost a friend on the Boston flight, but I have never heard anyone describe the Boston mood that day.

I wasn't a mother then, but I am now, and I think it IS a frightening world in which to bring a child. But I sometimes think that if we don't bring good little people into this world, then those other people -- the kind who created that horror six years ago -- will win. In a sense, it's the perfect world for children. It's a world that needs more innocence, more laughter and new beginnings.

Major Bedhead said...

It's one of those days - it seems to be somewhat comforting to say "Where were you, what were you doing?" and to be sad, scared, upset together. It was a terrifying day.

Nora Bee said...

I was supposed to travel that morning, fly to Salt Lake City for a conference. I was putting off packing, not really looking forward to the trip. The Today Show was on mute and I was talking with my mom on the phone. I watched the TV and thought Matt Lauer was interviewing some actor about a movie about the WTC getting bombed. Then slowly we realized it was real, and that my brother was in lower Manhattan that day. Jeepers.

Kila said...

My brother was also in Boston when that happened. He used Logan Airport every week to fly in on Monday and out on Friday. When I called him to see if he was OK (just had to hear his voice), he was walking VERY QUICKLY as everyone was being evacuated. Perhaps you even saw each other that day.

I'm glad you and the baby were OK.

Michelle said...

I'll never forget that walk to the train with you, friend. What an eerie, horrible feeling, and the even worse feeling of being glued to the TV and crying the next 2 days. Thank God we made it OK.

Chaotic Joy said...

Wow Sarah. We all have our own heartbreaking stories of what we were doing that day. Yours though, I found particularly touching. A different perspective on how people in other cities across the country were effected. And you waiting on the birth of your child. This was a beautifully written post about a horrible time we must always remember.

Kerry said...

I was about 32 weeks pregnant - and we will always remember the feeling and thinking oh my god - what kind of world am I bringing my children into. I was in Greenbelt, MD - about 15 minutes outside of DC. I was luckily on the phone with my best friend in NY and I was able to confirm that she was OK as it was all happening. It didn't even occur to me that I should get home - to my daughter - as soon as possible - until my mother called and made me understand the situation was serious and to not be able to get to my daughter would be bad. My husband was in Ohio and out of touch. On my drive home it was weird... there wasn't anyone on the road. In and around DC there is always traffic. That day there was none. I remember just feeling that I needed to hold my baby girl - and take her home to our safe home full of love. Your post brought back to many memories...

VDog said...

Wow. Your writing gave me chills.

You captured the experience so well.

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