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DROP DEAD LIFE
BY HYLA MOLANDER
A PREGNANT WIDOW’S HEARTFELT AND OFTEN
COMIC MEMOIR ABOUT DEATH, BIRTH, AND REBIRTH
 
 
CHAPTER ONE
My obstetrician shaves the rest of my pubic hair so that she can neatly slice my womb open, while I keep my body as still as possible. I stare at my right hand, into the dark eyes of the black and white photograph I am holding of my husband, Erik. I study his ebony hair, his defined jaw, and his young 29-year-old skin, as I probe his face for answers. But
there’s no reply.
 
He should be here. How can he not be here for Keira’s birth?
Instead, my mom positions herself to the right of the steel operating table, a brunette curl straying from her cap.
 “I am going to be next to you the whole time,” Mom whispers.
 She intertwines
her fingers with mine, leaving enough space for Erik’s photograph.
I strain my neck backwards, peeking at the door to the operating room.
 
 Please be here, Erik. I need you.
I imagine Erik walking through the door, perspiration on his brow from running late. The part of me that wants to berate him is quickly muted by a sense of relief, forgiveness, and gratitude that he is back in my arms. But Erik is not in my arms. Erik is nowhere to be seen, and the thought of my life as a 29-year-old single mom with two babies makes me want to throw up all over the cold cement floor.
 “I don’t . . . feel so good.”
My insides twist around and around, swirling like a dust-filled tornado. The agitation pounds at my abdomen, scraping at the deep layers of my skin. I have no idea how I will raise these girls without him. The tall, male anesthesiologist leans in to comfort me, his green eyes peering over his surgical mask.
 “Let me know what you need.” No doubt the hospital staff is also shocked at my husband’s absence. Just 19
months bef 
ore, the same doctors and nurses had witnessed Erik’s tears of joy at our first daughter’s birth.
Now the room is somber, filled by the presence of educated individuals who have no explanations.
I nod to the anesthesiologist. “I need, uh, something else. I’m feeling . . . very upset.” Lizellen, my obstetrician, says, “Give her the works. She has had to go without medication for far too long, but you did good, kid. You’re going to have another healthy

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