This post is long...and this disclaimer makes it even longer, lol...but this is where I was when the world stopped turning, that September day....
September 11, 2001
8:00 am CST
It is 9:00 am in New York City. My alarm goes off at 7:50am, I hit snooze, and it's just about 8am as I get out of bed. My husband is sound asleep next to me as he was OFF that day. That in itself, a blessing, as my husband works for major airline and O'hare was already a zoo.
I turn the alarm off, coming out of my 'fog'...realizing I hear someone talking from the kitchen. It is my answering machine, and it is my friend Bonnie speaking into the machine. By the time I get there, she had hung up. I press play, never imagining what I was going to hear her say. "Jess, it's Bonnie. A plane hit the World Trade Center. Turn on CNN.
8:01 am CST
I remember the time on the cable box as I turn on CNN. I had a 10am doctor appointment so I was keeping an eye on my time from the very beginning. It is two minutes before the 2nd plane is going to hit. My husband comes into the living room wondering what all the hustle and bustle was about as I'm probably talking to myself, going "oh, God...oh my God.." in the other room. I felt sick. I was sick. I watched standing up as the 2nd plane hit the World Trade Center and somehow fell into a sitting position on the couch.
The next hour or so went by so fast, yet, in slow motion. I know I talked to my parents, but I don't remember if I called them or if they called me. I sat in horror and watched all the news come in. I remember saying to my husband "O'Hare must be a nightmare. I'm so glad you're not at work today. They might still attack our airports..." I then became fixated on the fact that those buildings were going to collapse. I kept asking Chris if a building could survive an impact like that and he said he didn't know. he didn't think so.
The South Tower collapses. It is sickening to watch on TV.
CNN announces that the Sears Tower in Chicago is being evacuated. This is hitting too close to home as I have friends that work in the building (we were living in the Chicago suburbs at the time). O'hare alerts my husband that the entire US Airspace has been shut down.
I have about 40 minutes before I have to leave for the doctor. I have an 18 month old, Madelynn, who needs to be changed and eat breakfast. I have to shower. The North Tower collapses somewhere in between all of this. My husband is now glued to the TV as well. The phone keeps ringing. I don't' remember anything from this point out, all I remember is that I must have looked at the TV about a thousand times in between.
We are in the car and hear on the radio that a 4th plane has gone down somewhere in Pennsylvania. I am a nervous wreck about this doctor appointment and I burst into tears. My hair is wet. I have no makeup on. I somehow manage to get it together and we walk into the OB/GYN.
The front desk at my OB/GYN is glued to the tube. The nurses and receptionists are crying. One finally looks up. "Hi, can I help you?"
"this is just awful", I say.
"I can't even believe this is happening," she responds.
"My name is Jessica Diedrich, and I'm here for an ultrasound."
"ok, Jessica, is your insurance the same?"
"have a seat. the doctor will be with you shortly."
Shortly wasn't so shortly. I'm pretty sure that everyone was watching TV and not working, and I didn't care. And that's saying a lot, because here's a little backstory for you:
On Friday, September 7th, I got a call from my OB/GYN that my preliminary bloodwork came back ABNORMAL. I was 6 weeks pregnant at the time of the testing earlier that week. I was told that my tests were so 'off the charts" (and I think it was my thyroid levels but I could be wrong) that it indicated that I could have a multiple pregnancy or a "molar" pregnancy...which, basically means your body reabsorbs the fertilized egg and there is NO baby. A D&C is usually necessary after that diagnosis. OF COURSE they call you and tell you this on a Friday, and made me wait until TUESDAY to come in for the Ultrasound because it couldn't be performed for some reason on that Monday. I was a wreck. What was another 40-50 minutes once I got there???
I felt that lump...you know, the one that comes up from your chest into your throat and causes that whole "burning" sensation when your'e nervous as hell? Yeah, that one.
"Come on back..."
In the next 10 minutes that followed, I remember craning my neck while laying on that table so hard to the point that I was in pain. I HAD to see what they were seeing on that little screen, but I couldn't make anything out. Until I did. Until she did.
WAIT. WHERE the heck was CHRIS??? Oh, yeah. 18 month old. One hour wait. NOT conducive to sitting in the waiting room. He is out ROAMING the halls with Madelynn and they're about to tell me I have no baby and when I was prepared to become hysterical he is gone...
WAIT. What? What did she just say?
"See that flashing light?"
"yeah...I think so..."
"That's your baby's heart beat...." A single tear warms the corner of my eye, then rolls down my cheek.
I say nothing. She says:
"see that OTHER flashing light?"
"umm, yes?" my voice shakes.
"That's ANOTHER baby!" She squeals. I am in DISBELIEF. "Let me get the doctor," she says.
I am in there, waiting. Staring at that little 'tape" that comes out of the ultrasound machine with a picture of two dots. WHERE the HECK is my husband!?!?
The doctor comes in. "Well, it's TWINS! Why don't you get dressed, come into my office and we'll discuss your care plan, congratulations!"
Let me tell you that NOTHING can prepare you for those words. NOTHING.
ESPECIALLY on September 11, 2001.
I get dressed, but before I go into her office, I make a b-line for a side door and thankfully see Chris in the hallway. I shove the picture under his nose, shaking.
"What is that?" he says.
"a baby." I say, crying.
"hmmm. ok.. uh huh..and what's THAT?" he says. Pointing to something else on the picture that looks JUST like the 1st one.
"Are we having twins?" (rhetorical freak-out-it's the only thing he could think of to say alert)
"yep!" I go flying back into my doctor's office.
I sit in silence. Then it hits me.
What kind of world am I bringing two more innocent lives into?
Are we even going to BE here much longer?
Wait...I can't think. I can't even breathe, I am hyperventilating from crying (hormones...not to mention the events of 9/11)
I sit in silence some more. She's not coming anytime soon.
I call my Mom.
My mom shrieks to my Dad, crying, she is SO excited. She exclaims "Who can I tell????" I'm only 7 weeks Mom...let's not tell too many people just yet. We hang up.
Finally, the doctor comes in and we iron out a 'game plan". I realize on the way out that NOTHING is certain.
We listen to the radio on the way home and someone promptly mentions the TWIN towers.
I don't know what to think.
HOWEVER, I knew what I felt.
It's the same thing I still feel 10 years later.
Out of the depths of great tragedy, there is always a glimmer of hope.
There is a promise of tomorrow, and there is courage under fire.
There is strength through adversity,
and most of all...there is LOVE. There is GREAT, great, LOVE and there is GOODNESS in all of us.
We have the blessing to raise children and I am GRATEFUL for the hope my children give me every day for this world.
We all learned a lesson that day, and we were all affected. We've all been inconvenienced by it since (but believe me, you do NOT want to be complaining about going through security in line if I'm behind you or in front of you. I do not understand this to this day. Wouldn't you rather be SAFE than sorry after what happened???? ugh- this irks me...sorry. I definitely think people need to respect the security workers, flight attendants (they are really there for your safety, not just to get you a Diet Coke,) and the crew way more than some people do...but that's a whole other issue :) We've all known someone who knows someone who was killed in not only the attack that day, but in the awful years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since then. My cousin is currently serving in his 2nd year-long tour (we love you, Matt!).
You know, I searched for a bit on You Tube to find an appropriate "Tribute" for today. But all I could come up with is video after video of plans crashing, fires burning, people falling to their deaths from high up in those towers, despair. Utter despair. And NO, I will NEVER forget 9/11, or the impact it had on our lives. The personal despair we dealt with for a while after my husband took a 35% overall pay cut in the months/year that followed the airlines taking such a hit. I looked up video tributes playing some of my favorite songs but I still came up short. You can only watch that 2nd plane hit the tower so many times...
Most of all, I didn't find anything I wanted to post because 10 years later, things are not so glum, if you think about it. The American spirit is resilient...and in the aftermath of tragedy, we rally. I am SO proud of that.
For me, personally, I look back and remember the day I found out I was having twins, and the feeling of HOPE that was given to me in the midst of being alive during one of the most awful tragedies that some of us will ever see.
You can't take away our hope...and we will NEVER forget.