‘What did they name the baby?’ asked Gudrun.
‘It never was named,’ said Catherine.
The two women sat quietly for a moment, their white wine un-sipped.
‘Well,’ said Gudrun. ‘I never knew that.’
‘Yes. Pretty sad.’
‘Sad? It’s bloody awful.’
An unnamed baby, especially one referred to as ‘it’, could only mean one thing.
‘Tell me what happened? Do you know?’ said Gudrun.
Catherine did know. She told the story shortly and without dramatics. She wasn’t given to dramatics. The mother of the unnamed baby was her sister.
‘She went into labour just as you’d expect, not early or anything. You know she’s a raw food nut, wary of doctors, likes to control her own health decisions.’
‘Don’t tell me she had it at home and something went wrong!’ said Gudrun.
‘Not exactly. It was born at home – I should say “he” because it was a boy. Everything seemed alright. They didn’t name him straight away; then after what happened, I don’t think they had any heart for it. The grief, you know. And the guilt.’
‘Yes. Well, he wasn’t given the Vitamin K injection, being a home birth, and his mother a natural-birth nut. Then when he was only a day old, he got a fever. Then they freaked out and called a doctor, and the baby was put into hospital and they pumped him full of anti-biotics. That tiny body,’
‘So that fixed the infection, or whatever he had?’
‘No, it killed him. Two days old.’