By Maria Duffy. First published on Sunday 11th September 2011. 19 Comments so far.

May we never forget

This day ten years ago we all watched on in horror as events unfolded in New York. I cried all day that day. But my tears were for a number of reasons. As the towers were coming down, I was being rushed to hospital in early labour with my third child. I’d had two miscarriages that year so going into labour at 25 weeks was one of the scariest experiences of my life.

There was a strange atmosphere in the hospital. On one hand, there were tears of joy as mothers were being wheeled from the labour ward with their newborns in their arms. In complete contrast, little groups of people had begun to gather around the televisions, gasping in horror as the footage unfolded.

A doctor checked me out and confirmed I was indeed in labour. I was gutted. I was admitted to a ward and everything was explained to me. They gave me medication to try to slow down the contractions. That was good, wasn’t it? If they could slow them down, maybe they could get them to stop. Then they gave me an injection to develop the baby’s lungs. That didn’t feel so good. They were expecting I’d probably deliver the baby soon. A midwife came in to talk to me and to warn me what to expect from a baby so premature. It wasn’t good.

My contractions continued through the evening and night as I lay in bed and watched one of the most awful tragedies I’d ever seen. I cried for all those innocent people killed and wounded. I cried for the families who were waiting for news of their loved ones. I cried for myself. Then I cried from guilt. Surely I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself on the day the world will never forget?

For me, a miracle happened. The bleeding eased. The contractions stopped. The scan showed my baby was happy and settled and didn’t seem to want to make an appearance any more. I got lucky. Not so for the victims of 9/11. May we never forget.

Maria x

19 comments so far

  • 9/11 is our generation’s iconic memory – I won’t bore you with mine, it was not laced with the same difficulty of yours. Really happy that things turned out well for you and the baba, a fine line as they say, but it was certainly one of those days when we were all shocked,amazed,dismayed, at how easy and hard life can be taken. My heart goes out to all who suffered for this senseless act.

  • Been there, done that, have the multiple scans that were never to be to prove it. We both know why I’m glad you wrote about this and how hard it is to speak of that which is so rarely spoken of.


  • What a lovely post, Maria. I’m sure it’s a date in many people’s lives that they will always remember exactly where they were and what they were doing. For me, however, it is my birthday. I always feel compelled to watch all the 9/11 progams each year. I always feel like I can’t have a celebration on my birthday as, well, like you mentioned, the guilt that I am alive and having fun while so many people are being remembered never goes away.

    This year was particularly hard. As the tenth anniversary loomed, I felt that I couldn’t celebrate this year at all. It just didn’t feel right. Morbid, I know. I’m not sure if I feel it more because of my birth date or if everyone else feels the same because of the atrocious way so many people died. But, as your post truly shows, miracles can happen. Good things can come from bad days.

    I, for one, can never forget 9/11. I, for one, am unsure if I would ever want to. RIP 9/11

    • Thanks, Mel. I’m sorry you feel you can’t celebrate your birthday. Life has to go on regardless of the awful things that happened that day. Thankfully for me, a miracle did happen and I thank God for her every day.x

  • Aww Maria, hugs. I was at a soft-play area with my son and watched the towers coming down on a TV there – he tried to arrive at 23 weeks and I was given the same treatments as you. He hung on and was born 4 1/2 weeks early. My next ten years were spent waiting for a brother (or sister for him). My story has a happy ending as ten years later I had a healthy little boy. So while I can’t compare myself to those of the relatives and friends of those who perished, I do know what it is like to wait for some peace and solace – I hope those who were directly involved with 9/11 have found some peace and solace too xxx

    • Thanks for your lovely comment, Katy. It’s such a scary thing to think you’ll give birth at such an early stage, isn’t it? Thankfully things worked out for us both and wonderful that you went on to have another little miracle baby. x

  • It really was an horrific day, so much death and destruction and later the grief on such an unprecedented scale. My husband and I visited ground zero in May this year, ironically at exactly the time that Osama Bin Laden was killed. I am so glad we did go. It was emotionally draining but I felt, finally, that I understood the extent of such a tragedy. Up until then, it all seemed so surreal, as if it was a nightmare. The magnitude of the destruction and the effect it had on the city, the country and the world in general was brought home to me just standing there, on the site.

    Your already heightened emotions must have gone into overload on that day Maria and I’m so glad you had a happy ending. xo

  • Hi Maria.

    That’s a very moving and beautiful piece of writing. Thanks for sharing such an intensely personal memory.



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