Monday, July 20, 2009

on the other side

It's hard to put into words what the last week has been like for me. A week ago I was anxiously awaiting word from a friend on whether or not they were able to learn the sex of their baby after a follow up ultrasound. I was admittedly stalking facebook, waiting for her update, but when it finally came, it was not at all what I had wanted to see. Mid-conversation with my mom, her words took my breath away. They were having a son, but he was not going to make it.

Right away, there were tears. I scrambled to write something coherent to her, though I knew, I knew so well, there was nothing I could say. That short message that felt so inadequate at the time has blossomed into a week long ongoing conversation that is just...amazing.

Our stories have been paralelling one another in so many ways. She had to make the choice too. She saw the same genetic counselor, the same perinatologist, likely the same ultrasound screen, the same look in the doctor's eyes. She had to make that drive to the only city in the state who would allow her to let her precious son go. She had the IV, the epidural, the horrifyingly uncomfortable labor and delivery bed. She had those wonderful, terrible, heartbreaking moments with her tiny baby. She had to leave him behind.

And six months ahead of her, I felt it all again. I felt all of those moments more clearly than I have in a long time. And I hurt with her, for her, for us.

But I have been happy to be able to be there for her in a way that most other people can't. I know I can't do much, but being there to say "yes, I felt that too" is reassuring for both of us. I just wish she didn't have to feel it, that big indescribable pain and everything that goes along with it.

How strange it is to be on the other side. How strange to be the one who survived, who is still surviving, somehow.

I have so much more to write, there are words bouncing around in the back of my head all the time, but right now I don't have the power to organize them the right way.


margaret said...

I'm so sorry for your friend. I wonder at times where our connections come from and for what purpose they are made. Maybe this is a reason why. I recently found out that the doctor that operated on my son and sat by his bedside for thirty six hours straight, the doctor I felt such a connection to has also lost a child. I think that's the reason he was meant to care for my baby. Maybe this is why you were put in your friend's life. Hugs

Dana said...

It's like being suckerpunched in the stomach and having your heart broken all over again. You want so badly to be all of those things that you wanted in the earliest days for her but you know that there are no words of comfort that you can give. You know that the pain will not be eased by anything but time (and even that is a lie that we tell ourselves).

I am so sorry for your friend and for you. I don't want to believe that there are so many of us out there who have had to let our babies go, but I meet more every day.

You are in my thoughts today,

AnnaMarie said...

I'm so sorry for your friends loss. Hearing about another baby that didn't make it always sucks the air right out of me - it seems like there are already more than enough deadbaby mamas, I hate when another family learns of this sorrow.

Abigail said...

Your friend is profoundly grateful for you being there. Our letters have been more profound comfort than any words can say. For both of us (I can't even count how many times he's said "Hey, has she written back yet?"). I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone--not on my worst enemy. But I am so deeply glad that we have each other.