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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Being there...

A friend of mine announced her surprise pregnancy a few months ago. Surprise being the operative word, since she had her tubes tied last year. She's 37, her oldest just graduated high school and her youngest was set to start kindergarten in the fall. Surprise was an understatement. Once she got over the shock, excitement took over. A baby! Not planned, but wanted none-the-less!

After visiting the doctor and verifying her pregnancy, she got some terrifying news that no expecting mother wants to hear: blood tests showed her baby's chances of Trisomy at 1:12. They had ruled out Trisomy 21 with an ultrasound, but it didn't change the odds for 13 or 18.

She called me immediately. What does this mean? Is this bad? What should I do? I knew some, just from being in support groups for years, but not enough to share with her. What I knew of those odds is that they were not good. I did know of other mothers who had better odds who were still struck down by tragedy. I wrote a friend who knew more about it and didn't have much hope in the reply, she knew more than I did but the odds were still up in the air. Blood tests can only show so much and aren't exactly accurate but a good guideline of what could come.

She opted for an amnio for confirmation and waited almost two weeks for results, during which time we talked daily. I could hear her distancing herself from the situation and the pregnancy. She was upset, of course, and the wait caused a lot of anxiety and stress. I was stressed for her and honestly was deep down prepared for the worst. Of course, I never told her that. All I could do was listen and try to keep her thoughts positive as much as I could. Her age had a lot to do with the odds, as well as some high levels of aft, which could have had to do with her body as much as the baby's and the tests don't take that into consideration. All I could really say was that nothing was for certain, so just keep calm.

The doctor's office called her last Thursday with the news: her baby was fine. Levels were perfect, baby was healthy. She called me first :-) She was excited, but it was relief that I heard the most. She was free to bond with her pregnancy, something she had been holding back on as much as she could.

About an hour after I got off the phone with her, I found myself bawling my eyes out as I washed dishes in the kitchen. Just bawling. I didn't really understand it at first, why I was filled with grief and sorrow when I should have felt the relief that she did. I ran it all over in my mind...why am I crying? Why on earth am I sad right now? She just got the best news, so why am I not happy?

I was thinking about Brayden, not reliving the whole situation, but the precious moments I spent looking at his still face. The moment it all came together for me, my baby died and here he is. Why did that come to mind?

Because I just found out that my friend escaped having that exact moment, that's why. Because I was terrified that she'd become a member of this group that I belong to. Because she's a wonderful, bubbly, energetic person and that could all have been wiped away in an instant. Tragedy could have taken her joy in life. One call could have changed her forever.

I don't want her to be like me. I cried because she wasn't going to end up like me.

Not that I'm completely terrible, but I'm changed and not completely for the best. The part of me that feels empathy has all but died. Very few things upset me any more, just as very few things move me. I live in an emotional gray area, never completely swinging either way to joy or sadness. Just gray.

Not a way I want my friends to live.

I suppose I cried so hard because every day for two weeks I expected to get a call that wasn't favorable. I ran through my mind what to say, how I could help and what support groups I could turn her to. Suddenly, the need for that was gone and it's like the rug was swept out from under me. I had unnecessarily built myself up to help her in her grief, and when her anxiety turned to elation in an instant...well, I suppose I couldn't down-shift that fast. What I thought was shared grief turned into me reliving my loss alone. While I was tremendously happy for her, I couldn't help but cry for myself.

For my friend, she isn't welcome in this club of sorrow and sadness. The dues are too high and the membership grows daily.

I'm happy that she'll stay as she is, bubbly and optimistic, with one more little one on the way :-)

I'm happy she won't be like me.


  1. I'm not sure what to say, or how to explain it, other than what you wrote and your reaction to your friend's news makes total sense to me. I absolutely do not want another mother to lose her baby, yet I have no idea how I would have survived my loss if I hadn't found other babyloss mamas. So while I'd never want a friend to join our club, I'd be "happy" to be there for them. And what you wrote about shared grief turned into reliving your loss alone - that makes total sense to me.

    So... so happy your friend is expecting a healthy baby! And hugs to you for preparing yourself to be there for your friend under the worst circumstances!


  2. So happy for your friend. You are a beautiful friend Dawn. A beautiful person.

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