Our children are what brought us together as they are the same age and often play together. But, beyond the children, we message, talk and email about motherhood, husbands, work...life. We laugh at the sheer exhaustion of it all. We think the same things are funny. We think the same things are unfunny. We are more than just playdate pals. We are friends.
Lately, we have spent afternoons talking excitedly about the baby -- her third -- growing in her rapidly expanding belly. She asks me if she's crazy for having a third. I tell her "you get used to it." We laugh. I touch her belly and my heart dances remembering my own belly, swollen with our third...just a little over a year ago.
She is excited. It's not easy to get pregnant. The pregnancies themselves aren't easy. But there they are: beautiful, challenging, funny, joyful, inquisitive and sweet. Her children. Her blessings she calls them.
My friend called me this morning. I already knew.
The baby at almost 16 weeks...gone. No heartbeat. A routine ultrasound. No heartbeat. My friend had been sick this winter -- pneumonia. And then a UTI. "I should have taken better care of myself," she cries into the phone. Tears stream down my face. My voice catches in my throat and I cover my mouth to muffle my own crying.
"I woke up this morning thinking it was a dream. A horrible dream."
I tell her she is not to blame. But, every mother knows and feels every day with every fiber of her being that she is to blame for everything. The weight of her children rests squarely...
She was to deliver the baby tomorrow. Induced. But, instead they have moved it up. "We will meet our baby tonight," she writes me. Her poor, still baby. Filled with hope, promise, and life.
I will make her a baked ziti and bring it to her home. I will feel like a moron walking up to her house with my pitiful offering meant to ease the unthinkable. It will be the absolute stupidest thing I have ever done for someone. The most ridiculous gesture of help I have ever made. But I don't want to do nothing. Yet nothing is pretty much all I can do. So, I will show up at her house with that shitty baked ziti, which she can freeze, thaw and eat with her family.
So she doesn't have to think about making dinner.
Because her baby died.