Sunday, March 8, 2009

Holding Babies...

This is a bit of an ode to my friend, Jill. She thinks I am brave. I think she is braver than me.

See, I didn't choose what I went through. It was thrust upon me and I had to go through it, like it or not. I had the make the choices when it came to how I recovered, that is true - but not to lose Josie or any of that. I am not brave to have lost my child - no, I am not. I don't think I took it any differently than my nature, which is honest, but not necessarily always brave, I don't think.

But Jill - now Jill is a different story.

Jill and her husband wanted to have a baby for eight years before they finally became pregnant with their gorgeous little girl, C. She had to endure eight years of playfully dressing up her dog before she finally got to dress up her daughter (which, I may add, she does very well!). She had to bravely endure eight years of trying and trying, without the funds for any kind of medical help, and just kept going. And you know what? She remained a nice person throughout. That's eight years: I have seen people become bitter, jaded, within three years. Jill didn't. She humbly took her lot and just kept plodding along.

When I met her, Jill really didn't believe she could get pregnant for whatever reason. I told her "Jill, there's something in the water around here" - since I was already pregnant with Josie and there had been several other pregnancies at our workplace. She took that with a pinch of salt.

A few weeks later, she took a pregnancy test (without salt) and got two lines. She came into the store, waving the stick at me in astonishment and I'll tell you what, I was elated for her. Everybody was!

Now fast forward to October, and me, sitting at the front of a funeral home, in my black turtleneck and my black pants, doped to the gills on as little percocet as I could get away with, using H as a crutch to brace he pain of my cesarean incision which was three days fresh. My daughter lay in her little white box under her soft blankets at the front of the room and my tears lay and fell down my cheeks into the pile of tissues I had in my lap and onto H's hand as he held mine.

People came down to hug me and look into my eyes for signs of wanting to keep living, I think. There was much to see - I did want to keep living. People didn't really believe that though - perhaps some of them would rather not have. Now envision in your mind, a gorgeous, and terribly sad pregnant lady coming down the center aisle to see me. It was Jill.

I have to say in the midst of it all, her presence just touched me. She was in tears, so affected by it all, so very pregnant and so utterly brave to have had the courage to show up to an event every pregnant woman has the ultimate fear of. I wanted to stand up and tell her not to be afraid - that it was so rare to have this happen - but I couldn't stand, I could just make crying noises. At the time I had not been able to tell her how I felt, but I did get that opportunity later on.

A month or two later, Jill added me to her Facebook account. I accepted, smiling. She didn't shun me, or keep her baby pictures away from me as other pregnant women had. She knew my condition wasn't infectious to the soul, and kept contact. I apreciated that so much...

Two or three days ago, Jill came to see me in person and to introduce me to her beautiful daughter C, who is honestly the most gorgeous little thing. She's just beginning to smile and Jill dresses her (as I mentioned earlier) in the nicest little matching outfits. I remember seeing a picture of them both together after birth in the hospital. The look in Jill's eyes said "don't come near my baby", with the full understanding of what it could be to not hold a living child. She'd waited eight years for her daughter and had seen someone else lose their first born child. She wasn't letting that baby go. I don't blame her.

She let me hold C - oh - and what joy! I hadn't held a baby since Josie! It was absolutely wonderful to meet her and to hold her and look into her little face. She looks just like Jill and is a quietly expressive little lady. We checked each other out for a bit, C and me, and I think she approved of me - gave me the okay. See, people in general have kept babies away from me, even though I did say they shouldn't. I think many people believe that the sight of a baby will make my heart explode all over the place with sadness when the opposite is actually true.

So yes, this is an ode to Jill, who let me meet her beautiful daughter and who made my entire week better by coming to see me. She tearfully apologized if her presence at Josie's funeral had upset me, if the sight of a heavily pregnant woman had been a bad thing, and I finally got to say what I'd been saving up for months "No, Jill, you were a welcome sight, and I am in awe of you being so very brave". Jill, I have nothing but humble respect for you, mama. Thank you!


Shannon Ryan said...

It is so comforting to have those friends. The ones who are brave enough to still talk to us. I have10 family or friends who shared Dresden's birth year! It hasn't been easy seeing all those babies that they get to hold and love and raise - I have to admit at feeling jealous at times.. but it's nowhere near as difficult as I would have imagined. I have not been brave enough (and yes, I think it's brave!) to hold another baby. I'm now saving my arms for the little one growing inside. Shaun told me once that I shouldn't shun the babies (he coo's at them as easiliy as ever).. and I don't feel like I'm shunning them, I can just admire them from a distance and be grateful that they are here safely.. but still feel sad that my son is not. It also doesn't hurt me to see a pregnant woman (there were 4 of them at Dresden's memorial!!) I feel more afraid for them if anything.. they have NO IDEA what could happen.. so I don't look at pregnant women with the same joy that I used to, but it doesn't crush me the way one might imagine.
Anyway, I'm not sure any of that made sense or went along with your post!? haha But I will add... that yes, THANK YOU to those brave women who STILL come around, still treat us like friends and normal women, while maintaining an open ear or shoulder for us to cry on. :)

Michelle said...

That was precious.

I'm so sorry for you loss