When I arrived home from work, I walked into the kitchen. As I panned the room, I saw them…all the dishes from 3 days worth of eating piled here and there. “Ugh,” I thought. After giving the girls hugs and asking them about their days, I rolled up my sleeves and started my work.
Water was rolling down my arms toward my elbows, but I was finally almost finished with the crusty dishes. After nearly an hour, my feet were beginning to ache, and my stomach was rumbling with hunger. I scolded myself about leaving the dishes for so many days, but we had had such a schedule of events one after another. As that thought was running through my brain, I was startled by the vibrating cell phone in my right pants pocket.
I spun around to find the kitchen towel, which conveniently hangs on the handle of the oven door; however, it wasn’t there. My hands were still wet, and the phone vibrated again. I felt rushed, and said disgustedly, “Why is the towel never where I leave it?” My tone made Gracie turn her face toward me. “It’s right there Mommy,” she said while pointing her finger.
I dashed toward the towel, ran my right hand over it, and then dug my fist into my pocket. The phone vibrated in my hand again just as I was about to flip it open. I noticed the display identified the caller as my good friend, Tante, who was bed resting waiting for a safe time to deliver her twin daughters. I answered the phone with, “Hey Tante.”
She said, “Hi Jen. How are you?”
“Fine. Fine. How are you? How was your appointment today?”
She sighed, and blurted out, “I lost Baby A.”
Shocked, I said, “What? What happened honey?”
“There was no heartbeat. When I went to the appointment, the doctor tried to find heartbeats on both of the babies. They couldn’t find it with the Doppler so they had to give me an ultrasound. She’s gone.”
“Oh my God, Tante. I’m so sorry this happened to you. It isn’t fair. I’m just so so sorry honey.”
My face and tone must have said it all because suddenly Charlie put his hand on my arm. He mouthed, “What happened?” I cupped my hand over the receiver, and whispered, “Baby A is gone.” He frowned and furrowed his brow as I walked out of the kitchen so I could talk more openly with her. It was certainly a shock.
Tante said, “She was bigger than Meghan. She was 1 pound, 10 ounces.” This sent “shockwaves” through me. She lost her precious baby girl, and that reminded me that it could have easily been Meghan. Meghan was 1 pound, 9.5 ounces. When we were in the NICU, there were several preemies who became angels, and I will never ever forget them or their parents. I vividly remember the days those babies left the NICU. I wanted to vomit, and prayed like crazy for a miracle for my baby. It felt selfish, but I couldn’t help it.
I’ve always known how incredibly lucky we were with both of our girls, but the juxtaposition of Tante’s daughter and Meghan was undeniably horrible and vivid. Why in the world would Tante be denied her precious cargo, and why would I be given such a gift and blessing in little miss Meghan? Why?
Essentially, the shock of the news made me forget the rest of the conversation and its sequence. It is hazy. I know I said I’d pray for her and both the babies, and must have said a dozen times that I was just so incredibly sorry. Tears were pooling in my lower eye lids and beginning to splash down my cheeks. I let out one inhaling sob while I was speaking with her. I felt bad for letting my grief for her bubble up so easily.
I guess my own traumatic pregnancy and birth experiences are still quite fresh in my reality. She quickly decided that she needed to hang up. I know it wasn’t me who was giving her the profound sadness, anger, and bitter reality, but I didn’t want to add to her fresh grief.
In any case, I did feel quite honored that she called me shortly after learning the news. That may sound strange in all of this, but Tante was such a source of encouragement, love, and understanding with Grace and Meghan. I’ve always wondered how I could possibly “pay it forward.” This is an opportunity to do that but dang it, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. She does not deserve this. I’m angry, frustrated, sad, and raw about it all. In its simplest truth, this is simply unfair.
I pray that tomorrow will reveal some of the goodness of life again. I know it is there, but it is masked for today. If you have any spare positive energy or prayers, please send them to Tante who is fighting for the life of her other baby girl, Little Miss B. I can’t imagine what is like.