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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Today I was reading a blog...

…written by a woman who is trying to have a baby. She has had some sad events in her life lately regarding her efforts and her latest post made me think about my best friend in the world.

I have a friend who I met when we were both in 8th grade. She got a car before I did so when I wanted to get a job, I had to work where she worked so that I could ride with her. Otherwise, I had to keep on walking to work at the local Yankee Doodle Dandy…a restaurant similar to McDonald’s but with Yankee Burgers instead of Quarter Pounders.

One day she decided to get a job at a nursing home as a nursing assistant and that sounded better than flipping burgers so I decided to quit my job and go to work at the nursing home with my friend whom I’ll call Kelly. Kelly and I both worked at that nursing home for a long time and that job is the reason that I went to nursing school. Until that time, I had wanted to be a school teacher.

One of our patients was a man who was a patient at the VA hospital but he had been kicked out of the spinal unit there for taking bets. He was the unit bookie and whenever he got caught taking bets, he was tossed out for 6 months. It was during one of those 6 month banishments that we met this man…a really neat guy who I’ll call Billy.

Billy was a quadriplegic and he had been in a wheelchair for over 20 years by that time. His wife had left him after he became injured. They had two children, grown women by this time. Kelly and Billy became very good friends and eventually, they fell in love and got married. Kelly’s mother tried to get me to talk her out of marrying Billy but that wasn’t my job. As Kelly’s best friend, my job was to support her and her decision. Besides, who on Earth can talk a young woman out of marrying the man who she loves? No one could have talked me out of marrying the man that I loved…even though it was obviously a HUGE mistake.

Although Kelly and Billy were very happy together, they couldn’t have children. Kelly took hormones for years as she tried artificial insemination and although she did get pregnant a few times, she was never able to carry the babies to term. Kelly and Billy stayed married for years, until he died in 1994. Not one single person in our entire group of friends stayed married “until death do us part” except for Kelly.

When Billy died, Kelly was so lonely that she joined a service that set you up with dates. This was before Match.com and things like that. She paid a few grand to be set up with 6 men. She never got to meet those 6 men…she married the first guy they set her up with.

The man she married, I’ll call him Ken, could walk and so naturally, he could make love as well. Kelly was quite hopeful that she would finally become pregnant. Ken and Kelly tried for years before she became pregnant at last...but when she went for her ultrasound, there was no heartbeat. Sadly, Kelly lost that baby.

Kelly decided to adopt which wasn’t an option when Billy was alive because of their age difference. When they married, she was 21 and he was 50. For some stupid reason, that made them ineligible to adopt a healthy newborn. They would let her adopt a “special needs” child…but Kelly had her hands full taking care of a paralyzed husband…she couldn’t handle a child who would also need so much extra care.

With Ken, she could adopt in the state of Illinois...but that takes years so she decided to go to Russia or China to adopt a baby. She was a few months into the process when she became pregnant again. So, she put the adoption on hold while she had a baby of her own. Her hormone levels were great which meant that this was a viable pregnancy…or so she thought. The hormones are made by the placenta so she definitely had one of those. She felt a small bulge in her belly so she thought that she had a baby growing inside of her. But, when the time came for the ultrasound, there was no baby. Kelly had nothing inside of her but a placenta, an amniotic sac and amniotic fluid, which is what she felt when she felt the bulge. Once again, no baby.

So…back to China for a baby girl. In China, couples are only allowed to have one child and so many of them want a boy that they give their little girls away. American couples flock to China (at least they did in the 90's) to bring those little girls home to love. Before they left for China, Kelly became pregnant again so once more, she put the adoption on hold. But when the time came for the ultrasound, again there was no heartbeat. She was devastated.

Over the years, Kelly stood by and watched as all of our friends had their children. She’s the Godmother to my oldest and she’s the aunt to many nieces and nephews but not once did she ever have a baby of her own. I don’t know how she kept from breaking down at baptisms, baby showers and trips to the parks with me and my kids as well as all of her other friends and their kids. But she always stood by, being the supportive friend that we all needed but there was nothing that we could do in return except give her our love. Not really much of a replacement for the love of a child.

Finally, in 1999, Kelly became pregnant again and this time she carried a healthy baby boy to full term although the pregnancy did so much damage to her 41 year old heart that she required open heart surgery when the baby was 8 months old. She came through the surgery just fine and was immediately ready to have another baby while she still could. But she wasn’t taking any chances this time, she went ahead with the adoption full speed ahead and one day she finally went to China and brought home a beautiful little girl.

She has never used birth control since then but she has never become pregnant again either. She’s very happy with her wonderful children and a more loving mother, you’ll rarely find. After years and years of the silent pain of a woman aching to hold an infant in her arms, Kelly finally answers to the call, “Mommy!”

There’s so very little that anyone can do or say to ease the pain of a woman who aches to hold a child of her own. As hard as you might want to try to help…it’s not a power that we have. We can say that we understand. We can even say a prayer. And we can share our own stories. But more important that anything else…we can love and appreciate our own children a bit more.

Stop by and tell this lady hello.

http://babiesornot.blogspot.com/

6 Comments:

Blogger Jaded said...

This is a really beautiful post, Meg. I lost 2 pregnancies before having Jadette. The second was twins, and was a blighted ovum, like your friend had...there's a sac and placenta, but nothing in the sac. Many people will tell you that it's what's best, or that you can still have a baby etc. I always wanted to scream at them that I DID have a baby, but he or she was DEAD. When you've tried so hard to get pregnant, and I had to take medication to do it, all of the hopes and dreams that we have for our children are the same. What I felt for the children I lost while was pregnant was no different at all from what I felt when I was pregnant with Jadette. Those babies may not have been born, but to me, they are still my babies, and I loved them.

I am so glad that Kelly was able to have a child, and to adopt one. What a loving woman she seems to be.

August 10, 2007  
Blogger Amy said...

Thank you Meg

That was a beautiful story, I thank you for sharing it, for sharing me with your readers, for caring about my story too.

best wishes
Amy

August 10, 2007  
Blogger ReallyEvilCanine said...

I can't vote in the poll. It needs another option: "Yes I understand but no, I don't like".

Truly excellent post on Thursday about couples.

Finally, about McD's: go back immediately or call the manager the next day and explain what happened. You'll get a refund (especially since you have the receipt) and may get a gift certificate in addition to that. For future reference, ask for burgers and fries without salt; they'll have to be cooked fresh for you. The shake and ice cream machines are normally broken down at least an hour before closing unless it's really busy. They take almost an hour to clean and sanitize.

August 10, 2007  
Blogger Meg said...

Evil,

Isn't that option present in the second box? Maybe I'm misunderstanding something but I thought that what you said was EXACTLY what the second option in the middle box said. By the way, HI! LTNS!

Meg

August 10, 2007  
Blogger Meg said...

OIC! There is a subtle difference, isn't there? OK, point taken.

August 10, 2007  
Blogger Lara Croft said...

Wow sad yet compelling, and I am sooo glad it had a happy ending.
What an amazing soul your friend has.

August 11, 2007  

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