I had a Pregnancy Pal when I was pregnant with XBoy. We didn’t start off as friends who had planned pregnancies at the same time. Instead we had met during our late 2nd trimesters at the YMCA where we both were taking the swim class. We even worked for the same company, but had never met since we worked on different campuses.
Pregnancy Pal and I were due within a week of each other in December 2001. We both were going through our first pregnancies. She was in her late-20s. I was in my early-30s. Looking at us as we climbed out of the pool you might have thought she was at least 8 weeks behind me as her bump was just that – a bump – whereas I bulged.
We became good friends.
Her son was born at the end of November. I remember coming to visit her and her baby and holding him and marveling at how small he was. Less than a week later, I delivered XBoy.
During the first couple of years, all four of us spent a lot of time together. We compared milestones in both our babies’ lives and our own. We dressed them similarly for holidays and took pictures. Soon we were talking about having our second children. Early summer 2004, she announced she was pregnant. By the end of August, I told her I was, too. We were again Pregnancy Pals.
I specifically remember how we packed up the now three-year-old boys in my SUV and made a trip to The Metro for a day at the zoo, something we had done the year before together. The boys were in the second row trying to outdo each other in noise levels, silliness, and snack consumption. My friend looked at me and announced, “Next year when we go, our baby girls will be in the second row and the boys will be in the far back!” jokingly said since neither of us knew the sex of our babies, but it was a lovely image to have.
As most of you know, in November 2004, the path my Pregnancy Pal and I had started on violently diverged. I miscarried at 15 weeks. She went on to deliver a healthy baby girl in the spring. Obviously I did not.
A rift was created that November between us. We still got together for play dates with our sons. We got together to discuss flooring options and pour over paint chips as we both were building new homes. But those times weren’t as often as before. Part of it was the constant time demand of dealing with construction decisions, but what went unsaid was the fact that we were no longer Pregnancy Pals.
Compared to her first baby, who I held when he was less than 24 hours, I did not see her daughter until she was almost two weeks old. She was on maternity leave and I was still working full-time so getting together to go for a swim, or lunch or shopping, were moments few and getting further between.
A couple years later, her husband was transferred to another region and they moved away. For the first year, she would call up when they had returned to town to visit family so that our sons could get together (XBoy took his friend’s move pretty hard, and he still talks about him), but even those times came to a stop. I don’t know when exactly the last time I saw her or her children, but I know it was before our donor egg cycle.
The other day I typed in her name on Facebook’s search and I saw her face for the first time in two years. It wasn’t just her I saw, either. Her profile picture was of her and flanking her, in a group hug, was her son and her daughter. They were both wearing back-packs. I assumed the picture was of their first day of school.
As I stared at the postage size picture on my screen, I saw what might have been.
Angrily, I also thought, what SHOULD have been.
I closed her profile screen without sending a friend request. I shut off the light above my computer, kissed my husband goodnight who was watching TV, and went to bed with my heart heavier than it has been in a long, long time.
I lost a baby and a good friend that fall. I really miss them.