I will never forget Valentine’s Day 2011. In 2010, my best friend and I were both pregnant and due only a few months apart. We found out we were both having girls…we immediately imagined them being best friends, just like their moms.
I delivered my daughter, Violet, on January 10, 2011. We were so excited for my friend to have her daughter and for them to start their friendship. On the weekend, prior to Valentine’s Day 2011, my friend called and was worried that she hadn’t felt her baby move. At that instant, my heart sank and my soul ached. I went to her house to watch her other two children, while her and her husband went to the ER. I tried to keep the kids busy while constantly checking my phone. After a while, her sister-in-law, came to relieve me of watching her kids since I had a 6 week old at home. At that time, I decided to go to Target to get some Valentine’s Day cards for my son’s preschool class.
While shopping, I got the call that she had lost her daughter. There was no heartbeat…I stood in Target crying and shocked. How could this happen? I felt defeated and devastated and I couldn’t imagine how she was feeling. I ended up calling a friend of mine, who had experienced a late loss, and she gave me some tips. She suggested I make sure they get photos, take her the favorite clothes she had picked out to the hospital and just to be there and talk to her about her daughter.
I went to the hospital, immediately, to be with her. She needed to eat and had no energy, so I encouraged her to eat the very rubbery chicken just to get something in her stomach. I had never seen my friend so sad and shocked. She was in pain and I could do nothing about it. I sat with her and her husband until I had to go home. We barely talked, just hugged and cried. That day, they decided to deliver their daughter the next day which was Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day 2011, at 32 weeks gestation, Annabelle Marie entered the world as an angel. She was beautiful. I was able to hold her and be there for her parents. Nothing in life prepares you to hold your best friend’s stillborn child as her and her husband held each other and cried. It was something I wish I didn’t have to experience, but am so grateful I was able to be there to experience those few moments with Annabelle. My friend’s mother and I spent the day with her and her husband, and stayed with her until they took Annabelle, away.
Even though I had miscarried, this was way beyond the feelings I had experienced. Having my own best friend lose a child, gave me an entirely different outlook on infant loss. It is painful and awful and the grief doesn’t truly ever go away. I didn’t lose my child, that day, but I still grieve for her and how she would have been such a big part of my family. For those of us that are the outsiders, of infant loss, just know that we feel the grief even though it wasn’t our own flesh and blood. I still cry, sometimes, for Annabelle. And there are days where I hold my friend because she is having a rough day.
Through it all, the grief is still there and there will always be a piece of my heart taken for Annabelle.