"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. "

28 December 2010


N is a part of my support group and has become a dear friend. She's been through the infertility ringer like many of us veterans: IUIs, IVF, OHSS, multiple transfers, first trimester miscarriage.... But somehow she remains strong and carries on with us, thinking of next steps, as we all do, on our goal to parenthood.

About 9 months ago, N announced to our group that her younger sister was pregnant is her first child. And while she was anxious about how she might feel over the course of the next 9 months, it turned out that she grew happier and happier for her. I was so impressed with her selflessness during this time. I'm not sure I would have had the grace to be so happy.

Last week, on the day her sister went into labor, N sent me a text with such a happiness that her sister was about to give birth. She was giddy with anticipation. She even told me that her sister, while in the middle of labor pains, was asking N if SHE was doing ok and handling this well. And when she gave birth, N beamed with love and happiness for her new, beautiful, healthy nephew and the sweet consideration of her feelings by her sister.

But then 3 days later, I got a phone call from N that I wish never had to happen. It was a day before the holiday. I was at work. I saw the phone ring from her an I picked it up... and before I could say anything other than hello, a painfully shattered and terrified voice cried into the phone, "HE'S GONE! HE'S GONE! THEY TRIED EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO SAVE HIM AND THEY COULDN'T! HE'S GONE"

An imperfection, no reason, just awful, painful, gut-wrenching randomness.

And as sudden as this baby boy was brought into the world, he was taken, ripped away from the the family that so longed for him.  And forever, N and her family are wounded deeper than they've ever been before.

And I cried for her, there in my office.

The thing is, even if we achieve the first steps of what we have been so aching for on our own baby quests, pregnancy does not guarantee a baby. Delivering a baby doesn't even guarantee you get to spend your lifetime with that child. And I know that might be an obvious statement to many of you, but this experience brutally reminded me of that.

When I got that call, I felt for a few moments in time, a rip through the gingerly held together fabric of my life, the fabric that keeps me sane and in reality and moving forward. I can only imagine what N felt and still feels, let alone her sister and husband. Their fabric has been ripped wide open, shredded, and taken away... and my heart bleeds for them and hopes that they can eventually find a way to pick up those pieces and repair the holes...

Life is fragile.

We. Only. Have. Now.


  1. I have chills reading this. My heart breaks for your sweet friend and her family.
    You are so right about how fragile life is, something so many of us take for granted.
    thinking of you....

  2. This is awful. I'm a fairly new follower, so I've not read all about your journey (yet), but I can't tell you how badly I feel for you, her, her family... everyone. :-(

  3. That is f*cking heartwrenching. I have shared in several friends' stories of loss and it just wrecks me to imagine the depth of that kind of pain. And there is nothing anyone can do to ease it. You just have to keep breathing, somehow. My thoughts and prayers are with your friend and her family.

  4. I am so sorry to hear this story and my heart just aches for that family. I recently heard a similar story about a teacher who had multiple IVF attempts and finally was pregnant, only to lose the baby a week before her due date. A cord issue. I can't even fathom. You are definitely spot on about just how fragile life is.

  5. Life is very fragile. This reminder is beyond heartbreaking. My thoughts are with them and you.

  6. Oh my god, K.....I just can't imagine. You are so right about the fragility of life. Sending out plenty of peace to your friend and her family.

  7. Thank you for sharing this story. This sadness acts as another stark reminder that getting to parenthood is difficult for many - not just the infertile.

    Hopefully yourself and your group will be able to offer support to N and her sister's family in this very difficult time.

    So sad.

    LS x

  8. Kathleen,
    I arrived here from Creme de la Creme and started poking around and came upon this post. I am so sorry....

    My son died 36 hours after his birth in September (full term, fully healthy when I went into labor) from brain damage he sustained during labor. I imagine that this information is being passed onto N's sister by many, but in case it hasn't, I want to mention that glow in the woods (glowinthewoods.com) has been a lifeline of support for me since losing my son, connecting me with other mamas who have experienced a similar horror.

    with care,

  9. my own son (my first child, conceived through IUI after A LOT of time, tears, frustration, and expense) was stillborn at 25 weeks last may, and since then i have met so many babyloss moms; it's hard to believe there are so many of us. i HATE that this kind of story seems so common to me now, whereas the day before my son died, i thought it was a tragedy that's just "out there" somewhere and would never touch me.