I am the lucky one
Today I gave blood at the Red Cross. This is something that I do a couple of times a year—something I can do for others in need. I went in just wanting to get my appointment over, a dark cloud over my head, and generally not in a good mood.
I made it through the appointment by basically talking as little as possible, inwardly very sad. I was in the canteen sipping on my water and eating my trail mix after my blood donation, trying desperately to avoid getting into conversation with the Bubbly Volunteer. Another donator sat down across from me, and the Bubbly Volunteer sat in between us. The donator across from us was very happy to join in the conversation with the Bubbly Volunteer, who volunteered the information that she was very excited about becoming a grandmother. I did the obligatory smile while the woman across from the Bubbly Volunteer and me talked. She knew she was having a grandson, and her daughter was 21 weeks along. She was thrilled. Her son and daughter had been trying for eleven years to have a child. She then said something that really caught my attention. She said her daughter-in-law had never made it this far in a pregnancy before, but some sort of surgical procedure had made it possible. I joined the conversation at that point and asked point blank if her daughter-in-law had lost a previous baby. She said yes, three, and all at 16 weeks. I don’t remember what sex they were, but she did say that the second miscarriage was twins. She went on to say that anytime after 26 weeks her daughter-in-law could have the baby and he would survive. Her grandson was 9 inches long and weighed ten pounds, and she was just beaming. I wished the Bubbly Volunteer and her family well and left.
I contemplated what this woman said on the way home and compared it with my grandmother experience of Nora’s stillbirth. The Bubbly Volunteer never got to gaze upon the beauty of her grandchildren, never got the chance to cuddle them in the crook of her arm, and never got to give them a kiss. Her only pictures of her grandchildren were ultrasounds of the babies. I realized that I was the lucky one in this instance. I at least was able to hold, cuddle and touch Nora. She was real. I was able to gaze upon her lovely eyelashes, cute chubby cheeks, little upturned nose, and her gorgeous full lips. I was able to touch her cheeks and give her a kiss. I am able to remember how she felt so snuggly in my arms. Bubbly Volunteer never had that. In this instance, I am the lucky one.