Jul 28, 2010
Last night, Abraham and I went on a double-date with his parents. It was nice to have a relaxing conversation with them over dinner, especially knowing that it’ll be one of my last ones for a very long time.
After dinner, Abraham’s dad wanted to drive out to the suburbs to look at a treadmill he was thinking of buying from Craigslist. We ended up driving through a deluge on the way, which made the trip memorable and funny at times. Seriously, the wind was blowing so hard that the water laying on the street was moving uphill. Lightning and thunder were crashing everywhere around our little minivan.
With my trusty mother-in-law navigating, we arrived at this really nice suburban home and were greeted by a beautiful woman in her mid-late 30s (I’d guess). Dark brown hair, very fit, very smiley. She started demonstrating the treadmill for my father-in-law and things were going well. The rain had let up considerably so I got out of the van to go take a peek.
There’s no hiding at this point that I’m very, very pregnant, so we had a conversation about the obvious. She asked where I was delivering, and I told her. She perked right up, and asked who my doctor was, and I told her. When she heard my doctor’s name she just gushed and said, “I delivered my twins there. She was one of my doctors!” Then, kind of waving her hands in front of herself dismissively, she continued, “But I’m not even going to get into it with you.”
There was something she didn’t want to tell me because I was pregnant. So I just went ahead and told her: “One of the reasons she’s my doctor is because we had a full-term stillbirth in 2007. Dr. Sent-From-God (*not her actual name*) is my rock star doctor.”
Then she just opened right up. She told me about her twins who were born at 25 weeks back in 2002, after 6 weeks of her being in the hospital to try to save the pregnancy. One died soon after birth, and the other lived for a couple months before dying as well.
So there we were, two women standing in a suburban garage with real-life horror stories no one should ever have to tell. But I’m so glad we did. The differences between us were no longer there. We were just two women who’ve gone on living, even while we miss our children.
I was honored to be there, to hear the abridged version of her story. She asked that my father-in-law email her when our twins are born.
We drove away (treadmill in our possession) into a beautiful rainbow that had formed after the huge storm. I’m not kidding–it really happened. None of us had our cameras with us to take a picture (which is extremely rare if you know my mother-in-law).
It felt very profound and symbolic for me, though–terrible, blinding storms followed by a beautiful calm. I don’t know if this woman feels that same peace and calm in her soul. She mentioned “God’s plan” and “keeping the faith.” I was just touched by God’s special comfort to me after our interaction. It was like he was saying, “You’ve gone through horrific times, but there will also be repose. I cause grief, but I also show compassion.”
But even more than that, I felt just this utter sense of God’s presence, his plan, bringing me into this stranger’s garage. I was reminded once again that we never know what’s just below the surface, what trials others who we meet have faced. In some strange way it’s comforting, this crazy bond of suffering. We’ll meet each other in train stations, on airplanes, on the other side of the world, on the internet, at work. It reminded me to keep my eyes and ears and heart open.