It was my friend. A friend who I had met through my cousin- a young girl who was expecting her first son. She was 26 weeks along, they had found out early on that that he had Down syndrome. We have spent the last couple of months chatting here and there. I’ve watched for updates, she’s commented on many of Abby’s pictures. She bubbled with excitement over her own “chromosomally enhanced” son.
But it was not to be.
His heart had stopped beating.
He was born still.
I shut down my laptop and climbed into my husbands lap and cried. I hate not knowing what to say. I hate knowing that there is a pain out there that I cannot fathom, a pain that I cannot do a thing about, a pain my friend was experiencing and I am left on the other side of the country without any way to do anything but talk.
I went upstairs and pulled a sleeping Abby out of her crib and and held her and cried as I continued to text back and forth with this friend. Words seem trite. Even as I write this out, it feels hollow and wrong.
I knew when Abby was born that we had won the statistical lottery- so many babies with Down syndrome don’t make it to birth. But I didn’t get it. I didn’t get how truly fortunate we are to have her. I’m going to grumble a little less at the messes she makes. I’m going to sing a little longer with her. I’m going to hold her tighter.
And while I do, I will pray in my heart for the moms and dads who cannot. For the children Abby represents. For Garrison, for Ivy, for Ryan, for Kylie, and for Eli. I hope you’ll pray for their families, too.
Hold them tight. The memories of those who we have lost. Hold them tight in your arms, the families that mourn. Hold them tight and don’t forget them. Remember them when you hold your own children tight.