This fall, when I was 30 weeks pregnant, I traveled to Albuquerque for a work conference. When you are that pregnant, you are used to getting comments all over the place.
Take the person sitting next to me, who was traveling with her colleagues for the conference. I mentioned that I was traveling alone and she said, "Well, you're not really alone, are you?"
I laughed and responded, "I have a one-year-old at home. This feels like alone to me."
Now I think: Lydie was with me.
Lydie went to Albuquerque. Lydie got to see beautiful sunsets over the mountains!
Now I think: I wish I would have appreciated that Lydie was with me.
Instead of complaining when everyone else was having margaritas at dinner, and I was sober. And tired.
You know that couple that made the news because their son was anencephalic and they knew he would not live? (By the way, I've chatted with them now. I read about them when I was pregnant with Lydie and I never, ever thought I'd be talking with them personally because we'd both lose our babies). They had a "bucket list" of things they wanted to do while the mother was pregnant, knowing their son would never get to experience those adventures out of the womb.
I think, yeah, we might have done all those things too, had we known our daughter would not live.
The spring hiking trip in Pennsylvania, all those summer cottage visits, the fall trip to Chicago and the work trips to Tampa and Albuquerque... the afternoons at the pool and the zoo. The Avett Brothers concert. Now, I think: Lydie was with me. Lydie was there.
But in our parallel universe, we were waiting to meet our daughter to begin our adventures with her.
Sometimes I wonder if it's better to know before. Is it better to know your time is limited, so you can make the most of it? Or does that just make you hurt longer, hold out hope longer?
We had all the hopes in the world. And then no hope at all - shattered in a second.
I'm not sure.
I just know there's no easy way for your child to die.