Monday, September 14, 2009

Ebb and Flow

Friday was 9/11, always a sad day particularly the closer you live to the City. I ran into my neighbor who was going camping with his little girl. I remarked that the rainy weather was not ideal for camping. He explained that a group of guys and their kids go every year to commemorate friends and loved ones lost on that terrible day.

My son had some homework to do on Friday afternoon. I came in the room and heard him chatting on the phone with one of my friends. He had her on speakerphone and she asked that I take the phone from him. She wanted to speak in private. She was having a miscarriage and wanted my advice.

Her doctor advised going to the ER but she felt that was extreme. Under any circumstances, the ER is a place to avoid. Particularly during something as emotionally difficult as a miscarriage, hanging out in the ER for hours is not ideal.

I suggested trying to find another OB center that had the sophisticated ultrasound equipment her smaller town doctor did not. She did find a smaller ER and was able to get in and out in a few hours versus the many that it usually takes.

My friend had arranged to come visit the next day. I assumed she'd want to cancel but she felt the distraction would be a good thing. So the trip here was still on for Saturday evening. On Saturday afternoon, I had a baby shower for another friend. This friend is having a baby by surrogate. I've never met anyone who's done this before so it was an interesting day.

When I arrived, I actually sat next to the surrogate mom. I was sort of wondering who the lady was in her Laura Ashley conservative dress versus New York hipster moms that made up the rest of the shower attendees. We spoke briefly and I found out that she has two children of her own and this is her second time acting as a surrogate.

Such a strange experience that must be to carry a child for someone else. In fact, the surrogate mom carried twins the first time and then gave them up to another family. The loss I felt after miscarriages and the loss my other friend was experiencing losing this pregnancy, it seems so vivid to me. I can't imagine how you mentally come to terms with bearing a child and then giving that child up for adoption.

At the end of the shower, the mom-to-be was opening all of her gifts. This is Westport so we're talking extravagant gifts--two Tiffany teething rings, endless onesies, toys and books. My friend said at one point, "What the expression? A cacophony of riches?" An embarrassment of riches. That's the saying she was looking for but couldn't find.

The gift that most touched her was a little quilt handmade by the surrogate mom. In one corner, she'd embroidered, "Carried with love, forever in my heart." The mom-to-be broke down in tears.

An embarrassment of riches, it's true. Another very fortunate baby will grow up in Westport, Connecticut. Maybe the surrogate mom feels an embarrassment of riches. Because she can have children, she's decided to carry children for women who can't.

She sat there amongst the glitter and glam in her simple dress, giving what is priceless to my friend. For one friend, a baby is coming. For another, a baby is lost. I remembered the poem Joe Biden read during Friday's 9/11 ceremony.

"Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on."
--Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

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