We were waiting in line to register for an x-ray and I noticed an adorable newborn in a hospital crib. I could not help but to keep stealing glimpses at this tiny angel. She brought back warm memories of Juliana as a newborn. I do not believe my daughter was ever as small as this baby, so I assumed that she must be less than a week old.
The mother caught my eyes and we smiled at each other, she could see that I was admiring her sweet little girl. I asked her how old her baby is and she told me that she 26 days (or it was the 20s, I forget exactly how many days). Since the little girl was so tiny, I came to the conclusion that she must have been born prematurely. Nothing looked unusual with the woman and her baby girl. She looked tired, as if she was waiting there for too long.
My husband told her that Juliana is 9 months old and she said that children grow up so fast. He then agrees and asked “what happens?” (meaning, “how do they grow up so fast?”) and the woman responded back that her baby has heart problems (she thought he wanted to know what happened to her baby girl). She said it with such concern in her voice and strength in her face that I was stunned into silence. I did not know what to say, and neither did my husband. The question my husband asked was impersonal, and this quickly became very personal. She must have been waiting for someone, anyone to ask. I am sure she wanted to talk about it, vent about it. Talk about her worries and fears. She was all alone.
I could not imagine myself in her position. Would I be a pillar of strength as she, or would I wilt to the ground in tears of worry?
I wanted to tell her how sorry I was, but how could I word that in French? What is considered polite in France to say to a mother who just told you that her newborn was suffering from a heart problem? (If you know something good to say, then please let me know by writing a comment below).
Nothing you can say can make the worry go away, but you also can’t say nothing. My husband said something to her, but she kept looking at me, waiting. I know she was expecting something from me. I looked into her eyes and gave her a smile, one that I hope she understood to mean that I really feel for her and hope everything will be okay.
After we were done registering, we sat down and I glimpsed over at her against the wall. I saw a moment of weakness – she let her emotions show as she looked at her daughter with such love and worry. I wanted to jump over there and put my arms around her, say something, anything. Our name was called, so we had to take Juliana in for her x-ray. As we left, we found her still there, against the wall by the door. As we passed by her, I said goodbye. I paused in hesitation because, again, I wanted to say something more but did not know what. So I ended up giving her a soft smile, and she smiled back. I think she understood.
I do not know who she is and how her daughter is doing right now, all I can do is hope they are okay.
I know that life takes us all on some rough roads, sometimes though, life just does not seem fair to some as it is to others. All of us that were able to take our kids up from the hospital are so lucky. If you have suffered a loss, then I am sending you over my deepest, warmest thoughts and prayers.
Every child is so precious, so unique… even if on this earth for such a short period of time, the loss creates an enormous void. I complain about the doctors wanting to give me a cesarean at the hospital, but I really should be counting my blessings that my daughter is here with me, safe and sound. I love being a mamma, her mamma. And if the day ever comes where I need to be strong, I will have that image of the French woman at the hospital in my mind as my guide.