Bella

Waiting is by far the oldest and most painful forms of torture. I hate hospital waiting rooms. I chickened out today. I was unable to sit through another disinfectant smelling corridor listening to machines beep and watching doctors and nurses fly all over the place. Yet here I am a 20-minute drive away waiting… She should be fine. It is all routine. No need to worry.

Yet you see, those are pointless reassurances, because in the truth of the matter, the extent to which you worry is less a function of the scale of the incident but rather a function of the extent to which someone is precious. Bella most definitely was precious. There she was, the child I had never had, my virtual baby sister in the hospital yet again.

It was a long and bumpy ride. I met Bella 5 years ago, back then we didn’t click. We existed in parallel comfort circles with what we believed to be no common ground. This revelation of how wrong I had been will taint my outlook to new people for a lifetime to come. One should not be too quick to jump to conclusions and dismiss individuals. Yet there she was 5 years later, blood, near & dear, in can’t-live-without status…. absolutely precious.

She flashed me a 100 megawatt smile accompanied by a genuine hug… “I miss you”… “I’m pregnant”… “I didn’t’ want to tell you long distance”. My heart sang. I had been having what was undoubtedly a tough weak and my confidence and morale where at an all-time low. She instantly made it all better. She sat me down, shared her joy, heard my woes, told me it wasn’t my fault (repeatedly), heard me argue, made strong and valid points, hugged me and made it all alright.

Here I am… incapable of returning the favour. A conversation and a hug would not magically make it all alright.

She had a gut feeling. Do mothers always know? My morning meeting ended early in the vicinity of her house, something made me want to go over. I had a burning need to see her that I can’t explain. She was different, she looked tired, she shared her concerns. She had a feeling that it was happening again, that she was losing the baby. I naively thought it was just lingering trauma from last time, I delivered a pep talk, told her she was worried for nothing, told her we must stop praising her composure because it is starting to decline from all the envy. I left her to get some rest and headed out to my other meeting with the promise to meet her at a doctor’s appointment later that day. The entire arrangement impromptu and unplanned.

I make it to the doctor’s clinic. She is running late as is her hubby. We see the doctor (her husband hasn’t arrived yet). He makes an offhand comment about how good friends we must be since she entrusted me with this trip. It hits me, how blessed I am for her friendship. You know how sometimes people’s nicknames evolve from their personalities. I am confident that is how “Bella” came along. She is by far one of the most beautiful souls I know. She re-adjusted my definition for words such as “tolerant” or “non-judgmental” or “considerate”. She set the bar so high I can’t imagine mere mortals measuring up. Her sarcasm and wit often had me grinning like an idiot. While her support saved my ass numerous times.

Doctor takes her into another room for the sonar. He comes out, looks me in the eye and shakes his head. I raise an inquisitive eyebrow and tells me that it isn’t good; that it is the same old story. She steps out a minute later… my heart almost stopped. The look in her eyes will haunt me forever. Bella never cries… or never in public. She looked broken. I had always used the word loosely but at that moment, she embodied it in a way beyond my ability to simply phrase. Her eyes were swelling with tears that were to remain prisoners. The light in her eyes was gone. My knees went weak. I felt the weight of the room come crashing down. I stood up to hug her, she warned me that she wouldn’t be able to handle a hug. We took the elevator down as her husband was arriving. No hug there either. We went home having failed miserably at being able to console her. What do you say? What do you do? How do you explain to the most perfect potential mother you know that it isn’t time yet… that there was nothing she could have done differently? How do you lighten her load? My remaining reserved of confidence and optimism are gone. I exist in a perpetual state of almost crying in fear and angst. My heart goes out to her.

The next day, I cut a work day short and show up at her door. We watch light movies and snack while she takes her meds and waits for the action. That night clinched it for me… it was a painful revelation and one that makes me appreciate all mothers under completely new light. I realized that you can go to bed with your child in your arms, knowing they are in pain, knowing they are heartbroken and knowing that there is absolutely NOTHING that you can do, save pray… May God have mercy on all our souls. Yet you must wake up the next morning with the faith that they will be better, and they will be better. Yet it remains an insanely humbling experience.

My saving grace is this one idea… “She is well.” I realize the gravity of her loss and the selfishness of my perspective, yet at the end of the day that is what really mattered. That elhamdollelah she is well, will be well… and will have other shots in the future at making other babies. Apparently it takes time and sacrifice to get it right. You don’t get another Bella from the first go. Sexy little geniuses take practice and are one in a million. May God give her all her heart desires.

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