September 23, 2013
I would like to submit the above title as a candidate for understatement of the year. Or perhaps decade. A bad week would be having a physics exam two days after Ohio State lost to the University of Michigan and three days after there was a power outage during the series finale of MacGyver. This was not a bad week. It was a devastating week.
Our class was shaping up to have a pretty terrific autumn. Three of us were pregnant. Beck was due in August, I was due in September, and Paula was due in November. (And I should take a step back for those of you unfamiliar with the Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center. Each class is only about 75 students. And thanks to Facebook, most of us are still in touch.) And in August, Beck had a lovely little girl. (Or was it early September? She was past her due date, but I can’t remember by how much.)
Well, you all know what happened with Sofia. My parents took charge of calling the family and emailing close friends. And there’s a lot of overlap. Kalamazoo, frankly, is a small town. So I was getting texts from some of my KAMSC friends before I’d shared anything. But I knew I had to put something on Facebook to let people know that my beautiful baby girl was gone. And that Saturday, I did manage to summon the strength to post on Facebook. Like here on the blog, I let Hemingway speak for me. I swear it’s the best thing the man ever wrote. (Why, no, I’m not a big Hemingway fan. Whatever makes you ask?) I did not read any of the messages I’d received. I got on, posted, and got off. After I gave Sofia away, I did go and read my messages, but I left the comments until later. There were too many of them. After being discharged on Sunday, I started to work my way through the love that my friends and family had shared.
And then on Monday…
There was a status update from Paula. Her son had been stillborn at 33 weeks.
I don’t know how long I’ve known Paula. Our families went to the same church. (Our parents still go to the same church.) We did youth theatre together. And obviously, we were KAMSC classmates. But if you ask us, we’ll both say the same thing. We were chem lab partners. The fact that we got paired up amused us to no end. Paula is well over six feet tall. I barely scrape five foot. We joked about our Laurel-and-Hardy combination.
And within three days of each other, we both lost our babies. And a few days later, Paula emailed me with a detail I hadn’t noticed. We’d both picked names with the same initials: S. B.