She was telling me about a problem she’s had since her baby was born. To get a better sense of the duration of her symptoms, I asked when she had the baby.
February 15, 2014.
As I typed the date into my note, I my fingers began to freeze. They understood the significance of that day. For the woman in front of me, it was the best day of her life. For me it was the worst. We were in the same hospital, on the same labor floor at the same time. We both held our first borns that very day, changing our lives forever.
My family came to meet my lifeless child, while hers came with balloons and teddy bears.
While she changed diapers in the middle of the night, I slept in an ambien-induced haze.
She woke to the sound of a crying baby; I woke to the sound of my cell phone, a call from my credit card company to inform me of some fraud that happened while I was listening to the nurse ask us if we wanted to call the chaplain.
A day later, I was leaving the hospital empty armed and she stayed learning how to nurse her child.
Her milk came in, as did mine, but she had an outlet for her brimming breasts.
While I planned a funeral, she learned to care for a baby.
I sat on my couch, staring mindlessly at the tv; she longed for the free time she had pre-baby to catch up on her shows.
She watched her baby grow into an infant, learning to smile and respond; I placed photos of my dead baby around the house, knowing that I would never see her smile.
She raised a baby while I got a puppy.
She is a mom and I am the shadow of one.
She lived the life I was supposed to have.
At the end of her visit, I slipped into the bathroom and cried.
Have you come across someone living the life you were supposed to have?