Monday, April 11, 2011

Friendship

Jessica and I were pregnant together. 


I am the short one with the curly hair, crazy bangs, and blue floral dress, 2nd from right.
Jessica is the pretty blond with the white dress on the far right.
Guess what year this photo was taken?
We were graduating the 8th grade.  Any guesses?  1994.
Actually, we grew up together.  We met in the 3rd grade in St. Louis.  We went to high school together and although we went our separate ways for college (Iowa vs. Pennsylvania), we reunited in Texas.  I actually married her husband’s friend as Andrew and I met in their wedding.  Jess and I are not from Texas.  Our men brought us here--her from Tucson and me from Philly.

Ellie Bellie Bear
Jess and I were pregnant together.  My first pregnancy and Jessica’s second.  I am actually her first child’s [Grant’s] Godmother.  Then we both found out we were having girls.  You can just imagine the plans I was making in my mind.  Our little girls in dresses and bows playing together.  Growing up together.  Discussing boys over the phone.  Being in each other’s marriages.  Basically, a replica of the friendship Jess and I have.

Grace-Jeggings!!!!

I am sure that some of you have similar experiences.
When Ellie was born, Jessica’s little Grace was 6 weeks-old.  With the post-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome, I felt those dreams shrivel up and disintegrate.  I felt anger and if we are completely honest here, jealousy.  Why did Jess get TWO perfect kids?  Why? Why?!  

My Godson Grant
It is all a part of the grief process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, then acceptance).  No, it is not that I didn’t love my beautiful, sweet, PERFECT Ellie, 47 chromosomes and all.  It was fear.  Fear of the unknown and mourning for that “dream” child I imagined I was going to have.  The child that never existed.  I know, I know, you have all heard me say this.  I do NOT want anyone questioning my love for Ellie.  Ever.  She is my love, my light, my life.  She is everything and she was all these things the minute she was conceived inside of me.   Yet, the grief process was in full swing.  

Andrew is so proud that our little girly girl plays with trucks.
It was Jess I called soon after I got the diagnosis.  I was sobbing into the phone and saying that I needed her.  She did what any good friend would do--left her post-natal OB appointment with her 6 week-old baby in tow, brought good tissues and cupcakes.  I admitted my anger and jealousy to her and I felt horrible.  I am sorry I even felt that let alone said that.  In seeing Jess sitting in that chair in my hospital room, I realized that she too understood that our dreams for our girls might indeed have a different reality. Not bad, just different.  Modified is perhaps a better word.  

Two Peas in a Pod

Oh yes, our girls will grow up together.  They will play together and be a part of each other lives.  Perhaps, even one day, they will be in each others’ weddings.  Who knows?
I know that the journey we are traveling is full of triumphs and obstacles, many many obstacles, BUT I also know that everyone’s journey, including Jess’ ,has those windy twists and turns.
Uh oh!  Girl down!

It brings such joy to watch Grant, Grace, and Ellie all play together, be together, and of course, steal each other toys.  Jess has taught me that a good friendship can withstand anything while Ellie has taught me to SLOW down and about patience, as well as motivation, determination, hard work and love.

I cannot believe he is almost 4yo!  Four!

Thank you Jess.  For everything.
Really, what was I worried about?  Look at these three monkeys. 

I am off now because Ellie and I have music class with Jessica and Grace.


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8 comments:

  1. I totally understand the feeling of not getting the 'perfect child'. I was pregnant at the same time as a couple of friends and my brothers girlfriend. They all got 'normal' kids...And these days, there is NO WAY I would trade Claire for any of them. And she will grow up playing with them, just like any kid of mine would.

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  2. I loved being pregnant at the same time as friends, and I am excited for my Ellie to grow up alongside our friends' kids.

    PS I love the Easter bunny ears!

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  3. So sweet. And I totally get the grieving process of not having a "normal" kid but also not wanting any other kid than the one you have.

    We grew them, we knew them before anyone else did, and we loved them first.

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  4. Your daughter is beautiful!
    I am Stacie's soon to be adoptive mom.....thank you for the birthday wishes :)
    I just had to comment and tell you we live an hour north of Philadelphia....are you from this area?
    small world :)
    Thank you for your many prayers!
    Aislinn

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  5. I know the feeling of greiving. I did it to for Mark but only for a second because then I was fighting to keep Mark with me and convincing my husband we could raise him. I am sure that Ellie will thrive with your godson and her bestfriend. I know that Mark is doing great and I know that it has a lot to do with having his older brothers and playing with them just as rough as they are. PS I love your blog it is cute.
    Kelly

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  6. I know the feeling. My best friend (whose name is also Jess!) was pregnant at the same time as me. Her child died in utero (you can read some about it here: The Worst Thing Anyone Has Ever Said) and we have been better able to support each other in our grief than anyone else.

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