Mia is a friend of mine from my daughter’s school. We do not see each other outside of school, just for the fact we are both so busy. On occasion, we will talk on the phone, although the conversation mostly pertains to school activities.
Mia is the only person that witnessed my encounter with what I like to call “a crazy person.” Our kids are close in age, Mia’s husband is Mexican, and everyone always thinks Joe is Mexican, so there is that.
Strong, traditional, attractive, fair, stubborn, trustworthy, private, honest to the core, are just a few adjectives I would use to describe Mia.
In June of last year, Mia was at the school helping out and had to leave for a regularly scheduled doctors appointment. “No worries, we will be here when you get back!”
An hour later she calls me. “Hey, I can’t come back. I lost the baby. I am in the hospital and have to deliver.”
Mia was 19 weeks pregnant.
Her son was cremated and brought home to lay to rest.
I told you she was strong.
Mia recovered as much as one can from going through a traumatic event like that. She powered through, took her time to mourn, and found her safe, familiar place back at the school.
At the end of April, early May, no one had seen Mia. There were rumors going around, but no one knew for sure. I had a phone call from her. “Sorry I have not been around, there’s a lot going on. I am in the hospital, we will talk later.”
I did not know any details other than Mia was coughing up blood and the doctors did not know why.
Another week goes by and I call Mia.
“I just got out of the hospital, I lost the baby. It was a girl, the cord was wrapped around her neck.”
I had no words. No one even knew she was pregnant.
Mia told me she did not know when she would be back. I tried to assure her. “Do not even worry about the school, you take care of you.”
Today, I saw Mia for the first time. She came in to help me with some fundraiser orders. It was quiet. Mia and I are sitting across from each other at a table, waiting for the delivery man. Mia is fiddling with her phone, and she just starts to talk. She talks about her baby girl who was born at twenty weeks with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. She talks about how they had to name her, and sign the death certificate, and contact funeral homes. She talked about her children, and how they do not quite understand what is going on. She talked about all the medical test she had to go through and she still does not understand why this happened.
I was taken back to fourteen years ago when I had a miscarriage at the beginning of my second trimester. I was taken back to the same kind of test. I was taken back to the testing they did on the “fetus” and I was taken back to me cursing the Lab out for referring to my baby as a “fetus.” I was taken back to the phone call “This is just one of those things, we will never know why it happened.” I was taken back to it all, but, as much as I am sure Mia would have appreciated having something that connected us in a way that we would never want to be connected to, this was not about me. This was about Mia, and Mia just needed to talk. Mia needed to tell her story without any interruptions. Mia needed to be heard, so, I listened.
“Here, look at this.” Mia handed me her phone. There, on the screen was her baby girl. At twenty weeks, this was definitely a baby. A beautiful baby girl who did not have a chance. Mia’s baby girl was seven inches long, and fit perfectly in Mia’s hand.
I had no words. It took everything in me to not cry. I continued to listen.
Mia continued to show me pictures of her baby girl. They were able to spend twenty-four hours with her before the funeral home came in and took her.
Mia scrolls some more on her phone. “See, this is my son. We waited too long to take pictures of him, that’s why his ribs are showing, and the blood already went to the head.”
Again, I had no words. Mia did not need any words, she was a proud, grieving mamma who wanted to show her babies to someone.
This woman before me has the strength of 100 giants. I am humbled.
My voice is a bit shaky, but I ask her “How are you doing? How are you really doing?”
Mia cannot take her eyes off of her babies. “Me? I do not know. I am okay. I have good days, I have bad days. I don’t know, it’s hard.”
She paused. Almost wanting to say something more, yet didn’t.
“Mia, it is hard. You will have good days, you will have bad days, and that is okay. How about your husband? How is he doing?”
Mia still has not taken her eyes off of her phone. I have not taken my eyes off of Mia.
She looks up, her eyes have the makings of fresh tears. I do everything I can to not mirror her.
“My husband, he does not understand. He wants me to be okay, but it’s hard. Some days I just do not want to do anything. He wants me to get out of the house, but, I do not know, it’s just hard.”
Before we knew it, I was being paged to come deal with the delivery guy. I think the timing on this one was spot on. Mia just needed to tell her story, and she did. That is part of the grieving process.
It will not be easy for Mia, but she will be okay. The same, but different.
Mia does not read my blog. I do not even think Mia knows I have a blog. I wanted to write about her because she is strong. She will continue to be strong in her own way. She will dig herself out of these horrible dirty trenches, and a new day will come.
In the meantime, she has two beautiful children in heaven watching over her and their siblings.
Rest in love babies, rest in love.