Blessed by Sweet, Supportive Friends

In the past week, three of my friends have dropped off newborn baby clothes, sleep sacs, blankets, bibs and other necessities. I’ve gone from having just a few baby items, since I gave away almost all of my 5-year-old son’s, to having half of our dining room stacked with storage bins, a car seat and its two bases, a Boppy® breastfeeding pillow, and so on. And I’ve already washed and put away enough newborn to 6-month baby clothing to fill two deep dresser drawers.

Other friends have promised to give or loan me more: Still to come are a bassinet, a baby swing, a bouncer, more clothes, and who knows what other surprises.

Yet this is just a tiny part of the generosity that’s been shared with my husband, my son and me during our two in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles and subsequent high-risk pregnancy.

My friends watched my son last spring and summer while I underwent two IVF egg retrievals and embryo transfers.

Three friends loaned me maternity clothes, since I gave all of those away too.

A friend cried with me on the sidewalk between our houses when I learned, after my first ultrasound, I was likely losing one of our twin boys, Baby B.

Weeks later, when we found out that Baby B had indeed died, other friends sent e-mails letting me know they were thinking of us—and would help in any way.

When I was hospitalized in mid-January for placenta-previa-related, pre-term bleeding, five friends visited me in the hospital, bringing me goodies—lotion for my super-dry hands, trashy magazines galore, and Coke®, since I’m allowed to have a little bit of caffeine.

In the 6 ½ weeks I’ve been home on bed rest—first full and now partial—friends have brought over dinner and also checked in with me every time they go to the grocery store or Target®, then dropped off and put away my requested purchases.

Friends have come to my house to keep me company when I started to feel too isolated.

They’ve offered to drive me to and from my doctor’s appointments.

During yet-another bleeding scare, a friend took me to the hospital, then stayed with me while my uterus, cervix, baby and I were thoroughly evaluated. She was free to do this because another friend watched her kids specifically so she could be with me.

Friends have taken my son for playdates with their children, so he wouldn’t be house-bound with me too frequently.

One friend has driven my son to every Thursday morning soccer class, while she and another friend switch off hosting post-soccer play- and lunch-dates until afternoon preschool starts.

Two friends, with whom I’ve carpooled the entire school year, now handle all the driving shifts to and from preschool five afternoons a week.

Two friends organized a manicure and pedicure outing for the three of us, driving me to and from the salon.

And so many others have offered to help, from my son’s preschool teacher to acqaintences who’ve heard I’m on bed rest.

It’s been a long, hard year for my family, but our loss and stresses have been tempered by how much support and love we have from our friends.

I strongly believe that love makes a family, and our recent experiences demonstrate that, while we have a nuclear family of five (my husband, my two stepsons, ages 15 and 14, my son, age 5, and me), we are part of a much larger extended family of loyal friends.

Thank you to them all…

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