Make It Not True

Five months ago she giddily cornered me in the hallway at work to share her news. Elation. Joy. Promise.


She kept it a secret until the appropriate amount of weeks had passed. We whispered in my cubicle, hushed updates on how she was doing, her fatigue, her morning sickness, how to keep people from guessing (there were rumors). When the day came, she announced the news of her baby boy with pure delight and we all rejoiced with her. She read all the right books and did all the right things. Grandparents purchased gifts because they were too cute to pass up. She and her husband saved money and prepared for maternity leave.

They named him.

On Monday when she went to the doctor, they couldn’t find the heartbeat. The doctor said he seemed too small for how far along she was but just a few weeks earlier she’d had a perfect check up. Maybe it was just a technical glitch with the machine. He was probably okay. He had to be alright. Of course, everything was going to turn out fine.

The ultrasound technician wasn’t in the office until Wednesday. From Monday to Wednesday morning, they wondered and worried though there was nothing to do but wait. Wednesday came and with it the news. The baby did not make it.

I could barely bring myself to type that last sentence.

With loss there comes wordlessness. The inability to say anything that sounds right or helps in any way. I don’t know what to say except “I am sorry” which does no good. I don’t know what to do except be available to her. I don’t know how to feel anything but heartbroken for my friend and her husband and their baby. For the loss of the life they were planning. For the unfairness of it all.

I don’t know what to do.


86 thoughts on “Make It Not True

  1. My father told me in his 60some years on earth, nothing compares to losing a baby. I am so sorry for you friend’s loss. Just be there–she will know. Hugs to all.

  2. Your title reminds me of an example of a child’s first glimpse at time travel, and the inability for the English language to support the concept.

    “Make it didn’t happen, Mommy”

    Most people, upon experiencing their first miscarriage or heartbeatless follow-up appointment, are shocked to hear that 1-in-5 pregnancies have miscarriages. ONE IN FIVE. (I don’t know if those numbers hold up; I’ve read so many different stats). But the point is, it’s a lot more common than most people think, especially newly expecting couples.

  3. I cannot begin to imagine that heartbreak. There are no good things to say, as you know. Just try to be there, she will feel it, even if in time.

  4. Sizzle, I am so, so sorry. I know a few women who had misscariages. You hear about them so often these days. Is this because we just know more people trying to get pregnant or has there been an increase for whatever reason?

    I don’t know.

    My cousin had three (!) miscarriages before she had her little son (my godchild). This is not to scare you or your friend, but to tell you that she’ll be fine. Just be there for her. I am sure she’ll get pregnant again.

  5. Having been through this myself many, many years ago I can tell you that the thing that hurt me the most was that after I was able to verbalize what had happened, friends and relatives stayed away.

    No one came over to my home to comfort me. Everyone I talked to on the phone did not speak of what happened.

    It was really difficult. Maybe they didn’t know what to say. Is there anything that can be said after such a tragic loss?

    I don’t know. But a hug would have been great. Some type of human touch would have made me realize that this was not just my nightmare.

    Having someone help me get through putting away the baby clothes, take down the crib, to set things aside.

    We both needed a hug, my husband and I. We both needed someone to come to share our loss with — other than each other. I could not comfort him because I needed to be comforted myself.

    People did not need to be afraid to contact us or act as though it never happened. That hurt almost as much as the pain of the loss of our child.

  6. I am so very sorry.

    My sister-in-law lost her boy in her 22nd week of pregnancy.

    There is nothing to say, nothing to do to change what happened, but being available, as you said, is the best, and only thing you can do.

    It did take plenty of time, and lots of therapy, but my sister-in-law made it through her loss. And, now, they have a healthy baby girl that wouldn’t be here otherwise.

  7. I have been there before (my ex-wife and I). Since nothing really sounds “right” I will say that only time will help. Just be there.

  8. this is so heartbreaking. i read your update on this on twitter, and i too, was at a loss for what to say. you just being you, the wonderful person and friend that you are, will matter heaps to her, im sure.

  9. How devastating.

    As far as what to do, just be there. Listen when she wants to talk, distract her when she needs the distraction, help her deal with the aftermath. This is going to be hard for several months, especially around her due date.

    Hang in there. Prayers for you both.

  10. Wow, I cannot even imagine what they must feeling. Even at 32 weeks, I still worry that something may go wrong. I guess you have to believe that everything happens for a reason, and for some reason, that baby was too good for this world. My deepest sympathies to your friend and her family.

  11. It’s clear by this post that you are a good friend. And a good friend is what is needed right now.

    Sometimes life just sucks and it isn’t fair.

  12. I think you wrote the perfect thing to say to her – in the second to last paragraph. I can’t imagine going through a loss like that.

  13. Things to NOT say:
    1. It’s God’s will.
    2. It’s for the best.
    3. You’ll have other babies.
    4. These things happen.
    5. Better now than later.
    6. It just wasn’t meant to be.

    Best thing to say (in my opinion):
    I am so sorry for your loss. If you need anything or just want to talk, I’m here for you.

    And back it up with subtle support that lets her set the pace of recovery, because every woman is different in how she handles the loss of a child.

    Hugs to YOU in your sadness too, Sizz.

  14. oh your poor friend so sorry to hear that.
    my aunty lost her baby boy a week after he was born from complications in the birth. it was horrible, so i understand how it must be hard for you as well. but i bet you would be a great friend to be around at times like these, you seem very …supportive.
    i do remember one thing i said to my aunty, one night i had a dream and william was with me and then he started flying upwards with this light..into heaven i guess! i dont know if i believe in heaven or not, but when i told her she said it made her feel a lot better.
    anyway, sorry again

  15. I recently had a miscarriage in Septemger, I was 8 weeks along. We had told immediate family and a few close friends. I can not describe how heartbreaking it is to watch the ultrasound and not see the heart beating. It was the most terrible moment of my life. Then came the part where you have to tell people. I can tell you what I didn’t want to hear “It just wasn’t meant to be” or “You can try again”. I knew those things already but I just didn’t want to hear them. My advise to anyone out there is to simply say “L’m so sorry.” That’s it. No other words are needed. Trust me. I just wanted to forget and never talk about it again to anyone except my husband. It doesn’t mean I don’t hurt. I do. When I read this post I couldn’t help but cry, because I know what it feels like. Everyday it gets easier, but I’ll always remember my baby who didn’t make it and think about what could have been.

  16. My heart goes out to your friend. My very best friend went through a heartbreaking miscarriage and like everyone above has said, what you can do, is be there. My friend wanted to mourn alone for a while. Every few days, I called and left a message to say I was thinking of her and was ready to talk and listen whenever she was ready. Eventually she was.

  17. Unfortunately, being a part of the infertility/loss community of blogging I know far too many women who have been in this position. As many others above me have said, all you can do is be there to support her. Nothing will make that pain go away, but your love will be tremendously helpful.

    I know sometimes because people don’t know what to say or do, they do or say nothing, which is quite possibly the worst thing that could be done.

    My condolences to your friend and her partner.

  18. I had a miscarriage last year and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my entire life.

    Sometimes you can’t say anything. Whatever you do, don’t say it was for the best or it was God’s way of preventing something, etc. (you’d be surprised how many people say that).

    Be there for her. Let her know she can email you or call you for a a hug or to cry.

    Also, make sure you check on how the father is doing. So often, he’s forgotten yet he’s suffered a loss, too.

    My heart goes out to your friend. It really, truly does.

  19. I’m so sorry, Sizz. Mortality can be a devastating thing, especially when it hits a small life that had yet to be introduced to the world. Crying for the loss is totally expected. And being there is exactly what you should do. Hugs to you.

  20. So sorry for your friend and her husband.
    There is nothing you can say but you can continue to be a good friend to them. Just be there when they need you.
    Take care.

  21. There are no words that can be said that will make this better for them. Just be there to listen and cry with her.

    Having been through that kind of loss I now know that with time they will get through it and hopefully go on to have a healthy baby in their arms sooner than they can ever imagine.

  22. With loss there comes wordlessness– well-put, Sizzle. It also explains why some of us are forever trying to frame things in the right words….to explain it all somehow, make sense of the chaos.

    Death is one of those unanswerable mysteries. I am really sorry for your friend’s loss. Nature has it’s reasons, and sometimes all we can do is pick up the pieces as they fall.

    I’ll be keeping you and her in mind, today.

  23. My suggestion for you — mourn with her. Be there and let her talk about him, and his name, and the hopes and dreams she had for him, and the lost promise. Talk about him and what you had hoped for him. Let him be real, mourn with her, and don’t rush her.

    I’m so sorry.

  24. Oh Sizzle, I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss, and your own grief as well. Like everyone else has said, there’s nothing more you can do than simply be there for her. Great big hugs for you and your friend.

  25. “I’m so sorry.” is perfect… I didn’t want to hear nonsense “like it’s for the best” and “maybe there was something wrong with it.” Empathy. Just empathy.

    If they have a yard, perhaps buy them a small tree to plant in his honor so they can watch it grow…

  26. So, so sad. Your friend will drive the direction that things will go, just be observant and keep being you. She’s been through life altering change and will most likely need your help smoothing the way at work. It’s very hard to come back after something so tragic. The questions, the stares, the inappropriate comments from people that just don’t know what to say. Be the comfort, smile and light she needs to make it through the day.

  27. My heart goes out to your friend and her husband.
    I’m sorry I haven’t introduced my self sooner, but I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now, and as soon as I read your blog today I had to comment. I had a very close friend and her husband also lose a baby. It was going to be the first granddaughter in the family, and it seemed like everything went well all the way til the end. It was a few days before her due date and she noticed that the baby wasn’t moving, by the time she reached the doctors it was too late. The baby had died from the embical cord being wrapped her. My friend unfortunately still had to give birth to the baby they weren’t able to do a c-section. I talked to my friend before they induced her labor and we both cried as I tried to console her. I remember feeling so helpless, there wasn’t anything that I could do or say to make things better. I spent the next few months just being there for her and also giving her space when she needed it. Just keep on being a great friend to her like you already have been, and be there for her.
    My prayers will be with you both..

  28. I know you’ll be there to support her and her husband. She may want space, she may want to talk… take a cue from her.

    My heart aches when this happens. 😦

  29. I am really sorry to hear about your friend. It’s so difficult to figure out what to do/say when a friend goes through something like this. I have been there. I’m glad to know she has a friend like you.

    This sucks.

  30. Oh geez Sizzle, words fail at a time like this, trust me I know. My brother and his wife had fertility problems and lost the baby the first time they got pregnant. There were no words to console them – all you can do is be there and love your friend.

  31. I am sitting here with the chills after reading this. This is anyones worst nightmare when they are pregnant. I can not even imagine what she must be feeling. I mean I can imagine what I’d feel, but since I haven’t been there I know I’m not even close to what it would really feel like. Even what I am imagining is horrible so she must be some word I can’t even figure out. I am so sorry. And I agree, that sentence doesn’t mean what I want to say about it.

  32. Just like everyone else has said, Siz, you are doing the best thing by offering to be her friend, and someone to talk to/lean on in her time of need.

    My older sister lost her last child when she was 6 months along. He would have been her third, but he didn’t make it. She had to give birth to his lifeless body. Our oldest siser was able to be there with her when she went through this, so she wasn’t alone. And then she stayed there with her for the week. She never talks about it, but I’m sure he’s on her mind every day. The best thing I can do is let her know that if she ever needs to talk, I’m here to listen. And its been 3 years since that hppened…

  33. My friend went through something similar last year and it was so hard on all of us. She was the first one of us to have a baby and so we were all paying so much attention to her and the pregnancy that we all felt the pain. But I can’t imagine how your friend must feel. Having actually heard the babies heart at one people and then for it to be gone. I don’t think anything can be more devastating than losing a child.

    We just tried to help our friend to talk about it or not talk about it if she wanted. And we hoped that another baby would come soon to heal some of the pain of the one she lost.

    I am so sorry for your friend.

  34. So heartbreaking, so sad. That just made me get all teary eyed. I don’t know what i’d do if that happened to me.

    The only thing you can really do is be there for her and her family, she’ll appreciate that more than anything you could ever say. I am so sorry for your friend.

  35. I just went through this with my coworker two weeks ago. The things that helped her were a shoulder to cry on, a person to be angry to and being told story after story of conception after miscarriages (sometimes multiple). My mom had a miscarriage before me and went on to have three beautiful and healthy children. It also helped her to think that God knew there was something wrong with the baby and decided to take care of him.

    All you can do is listen and take cues from her.

    I’m so sorry.

  36. Im so sorry for your friend. A buddy of mine at work went through the same thing twice with his wife, and today they have a son that is the light of their lives. Hopefully, when they heal a little, your friend will try again.

  37. The most you can do is to be there for her, and to know she’ll need hope and care and love even more to get through this, and when it comes time for her to be pregnant again–it will be even harder with the possibility that this might happen again. Just be there for her.

  38. Oh, that’s so sad. That happened to a friend of mine and though it was the hardest thing she’d ever gone through, she fortunately was pregnant again fairly quickly and delivered a healthy boy that’s now three. My thoughts are with your co-worker and her family.

  39. You are doing the best thing for her, just being there. No words will help, as much as we want to find the perfect thing to say to make it all better.

  40. I wish I could say that i have no idea how she’s feeling but.. yeah, I do. I’ve had a miscarriage and a stillborn child and it hurts like nothing else on this planet.

    Just be there for her. Cook her meals, send her a thoughtful card and tell her that you’re there if she needs to talk.

  41. If I may make a suggestion? Please acknowledge her baby. He is a person that she loved beyond measure. I think some people think it’s too painful to speak of, but it’s more painful when your child goes ignored. Imagine if someone you love, say a grandfather or parent, died. And everyone pretended he or she never existed? That would be terrible. And most people do that because they’re not sure if the parent can speak about him yet. It’s a tough call no matter what, but if she knows that you’re available to comfort her when she needs it, that’s probably the most you can do until the shock wears off a bit.

  42. My BFF is pregnant and I am so invested in this kid as if she were my own. I can’t imagine going through this, I would be at a loss too. Lots of hugs and tears and love is the only thing I can think of because words can not even describe this kind of loss.

  43. I don’t know why things like this happen to good people. This is devastating news. Sometimes it’s not so much what is said, but the knowledge that you are there. Your presence will speak volumes, even if you are not.

  44. What a rolleroaster of emotions you must be going through lately lady! I’m so sorry for your friend and her husband, that’s a terrible loss- one that no one should experience. I can tell just by reading this, how much you care about her. And I think that’s enough. That’s all you CAN do.

  45. Sizzle, i couldn’t read the comments by others, but as I’m sure others here commenting have been through this, my personal feeling, wrap your arms around her and simply say “I’m sorry” … nothing changes it, nothing makes the pain go away, but people caring and just ‘being’ there for you helps more than anything else.

    I am so sorry for her loss and yours …

  46. I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss, Sizz! And for the pain you’re going through not knowing what to do. As someone who’s gone through the same ordeal as your friend let me assure you her just knowing you’re there and thinking about her is the best thing you can do right now.

  47. I’m very sorry to hear that :o(
    There really aren’t words you can say to something like that. Being there for her to cry, vent or just have you sit there next to her is all you can do.

  48. That is exactly what happened to my sister in 1990. All any of us could do was simply say we were there for her and she’s in our prayers. Nicholas Jay Anderson has always been in our thoughts and he’s always watching over us too as our protective guardian angel.

  49. I have a friend who had this happen twice last year. On the bright side, she’s now pregnant (and far enough along that it’s ‘safe’), and super-happy. I think the only thing you can do is be there if she needs to talk. I’m also a fan of the occasional, “you don’t have to talk about this if you don’t want to, but I’m thinking of you and here if you need me” message.

  50. My biggest fear in life is to have something happen to Zoe or Finn. Every day of this pregnancy I’ve obsessively checked for his movements and worry. I ‘m so sorry for their loss and for the sadness you feel as well. You are such a good friend to the people in your life. I think just knowing you are there if she needs you is all she could ask for. Thinking of you, her and her family.

  51. i am so sorry. I cannot think of anything to say- I always feel so sick at news like this. You are a good person and you have a great aura around you- I know. I met you- just be there and be open. xo

  52. There’s really nothing you can do other than what you already know. It’s an incredibly difficult event to happen to any woman. Just be there and she’ll seek you out when needed.

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