Sunday, May 11, 2008


I have a bit of a dilemma. This past Friday we got some news that a couple we know had their baby. Happiness right? Well, unfortunately the situation is not as happy roses as it could be. The baby actually was born at 27 weeks due to preeclampsia. The mom's blood pressure was something like 220/150 or higher. The little girl weighed less than 2lbs at birth. But so far she is thriving and mom is recovering nicely. However... we didn't find out that she was born for a few weeks. Previously we would have been pretty close to the first of those notified but things have been pretty strained for awhile. The husband is a friend of my husband's from college and they were pretty good friends until they went in on a business venture that went sour. It went sour due to the choices of the friend and the other partner.

My dilemma is how to acknowledge the birth. We would like to let them know that we are happy for them and know that this is a time that is hard. We would like to let them know that they can call if they need anything as we live close the hospital and would be happy to help out. However, since the baby is in the NICU and has been for a few weeks they probably already have the routine down. Other than sending a card and letting them know that... what else could we do? Is it appropriate to send a baby gift?

The last thing that we want to do is overwhelm them during this time. How would you feel about someone coming out of the woodwork to show support? Would you be offended or would you feel supportive? What would your limit be?

Believe me, there is some guilt on my part and I have been mulling this over since we found out. I was soooooooooo jealous because they were pregnant within weeks of being married. Most likely before or on the honeymoon, however... I wouldn't wish this on anyone. No one would. My husband was a preemie. At the time he was the youngest baby to make it through that hospital's NICU and the smallest since he weighed like 2 lbs 8oz at birth--- 31 years ago. I just think that this is so much bigger than any of the other issues that have been bounced around and makes all of that shit so meaningless. I know that sometimes things can't be fixed but they can be made new and while this may not be the right time it sure would suck to not be able to help out people that we can and know.

I can't tell you how much I have been reminded in the past few weeks of just how hard life can be. It makes my whining so superficial so I have really been trying to stay positive and look at things through a different lens. Don't get me wrong... things are still bogging me down but I am trying hard not to complain.

Updated to add: We are not close with the woman of the couple. Our tie to the couple is through the father. While we know her, when she was coming into his life was when things were going a bit awry with my husband's and his business/friendship etc. They had a very short courtship and engagement. They started in 2007 and were married by the end of 2007. So we really don't know her that well.


Pepper said...

The thing about reaching out is that it gets harder and harder to do the longer you wait. There's no good answer to the "why didn't you call when I needed you" question.

Maybe your friend would really appreciate someone sitting with the baby while she has a chance to go home and shower or nap. Or maybe she'd like it if you brought a home cooked meal to the hospital for her or took one to her house.

Whatever you do, I'd recommend making the offer as specific as possible: "I'd like to bring you dinner on Tuesday" or "I have free time on Wednesday if you want me to stay with the baby while you get a break." If it's too general then it leaves it up to her to call you. I'm the kind of person who has a hard time asking for help, so I'm less likely to accept a general offer than a specific one. And don't just leave one message; leave several (not all in the same day, of course).

I'm sure your friend will be happy to hear from you. A lot of people make the mistake of giving their friends too much space during rough times, which can make them feel even more isolated. Even if she has all the help she needs, she'll remember that you made the effort to reach out and that's what counts.

Deb said...

Thanks for you comment Pepper. I understand completely what you mean about being specific. I updated the post to clarify that our tie is really to the father and not the mother. While personally, I don't think that it should matter much but others might.

Kristi said...

I guess to me it would depend on whether you're even really on speaking terms with the father. If you have a civil relationship currently despite past problems, then I would reach out to the mother and offer your help if you're comfortable doing that. If nothing else send a card letting them know you're thinking of them and praying for the health of their baby.

Hard call to be sure. :-/

littleangelkisses said...

This is hard...we are there right now. We recently found out that couple that we used to be very close with had a baby in December (I knew, but found out by overhearing conversations) We no longer talk to the couple because of a falling out with another couple in our group. Sides were taken. I understand and don't begrudge...
In March they found out that the baby has a rare blood disease. He's now undergoing intensive chemo treatments an hour from home. They also have a 3 yr old.

I feel for them, my heart breaks for them. I WANT to do more, but what we did is send a card and a gift card for food. When our son was in the NICU, we'd hav welcomed something like that.

I want to offer to watch Grace for them while they take Parker for Chemo this summer...but I'm not sure how they'd respond. I don't want to make this about me, I want to help. I don't know I did what I'd want others to have done when we needed it.

teh4 said...

Great post on from blogger JoySuzanne about how to support your loved ones who are dealing with infertility in response to a question from a Trusera member "Support Your Local Infertile" --

I think #1 and #4 may be of some help re your dilemma.

- Tara