The door opened wide, the dental hygienist (whom I really like so much) gave me a wide grin, and said, “How’s the baby?” I looked at her and asked if we could go somewhere outside of the waiting room. And then I started to cry.
I told her that my baby had died. I was mumbling into her shoulder as the tears flowed. She hugged me so tight and she started to cry and then apologized for asking. I told her that was crazy—of course she would ask! The last time I saw her, I was six months pregnant and she had no way of knowing that this would happen. No one did. I definitely didn’t.
The dentist heard the crying and rushed over to see what was going on. He gave me an inquisitive look. I took a deep breath, and then blurted out, “My baby was stillborn, 37 weeks and 1 day. I delivered her via C-section. It was a nightmare.” I waited a beat and then I said, “I am OK.” And I was. Saying it out loud made me feel relieved. I might just be OK after all.
I explained how sorry I was to tell them like this, but I knew of no other way. I told them I had been dreading the appointment for months. I told them that my husband and I have been taking care of each other and that we would try again when the time was right. I told them how I did not have any regrets. Not a one.
That office was the first time I told my story without my husband my by side. And I sucked at it. My sentences ran together, I did the ugly cry, and I exploded with way too much information. But I did it. I learned that over time, I would become better at telling my daughter’s story and having it be just as much about her life inside of me as it is her eventual death.
With that appointment finally behind me, I felt I had cleared a big hurdle. I was drained and exhausted, but I felt good.
Two years later, I walked into the same office and announced that we had been going through the adoption process and that we were picked to be the parents of a baby girl due in just a few weeks. My hygienist was pregnant at the same exact time. Our girls wound up being just a few weeks apart. We cried again, but happy tears this time. We rejoiced in our good fortune that we would be on this crazy journey together. I felt proud and excited and scared and touched that I had made this connection with a fellow mom who came to be my friend in the strangest of circumstances.
When I go in for cleanings now, I get excited when the door swings open and my friend is there to greet me. Sometimes you find friends in the most unusual places. The key is to let them in.