There is a black satin maternity shirt that my best friend wore the night she attended a “Girls Night Out” cancer fundraiser with me.
It was in October of 2010, a few months after I had been diagnosed. She and I sat quietly at a table for two in the back of the small comedy club. I was wearing an itchy wig and wondering if the food would make me sick; she was 7 months pregnant with her third and probably also wondering if the food would make her sick.
Early into the show, she took my hand and placed it on her belly; her baby girl was moving and she wanted me to feel. I quickly felt through the satin and the skin, that little life shift under my palm. I stopped hearing the act and it was just the three of us in that moment, which might sound lovely and idyllic, but was actually brutally difficult for me. I was just beginning to deal with the dichotomy of what my life had become as compared to everyone else’s continuing down their normal tracks. And I was deeply hurting at the idea of not having another child.
So there, in the back of the darkened club, with my hand on my friend’s baby-belly, I started to cry. I remember it distinctly; amidst the laughter and the applause, I swiped the tears away.
It was only a brief moment that passed between us and then we both turned back to the stage.
Eleven months later, almost to the day, I’m sitting in the same comedy club with my husband. This time though, I am eight months along with my own baby girl. We’re here on what we figure will be our last date for a long time.
I lean back against the wall - where we have strategically seated ourselves for the evening due to the proximity to the ladies bathroom. I’m trying to elongate my abdomen and alleviate the pressure my increasingly tight maternity jeans are placing on my already impeded bladder. (Can I get away with unbuttoning the top button? Didn’t I buy these jeans a size too big just a couple months ago?)As I stretch back and look out across the club, remembering those two girls at the back table, I feel a world away. And so grateful.
I am alive; the worst may be over for me. I’m sporting my own hair this evening. And there is a healthy baby squirming around underneath the palms I have placed on either side of my flattened bellybutton. I look down at my shirt and realize I’m wearing that very same black satin maternity shirt, borrowed from my friend.So close, but a world away.