It seemed completely natural for me to choose a lovely picture frame as a Christmas gift for her. It was something to hold the best of the early, sketchy black-and-white films the ultrasound machine would spit out for us at the end of each exam. That way she too could feel close to these babies. They were her babies after all, I was just nourishing and growing them for the time being.
She appreciated the gift and at the end of the doctor’s visit we carefully trimmed the slick ultrasound paper and slid it into the frame.
“I’ll have to get your gift to you, I’m so sorry I left it behind” she said as a casual, off-hand remark as we were saying our goodbyes. She was getting ready to fly to Europe for a vacation with her parents, a gift from them to her as a way to pass the time while her husband served overseas.
I thought perhaps she’d send me a Christmas card before she left, but she didn’t. I guess it had slipped her mind, just like bringing a gift to the woman who was carrying your babies had slipped her mind that day at the fertility center. I wasn’t expecting much, just a token that assured me that she and her husband appreciated what I was doing for them.
It was the thought that counted, but as I learned over the coming months, that thought would never be very forthcoming.