Had lunch Saturday with a friend I’ve not seen in over a year.  She’d been married only 15 months and had suffered a miscarriage during the 2008 US Presidential election so her interests in November last had nothing to do with US politics.

Bit of background: My friend survived two ectopic pregnancies in her late twenties. As a newlywed (and now in her mid-thirties) she and her spouse talked about starting a family. They’d researched Invitro Fertilization and were putting together the money not only for that procedure, but also for a costly pre-operation her doctors insisted she undergo first because of her history. While she was performing all the pre-op daily testing (blood counts and temperature monitoring) she fell pregnant naturally. She was over the moon. For several weeks she got encouraging reports from her doctors and gingerly started buying baby things. But before the end of the first trimester she miscarried. To say she was emotionally gutted would be kind. Needless to say, her friends and family have tiptoed around any baby news we may have had to share this past year.

She had, however, visited my blog when the (carbuncle story) link was sent to friends and rellies in a ‘this is what we’re up to lately’ email and this past week, for the first time, scrolled back to look at other posts in the blog. So here, relaxed on my patio, in beautiful Queensland weather, after a lovely meal and sipping water with chunks of frozen lime she asked the question which makes my husband throw his hands up in the air and run off to play WoW:

“What can you tell me about Sarah Palin” she asked while spouse groaned. I chuckled. “Which part? How much time do you have?” As the giggling subsided and we watched my other-half make his exit, she thought for a moment and then continued. “Well, I know she had something to do with the last Presidential election in the US – and that a lot of people here just shake their heads and mutter ‘kook’ when her name is brought up – but when I was skimming through your recent posts I noticed a phrase I think I’ve seen in the papers here – her ‘wild ride’? Something to do with having a baby on an airplane?”

We chatted in somber tones about how none of us (her friends) had wanted to tell her any baby stories this past year, not even about people to whom she couldn’t possibly relate. She shared with me the story of her older sister (mother of two boys) and how just after she’d miscarried, her sister became pregnant – with a much-wanted girl. My friend described to me her recent trip to sister’s house,  her feelings of unease (why did big sister get to have three healthy bubs when she couldn’t manage even one) and her mother just plopping the infant in her arms saying ‘here – feed your niece’ and how she’d had to finally put her sense of loss to rest.

Assured the tale wouldn’t reopen a wound and realizing the opportunity in front of me – a chance to garner an unbiased, non-American opinion, I decided to relate Sarah’s story to her, and without the taint of sarcasm. “Well, if you’ve read any of my posts about the woman at all” (She interrupted to say she’d not actually read the political posts but skimmed over them getting to the more personal ones.) I rethought my sentence. “Let’s just say I’m not exactly a fan of hers.

But here,  let me try to put my views aside and tell you her story according to how she tells it, in speeches, interviews and passages in her book, and you tell me what you think.”

“Fair enough.”

We brought out the dish of homemade almond meringues, poured more water, got fresh ice and I began the story of Sarah…

…to be continued 🙂