Strangely she had turned down the offer of a lift, meaning she wouldn’t be drinking either.
The reason was soon revealed. She was pregnant too. It was very early days, but that didn’t stop the two of us giggling together about our little ones being friends and working out just how much of our maternity leave would overlap.
Soon after I had my baby boy. And she had her dating scan at 12 weeks. I got to grips with life as a new mummy. And her pregnancy progressed.
Until 21 weeks. When her little boy, Alfie, was stillborn.
As I laughed watching my son start to work out how to roll and giggle, she was looking at her son lying silently in a cold cot in Southend Hospital’s butterfly bereavement suite.
Miscarriages and stillbirths are not something we often talk about. Though an estimated one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage and nine babies are stillborn every single day in the UK, it’s still a subject we shy away from.
It’s too sad. Too real. Too difficult to know what the right thing is to say, to do.
I can’t imagine the heartbreak of giving birth to a baby that you know is never going to open its eyes. I don’t know how those mums find the strength to leave the hospital without their newborn. To go home to a house that should be echoing with the cries of their child, but instead is quiet, apart from their own sobs.
What I do know, is that it takes an amazing person to turn their own tragedy into something positive. And that’s exactly what my friend has done. Tomorrow night, at the Arlington Rooms, she’s hosting Alfie’s Ball, in memory of her boy, raising funds for the special care baby unit and the butterfly bereavement suite at Southend Hospital.
I couldn’t be more in awe of her.