Get those tissues out—this just may be the most heartbreaking and beautiful story you'll read all week.
Lauren Casper and Sarah Rieke were just two best friends expecting babies at the same time. Casper through adoption and Rieke through pregnancy. Casper already knew she was adopting a baby girl and secretly hoped her friend would also have a daughter so that they could be "great friends." Both women eagerly awaited the results of the 20-week gender ultrasound. But as Rieke shares in a post on Today, "The text came … 'girl' … but there were complications." It was clear that once the baby was born, she wouldn't survive outside of the womb.
Casper writes, "I prepared my nursery for the homecoming of my daughter and Sarah planned a funeral. We spent a lot of mornings together crying and talking and even laughing at times. She threw me a baby shower and gave me two blankets out of a packet of four … the other two would be wrapped around her daughter after she was born."
Casper brought home her daughter Arsema that October when Rieke approached her with an unbelievable offer.
“I was wondering if you would like to have my breast milk after Evie is born. I thought maybe you could use it to feed Arsema. I don’t know how long I’ll pump or how much I’ll be able to produce, but I’d love to give it to you if you want it.”
Many moms knows what a commitment it is to pump milk, whether for your own baby or not, and to offer to do this for a friend who is unable to breastfeed, all while grieving your own lost baby is simply beyond generosity—it's an act of pure love.
A month later, Rieke delivered her daughter Evie, who lived for just four hours. And a week after her loss, Rieke was pumping her breastmilk and delivering it to her best friend each week for several months. Casper shares, "Each time I filled Arsema’s bottle and sat in the rocker to feed her, I would think about Sarah and Evie. I would pray for Sarah’s broken heart and thank God for the gift Sarah had so selflessly given me and my daughter."
For Rieke, the act of pumping and feeding her best friend's daughter was also meaningful. Casper explains that "in a way, her feeding my daughter helped heal a tiny piece of her broken heart. She knew one of the painful losses of infertility and adoption was my inability to breastfeed my children. They each had such a rough start in life and I wish I could have been able to at least give them that. "
"I wish I could have breastfed my children. Sarah wishes she could have fed her daughter (and so do I … oh so do I). But life doesn’t always make sense. When everything is broken and mixed up, we have to create our own beauty from the pieces."