Ryan was here ...

My not-so-sweet nothings, mostly comprised of my feelings at losing my two-day-old son, Ryan David, to congenital heart defects, and to celebrate the arrival of Ryan's healthy little sister, Megan Elizabeth, and hopefully welcome another little miracle into our brood in July 2010.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Winter's here again

Most of the beautiful fall foliage has been blown from the trees. The flowers have stopped blooming. The grass has turned brown and instead of summery dew drops covering its blades in the mornings, it's covered in icy frost. The nights are chillier and the darkness comes quicker each day. All absolute signs that winter is among us once again.

And, with that seasonal shift, my heart has gone into a wintry place again as well. This time of year is really challenging on those of us with heavy hearts. We wear pretty convincing masks of happiness the other months of the year, but with the holidays being about family and such, it's difficult for those masks to hold up against the grief that resurfaces every year at this time when we remember our tiny family members who aren't here but should be.

As much as I love Christmas (I really do, despite my annual bout of the blues), it's hard for my heart not to drift back into sadness while decorating and shopping. It's not constant, mind you, but I'm always aware of its presence while I'm pretending that I'm okay for the masses.

But, I'm not okay. I keep wondering when all of this will become more manageable and not sting so much. Will I forever be muddling my way through the holidays instead of embracing and enjoying them? When will I be at peace with my boy not being here for the holidays - or any holiday? Or will true peace always elude me - the gift which I need most?

I try my best to keep a stiff upper lip around the girls, since they're too young and innocent to understand. They deserve to have joyous, giggly holidays that aren't dampened by their mother's heavy heart. But, it's not always easy to paint a smile on your face when you're falling apart on the inside.

The holiday hoopla is just too much for my tender heart. I sometimes wonder how I'd fare if I skipped it altogether. Just pretend it's another month or time of the year so I don't fall into that holiday vat of grief. But, I can't do that. Selfishly, I would love to be a Grinchette for the entire month of December. But, I just can't because of everyone else.

So, instead, I'll have to try even harder at pretending I've been swept away with all the happiness and joy that the season is supposed to hold. Or, maybe Santa will slip a sliver of peace into my stocking this year ... or at least something I can build from to help me limp through this chilly time of year.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 28, 2010

My other "friends"

I'm back ... kind-of.

Well, I guess I never really left. I've just been silently sitting in my own little corner, wondering how I got here.

It's been almost five years (God, that realization takes my breathe away), and I still don't know how I should feel about all that's happened in that time. I've lived through a heartbreak I never imagined I'd have the strength to survive, and while it's still a daily struggle to push forward, I manage to find joy in the simple things, despite my perpetually heavy heart.

I still miss my boy oh so much. He's never far from my thoughts.

I'm realizing that this grieving thing has me chasing my tail far too often. Just when I think I've conquered a "step" in the process, I'm right back where I started, trying to understand all of it and deal with my feelings.

It's probably magnified, too, because of the timing of my current pregnancy. I find myself reliving so many of those final weeks with Ryan, since he and this little Jellybean were due just days apart. I'm so worried about history repeating itself and losing another piece of my soul. I don't know how to shake off that fear and pretend I'm okay while doing all these last-minute preparations for something that could be yanked away as easily as Ryan was.

Worry, sadness, anxiety, fear. They're my closest friends lately and know me better than anyone. It's funny how you can sometimes mistake your demons for your friends ...

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Am I still welcome here?

That might sound like a strange question, since it's not like Ryan will suddenly be alive one day and my membership in this "club" will be revoked. But, since I've had one Rainbow baby and am hoping to have another in a mere 18 weeks, I almost feel like my membership is a bit of a fraud to those mothers who haven't ever welcomed their Rainbow baby.

It's very confusing for me to reconcile in my mind. Yes, on one hand I'm a card-carrying member because I lost my son. But on the other hand, I was fortunate enough to go on to have a living child ... and maybe even another, if the fates allow. Have I canceled out my membership because of that? Do other moms in mourning resent my presence in the club?

Really, I don't know what to think.

I do feel as though I'm viewed differently though. I can't put my finger on it, but it feels different. In an unwelcome sort of way.

But, I can't beat myself up because I was fortunate enough to be sent two blessings after Ryan. Two healthy blessings. And, those blessings don't erase all the pain I still carry in my aching heart, nor do they negate the loss of that little person who made me a mother in the first place. Still, I feel guilty ... like I'm suddenly an intruder where I was once openly welcome.

This shit really doesn't get easier. Just different.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No, really ...

I am still around. As I've said in previous entries, I just don't know what to say anymore. It's been more than four years since Ryan died and while some of my feelings have been resolved, others might never be. So, do I continue to chase my tail by posting the same concerns, or do I just sit back and wait for something better to write about?

I chose to sit back for the past six months or so. And I'm not sure why I picked now to break my silence.

I'm newly pregnant and doing some back-tracking and fighting my demons again, which might account for why I picked now to sit and type out my thoughts. I'm not as bad as I was with Megan - at least not so far - but it's still difficult and I can't help but worry for this newest little bean. There's just so much that could happen - that HAS happened - that I can't ever be blissfully pregnant. That phrase seems like an oxymoron in my world. And, I'm envious of those women who really are blissful and pregnant at the same time. I can't even imagine how that feels ...

I made it through another Christmas without my boy, but there was definitely more joy than sadness this year. And while most of my happiness wasn't forced, there was some of it that I put on for Megan's benefit. She didn't deserve anything less than a happy Christmas, so I had to put my heavy heart aside for her - and because Ryan would want me to be happy, no matter what. I just wish it wasn't so trying to be happy.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yes, I'm still here

But, I'm a little lost again and have feared harsh scrutiny over my feelings, so I've kept mum instead of coming here to vent.

It's just a little more than two weeks till Ryan's fourth birthday - or, what should've been his fourth birthday - and I still feel so lost and confused. Megan has brought so much needed joy into my life, but I'm still longing for what I don't have.

I've also been doing more self-reflection and trying to figure out why I feel the way I do about certain aspects of my life. I need and deserve peace and resolution and I'm determined to find it. I may have to delve into the murky places in my past and within myself to find those answers, but dammit, I cannot go on like this for the next however-many years.

I guess I'll always be a work in progress.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How COULD they?!

I've been sitting on some powerful emotions for the last month regarding a situation that I view as inexcusable and reprehensible, and I need to rant and generally be angry about another's actions. I try really hard not to judge others, but in this case, I can't put my very personal feelings aside and overlook what they did.

I "met" a woman about a year ago through one of the online infant loss forums I frequent, and my heart immediately went out to her last month when I learned that her daughter was born too soon and passed after just six days. Her infant son had died just last August and she had experienced several second-trimester losses before that.

As much as my heart aches over losing Ryan, I've never been able to fathom what multiple losses would be like and can't even imagine the deep pain that comes with saying goodbye to more than one baby. So, to think that a person out in the vastness of cyberspace would masquerade as a mom to only heavenly babies makes my stomach turn.

Yes, someone pretended to be a member of the Dead Baby Club. And, that person preyed on the emotions of legitimate mourning moms and moms-to-be on multiple online forums by peddling her fabricated stories of woe and loss. She was pretty convincing for a while, so it's no wonder it took so long to uncover the truth.

As a card-carrying member of DBC, I'd never question another person's tale of loss and would assume their pain and grief was real and heart-felt, just as my own is. And, to question a story of loss seems innately wrong to me, so I gave the benefit of the doubt and thanked my lucky stars that I hadn't been dealt THAT tough hand.

This woman (or so I'm assuming) has seemingly disappeared from these online forums, but not without a widespread trail of confused hearts and angry minds. Why on earth would someone WANT to be a dead baby mama, when those of us who had to say goodbye to our beloved babies would give anything to cuddle and caress our little ones just one minute longer? It's infuriating that someone would pretend to have walked in the same shoes as me and many of my friends - and take advantage of our broken hearts.

We moms in mourning don't have a lot of spare good thoughts and emotion to dole out to just anyone. We're forever nursing our own deep wounds, but we rally ourselves together and dig deep into our souls to offer all we do have to someone we can relate to - someone who tragically loses child after child.

To find out that it was all a joke is such an insult. I shed real tears for this woman and the baby that supposedly died. I said prayers for strength and healing for her, and prayers of thanks for myself that despite losing Ryan, I have Megan in my life. Yes, I was a fool to believe such a far-fetched story, but some wolves wear pretty convincing sheep's clothing.

I hope that person accomplished whatever it was they were trying to do. When I first discovered the real truth, I felt badly for this woman, because I wondered if at one point she had experienced a real loss and never truly recovered emotionally. I can see that as a a possibility, but, frankly, my angered mind doesn't care about the logic behind the misguided actions. She lied and toyed with my emotions and I don't take kindly to that. And, this experience has planted a seed of doubt in my mind that I cannot squash - that others will come down the pike and pretend to have lost a baby only to gain attention and be pitied by others.

Yes, I'm having a difficult time reconciling all of this in my mind and letting it go. It's difficult to do when you've become emotionally invested and can't just sever the powerful lifeline that leads to those feelings. It's not a switch that I can quickly turn off and forget about. I wish it were that easy, though ...

Labels: ,

Monday, March 09, 2009

Remembering an angel

Please take a moment and visit Kristin to let her know you're remembering her angel, Thomas, and wishing him the sweetest of fourth birthdays.

Happy birthday, Thomas Joseph. You're missed so much today - and every day. XO


Friday, March 06, 2009

Erasing the past?

For quite a while now, I've considered retouching my favorite picture of Ryan - the close-up that highlights his beautiful blue eyes and his tousled blonde locks. That picture, to me, captured Ryan in all his innocence, despite the complex world that enveloped him.

I see beyond all of the contraptions that were thrust upon him almost from the moment he took his first breath. Yes, I see the jungle of surgical tape, tubes and wires, too, but they aren't the only things I see anymore. But, the harsh reality is that all those things were an enormous part of his existence. Without them, we would've had even less time together.

There are times, though, that I wish I had a "normal" baby portrait of him on the wall - one that's free of the complicated web of lifelines that surrounded him during his short life. One where the majority of his precious face isn't covered in surgical tape - or one that's minus the tape, but where he's still alive.

God, the things we would've done differently, had we known that those 54 hours would be all the time we'd ever have. Sometimes, even after all the time that's passed, it's difficult to wrap my head around all of it and believe that it actually happened. That it actually happened to my beloved little Peanut.

Getting back to my original dilemma ... I don't know how I feel about retouching that photo. As much as I would love to have an uncomplicated, innocent picture of him to savor, to take those things away would be like trying to erase part of the past. Obviously, I'll never forget all the machines and monitors that sustained his little life. But, do I need to actually see those reminders every time I look at Ryan's face and relive all that happened?

Would erasing those things make him more of a fantasy rather than real, since the Ryan I knew and loved was tethered to countless machines. Or, does it matter at all. Really, does it?

Monday, February 23, 2009

My favorite "McBealism"

In the mid-'90s, one of my favorite TV shows was Ally McBeal. I can't put a finger on just one thing I loved about the show because I loved all of it. The sometimes silly and poignant McBealisms. The dancing baby. The wild scenarios playing out in Ally's over-active imagination. Her colleagues. Her cases. All of it.

But, I'll always remember one particular episode, where Ally responds to a colleague questioning the importance of Ally's problems:

“You know what makes my problems bigger then everyone else's? They're mine.”

I immediately connected with Ally's response, both from my own personal problems and at how I view others' strife. I think all of us are somewhat self-centered when it comes to our problems, regardless of how compassionate or sensitive we are to others' needs. And, when it comes down to it, if you don't look out for yourself, who will? So, I certainly understand how easy it is at times to be swept away by your problems, possibly overlooking those around you who are in need of a helping hand or sympathetic ear.

I'm not without fault. I've sometimes felt my problems were THE most important thing in the universe. But, to anyone else who isn't directly impacted by my problems, they don't see the same sense of urgency I see. And, the same may be true when I'm looking at someone else and their problems. If it doesn't directly affect me, I might not feel as passionate as the problem's owner does.

To each person - in their world - their problems may be larger than life. They may be all-consuming. And, those problems may be the only things those people can truly call their own in a world where we actually own far less than we believe we do. And, our problems are something that no one tries to steal from us, because everyone has plenty of their own to draw from and work at fixing.

But, that doesn't mean that another person's problems are trivial or unimportant. Everyone's importance scale is relative to the trials they've faced in their life. To someone who's face very little hardship, a less-than-perfect grade in school could mean the world is about to end. But that same grade to someone who's faced great loss and adversity would be nothing more than a minor bump in the road. The loss of a beloved pet is a great loss to some, while others may view it as "just" an animal that's died. It's all relative to each of us and our personal circumstances.

So, while our problems are important inside our world, they aren't always important to others in their worlds. And, conversely, we on the outside should be sensitive to others and their problems, even if we don't understand why these problems are so big to others.

It's not always for us to understand, just commiserate and support and not judge. And, sometimes that non-judgmental approach helps us to solve our own big problems.


Friday, February 13, 2009

"Let Me Be Myself"

I heard this this morning on my way to work, while sipping on my chai tea latte. Pretty accurately sums up the ongoing struggles and searches within myself.

I guess I just got lost
Bein' someone else
I tried to kill the pain
Nothin' ever helped
I left myself behind
Somewhere along the way
Hopin' to come back around
To find myself someday

Lately I'm so tired of waiting for you
To say that it's ok, but tell me
Please, would you one time
Just let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light
Let me be myself
Would you let me be myself

I'll never find my heart
Behind someone else
I'll never see the light of day
Living in this cell
It's time to make my way
Into the world I knew
Take back all of these times
That I gave in to you

Lately I'm so tired of waiting for you
To say that it's ok, but tell me
Please, would you one time
Let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light

And let me be myself
For a while, if you don't mind
Let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light
Let me be myself

That's all I've ever wanted from this world
Is to let me be me

Please would you one time
Let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light
Let me be myself
Please would you one time
Let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light
Let me be myself
For a while, if you don't mind
Let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light
Let me be myself
Would you one time ... oooh
Let me be myself
Let me be me ...

Songwriters: Arnold, Brad; Harrell, Todd; Henderson, Chris; Roberts, Matt;