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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

My first Christmas without Ryan

I lived to tell about the first Christmas spent without my beloved son. The season I was dreading the most has finally passed.

Thank God.

I truly don't know how I managed to endure all the build-up of this holiday season. Many times I came this close to an utter meltdown, but "something" kept me hanging on - "something" that, at times, seems so desperately far from me. And other times it's so close I could almost touch it ...

Merry Christmas, sweet little angel ...

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Monday, December 12, 2005

In memory of ...

During my morning commute, I typically listen to a local alternative radio station, mainly because I can't stand to be force-fed all of the jolly Christmas songs being played non-stop on the other mainstream stations. Sure, maybe hearing "angry" music isn't the answer, either, but it's certainly better than choking on yet another dose of "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

I also listen to this particular alternative station because the DJ's are usually very funny and witty - a welcomed change to the stupidity that seems to run amuck during the holidays.

This morning, though, one of them said something that floored me, because I couldn't believe anyone would not only say something so insensitive, but would use the airwaves to share such a lack of sensitivity and risk possibly offending the station's listeners.

This DJ started spouting off how stupid it is - in his opinion - to see "In Memory Of" stickers on people's vehicles. He felt it was a ridiculous way of memorializing someone and sterotyped the use of such decals to biker gangs or victims of drive-by shootings.

I think my blood pressure immediately shot into dangerous territory as I listened to this ass clown trying to defend his stance on the use of these stickers. He felt it was dumb, since what are people trying to say - that their car is the memorial to the person who has died? And, why would you want everyone in the world to sit behind you in traffic and be subjected to reading these types of decals. While I'm listening to this guy's twisted logic, I keep glancing in my rear-view mirror, looking through tear-filled eyes at my own memorial sticker to my dead newborn son.

This guy doesn't get it. He just doesn't fucking get it.

And, lucky him for not getting it, since that means he's never lost anything truly dear to him. He doesn't know how horrible it feels to lose a child. He doesn't know how unbearable the grief is at times. He doesn't know what it's like to ache for something that can never be changed.

Yes, I do want the world to know about my beautiful little boy who fought so hard to stay alive. I want the world to know that my little boy beat the odds in-utero and graced the world with his presence for two whole days. I want the world to know how important my son's life is. I want the world to know how utterly heartbroken I am that I'll never see my son grow up into a man. And I want the world to know how loved my little boy is and will always be.

And, if my need to share Ryan's existence with the world offends jerks such as this DJ, then so be it.

I'm not able to have passers-by at the mall stop and compliment me on my adorable baby or anything else that new moms hear on their day-to-day travels with their bundles of joy.

I've only got what's left in my broken heart and a head full of memories, and what's on the back windshield of my car ...

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Ryan Sneeze

Okay, this is going to seem extremely goofy, but Mike, Ryan, and I have a little inside joke now when I sneeze.

Sneezes are a funny thing; everyone's are different. Some people have the little bottled-up "a-choo" while others have the boisterous "AHHHHH-CHOOOO!" that's heard on the other side of the world. Some have ones that require major preparation, while other have ones that sneak up and attack out of nowhere.

My sneezes have always resided somewhere comfortably in the middle. They're not too obnoxious, but they're very feminine. And, up until August, I always sneezed twice in a row. You could count on me always sneezing twice in a row - no exceptions!

Mike and I joke that one sneeze is for him and one is for me. It's our dorky little joke we have as a couple. My double-sneezes are always perfectly paired, just as me and Mike are.

Well, the week after I arrived home from having Ryan, my sneezes evolved, and instead of the usual double-sneezers, I suddenly developed a third, delayed sneeze, which follows about three seconds behind the second one. The third sneeze is much different than the first two, as it's a miniature sneeze and usually sounds cute, or as cute as sneezes can sound.

After several days of dealing with this new sneeze pattern, I wondered what was going on. I shared this with Mike and we both decided this new sneeze was "The Ryan Sneeze."

And, to this day - four months later - my sneezes are always two in quick succession, followed by the tiny third sneeze.

Just as my family has grown to three, so have my sneezes ...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

There is superstition ...

As silly as this may seem, I longer play games of chance. Nor, will I assume that my future will always be brighter just because someone once uttered the words, "Lightning doesn't strike twice."

As much as I love Chinese food, I no longer accept the customary dessert of fortune cookies. I have tired of putting what's left of my fragile hope into believing a stupid, uplifting statement on a cheap piece of paper that's stuck in a cookie. Thanks, but I'll skip dessert.

As innocent as investing in a lottery ticket seems, I have nothing to gain by participating. I won my lottery jackpot when my son was diagnosed with multiple, severe heart defects. After his diagnosis, many medical professionals referred to his afflictions as being so rare that I would've had a better chance at winning a multi-million-dollar lottery jackpot. Enough said.

If I'm ever fortunate enough again to "be with child," I will not repeat the same mistake of assuming that all will be well, and that at the end of my nine-month journey there will be a healthy baby to cuddle and love till the day I die. Nor will I accept any gifts from anyone - period. There will be no baby registries or subscriptions to parenting magazines or adding my name to mailing lists to receive discount coupons for baby formula. I was foolish enough to do it once, but not naive enough to do it twice.

As well intentioned as the world may be, with wanting to celebrate a bundle of joy's impending arrival, I do not have enough faith in happy endings that I can subject myself to that sort of disappointment by accepting baby-oriented gifts or offers. I have a house full of baby furniture and equipment, bath and diapering supplies, clothes for every season, picture frames, books, toys, and bedding, but nothing to show for it but a handful of sympathy cards, a blur of gut-wrenching memories squeezed into 54 hours, and two scars: one just above my bikini line from my C-section, and the other across my heart - the scar that will never heal.

And, don't even get me started on the supposed lucky four-leaf clover ...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Angels among us, pt. 2

Several weeks ago I wrote about the NICU nurses and some of the others who were involved in Ryan's care and how I view them as angels. But, in the last few weeks, I've discovered even more.

I felt inspired to add to my list after KZ, another mother in mourning, wrote about the angels in her life.

KZ, who I became acquainted with through an online pregnancy chat board, lost her precious little boy, Thomas, in March. My heart broke for her and her husband - and I just couldn't fathom how something so dreadful could happen to two people who were so deserving to be parents.

When I first arrived home from the hospital after losing Ryan, KZ reached out to me to offer her support since she knew all too well how awful it was to come home from the hospital empty-handed.

KZ has offered a tremendous amount of support, inspiration, courage, insight and a shoulder to cry on. She has so selflessly and gracefully comforted me when her own wounds from her loss are painfully fresh. KZ, if you happen to read this, please know that I will forever be grateful that you offered your friendship, support and concern. I only wish that the circumstances that brought us together were much happier. Hopefully, as we continue down this path, one day we'll find our pots of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow.


When I was pregnant with Ryan, I was "buddied up" on my online pregnancy board with a gal, JF, who has turned out to be a wonderful, caring friend. Our match-up couldn't have been better suited; she helped to allay many fears I was having as a mommy-to-be and helped me to remain calm when I was freaking out over the craziest of things. She shared the joy of Ryan's arrival and cried along with me when I told her of Ryan's passing. She even went so far as organizing a collection with my other board friends, which included a beautiful bouquet of purple irises and a donation to the NICU in Ryan's name.


Just recently I've become acquainted with another gal from my online chat group - RP. Earlier this week, RP notified me and asked about making a donation in Ryan's name to her local hospital's NICU. She had become disenchanted with the craziness exhibited on Black Friday and decided to make donations to worthy causes in lieu of gifts. I was more than shocked by this offer, to say the least. I mean, for all intents and purposes, I don't know RP, and yet she's willing to give to charity in my angel's memory. I can't even fully express how moved I was by her offer.


I have spent the better part of two years involved in my online pregnancy group, but didn't really get to know the wonderful women there till just before I had Ryan. It's wonderful to have a place where you can ask embarrassing questions and get honest answers that don't make you feel like a moron. And, we're all drawn there for the same, beautiful reason: our desire to be the best moms possible. These women have given me so much strength and added much-needed laughter to some of my more dismal days. Again, I'm truly blessed to have such a thoughtful group of online friends who have celebrated and mourned with me - and who will be there once again to hopefully welcome Ryan's sibling into the world ...