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.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

My mirage

I woke up this morning before the sun was up, so our bedroom was mostly dark, except for the soft blue glow coming from Mike's atomic clock.

We spent all day Saturday changing our bedroom around, so this morning I was a little disoriented when I woke up - the slight shadows being cast across our room looked different, even though they were the same shadows I've seen most every morning for nearly three years.

Since it was still dark AND a Sunday morning, I rolled over with the intent of drifting back to sleep. As I flipped over to face the outside of the bed, my heart skipped a beat.

In my foggy-brained state, I mistook our laundry hamper for a baby bassinet - or more precisely, Ryan's bassinet.

For a split-second, I really thought I was looking at my baby's bassinet, neatly positioned next to my side of the bed - the place I had planned on after his birth - and that he was sound asleep in it. Once I cleared the cobwebs from my brain enough to know that it was our hamper and not a bassinet, I realized I was the victim of a nasty form of a mirage. I pouted, grumbled an expletive, and turned my back away from the outside of the bed.

I suppose "seeing" Ryan's bassinet was my version of a parched man's oasis: I wanted to see and believe it so badly that I almost had myself convinced it was real, when in actuality it was my eyes and brain playing tricks on me.

Haven't I been subjected to enough nasty tricks? Why do the cosmic gods feel the need to pile one more on?

I hope they got a good, hearty laugh at my expense with their latest prank.

I ~want~ to believe

After seeing the movie, "The Polar Express," at Christmastime, I haven't been able to shake off the phrase that the main character says regarding Santa Claus: "I want to believe." The little boy can't hear the ring of Santa's sleigh bells because he doesn't whole-heartedly believe in Santa's existence.

That's how I feel about God.

I wasn't the most spiritual of persons before losing Ryan, but after he died, I can honestly say that I had no problem cursing God and what He allowed to happen to my baby. I mean, if God's love is so perfect, why would He do something so horrible - to Ryan, Mike and me.

I was also unable to blindly believe that, "God has bigger plans for Ryan," or "it's God's will," as I often heard as people around me tried to comfort me after his death. I thought, "Bullshit. Why in the world would He choose an innocent baby and break the hearts of everyone who anticipated that baby's arrival? A loving God would never do such a thing."

Much of my time since Ryan's passing has been spent trying to repair that broken relationship with God and make sense out of losing my sweet baby. I'm trying - I really am - but my baby dying is a bitter pill to swallow and makes it difficult to openly accept that God's love surrounds me in my darkest hour. Most times during my darkest hour, love is the last thing I feel.

I'm so utterly confused by all of this. Did I royally piss off God, and my retribution for that horrible misdeed was having Ryan die? Was it really the will of God - whether intentional or circumstantial? Or, is God really blameless, having possibly watched those tragic events, powerless to change the outcome - just as He did when His own Son died?

Maybe Ryan's death is my ultimate test of my belief - will something so tragic and unimaginable be enough to cause my trust in God to falter.

So, I'm left with all these messy feelings and thoughts to sort out. I'm trying not to abandon my beliefs and hope that on my more bitter days, God isn't too harsh in His judgment of me.

I can faintly hearing His bell ringing in the distance ... hopefully, in me keeping the faith, that bell will ring even louder and never stop.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Picture perfect

During today's lunch, I decided to peruse my fellow mother-in-mourning's online photo album. "K" has some wonderful mini-albums, celebrating all sorts of family milestones, home renovations, holidays, and vacations, and it's wonderful to see those moments in time so lovingly captured.

I love looking at photo albums - I could look at them for hours, long after anyone else's interest has waned. I've always felt that a picture truly is worth a thousand words ... and then some.

I continued through K's pictures, enjoying each grouping, until I came to one section that stopped me in my tracks, figuratively speaking.

There I was, looking at pictures that were all-too-familiar - pictures of a happier time - where I could've taken the heads of Mike and myself and pasted them into the pictures of K and her beloved husband, or vice versa.

There were the nursery progression shots. There were the proud baby-belly shots. There were the pictures of the gifts and supplies. And, there were the innocent and happy smiles of a couple anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first child.

I have those same pictures that were snapped during those blissful nine months. God ... what an innocent and naive time that was, before our lives were forever changed.

Everything in those pictures was perfect - in my version and in K's. I remember it so well that I can almost smell the fresh paint from the nursery walls. I remember the sense of accomplishment when I successfully diapered my Cabbage Patch kid. I remember the way my heart smiled when I finished painting the wooden letters that spelled out "R Y A N" - the name I wouldn't share with anyone before his joyous arrival. I remember neatly stacking the diapers and checking that the crib sheets were properly and safely tucked in. I remember the excitement of leaving for the hospital the morning Ryan was born, smiling the biggest smile I had to offer for the last of my belly shots.

If only everything now was as perfect as it was in those pictures ...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

My consolation prize

Today in the mail we received a U.S. savings bond that was issued as part of the healthy pregnancy program through our medical insurance carrier. I enrolled in it just after my pregnancy with Ryan was confirmed and never gave it a second thought. It just seemed like the right thing to do and enrollment enabled me to call their "hotline" if I ever had a question regarding my pregnancy. Luckily, I never had to make a phone call based on first-time mom jitters, and I was always praised by the nurses when they'd call to check in on me for being so diligent about my diet and weight gain. I worked so hard to ensure Ryan's health, but it didn't do any good.

I don't have a baby, but I've got a savings bond!


What a heck of a runner-up prize.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wiping out on Memory Lane

Why do I do self-destructive things to myself? Do I feel that I'm not tormented enough by the more painful memories of Ryan's all-too-short life, that I find it necessary to pile more on my already-loaded shoulders?

That's exactly what I did to myself this morning, though.

I started poking around on the pregnancy board I frequent, looking up tips and tricks on becoming pregnant, since I seem to need all the help I can get in that department. I started out innocently enough - honestly, I did. But, somewhere along the way I took a detour and wound up reading old posts from me and to me - all of which were from a much happier and carefree time. That time, back when I was naive and unaware of the horror that awaited me at the end of my nine-month journey. And, that's when I tripped and landed flat on my face.


Stupid, stupid girl! What in God's name was I thinking!?

I mean, I lived those horrible minutes, hours and days, not knowing if my beloved little boy was going to live or die - why would I willingly go back to that time? My stomach was in knots during that time, standing by Ryan's NICU bassinet, knowing there was nothing I could do to change what was unfolding before my eyes. I literally was an innocent bystander, being plowed over by practically the worst circumstances life has to offer.

And, yet, I went back to "that place" today, and it was almost as if I had no control to stop or derail myself. I had been feeling so much better, somewhat like the person who existed before August 11. Then I go and do this - what the hell was that all about? Now I'm sitting here, all emotional and sad and dwelling on the bad instead of the good that's come out of Ryan's little life.

I guess that's what I get for playing in traffic.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Correction ...

After I reread my "Not again" post, I decided that it came off more harshly than I had intended. Unfortunately, my anger over another celebrity pregnancy ended up sounding like I was frowning upon any non-conformist family situation.

First off, I'm the last person in the world who should be wagging the finger of shame at anyone else's choice in familial arrangements. I had a pretty unconventional upbringing which I've never been ashamed or embarrassed about.

My parents shouldn't have become parents - period. But, luckily for me, my grandmother stepped in to do the job my parents couldn't and wouldn't do. And, when I turned 11, my grandmother petitioned the court to become my legal mother. When "mom" passed away when I was 16, I was sent to live with my uncle and his awful wife. Not a pleasant situation, but, there were few options available - and I certainly didn't want to end up as a ward of the state. But, I digress ...

My post from last week was meant to bash Brangelina and all the hub-bub surrounding their "We're Pregnant!" announcement. As an outsider looking in at the hyped-up lives of celebrities, there seem to be far too many fleeting, irresponsible relationships, where children are brought into the world without a second thought. Or, there are the staged relationships, where the only reason a couple is a couple is to breed or raise their celebrity status. There's no love. There's no commitment. And that's what I'm so tired of seeing in the headlines.

I have many friends who choose to lead their lives and raise their children outside of the popular norm. I certainly don't belittle them for their choice; it's just not the choice I'd make for my life. But, their decision doesn't make them any less committed to their relationship or any less capable in their parental role. It's just different than me.

Now, excuse me while I have a big ol' piece of humble pie ...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

We've got fuzz!

After spending the last few months wondering if every strand on my head was going to fall out, I'm happy to report that the excessive shed has finally stopped and this morning I noticed that I'm working on replacement fuzz.


I guess this was a big concern for me since I lost quite a bit of hair when I was 12 years old. The dermatologist attributed the loss to stress: My grandmother - my caregiver, guardian, step-up-to-the-plate parent - had just been diagnosed with cancer and suddenly my comfortable little existence took a turn into the land of the unexpected. And, although I didn't realize I was worried about "Grammy's" illness, subconsciously it was wreaking havoc on me and manifesting itself through my hair loss.

So, when I started to lose handfuls of hair in the shower a few weeks after delivering and losing Ryan, my old fears resurfaced. Was I actually losing SO much hair because of the stress and grief over losing my baby, or was this really what happens to most new mothers, whether their baby lived or not?

I think I can now rest easy, knowing that my hair loss was in fact completely normal, and now my hair is growing back.

The odd part is that it's growing back like baby fuzz. It's super soft and fine and even has the same sheen that a child's hair has.

Kinda ironic that I'm the one with the baby hair and not my little boy ...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Not again!

I'm slowly losing my patience with the world and its willingness to accept and embrace the illegitimate - or staged - pregnancies of the stars.

The latest stars to rub my nose in the "I'm going to have a baby and you aren't" dirt are/is "Brangelina."

Once again, my initial reaction is, "Fuck."

Yes, I do take news like this a little personally, even though I know it technically has nothing to do with me whatsoever. But, the media - whether the form be television, radio, newspaper, or the internet - all but chokes me with this supposed newsworthy fodder and I'm so sick of it. Now I can understand why a person would want to become a recluse and shut out the bizarre outside world!

Why is it that couples in non-committed, fleeting relationships have a night of sloppy, unprotected sex, and WHAM!, they're blessed with a child? Am I the only person who sees the unfairness in situations like this? And, celebrities seem to condone this sort of lifestyle and shun the traditional values which families should be built upon.

Yes, this is my opinion of how the world should be. Just as it's my opinion that my baby should still be alive.

But, regardless of the circumstances which led to this new life being created, I am genuinely hoping that his or her arrival into this world is uncomplicated and healthy.

And, now a honking fever blister the size of Texas has erupted at the corner of my mouth.


Five long months

How can it be that five months have already come and gone since my beautiful angel left this life?

It hardly seems fair. Actually, it isn't fair at all.

I try to tell myself and - actually believe what I'm telling myself - that he's in a better place, but my heart still aches and longs for his earthly presence.

I hate this ...