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.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I've managed to tweak the appearance of my blog and I decided to finally give it its proper title: Ryan was here.

I decided to give it this title because of a conversation Mike and I have had several times while trying to get pregnant again. We joke about what Ryan did inside my belly to make it his own, and how there must be cobwebs in there by now from the accommodations being vacant for so long. The cutest "theory" that Mike came up with was that somewhere in there, Ryan scrawled, "Ryan was here," just as little kids do on dirty car windows and chalkboards. You know - the occasional backwards letter, with the entire line of wording going either up or down hill.

The thought of that never fails to put a smile on my face, so I thought it was only fitting to use it as this blog's title; after all, Ryan was here and he's the inspiration for this blog.

Other than that, I haven't had much to write about. I've done so much serious thinking that my head hurts, but it seems that I've got too much space junk floating around up there to gather my thoughts enough to write about one specific incident or feeling. It's odd, because I've never experienced this before. It's almost as if the boundaries between the different areas in my life are blurred and they're spilling into each other. Weird shit.

Mike and I met with an RE on Monday and, seemingly, we're on our way to being treated for infertility. Yay. I am glad - please don't think I'm being ungrateful - but I'm disappointed that we've even had to venture down this path with all that's already happened to us. We're still in the preliminary stages, filled with lots of tests, but so far things look good. And, it was good to hear that I made the right decision by following my gut instinct and stopping the Clomid after six unsuccessful cycles. The RE agreed that it's probably not going to work if it hasn't already, and my side effects were only getting worse. The RE has made some suggestions for treatment, but we're waiting for the test results before deciding on anything definitive. The good news is that my body IS still working on its own and that in itself is a very good and relieving thing. Whew.

I haven't done much work in my garden - any of them - because I'm focusing all my energy toward nurturing our lawn. We had the backyard re-graded last fall, put down 14 tons of new soil, and re-seeded. It's slowly turning into a yard, but there are holes here and there that need patching and some extra TLC. It's nice to see more grass than bare spots, though, which is all we had had since moving there three years ago. It's now almost nice and lush enough for a set of bare baby feet to go walking on it. I have to hope and dream ...

Lots of changes - something we Cancers aren't too fond of. But, I'm rolling with it and holding on tight since I don't know what's happening next.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Random memories from last August

Over Saturday morning coffee, Mike and I exchanged our random memories and thoughts on the 54 hours of Ryan's life.

Side note: "Normal" people don't talk about things like this over coffee, do they?

54 hours isn't a long time - especially when referring to the length of a person's life - but as we talked, I was amazed at how many emotions, decisions, and actions were squeezed into that time. Everything happened so quickly, and yet so slowly.

Of all the memories we discussed, the one thing that struck both of us the hardest was how no one really explained the severity and life-threatening nature of Ryan's condition. All of the medical staff explained Ryan's treatments in their clinically stoic, almost robotic, manner without truly explaining what was wrong with his heart or how closely he was teetering on the edge of death. We always thought - since no one had mentioned to the contrary - that Ryan would eventually come home, even if that homecoming was delayed for several weeks or months by surgeries and extended hospital stays.

I never imagined he'd die, never to come home with us. I wasn't the least bit prepared for that outcome, even though I know it does unfortunately happen. If I had known - or had had an inkling that something was amiss - I wouldn't have taken his homecoming clothes to the hospital with me. So, instead, his homecoming clothes served as his funeral clothes - the only clothes I got to pick out for him to wear. The only clothes he ever wore.

The only way I knew just how seriously sick Ryan was, was when the attending doctor in the NICU asked if I wanted to hold Ryan one last time. Once the doctor asked me that, my worst fear had been confirmed and I knew that Ryan had mere minutes of life left in him. And, when the doctor turned to me, just moments after asking me if I wanted to hold Ryan, I didn't want to believe that there was nothing left that the doctors could do for my sweet baby. I truly thought they could fix him, regardless of the complexity of his condition, and they were giving up on him prematurely.

Of course, we knew the doctors weren't giving up on him; they didn't have anything left in their arsenal to help him. It was an exhaustive effort for everyone involved. And, Mike and I were trying to figure out how to go from pure elation at the birth of our baby boy to the indescribable grief at his passing just two days later.

But, despite the flurry of activity in the NICU during Ryan's last moments and our own confused emotions over what was happening, I was (and still am) thankful that our beautiful boy drifted off peacefully in my arms, with Mike embracing the two of us. That was our final moment as a family - a memory I can never change or forget - so I'm grateful that for as horrible as that moment was, at least the three of us were together so Ryan could feel the boundless love emanating from Mike and me - that same unending love that surrounded him his entire life.

Friday, May 12, 2006

"Uhhghhh ..."

If it were possible (and maybe it is), I'm sure that's the sound Mike's computer would've heaved last night as it took its last breath.

We don't know what happened since it had been functioning just fine till last night. Suddenly, an error screen popped up on the monitor, warning that something was wrong and that the emergency boot-up disk should be used.

There was some promise that all was not lost when the emergency disk seemed to be fixing and retrieving information from the hard drive. But, when we returned to check the progress a few hours later, the screen color had changed to red and included a blinking yellow message, basically telling us that the hard drive was toast.

Thank God for computer back-up systems, as well as for husbands who utilize that back-up feature. When Mike replied "Yes" to my question of "Did you back-up?" I was mildly relieved. At least we hadn't lost everything to the depths of the hard drive's black hole. Our far-too-few and only pictures of Ryan were on Mike's computer, but luckily, they had been safely burned to a CD.

For a few seconds, we stared at the blinking "dead end" message. And, then, without warning, Mike started to laugh.

He immediately apologized, as he certainly wasn't taking this new development lightly and didn't want me thinking such. But, he explained that, in light of all the shit that's gone wrong lately, it's almost become comedic when yet another bad thing happens.

I wish he weren't right about this, but he is.

It's no wonder I spend so much time waiting for the other shoe to drop, because there seems to be an endless supply of falling shoes. And, lately, instead of immediately freaking over the newest drama that isn't working out favorably, I just shrug it off and expect to be caught in a shitstorm without my umbrella or galoshes.

I mean, really, what more can I do? I obviously have no control over whether these things happen, so I just deal with them with a different attitude. I've put massive amounts of energy into fretting over situations where I am powerless to change the outcome. I'm realizing that there is so little in the world that I can control, so it's almost easier to shrug off the bad things and utter the rhetorical, "What did I expect?"

If I don't handle the bad things this way, I'll be back to beating my head against the wall while asking the unanswerable question of "Why?" Wasted energy, I tell ya. I'll never receive an answer to that question regarding any of the awful outcomes in my life, so I can't direct anymore of my energy towards that eternally looming question mark.

I don't want to meet a premature death like Mike's computer, and surely I would have if I hadn't re-wired my brain to approach situations differently.

But, still. Couldn't the stupid machine have waited to croak - at least for just a few more weeks - when it would have been easier to juggle the repair costs?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Blowing kisses to heaven

Catherine and her family haven't been far from my mind over the last few days, but today I've been especially focused on her and her middle son's first angel day.

I blew a kiss to heaven for Alex when I went out at lunch. The sky looked mesmerizing and mysterious, but there was one perfect gap in the clouds, so I sent the kiss in that direction, hoping it would arrive safely on Alex' little cheek.

I know there's so little I can do to help - and no way possible to lessen her pain - but I'm hoping that by knowing her angel is remembered by so many people everywhere, she can find the smallest amount of peace during such a difficult time.

Thanks for nothing, Hallmark

When I was pregnant with Ryan, I really thought I'd come to know what Mother's Day is supposedly all about. I thought I'd finally "get" it by being on the receiving end of a holiday which has always left me confused and lonely.

My own mother has never played an active role of my life. Never. In fact, to this very day, I have no idea if she's still living. And, oddly, I have no desire to know.

My grandmother stepped up to the mom plate, but she was my biological grandmother, not my mother. When I was a kid, my grandmother humored me by allowing me to make a big fuss over Grandparent's Day, but not Mother's Day. Even once my grandmother had adopted me, we still didn't celebrate Mother's Day. Maybe it had to do with her own sons ignoring the day and its significance, so why bother celebrating it at all.

But, I became excited last year at this time, because I thought I'd only have one more year till I'd know what it's like to be a celebrating mom - I would finally be able to understand the specialness surrounding the second Sunday in May. Instead, I'm freaking out at the thought of this holiday creeping up on me with a sinister prowess, waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce and lay me out.

Regular holidays are bad enough when your child has died; you long for their presence and mourn the memories that never came to fruition. But that emptiness cuts deeper on a day that's built around celebrating moms and their families.

What about all of us moms with invisible children? Are we supposed to be happy and joyous and all believe that bullshit Hallmark and the jewelry stores force-feed the public? Sorry, but a poem in a $3 card won't come close to fixing the irreparable wound across my heart.

I just can't get myself worked into a positive frame of mind regarding this day of acknowledgement, no matter how hard I try. And, I don't know how other people expect me to deal with this depressing day. Do I pretend I'm okay just to make everyone else comfortable so as to not disrupt their festivities?

I only know that for the rest of my life, regardless of how many children I may or may not have, Mother's Day will always be filled with dread and sadness, both for what I never had with my own mother and for what I never had with Ryan. And, it's just another day to remind me what I - as well as so many other unfortunate childless parents - lost and will forever be missing.

Monday, May 08, 2006

How can this be?

My heart is breaking right now for Catherine and her family.

I'm so terribly sad to hear of this unexpected news. I don't know what else to say that won't sound trite, but my heart is aching for them.

Catherine, you and your family are in my prayers. I wish so, so much that you weren't having to live this nightmare again. ((((HUGS))))

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Where'd that come from?

I'm frantically looking around trying to find left field, because that's obviously where my newly energized optimism has come from.

Optimism hasn't been a naturally occurring thought process for me in well over eight months, so I have one skeptical eyebrow raised. I've been a little apprehensive to believe good things will happen to me, and with so little in my life headed in a promising direction, it's almost easier to resign myself to accepting the attitude of "Oh well" instead of "Maybe."

But, this morning while driving to work, a sudden wave of renewed optimism washed over me. Actually, it was more like a tidal wave; I couldn't have missed the rush, even if I had tried my best to swim in the opposite direction. And, as corny as it sounds, I was so moved by the surge that I literally got goosebumps.

I have no idea what might have triggered this epiphany of sorts. God knows I've tried my damnedest to have a bright and cheery outlook regarding our future and another child, but most days the uncertainty and fear has far too firm a grip on me to allow any good, constructive thoughts to bubble to the surface. Sometimes it's easier to let your mind feel as battered and bruised as your broken heart, rather than pushing yourself to feel something that doesn't exist.

I'm awaiting the result of my latest progesterone test, but, oddly, I'm not worried or nervous about it the way I was a month ago. I'm confident - and optimistic - I will hear the magic number of 15 and, with that, I'll be elated to know that my body is responding per my OB's plan and treatment.

Maybe my optimism has returned, too, because my fertility chart is looking rather promising! But, I refuse to hinge my happiness on that slight possibility alone. I've been feeling different physically, but it could be nothing more than another coincidence, reaffirming that I don't know my body nearly as well as my touting.

It's frustrating, too, that so many early pregnancy symptoms mimic menstrual symptoms. Who was the genius who decided to throw that trick out at us women? There should be clear-cut guidelines: "If you have this happen, it's just your monthly bill. But, if you have this happen, then you're knocked up."

Obviously, though, I'm optimistic that we'll have another child or I wouldn't put myself through the monthly turmoil that comes with TTC. I want to believe that a special little soul has been reserved for us and will make his or her appearance when the timing is right.

In the meantime, I'll try to remain impatiently optimistic as I keep the "what-if's" in check.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I survived

The last thing I remember hearing on Friday before I peacefully slipped off into my sedative-induced slumber was Gloria Gaynor's disco classic, "I Will Survive."

Certainly apropos, considering how terrified I was of being put under and not waking up again. Thank goodness for small blessings.

I'm back in the real world again and happy to report that my wisdom tooth extraction recovery - at least so far - has been very easy and pain-free. Too bad everything in my life isn't this effortless ... the desired result coming to fruition with no surprise developments or let-downs along the way.

I could really get used to predictable outcomes like that.