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, June 29, 2006

The "what-if's" are back

Yes, they're back - unless they never really went away and I was merely looking beyond them. Regardless, they're here, front and center, and sending my mind into a tail-spin once again.

Here are the what-if's that danced through my mind today:

What if I hadn't waited so long to get my ass in gear to start a family? Would there be a living child in my life? Would there be a few?

What if I hadn't adhered to society's rules - as well as the fear my rigid upbringing instilled in me - and had had a baby before Mike and I were properly wed? Was I too hung up on not being the unwed mother statistic, that I didn't realize I could be another kind of statistic which is far worse?

What if I had had a child out of wedlock? Would I have been damned? Or, am I already damned since I engaged in pre-marital sex, and my punishment has already been doled out in the form of Ryan's death?

What if I never have a living child? How will that affect me and my future? Will Mike still love me the way he does now, where he still has that hope that we'll be a complete family, or will I once again be abandoned if he decides that the "for better or worse" he agreed to in 2003 is actually worse than anything he could've imagined?

What if Ryan really was the last chance I'll ever have at becoming a real mother? Why can't I know with certainty whether it'll happen or not? Why is there all this torturous testing and waiting ... and waiting some more?

What if I'm tempting fate by pursuing fertility treatment? Is my selfishness taking over, blinding me to the obvious that the rest of the world can clearly see but don't have the heart to point out to me?

What if I never stop asking the "what-if's"? Will I end up wearing one of those funny white coats?

Friday, June 23, 2006

More news

I have been a lousy member of the blogging community as of late. Life has been running in high gear, and I've barely been able to keep up. I'm like the hamster on the exercise wheel that's spinning too fast, whose furry ass flies up into the back of the wheel because his little feet can't run as fast as the wheel is spinning. That's me - minus the furry ass.

In my defense, though, Mike's computer is still being serviced, the modem on my beloved Mac has crapped out, and we've been crazy-busy at work. Those conditions aren't exactly conducive to making profound blog entries ... or to reading my favorite blogs.

There is good news, though: My dad was released from the hospital (till next week's big surgery) on Wednesday, my birthday. I couldn't have asked for a better present. Hearing his chipper voice and knowing he was in the comfort of his own home, sitting in his favorite chair, was a wish come true.

Despite the events of the last 10 days, what unfolded really was a blessing, because had he had a seizure or irregular heartbeat while on the operating table during next weeks's procedure, the outcome could've been tragic. Someone was looking out for him ... or, at least I hope that "someone" is looking out for him and will continue to do so.

And, yes, I celebrated another birthday on Wednesday. It didn't start off in a celebratory fashion, but I felt more giddy as the day wore on. Originally, I wanted to be anonymous the way I am the other 364 days of the year, but then I realized that there are people who want to celebrate my birthday, because they're happy I was born. And, I can relate to that feeling of pure joy of celebrating the day of someone you love. I'll always be happy and thankful for little Ryan's birth day, the first of which is a mere seven weeks off.

The day was strange, though, because I kept reliving last year's birthday, which couldn't have been more perfect. I was 30 weeks pregnant and the night of my birthday, we attended our first childbirth class. Ryan was especially active that night, and I kept giggling as he tumbled and poked at his "house," making his presence known as best he could. Afterwards, the three of us went out for milkshakes. I smiled so much that my face literally hurt. I have no doubt that that will be the fondest of birthday memories.

Next weekend we're heading to visit my dad during his recovery period. It will be a short visit, but it's long overdue and I'm actually excited about making the trip. His illness has brought out a new, softened side of him, and I can really feel that he and I are growing closer. I hate that it's taken something so dramatic to make that happen, but I'm grateful nonetheless. Better late than never.

Hopefully I won't be computer disabled for much longer so I can fully jump back in the swing of things. In the meantime, don't forget about me!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Small miracles

First off, thank you for all the thoughtful and caring comments left last week regarding my dad's health. I haven't ignored them; Mike's computer still isn't back from being repaired and now my computer isn't acting right, so I can only get online from work for the time being.

My dad is doing alright and is stable. He did in fact have a seizure last week, which caused him to fall in his kitchen. It was also discovered that his heart skips some beats while he sleeps - but jumps right back into rhythm once he awakens. To remedy this, a pacemaker is being put in place today, and he's on anti-convulsives to keep the seizures at bay. On Friday afternoon he had a heart catheterization done - just to be certain there weren't any other problems - and it came back good. So now the doctors are just trying to keep him as healthy and stable as possible till next Thursday, the proposed day of his operation.

I spoke with my dad Saturday morning and he reiterated that he didn't want me to see him "this way," so I'm respecting that request, and we're instead heading to see him over the long July 4th weekend - after the operation. There's still some question about his surgery being postponed till the 1st - Medicare reasons - but in any case, we'll be there for a few days.

That's all for now, but at least I have some concrete answers and know what to expect over the next 10 days. He's in good hands and is in the best place to finally be rid of this disease, once and for all.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Scared shitless

I haven't mentioned my dad's health in a few months because I figured nothing would change before his Medicare coverage started at the beginning of July. Of course, I didn't except that his condition could deteriorate in the meantime. From how he explained what was going on - which he seemed to have downplayed to spare me from more anguish - waiting till July wouldn't compromise his overall health.

But, today everything is different.

Late last night, he sent me an e-mail, explaining that he had been admitted to the hospital and was there for 13 days for antibiotic treatment and was discharged on the 7th. He went on to say that around the 29th of this month he'll be going back into the hospital, and at that time, the surgical team will perform a 20-hour operation that will involve removal of the cancer - which, fortunately, is squamous cell carcinoma that hasn't invaded any where else in his body - as well as reconstruction of his nose and face. He also warned me that he will probably lose his right eye.

I had been trying to absorb this news all morning when I got an unexpected call from my dad's stepdaughter. She explained that my dad wasn't feeling "right" this morning and almost passed out, so he's back in the hospital. She didn't have any specific information, other than he's had three "procedures" (whatever that means), but he hadn't even been admitted yet.

Even though my dad and I have a very unconventional relationship, it doesn't hurt any less that this is all happening. I'm terrified for him, and I'm trying my best to honor his wish of me not seeing him in his current condition, but what if his situation is grave? Do I still respect his wish and stay here in North Carolina, wondering what's going on 500 miles away while he's possibly on his deathbed?

I can't believe this is happening and happening so quickly. I feel like I did when I first heard the severity of Ryan's news: I'm ready to throw up and I don't know what to do.

Ryan isn't allowed to meet his grandpa yet. No.

Do you hear me, God? It's not time ...

Monday, June 12, 2006


I hope Ryan doesn't think we're trying to replace him by trying to have another baby.

If he hadn't been taken from us, he probably would've been our one and only, and that would've been perfect.

Does he know how much Mike and I love him and miss him?

Does he know how his brief presence in my life has forever changed me?

I want to know what it's like to bring a healthy, living baby home.

I knew in my heart that he was going to be a boy, but I was too afraid to admit to that, because I was scared to be a mommy to a little boy.

There are moments when I look at Mike and my breath is taken away, because I cannot believe there is a person in this world who loves me above everything else.

When Mike hugs me, I always take in a long, deep breath of his scent because Ryan smelled the same as his daddy.

I'll never forget how my heart melted the first time Ryan looked at me and responded to my touch.

I hope God truly needed Ryan "up there" for a greater purpose than he would've served here.

Ryan's feet were perfect.

When Ryan died, part of me died along with him.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

"I'll Be There For You"

Through the loss of my beloved baby Ryan ten months ago today, I gained a wonderful friendship with Kristin, who understands the enormous hole left in your heart when you lose your baby.

She has been there for me when it matters the most, and she manages to surprise me with the sweetest of gestures. I hate that it took losing our boys to forge our friendship, but I'm eternally grateful that she reached out to me in my time of need. That's what a true friend does.

Because of that, she and her precious Thomas will always have a special place in my heart.

In Thomas' honor, we planted an Autumn Blaze maple tree. I had wanted to plant the same variety as Kristin's Thomas tree (Pacific Sunset), but the species is unavailable in our area. (In the background, you can see the spinning balloon that Mike gave me for Mother's Day.) This is my way of making certain that Thomas is always remembered and is my way of showing the significance his little life has had on me.

When Thomas was taken from Kristin, I became painfully aware of just how fleeting life can be, and I tried my best to treasure every moment of my pregnancy with Ryan, since I didn't know how much time we'd have together and I knew it could be gone in an instant. Little did I know back then that those treasured moments - Ryan tucked away safely in my belly - would be the greatest we'd ever have.

Kristin also sent a baby Colorado Spruce when we lost most of the trees at the back of our property to developers. I've been protecting it from the rigors of an already-steamy summer by keeping it in a shaded spot on our front porch, and it has shown its appreciation by sprouting new branches-to-be. Every morning on my way to work, I can't help but smile when I pass this tiny tree, which is barely more than a branch. I know that, despite its teeny existence now, one day it will grow to be a beautiful tree, providing food and shelter to all sorts of critters.

Thank you, K, for a friendship that I can never thank you enough for. You've taught me so much about myself and about what it means to be a true friend.

Friday, June 09, 2006


He would've been 10 months old today. Double-digits.

And, 10 months later, I still can't believe he's not here.

God ... I miss him so much.

It really isn't always about me, is it?

I almost wrote about this particular subject matter several months ago, because it was really bothering me how a friend of mine had abandoned our friendship after Ryan died. I saw her at Ryan's memorial service and haven't heard from her since then.

I had figured that she and her husband had decided that they didn't want to "hang" with people who obviously have lousy luck. And, I know that people do things like this, because they're afraid that that bad luck will rub off on them. I only know this because several friends of mine admitted that that was the reason they didn't keep in better touch with me during and immediately after my divorce, and then again in 2004 when I miscarried. They were afraid that what happened to me would happen to them. Bad luck isn't contagious, luckily, but it hurt that my supposed friends left me high and dry in my greatest times of need.

So, I figured this friend had gone by the wayside for the same reason. When someone is a regular part of your life and that suddenly changes, what are you supposed to think? And, this wasn't a casual friend, either. She was the first friend I made after we moved to North Carolina, and it was great that our husbands got along famously, too. We used to pet-sit each other's animals, and she was even our emergency contact for our house alarm company. She helped me plan Ryan's memorial service since her father-in-law is a funeral director, and I had been at several social gatherings where her family and in-laws were present. We had even joked that Ryan would be their daughter's boyfriend, since they would've been just a year apart in age. (And, if our pregnancy in 2004 had come to fruition, there would've been just a three-month difference between our baby and theirs.) I'd say that those circumstances show that we were more than just casual acquaintances.

After Ryan died, I didn't actively pursue many of my friends for numerous reasons, but mostly because I wanted and needed my own space - room to breathe and distance from everything. And, I certainly don't think that was selfish of me. I needed time to gather my thoughts and deal with my emotions. Who wouldn't need that mental break after a tragedy barges in and destroys their life?

As month after silent month rolled by, I became more convinced that I had lost a dear friend because my baby died. And, the onus wasn't going to be on me to call or contact her. I already had enough on my plate and had made enough involuntary sacrifices, and I've grown tired of chasing friends who won't make the time and effort to behave as friends should.

Last night, though, Mike received a phone call from my friend's husband. This seemed odd to me, given that his wife and I were always the chatty ones, but the husbands didn't exchange much more than a "hi" and "bye" by phone.

Unfortunately, my friend and her husband have fallen on bad times in their relationship and are divorcing. No break-up is pleasant, but apparently their situation is beyond terrible, for numerous reasons.


Who's the shitty friend now? It's come to this, all because I wouldn't swallow a handful of fucking pride and pick of the damn phone. And, I could kick myself for thinking this failed friendship was all about me and what I was going through, rather than stopping to think that maybe other people have shit enter their lives, too, that may prevent them from being the kind of friend that they may want to be.

I hope I don't choke on that pride later today when I call my friend to check on her during her time of need.

Friday, June 02, 2006


For a very, very long time, I never wanted children. It's hard to believe that I once felt this way, considering how strongly I feel about wanting children now - or one living, healthy child.

I've been thinking about why I did this U-turn and what might have influenced me to feel so adamantly about not wanting to be a mother. Was my first marrriage really that unhealthy that deep down I knew I didn't want my ex-husband to be the father to my child(ren)? Did my own disjointed and dysfunctional childhood lead me to believe that I would fall short as a parent since I had no solid role models to follow? Or, did I change my mind because of my biological clock, knowing I had a limited amount of time to make it happen?

I guess all of those reasons are partly true. The biggest reason I want my own family is to have what I've never had: Love.

I've never had a mother-daughter relationship with my mother - ever. In fact, it's a miracle I'm alive today, considering the lack of common sense my mother displayed on a regular basis in her care for me when I was a baby. I'll spare you the numerous stories that were repeated to me as a child, but some of the situations were atrocious. Sometimes I wonder if my mother really did know what she was doing and was deliberately trying to harm me. I know that's an awful, fucked-up thing to say about your own mother, but we all know that there are some mothers in this world who are capable of something so heinous as killing their own flesh and blood.

My dad didn't receive any parent-of-the-year awards, either. When I was about five years old, he had a job interview and I went along, only to be left in his locked car in the sweltering summer heat. Luckily, a passerby noticed my sobbing and discomfort and coaxed me out of the car. (I know - the situation could've taken an even worse turn, but luckily there were still decent people in the world back then to help a child instead of harming one.) The nice stranger took me into the business where my dad was interviewing and found him. My father didn't get the job. Small wonder.

And, together, my parents were a train wreck. They left me home alone - for several hours - when I was four. Better yet, I was locked out of the house ... deliberately. Luckily, the nosy neighbor noticed me outside by myself and thought to ask where my parents were. Within the hour, my grandmother showed up to whisk me away to her home, all thanks to the neighbor my dad constantly bitched about.

My parents split up when I was six and my father was granted custody; I guess the courts felt he was the lesser of two evils. My mother didn't agree with the decision, so she kidnapped me and hid me with a low-life family who lived in a house that wasn't much more than a shack. There was no heat or running water, and barnyard animals roamed around freely in this family's yard. Again, luckily, my father - with the help of my grandmother and great-grandmother - found where my mother had enrolled me in school and "stole" me away from her as I was exiting the school bus one October morning.

So, yes, my definitions of what family is and what love is supposed to be were pretty distorted, based on my own very unusual childhood experiences. I think all of those circumstances affected and influenced me well into my twenties, which is why I didn't feel comfortable becoming a mom. I mean, what did I know about being a good parent? I didn't think I had any business bringing a child into the world because I had nothing positive to offer him or her.

After many years of soul-searching, healing and counseling, I now know that I do have a lot to offer in my role as a parent. If nothing else, I know what not to do. I know not to let history repeat itself. I have learned to love in the way I longed for as a little girl. I want to be able to love my babies the way all children should be loved.

All of those newly realized feelings and emotions sparked that desire for my own family. Once I met Mike, I instantly knew that he was the man who should be the father to my future child(ren).

Mike couldn't have reaffirmed my decision more strongly, as he displayed boundless amounts of love towards me and Ryan while I was pregnant. And, during those two tumultuous days of Ryan's life, he was a better parent to our son than I had ever imagined possible of anyone.

As our hearts were being ripped to pieces, his love for me and Ryan never faltered, and I know he would've given his own life if it could've spared Ryan's.

That's what being a family and being loved is all about. Finally, I understand.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

91 degrees and rising

Ah, yes. Summer is here in North Carolina.

I'm acutely aware of this, because, on top of all the other shit we've been dealing with (which is why I've been a naughty, naughty blogger), our air conditioning decided to sieze up just in time for the temperatures to soar well into the 90s.

Maybe there is ONE measly good thing about this situation: At least I'm not pregnant in this heat without A/C.

Yes, that's an extremely selfish statement, thinking only of MY comfort and convenience, but, any woman who has been pregnant during the stifling summer months would agree that being cool is one of the greatest luxuries and biggest priority while sporting a big ol' preggo belly. If this had happened last year at this time, you can bet your ass that I would've been spending a few nights at some hotel while Mike tackled pet-sitting and the repair appointment. Again, selfish but true - and I make no apologies for being honest that I'm a spoiled prima donna.

And, as my/our rotten luck would have it, the repair work doesn't fall under warranty, so our almost-empty pockets will need to cough up several hundred dollars. Why am I not surprised by this news? Our house is only three years old, so it defies logic that the A/C would need servicing so soon, but it seems to be par for the course these days. Expect the unexpected.

I really hate that I've become so cynical, but it comes so naturally nowadays.

I'm off to figure out how to get my bedroom below 90 degrees before bedtime, which is less than four hours away. Wish me luck.