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.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A bowl of chicken noodle soup

This morning as I prepared our outgoing mail, I asked Mike what flavor and what type of cake I should bake for Ryan's birthday. He immediately answered "chicken noodle soup" and flashed me his signature boyish grin.

At first, I thought he misunderstood my question. Who on earth ever heard of a cake flavored like chicken noodle soup?! Eew.

But, then I realized Mike was referring to Ryan's favorite food was while he was in utero: chicken noodle soup.

That baby of mine loved when I ate C.N. soup. No other foods I ate got the warm reception that C.N. soup got. And, I loved knowing that Ryan's reaction wasn't subtle, as that was added reassurance that he was okay in his little house.

While pregnant, I hated only being able to guess what Ryan was doing in my belly. But, luckily, any time I was worried that he hadn't moved enough that day, I knew what foods to eat to elicit a reassuring response from him. It was comforting to feel his wiggles and tumbles and pokes. Those were the moments when I felt closest to him and any loneliness I was feeling was chased away in an instant once I felt just one of his gentle flutters.

After remembering how good those C.N. soup moments were with Ryan, I decided to have a bowl for lunch, hoping to once again feel that closeness with my beloved baby.

I hope he enjoyed it, because I know I sure did.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My, how a year changes things

This is the picture I couldn't stop looking at a year ago today. Yes, I even held it sideways (just as it's posted here) so I could better make out the image of my sweet little boy as he sucked on his perfect little hand. I walked away from that ultrasound thinking that nothing could spoil my happy ending after all, and it was merely first-time-mom jitters and paranoia that had me convinced something was wrong with my baby.

God, I wish my gut instinct had been way off.

That was the last glimpse I had of my baby when he was safely tucked away in my belly and all was seemingly right with the world. I would almost lie, cheat, and steal to go back to that blissful Tuesday a year ago. And, if there were no such things as accountability and responsibility, I would go to any length to return to that one happy moment in my life. But, alas, no such possibility exists.

I still can't believe my world today is so painfully different than I thought it would be on this day. I thought I'd be hurriedly and excitedly planning Ryan's first birthday party as I watched and chased a little "franken-baby" stomping his way through our house, terrorizing the family pets. Instead, I'm trying to hold myself together to make it through a time that will forever be overshadowed by sorrow and grief, regardless of what good manages to creep into my life in the years ahead.

The events of the last year are quickly culminating in a tight knot that's lodged in my gut, and all the emotions from last summer are rushing back and bombarding me all at once. It's like standing in an open field when a sudden rain shower begins. There's no where to seek shelter, so you just stand there while you're pelted by huge raindrops, knowing it's too late to dash off to a dry spot. It's just easier resigning yourself to getting soaked down to the bone, rather than frantically trying to escape the downpour.

Since Ryan's death, I've discovered things about myself and my life that I never wanted to know. I never knew I could feel anger and disappointment when my eyes fell upon a pregnant woman. I never thought it possible that the sight of an anonymous family could reduce me to tears. I never imagined I wouldn't be pregnant by the time Ryan's first birthday rolled around. (And, at this rate, I'll be mighty lucky if I'm pregnant by the time the next one pops up.) I wouldn't have thought I'd be filled with so much self-doubt. I didn't think I'd find myself questioning God's decisions and His will and asking Him the same unanswerable questions over and over. And, I certainly never expected to feel as utterly unhappy as I do today.

But, this is, unfortunately, how dramatically I've changed in a year, whether I like it or not. I wasn't expecting these sort of changes, but rather, was expecting a new, good side of me to be revealed.

But, it might be interesting - or humorous - to see how my life changes over the next year.

Or maybe it won't.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Create your own video at One True Media

Saturday, July 15, 2006


My dad has his surgery on Thursday, and, after 24 hours, all the cancer was removed. Luckily, it hadn't spread to his brain, which was a very real and scary possibility. And, the doctors were able to save his left eye, which was an uncertainty up till the very last moment of the procedure. Unfortunately, though, during the operation it was discovered that the cancer had invaded the roof of his mouth, so that had to be removed. I think he would agree that that's a small price to pay to at least have partial sight.

He's still unconscious - and probably will be for at least the next week or so - but he's stable.

Stable is good. Very good.

After I had received all of this news last night, I couldn't help but cry. Cry because I was happy; cry because I was sad for him; cry because I was relieved; cry just because I needed to.

The last 6+ months have been hellishly traumatic for everyone involved in my dad's situation, and it seems as though we've finally turned a corner. My frustration over his lack of care is slowly waning, while my optimism is slowly returning.

Even though my father obviously needed this operation to happen much more than I, I needed this very complicated procedure to be a success. I needed to know and believe that miracles can and do happen, instead of thinking they're outcomes that only happen to other people. Urban legends, if you will. Something you hear stories about, but you never know the people in those fortunate stories.

For once, I wanted to be part of a story with a happy ending, and I am so very thankful that I am.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Where are the party favors?

You are invited to Sherry's pity party ...

Oh wait - if it's my pity party, then I suppose it might get a tad bit crowded if I invite guests, huh?

Never mind, then. But, you're certainly welcome to stay if you'd like.

I'm having one of "those" kind of days. I can't say the right thing; I can't do the right thing; and I can't even feel the right thing. I'm just a jumbled mess of emotions.

I'm becoming convinced that I really am broken, and there are invisible Band-Aids strategically placed everywhere on and in my body, keeping me from breaking apart entirely and collapsing into a massive heap of despair.

I hate days like this. It's as if there's this invisible person sitting next to me, menacingly poking at me constantly and irritating the shit out of me. I wish I could snap my fingers and everything would be instantly better. If only it were that easy to fix everything that's broken ...

Life has been so much harder and so much more disappointing in the 11 months since losing Ryan. I'm having a very difficult time finding even a sliver of joy in anything lately. Between my dad's health, our fertility issues, both mine and Mike's jobs, and Ryan's birthday lurking around the corner, I just can't help but feel very let down by everything.

The more time that lapses since the last time I held my beloved baby, the more I feel that hope is slipping through my fingers. I try as hard as I can to hold on to it, but all my frenzied grasps are in vain.

I want to be optimistic - I really do - but it takes more energy and effort than I can put forth at the moment. Most of my drive has been used up by all the upsets and disappointments that have come my way; the well is almost dry and there is no reserve.

This gloomy feeling will probably pass or improve, but right now, it feels pretty darn permanent and lonely.

Please excuse me while I go drown my sorrows in some cake.

Monday, July 10, 2006

It's just "stuff" ... right?

As anyone who has lost a baby knows, you wind up with lots of "things" that were intended for your baby who never came home. Diapers, wipes, bedding, blankies, onesies, sleepers, burp cloths, bath toys, ointments, lotions, bottles, pacifiers - the list goes on.

While Mike and I were stocking Ryan's nursery, we made the natural assumption that everything in there was his. We did what any expectant parents do: Prepare to bring a precious new life home from the hospital.

But, now how do I refer to all those unused items? Yes, they were bought for Ryan, with the intention of using them on/for him, but since he never used anything, how can those items still be lableled as his exclusively?

I feel like these items are in some sort of limbo. They're his things, but not really. They were bought for him, but he never touched any of them, so they aren't really his things.

This perplexing question came to light today after I suggested to Mike to have a teddy bear made from a receiving blanket that was going to be Ryan's. I didn't see any harm in it and thought it would be nice to have a sentimental memento that we could keep on our bed - or keep for the nursery's future occupant.

Mike immediately vetoed my suggestion and flat-out said that there's no way we're cutting up any of Ryan's things. Period. End of discussion. And, unless those "things" were to be used for Ryan's brother or sister or to be donated (at a point much further down the road), nothing would be done to alter them.

I'm really confused by all of this, because I'm the overly sensitive type and he's the hard-as-nails common-sense type, so I figured I'd be the one who'd never be able to part with my baby's "stuff." But, instead, I'm the one who sees these things as just "things," and Mike's the one who won't part with a single thing.

I'm not calloused about all of this - just practical. All of the stuff that's in Ryan's nursery is just stuff. It'll never be him and keeping those items in their pristine condition will never change the fact that he's gone and will never come back to use them. Never. Sure, there are certain items that I bought with him in mind specifically, but, for the most part, the clothing and blankets are generic supplies. But, I'm afraid that Mike is directly associating all of those things with Ryan, and by moving or altering any of those things, we're somehow betraying our baby.

This is a really touchy subject and I'm not quite sure how to approach handling it. I don't want to dismiss Mike's justification for hanging on to these things, because, obviously, he feels very strongly about keeping everything. But, it's been 11 months and I feel that it's okay for us to view all of those items differently, since they may never be used in the way we intended.

And, really, the only "stuff" that I view as Ryan's are the items in his memory box given to us at the hospital. That contains the physical part of him that we were blessed with for two days: His newborn cap, his booties, his shirt (the only clothes he ever wore), a Pampers Swaddler diaper, his blood-pressure cuff, his thermometer, his arm band, his hand and foot prints, a lock of hair taped to an index card, and the blankie we put in his isolette. By definition, those were his things, not all the stuff we felt compelled to buy.

Altering or donating those things we bought in anticipation of his arrival won't erase or change the memory of him. If all of those things disappeared right now, he'd still live on in our minds just as he does now. Forever. We don't need those physical "things" for that.

That's the "stuff" that's really important, right?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Just shoot me

Well, my RE appointment on Wednesday went flawlessly. Really, it was very uneventful and all my hormone levels were where they should be at this point in my cycle and the ultrasound looked normal as well.

The only bad thing was that the phlebotomist really bruised my arm while taking my blood. Today it's several shades of purple, blue and green. Ouch.

And, tonight is the first of eight daily injections.

Last night Mike and I watched the injectible training video and my face went white as a real person pushed a real needle into her real belly. Ouch.

I even had nightmares about this last night, wondering how I'd muster up the courage to jam that needle into my belly. Luckily I picked up a bottle of wine to help relax me a bit before the main event.

So, tonight between 6 and 8, I have an appointment with a prick.

Did I mention, "ouch"?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Just breathe ...

Tomorrow morning I go to the RE's office for bloodwork and an ultrasound and if all is well, then I'll begin the first step (Letrazole) in our treatment to hopefully get us pregnant.

I feel like I need an air-sickness bag. Seriously.

Plus, if all is in order tomorrow, that means I'll have to administer my first shot to myself on Friday night. Me - the biggest pussy in the world - inflicting pain on myself. Am I out of my ever-loving mind?

I think this whole infertility treatment may get me over my phobias of needles, pain and blood after all. Either that, or I'll run off in the opposite direction, screaming like a little bitch.

I'm doing this all for the right reason though, and my desire to have a baby outweighs all those fears ten-fold. And, after what I've already been through, this is small potatoes, right?

I just have to remember to breathe ...

Monday, July 03, 2006

"Honeydew" list

Mike and I spent Saturday night out of town, and as I was packing our overnight bag, I noticed a folded-up piece of paper at the bottom of the bag. It was a list I had written for Mike from the hospital on August 11 of last year. He had to run home to take care of things at the house before his mom arrived later that day, and he was panicked, thinking he'd forget to do something important. Funny how what I viewed as important back then doesn't mean shit to me now.

- Put out mail
- Pay Verizon bill
- Do online banking
- Empty dishwasher
- Clean up loft
- Put sheets on Aerobed
- Take baby tub out of guest bath
- Move bouncy seat out of loft
- Clean litterboxes
- Change of clothes
- Hairbrush
- Bring Ryan's "first bear" - it's in his bassinet

I wonder what my next list from the hospital will contain. Hopefully we won't have any unexpected guests so a list won't be necessary. Only one guest is invited the next time around - a guest who will hopefully be staying for the long haul and who won't care if the litterboxes have been scooped or if we're wearing two-day-old clothes.

That sounds like an ideal visit.