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, September 26, 2006

Setting the record straight

Although I've spent the last couple weeks keeping a low blogger profile, allowing the dust settle from the comment explosion over my Britney post, I've also spent some of that time really thinking about some of the comments left in response to that post.

There were more comments that followed on the heels of the original ones by "Britney," but I deleted them because they were absolutely atrocious. As I read the words of hate boiling over from that anonymous commenter, I just couldn't fathom that a mother who claimed to have also lost her baby could be so brutal and unsupportive of another mother in mourning.

What shocked me the most about the comments was the implication that the size of a mourning mother's grief is relative to the time she had with her baby. I certainly can't speak for anyone else's grief or losses but my own, but I would never presume that my feelings were more or less justified than someone whose baby was miscarried at nine weeks or born still or who died at a few weeks of age. It's a devastating loss, regardless of the circumstances, and making the comparison of "my grief is bigger than yours" is just reprehensible.

I only know my own personal grief over losing Ryan, which is far worse than any of my other losses combined, but the fact that I only "knew" him for 40 weeks and two days doesn't lessen my bond with him or my love for him ... nor should it. Ryan was conceived out of the enormous amount of love my husband and I share for one another, and his life will always be the beautiful tie that binds our hearts and souls together.

That pure love - and unending sadness over his absence - doesn't wane because we only had mere hours together instead of the decades that most parents share with their children. We love our son as much as any parent can love their child, living or not, so our love can't be minimized or dismissed simply because our time together was cut terribly short by tragically unforeseen circumstances.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A belated celebration

These pictures were taken during Ryan's special time a few weeks ago. I was especially happy and surprised because I happened to catch some of these pictures at just the perfect time. I couldn't have planned it any better!

My gardens endured an especially hot and dry summer, but I think most everything was salvaged. And I even got a few surprises.

The angel garden on the morning of Ryan's birthday. This ended up being a hodge-podge of a garden, but it's done very well. On the left I have blue morning glories and white moonflowers climbing the trellis. Along the back I have dusty millers, there's tons of white alysum throughout, white dianthus, a purple balloon flower, hens 'n' chicks (just to the left of the statue) and various types of creeping plants. The tree behind the cherub statue (center) is a Kouza White Dogwood, which blooms in late spring. Most of the colors in this garden are white and blue, except for a few stubborn red and pink begonias from three years ago. After they re-established themselves so well, I didn't have the heart to move them.

My angel face rose - which hadn't bloomed in nearly two months due to the extreme heat - had three blooms that opened on his birthday. They smelled so wonderful that I was tempted to snip off one bloom and bring it inside, but I just couldn't bear to do it. They were perfect just the way they were.

A close-up of a morning glory with a little visitor.

Ryan's tree has been doing well, but I was so happy to see a new baby branch (the redder area) emerge during his special week.

A beautiful orchid and an arrangement of roses that friends sent.

This is Tumbleweed, an eastern screech owl. He was injured (possibly hit by a car), but rescued and rehabilitated at the Carolina Raptor Center. A good friend and her Bug "adopted" Tumbleweed in Ryan's name. He's a tiny little bird, but it's obvious by looking at him that he's a fighter - just as Ryan was.

Here's the one normal thing I did for Ryan on his birthday. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I think a set of tiny hands might have had a pretty good time diving into that frosted goodness.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Please. No more comments.

This is not what I intended or expected from my ranting entry from a few days ago. I was having a horribly emotional day and decided to vent about what was bothering me. I obviously struck an unintentional nerve or two, but I don't think a public lynching is going to solve anything - regardless of which side of the argument you're defending.

I realize that many of you who read blogs regularly feel that you get a true sense of the writer from the words they share. And, while that is true in many ways, a certain amount of mystery remains. I'd hate to be defined solely by what I choose to share here, when there is far more to me and my life than what is contained within these entries. There are many things I don't share here for a variety reasons, whether they be too personal or private a matter or just trivial ramblings, but those situations still affect me and my moods. And, whether the readers of this blog are privy to those other circumstances or not shouldn't matter.

My grief over losing Ryan and my sadness at dealing with unknown fertility are two big issues that go hand in hand. They are there every day, all day. The strong emotions that these situations bring to the surface are very powerful and aren't easily shaken off. Add to that recipe my father's unexpected death, as well as other pressing private issues I don't discuss here, and I think I'm entitled to have a really bad day once in a while.

I never said that grief was pretty. It's not. It's a horrible, horrible feeling and everyone handles it differently. Most days, I juggle the emotions pretty well, keeping all of them in the air simultaneously, all with a big smile on my face. Some days, however, I lose my coordination and those balls come crashing down at once. Those are the days that are as bad as it gets when you're grieving heavily.

Again, I can't apologize about how I feel. It is what it is.

Long story short, I've had enough of the hostility and don't want it to continue here. My bad day was several days ago and is over and done, so I won't allow a stranger to get us all riled up instead of just letting it go.


Friday, September 15, 2006

A few words from the "editor"

This is specifically directed to the coward who left an ugly comment in response to my last entry. If you're not that person, please don't take what I'm saying to heart. However, if you are indeed that troll, please read carefully.

I have absolutely no respect for people who choose to remain anonymous when leaving comments in other's blogs - especially comments as vituperative as the one made regarding my feelings about Britney's latest addition and the circumstances surrounding her fame.

My blog is my place to write about whatever I choose, whether others agree with my views or not. If someone doesn't like it, then they don't need to read it. Period.

And I quote:

the only way to get what we ant out of life is to stop pretending that we're better or more deserving than anyone else. God frowns upon people that speak ill of other people, and do you really think Ryan is smiling down on you from heaven right now while you're complaining that someone else is having babies?? people chose to live their lives the way they want to and its not you or anyone else's job to judge them. Maybe when youre less judgmental god will see fit to bless you with another child, but until then.. Its just lessons being learned. I feel for you but seriously.. was that necessary???

You bet your ass it was necessary! And I don't for a moment regret a single word from that entry - or any other, for that matter.

Of all that I have lost in my 37 years, my emotions are something that can't ever be taken away. They're mine and I make no apologies for how I feel since they come straight from my heart. And, unless you have spent even just one minute in my shoes and have experienced the enormous amount of grief and hardship that I have, you have absolutely no right to hide behind your religion in order to criticize me.

Shame on you. Shame on YOU for pretending to be enlightened enough to be in a position to judge me or anyone else faced with tragic life situations.

Can you feel your God frowning upon you? You should, because He most certainly is.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hit me baby, one more time

Ms. Spears and her degenerate, hip-hop-wanna-be husband have brought another child into the world.


Hopefully while the doctor was fishing around in her belly, looking for the newest bebe, she was spayed to spare the world of any further Spears/Federline offspring. And maybe, just maybe, the same delivering doc tripped with a scalpel in-hand and "accidentally" castrated her super-fertile husband.

(A girl like me can dream, right?)

I have not one iota of empathy towards this has-been pop tart or the situation she willingly brought on herself. She asked to be a celebrity; she's done everything in her power to be a celebrity. And, with that type of career choice comes public scrutiny and ridicule, whether it's wanted or not. And, when you're tired of the glitzy heat on the street, you can't just appear on television one evening and beg for privacy while your ginormous tits are spilling out of your blouse and expect to be taken seriously by the public who made you who you are. And "tastefully" posing nude - while with child, no less - for a national magazine doesn't get that privacy plea across too well, either. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that these acts were nothing more than self-indulgent publicity stunts to further bolster her into the spotlight.

This news is a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

In the 13 months since my own baby died, she's been blessed with two souls. Not one, but two.

Okay, seriously, when is it my turn?

Monday, September 11, 2006

An unexpected trigger

Anyone who knows me just the teenist of bits knows how much I adore gardening and the beautiful birds my efforts have attracted. I've followed the advice of many gardening books and I'm rather proud of the avian oasis I've created.

Despite how dorky this may sound, I love to sit on my back porch and watch the birds execute Matrix-like maneuvers mid-air while fighting for the sweetest spot at the feeders. Small flocks of them land in our yard to graze for the smallest nibbles of a treat after we've mowed the grass. And, while we're out refilling their feeders, their resounding chirps and calls alert their friends and family that they'd better shake a tail feather if they want some fresh-from-the-bag grainy goodness.

We've tried our best to make our yard a welcome and safe haven to our feathered friends, protecting them from natural predators to the best of our abilities and providing for them when the environment doesn't. But yesterday, unfortunately, one of my feathery friends lost her life to her biggest predator of all: Man.

Mike and I had just sat down to enjoy our morning coffee when we heard a "thud" against one of our back windows. We both suspected what generated such an unexpected noise, so we jumped up and ran out the back door to investigate.

Lying just a few feet from the house was a female Golden Finch, obviously stunned by her collision with the glass window pane. At first glance, she seemed only dazed - as has happened to many a bird over the years at our house - but upon closer inspection, I saw that she was in a dire way.

I gently scooped up her delicate body in my hand and cradled her in my palm. She was visibly panicked, and I feared the worst once I noticed her shallow and erratic breathing and her inability to lift her head. I slowly sat down in one of the chairs on our patio, trying not to further frighten this terrified little bird.

So, as I sat at my patio table, shielding this poor broken bird from any further harm, my memories returned to those final moments in the NICU with Ryan, where I was helpless to change what was unfolding before my eyes.

I sat there, tears streaming down my face, knowing that the end was inevitably near for this tiny creature, and all I could do was make her final moments as peaceful as possible.

A few minutes later, her eyes closed and she was gone. I carried her tiny lifeless body to the back of our yard, and placed her next to our statue of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals.

I know she was "only" a bird, but sharing in her last precious moments paralleled those solemn moments with Ryan, where all I could do was pray for a peaceful end to the pain and suffering.

I never imagined I would ever feel the depth of that emotion again, much less because of a backyard bird, but those feelings came rushing back and felt as raw as they did last August.

I guess situations like that are called "triggers" for a reason, huh?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

An unhealthy dose of reality

My best friend and I have been best friends for 26 years. During that time, we've seen lots and been through many of life's celebrations and tragedies.

Although we've dealt with emotional ups and downs for more than 20 years, we still weren't aptly equipped to handle the feelings that surfaced after Ryan's death.

During my pregnancy, she was practically an outsider. She knew that I was pregnant and constantly checked on my progress via telephone (we live 500 miles apart), but she never saw the physically pregnant me. The me who was glowing. The me with the cute, swollen belly. The me who was more than ready to be a mom. Plus, she's never been pregnant and never had a desire to be a mom, so she doesn't understand how a pregnancy transforms your heart into something bigger than you had ever dreamed possible.

So, she couldn't possibly understand the depth of my pain at losing Ryan. In her mind, he only existed in ultrasound pictures and through a recording of a heartbeat played through the telephone.

The past year has really stressed our friendship and tested its limits. When I'm feeling especially sad, the last thing I want to hear is how fucking wonderful and trouble-free someone else's life is. But those are the things my best friend chooses to talk about incessantly. And, sometimes it seems as though she's rubbing my nose in the fact that my life is pretty fucking shitty at the moment, while she's sitting pretty, without a care in the world and oblivious to my pain.

I realize that sounds extremely bitter and selfish, but that's the reality of how my grief has changed me and my feelings. I can't always celebrate when everyone else is, because sometimes it DOES make me feel worse about the course my life has taken the last few years. I'm not expecting everyone to be somber and pissy, but a toned-down version of happy would do just fine. Besides, when perkiness is overdone, it seems phony and patronizing to the recipient.

My best friend called me while I was on my way home from work on Thursday. I debated about taking her call - especially while driving - but ultimately I answered and that's when our friendship took yet another twist in the road.

After some idle chit-chat, she flat-out asked me why I always sound so down. I wasn't going to flat-out tell her that sometimes her calls make me sad, but I felt I couldn't share how I really feel. But, she kept prodding and poking at me till I finally shared some of the ugly thoughts in my head.

I'm sure if we had been having this conversation in person, her face would've gone white and her eyes would've bugged out of her head after hearing some of the messed up shit my mind has come up with since Ryan died.

Perceptions are transformed and feelings change on a moment's notice. Sometimes you hurt so badly that you think you'll die from the pain in your heart. Fear is a constant companion, especially when actively trying for another, hopefully healthy, pregnancy outcome. Healing from such a devastating loss isn't as pretty or as easy as movies make it seem. It's real life and it hurts all around a lot of the time.

Needless to say, after verbally vomitting my heart and soul, my best friend began to see that there's far more going on with me than what appears on the surface.

It's an ugly little world, my head. And sometimes I hate what I've become because of it.