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.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I'm asking that unanswerable question of "why" again after reading Kristin's blog.

I'm so incredibly sorry and shocked by this news. And, my words are sadly inadequate during a time like this.

I just don't understand any of it. I can't understand how the universe can be so cruel to two people who are as caring and wonderful as Kristin and her Beloved are.

Please, keep them in your prayers ... and their precious twins, too.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Who's still with me?

Sorry to leave you all hanging with last week's teaser entry. I just didn't want to jump the gun by sharing the thoughts in my head before I talked to Mike to get his take on things.

So ...

We both decided that we're not quite ready to give up on our dream of giving Ryan a biological sibling.

I know, I know. You must be thinking, "Would she make up her mind already?!" I apologize for being wishy-washy, since I'm usually very content in my decisions and choices and rarely renege.

But, choosing to hang on to hope that we'll have another baby is a valid reason to reconsider our decision to adopt. Right?

I kept having feelings of doubt about whether I was ready to move on to adoption. I guess that's a perfectly natural way to feel, but I just haven't been able to wholly embrace the thought of adoption. I can't tell you why I can't accept adoption, but I just can't right now. My heart is telling me that the time isn't right just yet.

This reassessment of our decision came about after Mike and I went out for dinner and were talking about his mental health and what things we could do on our own to aid in his treatment. (Surprisingly enough, we have some very open and honest conversations over dinner ... at restaurants.)

I, point blank, asked him what it would take to make him feel better about everything in our life. Without a moment of hesitation, his reply was, "For you to be pregnant ... but no pressure or anything."

So, his response sparked a new conversation - one where we decided that neither of us is ready to give up trying for another baby. He wasn't ready to jump back into the craziness of fertility treatments, which is completely okay with me because I wasn't ready for that, either. But, he has faith that we can do it on our own; our time just hasn't come yet.

Admittedly, my own faith was renewed a bit last week by the news that a dear friend is expecting twins. She's experienced fertility obstacles similar to my own and lost her sweet baby boy, too. Yet, she became pregnant on an unmedicated and unmonitored cycle! Yes, miracles do happen!

How can an outcome like that not have a positive effect on someone like me? She's living proof that until my doctor says otherwise, I still have a chance, too, of having another baby. I can't turn my back on that possibility yet. I just can't.

My fertility window may be slowly closing, but it's open enough that a miracle can squeeze through when I least expect it.

Here's to the return of hope ... cheers!

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's my prerogative

We women are known to be fickle.

It's what we do.

I think I may exercise my right to be contrary and may reassess some recent decisions ... after careful consultation with my dear husband, of course.

I'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And then there was one

I rarely talk about my mother and I've never written here about her. There's not much to say, really. I've never really known her and we never had a solid mother/daughter relationship. Never.

My mother isn't entirely to blame for the lack of a conventional relationship. As is the case with many people, she's had many issues throughout her life that affected the relationships around her and the choices she made regarding how she wanted to lead her life.

Even with that understanding that my mother has led a troubled life, it hasn't always been easy to accept that the person who brought me into this world wants nothing to do with me. It's hard to not take that personally; everyone wants to be loved, unconditionally, by their parents.

My grandmother did a wonderful job as my adoptive mother. I learned so much from her that I carry with me to this day, more than 20 years after her death. But when she died, I was only 16 years old and still needed parental guidance in the ways of the world. I guess that's why I eventually sought out my dad and tried my best to mend fences with him. And, even though he and I were never able to establish a typical father/daughter relationship, I at least had some kind of connection with him and I felt that something was better than nothing.

Since my dad's passing last August, I've had no one to talk to regarding life and everything that's happened in the past few years. I was able to talk to my dad about nearly anything and he never once judged me or my decisions. He always tried his absolute best to lend an unbiased and sympathetic ear and would only dispense advice when asked. And I know it tore him up inside when Ryan died, because he was helpless in making things better for me. His little girl was hurting and there was nothing he could do to change that.

I've thought of my mother very sporadically over the past few years, but earlier this week, something had me thinking about her more than usual. I'm not sure why, because it's not as though I was looking to reconnect with her or anything like that. I think it was sheer curiosity and nothing more.

I decided to search for her and went about looking for her online. But, I wasn't truly prepared for what I'd find. Through my searching, I found that she, too, is deceased.

This discovery struck me much harder than I had expected. Again, I wasn't looking to track her down, but I wasn't expecting to find that she had passed away, either. Actually, I don't know what I was expecting to uncover with my search; my mind is still a little fuzzy on my motive. But this news suddenly intensified my feelings of loneliness and I became painfully aware that I'm the only one left.

I know I'm a "big girl" now and am perfectly capable of making my own decisions. But, I don't think that voids my inate desire to have someone parent me. Besides, does anyone really get too old for that?

It's a terribly empty and sad feeling, knowing that I'm an adult orphan, with no other family to go to in times of need. I'm left to my own devices, whether I like it or not. There is no one to go to for help in making those important life-altering decisions. There is no one to impart their wisdom. Hell, I don't even have a sibling to bounce ideas off of.

I need someone to adopt me; I'm already potty-trained, if that helps.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Yeah, I went there

As I was hurriedly running my errands this morning, I ended up making a turn that led me to the most unlikely of places: the maternity center where I delivered Ryan.

I didn't turn that direction by accident, if that's what you're wondering. I'm not exactly sure why I went there, but I did. It was as if the car was on auto-pilot and that is where it was programmed to go.

Admittedly, it was a little strange pulling into that familiar parking lot. Stranger still was that parking was limited and the only available space was the EXACT one Mike and I used on that glorious day back in August of 2005.

My labor and delivery nurse, Robyn, has been on my mind a lot lately - probably because she recently asked my OB about me and he relayed the message to me. When my OB told me of Robyn's inquiry, I thought it was very sweet that she even remembered who I was, considering how many moms, dads, and babies pass through the maternity center doors everyday. And, although my ultimate pregnancy ending wasn't what I had hoped or expected it to be, everything that led up to Ryan's delivery was wonderful - mostly in part because of Robyn and her caring bedside manner.

As I made my way through the parking lot and toward the building's entrance, I kept asking myself if "this" (my visit) was a good idea, or would I be further torturing myself, considering that once I stepped through those doors, I would be up to my eyeballs in everything baby.

I took a deep breath as the doors slid open, stepped through, and made my way to the front desk, where I asked for Robyn. She wasn't immediately available, so I just stood there awkwardly and looked around.

Everything was the same as I remembered it. I could see the hallway and the door at the end of it where I was wheeled for my C-section. I caught a glimpse of the room I stayed in before my transfer to the "big" hospital. And, I saw the NICU where Ryan spent his first few hours of life.

But, despite all that, I was surprisingly calm and didn't shed a single tear or swallow any lumps in my throat.

Once Robyn came to the front desk, we stood and chit-chatted about everything that has happened in the nearly two years since I was a patient there. We talked about Ryan, babies, fertility, grief, my announcement business, and hope. And, while in the midst of talking about such profound and emotional things, new parents passed us by with their new bundle in tow and my heart didn't cry. Not even a whimper.

Robyn and I wrapped up our conversation - she has new lives to welcome to the world, after all - and I walked back out those sliding doors with my head held high. My fortitude in handling that visit really surprised me, because I was terribly afraid I'd turn into a blubbering mess after just a few minutes, once my own painful memories came flooding back. But, I didn't.

I don't know what compelled me to go there today, but I'm awfully glad I did. And, maybe I'm a lot stronger than I realize or give myself credit.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Balancing act

Everyone has always told me that to really appreciate the good things in your life, there needs to be bad things, too.


It's a wonderful theory to think that the good and bad keep everything on an even keel. But, I don't see that being possible when it comes to my own life and experiences. I'm constantly feeling like I'm sitting on one side of a see-saw, stuck on the ground, while the other side of it is empty and, of course, completely up in the air. I keep waiting for someone or something to get on that other side to get me off the ground just the tiniest bit.

I'm not expecting a perfectly level see-saw because I know that's just not realistic. And, I really don't think I'm overlooking the good in my life, which would (or could) make it easier to focus on the bad. I have some wonderful blessings around me that I am thankful for every single day. But, that knowledge and appreciation for the good doesn't erase or diminish all the bad that's come down the pike.

I've tried desperately to get my side of the see-saw off the ground, but sometimes it feels as though someone nailed down that side, making it impossible for my side to ever lift off the ground.

I fear that my grief and sorrow will always heavily outweigh any joy that could ever happen in my life. I'll be stuck sitting on that see-saw, waiting for the smallest bit of good to walk onto the playground of life and sit on the opposite side.

This might seem a bit cynical and inaccurate to others, but it makes perfect sense in my mind, based on my feelings and experiences. There's no question that the bad outweighs the good for me; my life feels like a derailed train.

And, I also don't want or expect the opposite side of my see-saw to be so heavily weighted down that I'm lifted so high that my feet no longer touch the ground. I'm just looking for a little bit of balance, where I can still touch the ground with my toes but feel like I'm playing with more than just myself and my unfortunate circumstances.

Any takers for hopping onto the opposite side? My ass is getting dusty and sore from sitting on the ground for so long ...

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sherry, Sherry, quite contrary ...

... This is how my garden grows!

(Please don't judge me by the poor sense of humor I displayed in the title. I just couldn't resist the goofy play on words.)

I was looking for a way to do another light-hearted entry and decided I'd entertain everyone with pictures of my garden(s) and everything else that's been happening 'round these parts.

For my birthday (several weeks ago), I decided I'd put together my own birthday bouquet. I plucked yellow glads and an assortment of daylilies from one of my gardens and filled in the gaps with ivy. Never mind that I was itching to use my newly acquired Fiestaware vase I bought whilst on vacation.

Here is what's been keeping me busy ... and sweaty. I set up this rock garden the first year we were here (2003), but since that time, the ground has settled a bit and many rocks along on the border were sinking, and I was having a bit of a soil erosion problem. So, I dug up all the rocks, moved them out of the border, re-shaped the border, poured sand to build up the edges, and replaced the rocks. What's left to do: Add dirt to built-up bed, put a paver under the birdbath, and finish weeding.

This is Gary Gnome (pronounced "ga-nome"), protector of the rock garden. (Any "The Great Space Coaster" fans out there will understand the play on Gary's name.) Gary's domain includes a Crape Myrtle, a butterfly bush, an angel face rose, balloon flowers, Stella D'Oro daylilies, Black-Eyed Susans, and white and purple coneflowers.

Not a great picture, but one of the few I was able to capture of the Mockingbird babies in my honeysuckle bush.

Mama Mockingbird keeping a watchful eye as I admire her babies. She was none too happy about my curiosity, because she and her mate kept squawking at me and dive-bombing me. Lighten up, mom and dad!

Finally, the intended resident of the Bluebird box.

Wait ... that's not a weed.

It's little bunny froo-froo (or is it "foo-foo"?), hiding among my bearded irises and dianthus. (I couldn't resist and just HAD to touch that cute little thing.)

My current pride and joy: My lone Stargazer lily with NINE buds - five of which have opened. The entire downstairs smells so nice. Yes, I'm pretty proud of this effort.

The end.

I hope you enjoyed the picture show! = )

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A public service announcement

(I seem to have lots to say today.)

Mike and I just discovered that some asshole scammer/hacker has been calling our house with a phony recorded message about how to lower our interest rate on our credit card. The message never identifies which credit card company the call is supposedly originating from, but it's definitely a scam. Sorry, but the real credit card companies identify themselves - and address their customers by name, not with a generic recorded message.

This all came to a head this morning when Mike's credit card was declined when he was trying to buy breakfast. We assumed it might just be a hiccup in the network and no big deal. But then Mike remembered the unusual phone call we received yesterday evening, and he decided it would be in our best interest to contact the credit card company to see what's going on.

Turns out the account had been put on hold due to a suspicious charge - made from 1,200 miles away. Fortunately, Mike spoke with a representative in the credit card company's fraud department and relayed all the info we had on the mysterious call, including a website where people just like us have filed complaints against these calls. (Be sure to check out the map on that website; this is an national scam!)

Here's where the calls are originating from (according to my caller ID and the reports filed):

Rivero Rene

If you receive one of these calls, report it immediately and double check ALL your credit card accounts.

I realize that my post here sounds like one of those annoying spoof e-mails that most people immediately delete from their in-box, but this is the real deal, so take heed!

This is the first we've ever had to worry about credit card fraud or possible identity theft, so now we're a little concerned about something else being amiss. Needless to say, we're both pulling copies of our credit reports and hopefully everything will be kosher. I certainly hope everything is, because we don't need an additional headache in our lives.

I hope no one else has been pegged by this bastard. And I hope the authorities catch him/her/them and nail them to the wall by their balls. (Sorry, but they deserve nothing less as punishment for their deceit.)

The end. You can go about your usual blog reading now.

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GTKY ... DYK style

Something a little more light-hearted than my usual entries ...

DYK, I'm only five feet tall?

DYK, I'm a Southpaw when writing?

DYK, I'm ambidextrous with most things, but can't brush my teeth with my left hand?

DYK, I played the trumpet for six years - and was quite good?

DYK, I first went "commando" at age six, after tearing my underpants on the playground equipment at school recess?

DYK, I hate my troll-like feet?

DYK, I want to learn sign language?

DYK, I dislike most bugs?

DYK, Praying Mantises are pretty cool?

DYK, my favorite flower is the stargazer lily?

DYK, my second favorite is the gladiolus?

DYK, my birthday is the same day as the summer solstice?

DYK, I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate?

DYK, a bowl of ice cream on a rotten day is wonderfully therapeutic?

DYK, I love shopping for greeting cards?

DYK, I love smelly-good candles?

DYK, gardening is my favorite activity?

DYK, I once broke my left leg in three places?

DYK, I tend to be a klutz?

DYK, I tipped my school desk during my high school Chemistry final exam?

DYK, I graduated high school 20 years ago?

DYK, I still feel like I'm 16, even though I'm clearly not?

DYK, I can be very competitive while playing board games?

DYK, I'm especially good at '80s trivia games?

DYK, my favorite recording artist is Madonna?

DYK, I've seen her in concert three times?

DYK, I still have my "gummy" bracelets from the mid-80s?

DYK, I was a huge Duranie?

DYK, I used to be able to do a pretty decent impression of Long Duck Dong?

DYK, my best friend has been my best friend for the last 29 years?

DYK, Mike and I met online - quite by accident?

DYK, we lived 1,200 miles apart for the first 18 months of our relationship?

DYK, I left my home state of 29 years to be with him?

DYK, it was the hardest - and best - decision I've ever made?

DYK, the next hardest was leaving Mike's family and his hometown to move to North Carolina, where didn't know a soul?

DYK, I love my iMac?

DYK, it's purple?

DYK, my car is purple, too?


So, who's next?


Monday, July 09, 2007

Just abiding ...

On the Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss Blog Directory, msfitzita posted questions for us moms to ask ourselves and to answer them in the way that felt right to us - or to not answer them at all. Maybe I feel more inclined to answer since someone other than myself asked these very personal questions about my angel.

1. What do you want people to know about the child (or children) you have lost?
Ryan was a feisty little boy. He was dealt a horrible combination of severe heart defects, yet he fought and fought ... and fought some more. People were drawn to him - something I've been told by many people. Ryan was the spitting image of Mike. And, sometimes it's weird for me to see some of Mike's facial expressions since they're the same ones that Ryan made. Like father, like son.

2. What names did you give (or plan to give) your children and why?
"Ryan David" loosely translated means "beloved king." We chose David as a middle name because that's Mike's middle name and was my father's first name.

If we have another child, we're not sure if we want to continue using "David" as a middle name or let it go with Ryan's name and his memory. Yes, it would be another way to honor Ryan by giving a younger brother the same middle name. But, I'd hate that Ryan wouldn't have that one thing that's all his own, since he had so few things that were truly his in his short time here.

3. What rituals or ways of memorializing your children seem to best help you cope with their loss?
We don't have any deep-rooted traditions at this point, but Ryan's days are always taken off from work so we can be together as a family.

For his first birthday, I really enjoyed making his cake. It was surprisingly therapeutic, since I felt like a normal mom - doing a thing that normal moms do on their child's birthday.

We have an angel/memorial garden to remember our angels, as well as the angels of our friends. We also planted an upright Japanese Maple (Lionheart) just under Ryan's bedroom window. It's a very unusual tree because of its rust color and delicate foliage, so we felt it was the tree to plant in his memory.

4. What are the kindest and/or most helpful things people have said to you? What are the worst?
I just recently blogged about the worst of the worst, but I rarely mention the opposite moments. I have those moments, too; I guess they're a little more personal to me since they're usually very touching and happen when I'm caught off-guard. Complete strangers have shared incredibly warm words and hugs, where my own family continues to flounder in the support department.

5. Who is your hero? Who helps you make it through the dark days better than anyone else on the planet?
There's no question that it's Mike. He and I are rarely down in the dumps at the same time, and he has said and done the most amazing things to lift my spirits. I'm thankful that he's my son's father.

6. Is there anything you need to say or want to say but haven't been able to? Can you say it now?
No and no.

7. How are you doing? How are you really doing?
At this particular moment, not so good. But, in the bigger picture, I guess I'm hanging in there. I still have tons of miserable moments - some where I curse God and sob inconsolably - and others where I make myself numb just to limp through the day. There are a few glimmers of happiness here and there, but my daily forecast is fairly predictable: Mostly cloudy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Update and resolution

Even though I haven't written many entries in my blog lately, it doesn't mean that lots hasn't been going on. I just haven't had the energy to write about it all, which requires thinking about everything again, and that in itself is very taxing.

Life on this end of the computer screen hasn't been very pleasant for the last few months. I know that no one has a perfect life and that everyone has problems, but this entry is about me and my concerns. It's not that I don't empathize with others and their issues; I just want to selfishly address my own at the moment.

Maybe I'm overdue for a baring of the soul - a confession of sorts? Regardless, I want to get some things out that I've been carting around because this load is quite cumbersome.

I became a bit reluctant to share what was happening after last fall's personal attack through my "comments" section. I began this blog as a way to work through my feelings - some of which aren't warm and fuzzy - but I was feeling judged after that incident and that I would always be subjected to intense scrutiny. Maybe that's a crazy assumption, but I assumed it anyway because it made sense in my mind. That being said, you're not being forced to read what I type here, so if you don't have any kind words to share, please don't comment.


Looking back over the last four years of my marriage and all that's happened, I feel like my life is headed down a slippery slope and I can't do anything to stop it. Many areas of my life are a complete and utter mess, while other areas are limping along.

Careers: Mike has had some work-related issues over the last year or so. His work situation came to a head last July, when his then-boss refused Mike's request for a long weekend to visit my father before my dad's big surgery. I still don't know what the exact reasoning was for the denial, but it was very upsetting and frustrating, so Mike decided it was best to transfer to a new department and a new boss. He's been in his new position for almost a year, but the transition hasn't been smooth. His new co-workers don't (or didn't) know what happened to us with Ryan, and Mike was subjected to almost constant talk about happy families and living babies. It.never.stopped. And, all the while, he and I are struggling to get pregnant again and work toward a happy ending. Mike's work environment was very bad for a few months, but it seems that some aspects of it are leveling out and he's been better able to overlook the insensitivity and ignorance ... on most days.

As for my career, it pretty much sucks at the moment. My online venture barely has a pulse and my ego is beginning to suffer. Then self-doubt causes me to wonder if I made the best decision by choosing to walk out on my last job. Granted, it was a horribly negative environment that was sucking the life from me, but at least it was paying the bills. So, yeah, self-worth concerns have emerged to make my basket of issues truly diverse.

Emotionally: Both Mike and I have been through the wringer. I was in counseling for almost nine months (before graduating in April) and spent half a year visiting a acupuncturist to help reduce stress and improve my fertility. Prozac is my friend - probably for life. I also still regularly visit my chiropractor, who has always been very supportive and helpful.

Mike has had a full plate, too. First, with depression and anger issues. Then, I feared he was using alcohol as a crutch, so he went back into counseling last July to nip that concern in the bud before it spun out of control. He was taking anti-depressants - and had been through a slew of them - before going back to his new doctor, pleading for help because the AD's weren't working. After Mike took a short questionnaire, his doctor determined that his previous depression diagnosis wasn't accurate and he was actually suffering from bipolar disorder, which is why his meds weren't working. He began a new medication regimen almost a week ago, and already there's improvement. The Mikey I fell in love with is slowly coming back.

Fertility: Last June Mike and I were officially labeled with secondary infertility. Infertility of unknown origin. Normal by test standards, but unable to get pregnant after nearly two years. We did three injectable cycles (one with IUI) last summer, and I've done several Clomid cycles - all with a good response, but none with the desired outcome. The next item to check off our fertility list was a laparoscopy, which revealed scant scar tissue and a blocked right tube. Sure, the tube can probably be opened via a balloon catheter procedure, but it's yet another concern ... and more surgery ... and another obstacle.

The stress and pressure on us to get pregnant is enormous. We've been trying to make a family for nearly four years and we're exhausted, in every sense. It's horrible having sex on demand, per doctor's orders. Each cycle that's a failure is yet another loss for us. It's a loss of hope. One of those tiny glimmers has just fizzled out. Gone. And, we're feeling incredibly left behind. We watch as others are able to grow their families, and all we can do is imagine what it must be like. We feel like we're dreaming the impossible dream. It's painful news to hear when others get pregnant. And, it's not that we're not happy that others are getting pregnant; we're sad that it can't be us. That, for whatever reason, it isn't us sharing happy news after everything that's happened.

Shortly after we returned from our vacation to Canada, Mike gave me the sign I needed to know that he was finished with the "TTC" nonsense. We can't bear any more of it. It's brought so much disappointment and tremendous sadness. We only know the sad parts to being a parent. There's just no point in continuing down a path that's leading nowhere.

So, we're finished with trying to give Ryan a biological sibling.

With that decision, I'm now trying to come to terms with yet another huge letdown and loss in my life. I'm very torn over this decision in so many ways. Part of me feels that I'm letting Ryan down - that I truly haven't given it my all. I feel like a failure as a woman, a wife, and a mom. My body, in one sense or another, killed all three of my babies, and I'm riddled with guilt because of it. And, I feel defeated. I lost ... again.

Both Mike and I know that we want children - that desire has never waned - but now we're faced with our last option: adoption. I'm very grateful that that option is available, since so many children are without parents and need loving homes, but it doesn't change the fact that adoption is our back-up plan. It's a last resort, and I know that. I need to come to grips with that because that's how things are, even if it's not how I wanted.


Again, we have lots to think about and lots to deal with. And, I'm already feeling anxious over Ryan's approaching second birthday, and it's still over a month off. Also, the reruns of last year at this time are playing through in my head, leading up to my dad's passing. Both Mike and I are feeling especially frail and vulnerable with all that's happened.

I've kept many people at arm's length the last few months, but I felt it was time to let everyone in on what's been happening. I'll be keeping a low profile over the next few months, but you can always reach me at grapey1969 @ aol . com (no spaces, of course).

Hopefully I can update you soon with some good news. In the meantime, hugs to you all and thank you for your support.