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, November 27, 2007

A different shade of grieving

Many of us moms-in-mourning have become accustomed to reading others' blogs and the losses of their little ones. But, today, I'm grieving in a slightly different way.

Most people don't realize or understand how online acquaintances can develop into life-long friendships. Heck, the internet is how Mike and I were brought together, when the chances of our meeting in person were next to none, with us living 1,200 miles apart.

But, despite those physical distances, the online communities are a wonderful way to bring people closer together in circumstances where it was previously very difficult or next to impossible.

I had the wonderful opportunity to befriend such a person a few years ago, just after losing Ryan. I "met" this woman on one of the pregnancy boards we both frequented, but it was only after the loss of Ryan that I really had a chance to get to know her, as she reached out to comfort me in my darkest hour.

This woman, Christy, made charitable contributions in Ryan's memory for both his first and second birthdays. She and her adorable daughter donated books to their local library in Ryan's name, and, for Ryan's first birthday, she sent me the most lovingly constructed scrapbook that included every minute detail I had ever shared here in my blog and on the pregnancy boards. She also lit a candle on Ryan's birthday; yet another way she honored my little angel, even though she only knew us through the words read on a computer screen.

Christy and her husband just celebrated the birth of their second child, a son, a few weeks ago. So, I never imagined that life couldn't get better for such a sweet, caring person with such a big heart.

Unfortunately, though, I learned that Christy passed away very unexpectedly yesterday. And, again, I sit here and wonder why and how life can be so cruel as to take a young mother away from her two babies and her loving husband. I will never understand how there can be a "master plan" for something as horrible as this. It just doesn't add up.

Christy was a truly wonderful woman and will be missed by many. Please, send prayers of comfort to her family as they try to make sense of this tragedy.

And, thank you, Christy, for all you've done for me and my little Ryan. I'll never forget your kindness and friendship.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Kinda-sorta patiently waiting and musing

Since my rented doppler arrived last Friday, I've been markedly calmer. There is something absolutely soothing about hearing your growing baby's heartbeat coming from inside you. The amount of reassurance it offers is immeasurable.

Wednesday marked 11 weeks for the little gummy bear, and as insignificant a milestone that may be for some, it was a biggie for me, since other than Ryan, my other pregnancies were finished by 11 weeks - one of them at 5 weeks. So, knowing we made it that far with a very strong heartbeat set my mind at ease ever-so-slightly once again. I know I'm technically not out of woods till the end of the first trimester, but this is a good start for me.

I never realized it would be so insanely difficult to find a therapist that was trained to handle PTSD and was part of my insurance plan. After receiving five referrals, four of which weren't part of my insurance plan and one who was too busy to see me, I decided that looking for someone to talk to was actually causing me more undue stress. Seemed a bit counter-productive to me, so I've stopped looking for now.

In the comments section of my last post, someone mentioned about taking anti-depressants and how there are many that are safe to take during pregnancy. I was on Prozac during my pregnancy with Ryan, because my OB felt it was better that I was less stressed. He was right - I know that - but since nothing definitive was ever attributed to be the cause of Ryan's heart defects, I'm hesitant to take as much as a Tylenol. Seriously. In my mind anything could've caused his heart problems, and I'm just not willing to put anything unnecessary into my body - at least not during the first trimester. After that, I might, if I still feel the same anxiety I felt a few weeks ago.

On Sunday, I'll have less than 200 days to go till meeting this little one. Well, that's if I were to go full term, which isn't happening. So, I guess I'm technically already under the less-than-200-days threshold, since we'll hopefully meet this one around 38 weeks, which is 27 weeks away, which puts me at around 189 days left. (I can rationalize practically anything when I really want to.)

I'm already wearing maternity clothes! I honestly didn't believe the people who said, "Everything happens sooner with subsequent pregnancies." Apparently so, because I have a definite bump going on, and regular pants just don't fit anymore. Too bad it's so hard for short and chubby moms-to-be to find maternity clothes, because for me, shopping has been anything but fun. But, I have enough to get through this pregnancy and that's all that matters. There's that teeny part of me that wanted to save the tags though - you know, just in case things didn't work out.

As much as I'm beginning to embrace this pregnancy, I'm also feeling terrible that Ryan was gypped the way he was. I know I can't change what happened to him, but I still feel awful about it every single day, and my heart aches when I remember that he won't be here to meet his little brother or sister. I hate how unfair the world is.

My next OB appointment is Tuesday, and I'm sure Mike will be a pro at guiding the OB with doppler, pointing out exactly where gummy bear's current residence is. After that, God willing, my ultrascreen appointment is on November 29. I'm sure the anxiety will be up a few notches before that appointment, but I think that's only natural. Right?

Mike made our first purchase for the gummy bear: A cute vintage puppet he won off of eBay. He had several Henry stuffed dogs (made by Animal Fair) when he was young, and all of them are still sitting on Ryan's toy chest, so we added this new addition to the current collection. I really, really hope we get to use the puppet; I can almost hear the excited little giggles a baby would let out at the sight of such a silly toy being controlled by an insanely happy and goofy parent.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Okay, so maybe I was wrong

There's still a living being inside of me, so obviously yesterday's exhibit of insanity was clearly unfounded and I'm just a little bit crazy.

I really wasn't expecting to receive another ultrasound (I've already had two, with more to come, when many women are lucky to receive one), but I certainly wasn't going to argue when my OB said that she'd squeeze us in.

So, after our brief visit with the OB, we went out for some java since the ultrasound technician wasn't immediately available and we had some time to kill. Plus, I needed some chocolate - clearly for therapeutic purposes.

When we returned 45 minutes later, I swore my heart would pound right out of my chest as I got situated on the table, in that oh-so-comfortable and awkward ass-hanging-off-the-edge position. Mike clenched my hand tightly as the tech guided the ultrasound wand into the unknowns of my nether region, and almost immediately, I saw our little gummy bear's heart beating away.

He/she has grown a lot in the past two weeks and is still measuring right on target at almost 10 weeks. We could see the arm/leg buds and we even got a few wiggles from our wee one. It was truly amazing to get that peek at what's going on inside of me, since I'm none the wiser from the outside.

We met with the OB again after the scan, and she's very concerned about my anxiety and worry, so she wants me to go back into counseling. She also suggested going back on meds, but I poo-poo'd that idea for now. (I'm not opposed to meds; I just don't want anything unnecessary going into my body during the first trimester.) She wants me to feel at peace with this pregnancy and thinks this is the best course of action. I can't argue; it sucks to feel this way all the time.

I also decided it was time to place my order for a doppler rental. We did this with Ryan and it was a life-saver. Plus, we got the model that has a recording function, so we have Ryan's heartbeat saved on our computers as one of our most cherished mementoes.

I'm so glad it ended up being a good day after all, and I hope they continue on this track.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Being eaten alive

This is supposed to be such a happy time for me, with this new life (hopefully) growing inside me. Instead, I feel like I'm being eaten alive by my grief - that somehow it's grown into this horrible monster than I can't fend off, no matter how hard I try. And, for all the healing I've done in the past two years, it feels like I'm unraveling at a lightning-fast pace ... almost like I've made no progress at all in that time.

I cannot enjoy this pregnancy. I want this little one more than words could ever describe, and yet I'm terrified and worried and anxious every waking second. I feel like a ticking time bomb, just waiting for detonation and for my life as I know it to once again end.

I'm almost ten weeks along, and no amount of promising news can shake my fear that this will all end badly again. Sure, we saw and heard this bean's heartbeat at our last appointment, but to me, all that means is that, fortunately, he/she hasn't died yet. And, with having almost no pregnancy symptoms other than daily headaches and tender breasts, I don't find much comfort in feeling so good since that's not always a good thing, either. I need stronger reassurances than statistics can offer, but those just don't exist. My reality is stronger and more vivid than any of the odds out there. I guess that's where faith comes into play, and I clearly lack that.

I never imagined that another pregnancy would be so horribly difficult and disappointing. I realize that sounds incredibly selfish and ungrateful, but I'm not saying that I don't want this wonderful blessing. I just wish I weren't so jaded by my past so I could truly savor every tiny moment of this little one's presence and his/her tremendous impact on my life. He/she doesn't deserve to be overshadowed by something so horrible and tragic, and yet I don't know how to change that.

I just pray that tomorrow's appointment yields promising news ...

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