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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Adios, 2007

It was quite a year, in many respects.

Part of me is ready to close this chapter, but the other part of me isn't quite ready to turn the page for fear of leaving all the good stuff behind. It was hardly a stellar year by any means, but there were enough good things to make it a better year than the last couple have been:

I finally left an awful, unrewarding job to take the leap into self-employment.

Mike finally found doctors who offered good, sound diagnoses for his mental health issues and the last few months have been very kind to him - and us - emotionally.

We took a long-overdue vacation to Canada and were finally able to meet and visit with a dear friend and her Beloved.

After 26 gruelling cycles of trying to conceive, we finally grabbed that brass ring - and held on tightly.

We still have each other and are as much in love as we were at the beginning of this sometimes-difficult journey.

2008 is looking to be the year where a lot of sad chapters finally come to a close and we welcome bright, new beginnings.

Happy New Year.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday blessings

Friday, December 21, 2007


I've had lots going on in this noggin o' mine, but I was finding it too difficult to sit down and put things together in a coherent manner.

(I know - I've used that excuse before, and I apologize.)

I've been doing a lot of thinking about how things are now versus how I thought things would be if Ryan had come home. As much as I wanted and expected him to come home like most babies do, I now realize that his homecoming would've been nothing like what I hoped and dreamed it would be. There's no disputing he was a very sick little boy, and even if he had survived, it likely would've been months before he came home from the hospital. Even then, he would've been subjected to numerous heart surgeries, any of which could've prevented his homecoming and taken his life, too. It would've been a very tough life for both him and us.

And then I get to thinking about this beautiful little life that's growing inside me right now. He or she probably wouldn't have come to be without the loss of Ryan. I don't mean that in any sort of calloused way, but our life would've been so consumed with Ryan's treatment that there wouldn't have been room for another child in our life. And, as much as I still long for Ryan and wish he was here, I feel that this little one has the most special of guardian angels looking out for him or her.


I'm extremely blessed to be in this position again - to form and nurture a new life. There have been several losses recently among my online support network, and it's made me really realize how fortunate I am. I am grateful every day that I wake up and find myself still pregnant, when so many other women are struggling to get where I am.

This pregnancy has brought me more peace and healing than I expected. It's been riddled with worry, too, but it's enabled me to put some of my demons to rest, once and for all. I had always hoped a subsequent pregnancy would do that, but I didn't know if I was setting my sights too high and what I really needed to do was find peace from within. Who knows - maybe I've done a little of both?


Earlier this week I visited with my labor and delivery nurse - Robyn - that attended me with Ryan. I don't know exactly what has set her apart from so many people that I interacted with back then, but there's just something special about her. Plus, without her recommendation, I wouldn't be with my current OB, who I absolutely adore and respect.

Robyn periodically asks my OB how I'm doing and he told her I'm finally pregnant. (He had my permission, as I know this is a HIPAA violation in the usual sense, and I wouldn't want anyone thinking that my OB took it upon himself to tell her.) So, with the cat being out of the bag, I figured she was due a visit from me.

During our conversation, the thing that struck me odd was how highly my OB regards both me and Mike. To Robyn, he commended us for being so strong and for not giving up the pursuit of our dream. I guess it's really strange how different perceptions can be, because I don't view myself as being strong at all; I've merely done what I had to do with the lot I was handed. My desire to have a living child will always outweigh my fear of losing another one, and the only way to fulfill my dream is to not give up on it, because I would be giving up on myself.


Three weeks ago I had my first trimester screening and ultrasound to assess my risk for Downs and Trisomy 13/18. All the baby's measurements were good and right on track, and after the combined results from my ultrasound and bloodwork, my risk for all conditions dropped significantly. I'm still at an advanced risk for Downs due to my age - getting old is soooo much fun - but the odds are 99.7% in our favor. Sigh.of.relief.

I'm still having trouble with this odds thing, but I'm working at putting more faith in what I've been told as being accurate. This is a really big thing for me because we were that 1 out of 139871943 cases (I made up the number, but our odds with Ryan were less than .0001% for him to have the combination of defects he had.), so it was 100% bad for us. And, it's an awful feeling when you're singled out and you're that "one."

Most of my friends and family feel that this little one is going to be perfectly healthy and get to come home since we've more than paid our dues. But, as most of you know, life doesn't reason things out like that, so I know in the back of my mind that the other shoe could drop at any time. We don't get a "get out of jail free" card just because Ryan died. It would be nice if there were guarantees like that, but there just aren't. It's life, not a board game, and I need to be prepared.


On January 10th we'll have our Level II ultrasound to check the little one's anatomy, and hopefully we'll get a peek at "the goods." I'm feeling it's a girl this time around, as are most of my friends and family, but I'd love, for Mike's sake, if this current bundle was a boy. But, obviously, I want a healthy baby more than I want one gender over the other. Then on January 15th, we'll have a fetal echocardiogram to check his/her heart. This particular appointment has me feeling a bit anxious for obvious reasons. But, all I can do is hope for the best possible news at this point, because I can't change anything.


Here's how our little miracle looked three weeks ago:

The first picture was the one decent profile shot the tech got. S/he still looks a bit alien-like, but definitely more baby-like. In the second picture, the tech turned on the 4D function and our little Gummy Bear looked like a little person - look at that face!

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