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.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What to do, what to do

Even though I've finally become pregnant again, after 26 gruelling and disappointing cycles of trying and a combined four years of trying, I've never viewed myself as being a different person since overcoming this huge hurdle. I'm still that same mother who mourns the loss of her little boy and aspires to be a mother to a living child. I'm still that same woman who's filled with so much grief that at times I think I'm going to drown within its murky depths. I'm still me - despite being lucky enough to find myself expecting once again.

But, I'm also in a state of limbo, too. Granted, I've overcome many obstacles to get where I am today, but I'm not at the end of my journey yet. I want to assume that all will end happily this time, but I'm not a fortune-teller nor am I clairvoyant. Shit can still happen, no matter how deserving I may be or how many dues I've paid. Tragedy doesn't pick and choose. It just happens.

I haven't been blogging much because I don't want my present state to make others feel badly - when those others I care about are still struggling to get here, too. I don't ever want my presence to make others feel sad, since I was once in their shoes and understand and empathize with how difficult it is to hold on to faith when the rest of the world is seemingly rushing past you.

That being said, I keep wondering if it might be better for me to keep an even lower profile than I had been keeping. Again, I never want anyone to feel any sort of resentment toward me or my situation, but it's also not fair for me to curb my own excitement over an event I have worked so hard to achieve. But, maybe it would be better for me to hang up my blogging hat for the time being as not to offend or upset anyone out there.

I just don't know.

I haven't yet decided what I want to do. It's not easy to step away from something that has provided much-needed strength and hope over the past two years. The blogging community has become a big part of me and my healing, and I don't want to turn my back on it. But, at this particular moment, I'm not sure that it's benefitting me and my happy entries don't seem to be helping others - only bringing them more sadness.

Decisions, decisions.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Sheer, unadulterated joy

Yesterday's big ultrasound went fabulously.

We were feeling a little worried at first, since the tech was so abrupt with us, but once she returned with Dr. S. and he spent much more time going over our little one, our fears quickly diminished.

Going into this appointment, our biggest fear was that there would be a repeat of a heart defect. With no explanation as to why it happened to Ryan, it wasn't easy for us to shelve that concern and assume that it couldn't happen again.

Since Dr. S. is familiar with the nature of Ryan's defects, he was very careful to check - and double check - those areas in Gummy Bear's heart. We could clearly see two functioning and nearly equal ventricles; only Ryan's right ventricle was formed and functional. Next Dr. S. checked the aortic arch, to ensure there was no blockage and that the blood was flowing freely. And, it was. He was also able to make out the atria, so this little one seemingly has a perfect little heart. The only view he couldn't get - Gummy was being quite lazy and wouldn't move - was that of the ductal arch. But, with having a fetal echo on Tuesday, Dr. S. wasn't too concerned since everything else looked so good.

I'm still a little anxious about Tuesday's appointment, but the amount of reassurance we received yesterday was amazing. Relief doesn't even begin to describe how I feel.

Oh, and it looks like Ryan's getting a little sister. Or, at least that's where we should place our bets.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The storm before the calm

Tomorrow is Gummy Bear's big ultrasound and, hopefully, the day I get to hear the words, "Your baby is perfect healthy" - with those words being truly accurate.

Ryan's ultrasound couldn't have been a better day for us - one that I cherish to this very moment. Mike and I playfully kept guessing if Ryan was a boy or girl, and it only took a moment after the ultrasound tech placed the transducer on my belly to see that he was indeed a little boy. And, what a beautiful little boy he was.

I wish so much that I could once again feel the innocence and joy I felt leading up to Ryan's big reveal, but I just can't. I have yet to feel distinct movement from this little one (we're sporting an anterior placenta this time around), so I'm somewhat disconnected from him or her. Plus, I physically feel so different this time than with Ryan, that if I didn't have the reassurance of the doppler, I'd swear I wasn't even pregnant, because I feel so normal. Just plump.

The holidays did a mighty fine job of preoccupying my mind so I didn't have time to conjure up every imaginable bad scenario out there. But now that the dust has settled and life is back to normal, every possible bad outcome is frighteningly vivid in my head. And I know that these thoughts are illogical, but that doesn't prevent them from popping up. I'm scared. I'm scared for us and scared for our little miracle baby.

I'm also terrified of history repeating itself - to go through a seemingly flawless appointment, only to be faced with a horrible reality in four months. Could life be that cruel? Absolutely. We all know it can be, so I can't pretend that I don't know what could happen, so I have to be prepared in case the other shoe really does drop. Tomorrow's appointment is Part 1 of 2, with Part 2 taking place on Tuesday in the form of a fetal echocardiogram. That's the appointment that will really tell us what we're dealing with, if anything. If we make it through that appointment unscathed ... well, let's get through it first.

All I can do is hope and pray that what I'm experiencing now is the worst of it, and after tomorrow's and Tuesday's appointments have passed, I'll be able to feel a sense of calm and be confident that we have received the most accurate diagnosis possible, and that this little one has been spared Ryan's fate.

Deep breaths commencing.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

No thanks are necessary

A few entries ago, I wrote about the unexpected passing of one of my online acquaintances, Christy, and how she showed me so much caring and generosity after losing Ryan. And, as msfitzita mentioned in her blog, Christy was never afraid of my loss or grief, when so many others in my world headed for the hills socially and emotionally - clearly incapable of dealing with such unexpected and sad news that was then my unfortunate reality.

After receiving the news of Christy's passing, I was filled with so much emotion, which is what compelled me to write about what a wonderful soul she was. I didn't want my sadness over her passing to overshadow all of Christy's wonderful qualities and wanted to pay respect to her in a way that felt right and true. And, I wanted others to know how kind and selfless she was. I know she didn't offer those things to me in order to gain recognition or credit, so it seemed that the entire world should know about someone with such a genuinely big heart.

Last night I received an e-mail from Christy's husband, thanking me (as well as msfitzita) for the sweet words I shared here about his wife. He went on to say that his cousin used some of what I had written and included it in her eulogy for Christy's service. Additionally, her husband said that our blog entries were read to everyone who attended the service, a gathering of nearly 300 people. I think that the number of guests is a true testament to what a wonderful woman Christy was and how many other lives she touched.

I'm very grateful that Christy's husband took the time to thank me for something that seemed only fitting and right for me to do. It was the least I could do, to take a few moments to share how Christy so generously touched my life and honored my little angel, when she could've turned away as so many others did.

For that, no thanks are necessary ... except from me.

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