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, March 30, 2008

Crying a river ... or two

I completely underestimated how unbelievably difficult it would be to tear Ryan's nursery to shreds. I know we're doing all the conversion for a good, promising reason, but that doesn't lessen the sting of tearing away at the plans and dreams we once had for our little boy.

Of Mike and myself, I've been the "strong" one to this point and have been able to go in there to organize and put away Ryan's effects. But, when it came to taking the pictures off the walls and packing up his bedding, Mike proved to be the stronger of the two of us, because I just could not muster that kind of strength to do what needed to be done. My grief became too raw and I was a sobbing mess, once again.

And, I'm riddled with guilt, because by this point in my pregnancy with Ryan, his nursery was completely finished and all his clothing and blankies were washed and ready to be used. But, this time, we're just now going in there to paint and I haven't washed a single item of Gummy's. Everything we've bought still has tags attached and the receipts are tucked safely away in a drawer, just in case. I'm not yet ready to take that leap into the unknown for fear of the unknown once again swallowing me and my dreams.

The end of this pregnancy is becoming more and more trying, as my level of fear is climbing and my confidence is waning. We're so close to finally grabbing that brass ring, but it could be yanked away from us in a heartbeat just as it was before.

How in the world can I finally believe that this could all really happen, with a happy ending intact?

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

A peek at Gummy Bear

Today was our "fun" ultrasound appointment and it was every bit as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be.

Our girl - and she is indeed still a girl - is doing just great and hammed it up quite nicely for the camera. We got to see her smile, hiccup, kick herself in the eye, pick her nose, scratch her butt, and fiddle with her girly bits. That's our girl.

Chubby cheeks indeed ...

Rubbing her eye ...

Semi-profile ...

Nap time ...

Bad habits starting early ...

I'm so glad we decided to splurge and do this. I definitely would've regretted not doing it and I feel that much closer to her after today's performance.

Now, to figure out who she looks like most ...

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Monday, March 17, 2008

An almost 29-week update

I had another routine OB appointment this morning, as well as my glucose screening, and I'm happy to report that all is still well. I'll know the results of my glucose test in a few days and hopefully I'll pass with flying colors.

Gummy is actually measuring a little ahead at just over 30 weeks, but it's no cause for concern. Although, it could account for the almost two-pound weight gain I experienced in the two weeks since my last appointment. Oops. But, again, everything else is normal, so I'm not going to fret over little discrepancies like that.

My OB today confirmed that Gummy's birth day will be May 29, at the earliest surgery time he can get.


This is all coming into much sharper focus. In just over ten weeks, I'll be meeting my little girl. Our little miracle.

I've been wrestling with some feelings of unrest concerning having a scheduled C-section. There is that dreamy part of me that longs to have a vaginal delivery. But, the practical side of me doesn't see the point in tempting fate and knows that a C-section is a very wise choice - especially since my labor didn't progress last time and attempting a VBAC is risky in itself.

I discussed this with my OB this morning, and he agreed that a C-section is the smartest way to proceed with Gummy's delivery. I have a different set of risks and concerns than many women, and he strongly feels that the best scenario is to have a C-section with its controlled environment. Attempting a VBAC could turn emergent at any time and he just does not want me to have that kind of worry.

I felt better after discussing this with my OB. I guess I needed that validation that this was the most sensible decision considering our history and I wasn't a wuss for conceding to that logic. Getting our baby here in the safest way possible is more important than any longing I may have. After all, her safe arrival is a successful delivery in my book, regardless of the manner in which it happens.


I went to the fabric store on Saturday with a co-worker of Mike's who will be making some items for the nursery. It was a lot of fun selecting fabrics, but scary too. The trip reaffirmed that we're truly invested in and believe that we'll bring a baby home this time. I can't try to deny it any longer. I've opened up my heart, making myself vulnerable once again. It took a while to happen, but it's wide open and there's no turning back. Please don't let it get crushed again.


Mike and I have been slowly painting sections in our house - tomorrow will be five years that we've been here and the majority is still painted in builder white. Even though we thought we'd take the low road regarding painting the nursery, we realized that my ever-growing belly isn't getting any smaller and is becoming a bigger obstacle. So, we may end up repainting the nursery sooner rather than later so I'm not leaving tummy prints on the freshly painted walls. (Okay, I admit that I did do this once - just once - over the weekend.)


This upcoming weekend we have our 3/D ultrasound. We're both very excited about seeing Gummy again and can't wait to see how much she's changed since our last scan. Plus, our big ultrasound wasn't as "fun" as it is for most couples, with so much looming over us regarding her heart, so we're looking forward to a more relaxed appointment. I wonder if she'll have my chubby cheeks - either or both chubby sets.


And, some gratuitious belly shots:

For comparison, at 25 weeks:

And, at 28 weeks, looking rather weary:

As much as I've been enjoying this ride, I'll be glad to step off.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Like I don't have enough to obsess about

On Friday night, while in the midst of brushing my not-so-pearly whites, I experienced a whopper of a BH contraction. Never experienced anything like that before with Ryan, so it caught me quite off guard and, honestly, scared me a little bit.

There was nothing about it that would be startling for most women, but the discomfort was so intense that I had to sit down, toothpaste still pooling in my mouth. After approximately 10 seconds, my belly returned to its softer state and I felt "normal" once again. Two more of these contractions followed, but their intensity paled in comparison to the first one. After the last one had passed, I picked up the trusty doppler and listened to little Gummy, who seemed to be oblivious to the whole thing, judging by her constant tumbling and normal heartrate.

I took it easy the rest of the night by propping my feet up on the footrest of the recliner and drinking lots and lots of water.

But, of course, the whole experience got my mind thinking and wondering what I would've done if those hadn't been BH contractions and instead had been the real deal. With all the worries I've had, I never gave a second thought to the possibility of premature labor. I've been so wrapped up in having a heart-healthy baby that I've thought of little else but that. That's the only worry I've had since losing Ryan.

Rather short-sighted, I know, but I think most moms with my experience have that one thing during a subsequent pregnancy that they focus on more than all else, and mine was making a baby with a healthy heart.

Chances are good that I'll carry to term, but that new realization from Friday is still with me. Thankfully, Gummy would have a fighting chance if she decided to be impatient and greet the world sooner rather than later. Let's hope she takes after her mama and isn't ever early for anything.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Always remembered

Sending thoughts of peace and comfort to Kristin on her angel's third birthday.

Happy Birthday, sweet Thomas.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

My "urban legend"

Mike and I were blissfully talking about our little Gummy the other day, wondering all the things most expectant parents ponder, when it occurred to both of us that all of this still feels like a dream and not necessarily something that could come to fruition.

We assume that Gummy will be okay and get to come home with us, but we only know the bad outcomes to our past pregnancies. We only know the things where most people can say, "I knew so-and-so who lost a baby" or "I knew a couple who had multiple losses." We know those people, too, and unfortunately we are those people.

That's all we know. For us, bringing a baby home is our version of an urban legend, since "we know so-and-so who brought a baby girl home," but have no personal knowledge about what it's like to welcome a baby into our home. At times, it almost seems like a fantasy and I feel silly for believing this all could really happen.

We've gone through these motions before, with the anticipation and dreaming and preparing, which is why we're both feeling so guarded and apprehensive at the moment. And neither of us knows how to shake those feelings to truly believe that there will be a healthy, happy baby at the end of this journey. It's really, really hard to have that faith when all you know personally is the bad that supposedly "happens to other people."

We are those other people. We exist. We're real and our baby died.

So, now I'm hoping we can know what's on the other side of the coin and know that there are truly good pregnancy outcomes - not just ones that we hear about happening to someone else.

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