Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jan 26, 2010

He was more than a tragedy that happened to us.

More than a random act of nature that came along with ridiculous odds, sent here to break our hearts.

He was flesh and bone, created from two people who were committed to the love they shared, and the family they so desperately wanted to make.

He was the hope of grandparents, of camping trips in the mountains, mud pies in the backyard, rides on the lawnmower, giggles and laughter on Christmas morning.

He was the nostalgia of good friends, who eagerly awaited the transformation of their old friends into parents, and for opportunities to whisper secrets of what they were like at that age into his ear.

He was the metamorphosis of a man and woman who were scared at first of this path, into a mother and father who could not imagine any other.

He was a lesson of eternal love, of picking up a million shattered pieces one shard at a time, and of trying to find happiness in a sea of sorrow.

He is a daily reminder of how life is messy, beautiful, cruel, kind, and is never what you had planned.

He was here only briefly, but he was real. And he was important.

His name was Ronan.

And he was so much more than a tragedy....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Those Lovely Bones

I hear the news and I try desperately to recall a memory---a good one, one with meaning, one that is novel-esque and makes people's heart strings tug a little.

But all I have is the image of him dressed in red footed pajamas WITH the trap door.

We were in high school One Act Play. I played Troll---the assistant to the Prince who, while handing out invitations to the ball, fell down the well on some hick's farm. He played Mr. Snow, the insane farmer who walked around the whole play in red footed pajamas WITH the trap door asking about his pants.

He was Todd, a guy I knew from school and church. A quiet kid with dark brown hair and blue eyes. A jock in a Letterman's jacket who decided out of the blue to audition for One Act Play that year--which he was great in. Collectively, we all were---we almost advanced to State competition--unheard of for a comedy. When we graduated, we lost touch. I hadn't really heard much about him until I got the news this weekend.

Todd died on Sunday. He had terminal cancer and died peacefully in hospice surrounded by his family and friends. He left behind a young son. He was only 36.

I have been thinking a lot about what death means these last few weeks. In the spiritual way--the religious way---the physical way.

Death has never really scared me. Part of this stemmed from my parent's work as paramedics. Back in the 80s they volunteered for the small town EMS, and would often be out (with me in tow) when they were paged to help with an accident. They would park the car on the side of the road, and I would witness the frenzy of people, lights and sirens---all hovering over the injured, and respectfully covering the dead. When I was about 7 or 8, my parents responded to an accident at night involving a car and a truck and parked quite close to the scene. I sat quietly in the car for over an hour staring at the back seat of the small hatchback, crushed almost all the way to the front. In that back seat I could see a silhouette of a man. When no one came to rush to help him, I knew that he was dead. That night, though, it took well over an hour to cover him with a sheet.

During this time, I thought about where this person was now that he was dead and what he was feeling bearing witness to this accident from heaven. Even at that age, I somehow connected death with peace. I knew, inherently that he was OK spiritually, even though his body had died.

Now that I am older, I think I still feel that way--about the one dying.

It's the living without the person who died that royally sucks and that part of death that scares the crap out of me.

What do you think happens to people when they die? Do you feel it's all over---fade to black? Do you think that there is an afterlife? A heaven? An in-between where spirits reside with us?

As for me---I liked to think that Todd may be up there, sipping on a Coke, pain free, lounging in those damn red footed pajamas, with the trap door....

RIP Todd H.
1973-2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I went into labor on the evening of Jan. 4th, but didn't get to the hospital until 4am on the 5th. I was calm, she was moving, and I was certain that this was really happening. I had known deep down that she wasn't going to make it to her induction date, set for January 12th.

It was surreal being back in the same hospital where I delivered Ronan. I kept saying over and over again that we had lost a child last year, and the nurse was kind enough to ask me which room I was in, and she placed me in down the hall in the opposite corridor.

Labor was uneventful up until then, but many nurses that were with us the previous year came and said hello, and were happy for us. My nurse who was looking after me in the morning until 7pm was fantastic, and she let me talk and talk about how I felt, how I was scared and happy, and how I was grieving all at the same time.

The 7pm-7am nurse was sent from the depths of hell. I don't want to waste a lot of energy describing her, but she was pure evil, cold and I was in a living hell in the overnight stretch. Radha was not engaging with my cervix, and although I was almost fully dilated, her head was too far back. They told me it would take 2 hours to push her down into the birth canal. It seemed hopeless. She lectured me that my attitude (sheer exhaustion by this time) was not helping the situation, and if I didn't get in the right frame of mind, I would be one of the bad mothers who needed a C-section. She also had my pitocin set to fucking ridiculously high and I was contracting every minute 45 seconds with a completely crap epidural. My blood pressure was out of control because I was in so much pain, and the bp alarm was going off every 2 minutes, and had to be manually shut off---by Peyton. Night nurse was no where to be found. No one got any sleep and I was out of my fucking mind by the time the morning came.

By 7am, the same morning nurse I had the previous morning came back in and said "OH MY GAWD, YOU ARE STILL HERE?!?!?" and I burst into tears and weepily told her that the stupid night nurse was evil and wouldn't let me talk to the doctor and my pitocin was set to KILL ME and the alarm was set to BATSHIT CRAZY. Beautiful morning nurse grabbed my hand and assured me that it was not my fault, and that night nurse, was in fact, INSANE and no one really liked her. She left me to go grab Dr. T, Dr. S.'s colleague that was on call that morning.

Dr. T was a tall man with a mane of salt and pepper hair. He checked me and said "she is not 9.5 and a lip, she is barely 7cm!" He shook his head disapprovingly and asked how long I had been there.

"Since 4am on the 5th" my beautiful nurse said.

He looked at his watch.

"I have a c-section at 8am---you are after her. This has gone on long enough--" he said.

It was like bees descending down on me---people swarmed in to prep me for surgery, and in walked Jennifer---the nurse who helped deliver Ronan---who bathed him, swaddled him, measured him and stayed with us most of the day. She was assisting with c-sections that day and seeing her brought Peyton and I to near hysterical tears. She was super sweet, remembered us, and said that seeing us there made her day.

By this time, the maternity ward was full---and everyone at one point rushed out because a woman was delivering a baby in the HALL! I was rolled down with happy doctor who was overzealous with the numbing drugs, and I was numb from the neck down.

Panic set in, and I tried not to hyperventilate. I was scared shitless. It was happening so damn fast. They put the blue gown up to cover the bottom half of me. Peyton eventually walked in and then out of the corner of my eyes I saw the anesthesiologist inject something into my IV.

And I felt it within seconds. Morphine

Morphine knocks me out. Little or big dose. And I was about to fall asleep and miss it all.

I fought sleep like hell. There was no way I was about to miss this moment. The moment I dreamed about. The moment where a baby is born and I get to hear cries.

"Please hurry," I said softly, panicking.
"We are almost there..." I heard Dr. T say. I felt tugging and more tugging.
"Please hurry!" I said again.

"She's out! She's big!" they said.

And I heard her. Her cries. Her beautiful cries. Tears stung my eyes. Relief filled my core.

I turned my head to try to see her. I couldn't see her.

"Peyton?" I asked.

"She's beautiful," he said.

And I allowed myself to let the drugs take over.

And I slept.

Jan. 6th, 2009 around 1:30 pm---I finally held my baby girl....



And it was all worth it.

Happy Birthday, sweet Radha....

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ying and Yang

Why did the worst day of my life and the happiest day of my life have to happen in the month of January?

I feel manic/depressive. Happy. Sad. Laughing. Crying.

Flashes of that horrible day are bombarding me. The drive into the hospital to get 'checked out', the still ultrasound image, the sound of my cries, the taste of my tears, the sweet smell of my son....I remember how red his lips were.

I am trying to prepare for Radha's first birthday party this weekend. I write my to-do lists and try to shake these horrible images out of my mind.

I sit with grief tonight, because I cannot fight it anymore.....

Friday, January 1, 2010