Monday, April 25, 2011

For my friend

I recently received news that a friend of mine lost her baby, a little girl, at 39 weeks. I don't have the details but I can only imagine the pain that she's feeling. I haven't stopped thinking about her since receiving the news and I just keep replaying the thoughts that I had when I lost Zach. I thought I would write some of those thoughts out and maybe try and work through those thoughts in writing so that maybe someday these musing might help someone whose heart is bleeding, as hers is now.

I remember wondering how life could go on, how the sun could shine, how people could go about their day when my baby was dead. At the time I thought I was the only one feeling that pain, living it, barely breathing because the pain was too much to bear. Now I realize that whether or not I knew it at the time, someone was thinking of me, and my son, just as I am thinking of my friend now.

I asked a lot of questions, what if's, why's and especially why me? I felt alone and I felt like I had gotten the shaft in the lottery of life. Why did my baby have to die while everyone else I knew got to leave the hospital with a healthy baby? I have learned that although I may not know the reason why my son died, I just have to accept it. I have to go on living. My son would not want his Mommy to be sad so I have to move forward for him. I don't know why it happened to me, I don't know why it had to happen to you, or to anyone else for that matter. To be honest I have often thought to myself "chances are this will never happen to anyone else who I know personally"... but I was wrong...

You will never look at statistics the same waya again. You will begin to see a 1 in 100 chance as a HUGE risk. You have been on the wrong side of those statistics and you'll be terrified to have it happen again. You will hold on to your loved ones tighter... or you might pull away. I think I did a little bit of both. I was so afraid to love someone because it hurt so much to lose them.

The day that Zach was born I made a decision. I made the decision to go on living. I knew that it was going to be hard but I knew that I had to get out of bed each day, I had to move forward no matter how much it hurt to breathe. SOme days I couldn't do it and I let myself have those days. I remember feeling angry. I was angry at everyone else who had a baby that summer, especially those who had boys, I even hated those people. Sometimes I still do.

It's been about 21 1/2 months since I held and kissed and loved my little boy... and some days it still hurts that he's not here with me. Sometimes I relive that day, I relive the moment the doctor told me that he was gone, I hear her say "You'll have to go to the hospital to confirm it but the outcome won't be any different". I remember the ultrasound when she was looking for his heart beat. I remember the image of him on the screen, floating, lifeless... These images and memories pop into my head sometimes, mostly when I'm driving. They haunt me when I try to fall asleep at night. But they don't hurt nearly as much as they used to.

I celebrate my son, I love my son, I include my son. I celebrate his brithday, we have cake and send him messages in Heaven. We talk about him and tell our children about him. We wonder what he would've been like, we love him. We compare our other children to him... Noah looks like him sometimes when he sleeps... He had the same feet as our other two children and their father. He was beautiful.

People are ignorant and forgetful at times. People will say stupid things, they will forget your child and it will hurt. To this day I still have bad days. They have become few and far between but certain things will trigger the heartache. Usually seeing a little boy (or hearing about a little boy) who would've been the same age as Zach. People that should remember your child will act completely oblivious at times and others will surprise you with their kindness. People cannot possibly complrehend the pain that you are feeling or the love that you have for your baby unless they themselves have experienced such a loss.

I remember that early on I realized that I was not really mourning the loss of a person, but rather the loss of a dream. The dreams I had for my son, the memories I had planned to make with him the relationships I had envisioned for him with his sister and grand-parents and father... When he died I didn't know if I would ever get to have a son. I mourned the loss of an idea... but it was so much more than that.

Some days the pain will knowck the wind right out of you. Some days it will come out of nowhere and some days you might feel almost normal.

I'm sure there are so many more thoughts and feelings that I have had along the way and I'm sure that as I walk through this journey with her (if she'll let me walk with her) I will come across so many others along the way... I hope I can help her to feel less alone, less isolated. I hope that she will know that someone is thinking of her, even in her darkest hour and wishing her pain away.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I abandoned this blog during my pregnancy because I think I just wanted to be happy... It was a tough 9 months. Not because there were any complications or anything, just because I had a hard time convinvcing myself that at the end of it all I would have a living breathing baby. Thankfully that Little Bug moved a lot right up until delivery. I could feel that little one kicking up a storm while moving down the birth canal during my induction.
At 4:13pm on July 14th, 2010 Noah Ashton made his way into the world. At first he didn't make a sound, he seemed like he was just shocked but then he started to wail and I took a deep breath for the first time since finding out I was expecting him. he weighed 7lbs 9oz and was 19 3/4 inches long (same length as DD), despite being 3 weeks early.
The next few weeks were a bit of a whirlwind. Noah was released on time 2 days later but the following day we noticed that he had a yellowish tinge to his skin. We took him back to the hospital to be tested for jaundice. It came back positive so he spent 24 hours in luminotherapy so I could only hold him to feed him. That was tough! Then we got to take him home but had to take him back the following day for a control test. His levels were rising again so he had to stay 24 hours again. This happened three times when finally a nurse noticed that his breathing seemed laboured and his skin was turning greyish. The pedicatrician ordered a whole bunch of tests and it was found that his heart was enlarged and he had very low oxygen saturation.
That day, at 12 days old, Noah was transferred to the ICU of a local children's hospital. He was diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta, basically a narrowing of the aorta. You see, babies have a little flap in their hearts which is called a truncus, which helps blood flow while in the womb. It closes shortly after birth.When Noah's flap closed it caused pressure to build up in his little heart because with the narrowing in his aorta, there was nowhere for the blood to go. is heart was working overtime so it became enlarged (since the heart is a muscle). They gave him some medication to reopen the truncus in order to relieve some of the pressure and he stabilized within a couple of hours. The following day we met with a pediatric cardiac surgeon and discussed what would happen with Noah. We were told that he needed surgery to repair the coarctation... The scariest news I could possibly imagine. I've never prayed so hard in all my life.
When Noah was 14 days old he underwent surgery to repair his coarctation. He came out of it in just under 4 hours (the LONGEST 4 hours of my life) and was released from the hospital 4 days later. Here is a picture of him 2 days post-op. Already feeling better :)

He goes in to see his cardiologist every 6 weeks or so and in October he was sleeping a little more than usual but I didn't really think anything of it since he was about to hit 3 months and I figured he was just going through a little growth spurt. So I took him in for a regular check-up with the cardiologist and sure enough the coarctation had returned (recoarctation). This time, though, he would have a catheter dilatation, which is a fairly straightforward procedure in which they put a catheter in his groin which threads up to his aorta and they inflate a balloon to reopen the narrowed passage. That was a Thursday, he had the procedure done the following Monday and got to go home on Tuesday.
Since then he's been doing great. He's a happy, energetic 8 month old and you would never know that he had been through so much in his little life.