Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Six Months

I am usually able to hold myself together pretty well on a day-to-day basis. Some days, I probably even seem downright normal. Hell, some days I might even feel downright normal. But I can tell you, there is not a day that goes by where I don't spend hours and hours thinking about and missing my baby. Most of the time, I hold it in and disguise my grief. Other times, I have days like today where I allow it to come out to the surface.

Naya would have been six months old today. She would be sitting up by herself, eating solid food and possibly crawling. She would be laughing and babbling and probably drooling up a storm because of little teeth that were pushing their way through her gums. She would have been adorable. She would have been happy. We all would have been happy.

Instead, I spent her 6 month mark today looking at her picture of when she was a newborn. She will never change from this picture. She will eternally be a newborn baby to me and I will never get to see her grow and change and become the beautiful person that I know she would have if so many god damn things hadn't gone wrong.

Sometimes, it all just still seems so surreal. I look at her picture and I truly can't believe that she is dead. I mean, how could that beautiful little baby girl really not exist anymore. The really sad thing is that sometimes, I really can't believe she ever existed. I can't remember holding her and kissing her or reading her stories. I can't remember her cry. Oh, god I wish I could just remember what she sounded like. I kick myself everyday for not taking video of her during those 5 days we had her at home. I would give anything to just be able to see her again, moving around and gazing up at us. I wish I could see her eyes. I didn't realize at the time that those five days were the only time that I was ever going to have to make positive memories. Yes, I had 7 more weeks in the hospital but she was so sick and sedated, that those weren't really the memories I want to hold on to.

I wish I could smell her again. Before we got home from LA, friends and family came and cleaned our house and put all of her stuff (after washing it) in her room and shut the door. But they missed a onesie and a blanket of hers. This may sound pathetic but I have it sitting in a plastic bag in my dresser. I am afraid to open it because I don't want the scent to go away to quickly. I am literally rationing her smell.

I wish she could hear me when I tell her I love her. I wish I could tell her how much I miss her. I wish she was here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

March for Babies

Hi everyone.

Sorry I have been lagging this past week on writing on here. I have been insanely busy at work and while it's not an excuse, it has been taking up a ton of my time. I did, however, get to cross one thing of my resolution list. I took the first steps in putting t together a team to March for Babies in April.

I am actually really excited for this event. For those of you that don't know, the March of Dimes aims to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. They also provide information and support to families who have a child in a NICU. Obviously, this is something that is near and dear to my heart and I hope this walk will be a tradition for my family for years to come. 

I named our Team NayasPapayas and we will be walking in San Ramon, CA on April 28. So far we have 4 team members and I would like to have at least 10 total, as I hope to have the team raise at least $2500 this first year. I think this is entirely possibly, as we already have around $450 dollars raised and have only been fundraising for a few days now.  The link to my team's fundraising page is http://www.marchforbabies.org/team/nayaspapayas. If you could afford to make a donation, we would definitely appreciate it. If you would like more information on starting your own team in any of the various event across the country, you can find it at www.marchforbabies.org. This is really a great cause and I am so proud to be a part of it this year. Wish me luck in reaching my goal.

And I love that I get to check at least one thing of my list. But more on that later ;)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Missed Opportunities

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have been spending a lot of my time reading and I asked for (and received) a bunch of great suggestions from you all. Well, I ordered a bunch of these books (do not get me started on how much I love used books on Amazon) and I have been slowly making my way through them. Started off with the Red Tent since I had stolen it from my mom a few years back but hadn't read it yet. Followed up with some girly literature (Good in Bed), reread Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (with every intention of seeing the movie next) and had a little dessert with my favorite novel ever A Farewell to Arms. Then the new book fun began. The first book to arrive was Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. If you have never heard of her, please do yourself a favor and pick up Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake & Unaccustomed Earth because they are all ridiculously amazing. She is just one of those authors that after I am done reading, I just say "Damn. I wish I wrote that." It doesn't help that she is absolutely gorgeous in the author photo on the back cover. Yep, I want to be her.

Because of all the hype I read online, I am now delving into the book Little Bee by Chris Cleave (thanks Cristina!). I am not going to go into what the story is about (even the Amazon description won't - that's part of the allure) but I do want to talk about one especially profound line (for me) that I just read in the novel. It said, "It isn't the dead we cry for. We cry for ourselves."

Damn. Isn't that the truth? And doesn't it completely describe the grief after a loss of an infant? When an older person dies, we cry because we miss them and the person that they were. We cry because we will never get to see them again and because they will no longer be a physical part of our lives. With an infant, it's different. They never were given the opportunity to become a person and have their own thoughts, actions, words, anything. That's why we cry - at the loss of the opportunity of the person that they could have become. We cry because we will never get to see them grow up. We cry because we will never see them take their first steps, speak their first words, go to their first day of school, graduate, get married or have babies of their own. And the funny thing is, is that we are not only crying because they aren't getting to experience all of these things but also because WE aren't experiencing it with them. So, in a way, grief is an entirely selfish process because it's mourning the fact that we are going to have to live our lives without the deceased and not the other way around. We aren't crying for the dead. We are crying for ourselves and what we have lost.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Yeah, I kind of rambled a bit

I know, I know. I was absolutely terrible this week in not writing. Everyday, I would think of a topic that I wanted to sit down and write about and everyday, life would just get in the way. It was a very busy week, at both work and home. My work is absolutely insane this time of year (we have show, after show, after show) which keeps me slammed and working 60 hours weeks. Add to that, Ty's school started up this week after three weeks off for winter break and we were just running. I apologize and hope this next week is a little calmer.

Anyway, on Monday, Dan & I met with our new perinatologist who will be one of my doctors during any pregnancies I may have in the future. For those that are unaware, a perinatologist is an obstetrical subspecialist concerned with the care of the mother and fetus when there is a higher-than-normal risk for complications. Technically, because the likelyhood of what happened with Naya happening again is akin to winning the lotto, I am not considered high-risk in the medical sense. However, because of what Dan & I experienced and were exposed to (in a visual sense) down at CHLA, my OB thought that we would feel more comfortable if we were under a perinatologists care for any further pregnancies. Believe me, she is right. I would give anything to go back to the days where all I thought could go wrong in pregnancy was an early miscarriage, slight-prematurity or jaundice. God damn I wish I could be that niave again. I wish I could still believe that kind of thing happened to other people - not me. I wish I could have my innocense back.

It was a good meeting - we put together a plan that we were all comfortable with that includes quite a few additional ultrasounds, tests, etc. Let's just say, that when there is a baby in this belly, I will be spending a LOT of my time in doctor's offices.

Making these sorts of plans also got me thinking about how much my mentality has changed in the last year. Before, I was concerned about the things typical pregnant woman were concerned with: would I ever lose the baby weight, how was I going to handle the sleepless nights, was my birth plan going to be followed? Looking back, it all seems so trivial. I never once thought about whether my baby was going to be healthy or not. Sure, the idea floated in my head a few times but I never really considered it a possibility. What I should have been worried about, rather than if I should get an epidural or not, was how is this hospital equipped to handle a neonatal emergancy? I never once even considered the quality or even the proximity of the nearest NICU. I could kick myself for that.

I remember when I was pregnant with Naya, I watched that documentary that Ricki Lake shot called The Business of Being Born. Although I didn't want a homebirth for myself (who am I kidding - I wanted the drugs), I admired the guts of these women having their babies in their bathtubs, wishing I could have that much strength. Now, I look at it and can't help but think what if any of those babies born in this type of situation needed emergency help. Sure, homebirths are typically done in low-risk situations and midwives are trained in neonatal CPR but, sometimes, that is not enough. There are many, many, many occurances of women who give birth to a child with fatal birth defects who need IMMEDIATE and INTENSIVE medical care - and they had no idea that anything was going to be wrong until the moment of birth, despite the fact that they had prenatal care. Ultrasounds do NOT pick up everything. Shit, I was a low-risk pregnancy and none of Naya's problems could have been picked up on a ultrasound. I can tell you that after what I have seen and been through, there is no way in hell I would ever give birth to a child in a place without a quality NICU just around the corner. That would probably be my biggest piece of advice to all woman out there. I know we all envision our "ideal" birth process and want to experience it while bringing our children into the world. I would just recommend putting the health and safety of our babies ahead of our wants and needs because you really never know what can happen. I am living proof of that.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What a bitch!

I am not proud to admit this but in my past life (pre July 2011) I was really into celebrity gossip. And not just People magazine gossip. I'm talking Perez, TMC, dlisted, gawker, radar and all that junk. Now, I can't even open a magazine. I've completely lost interest in celebrity gossip and could not give two shits about their overinflated egos and seemingly charmed lives.

But in our society you can't always escape the reach of celebrity gossip. It's all over the Internet, on home pages of search engines, on Facebook. Supposedly legitimate news sources even report on it as if it's "important." That's why I wasn't able to escape the news that Beyonce gave birth to her first child over the weekend at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.

I for one, could give a shit about Beyonce. Yeah, sure she's talented. Whatever. And I know that I have been angry about anyone whose pregnant/having babies at this point. (Actually, I'm getting a little better with this - I even walked through the baby section of Marshalls and did NOT cry. Go me!) So no, I am not angry at Beyonce for being blessed enough to have a baby. I am angry at her for being such a bitch while doing so.

First off, she had a scheduled c-section. Fine, fine. I do not know her circumstances but I can almost guarantee that this was an elective c-section and not medically necessary for her or her daughter's sake. How much do you want to bet she got a tummy tuck with that c-section. Whatever. That's small potatoes to my real beef with her. Here's where the bullshit starts. Apparently, Beyonce & Jay-Z shelled out $1.3 million to take over an entire FLOOR for her birth. Hospital staffers were forced to turn over their cell phones (to avoid any unauthorized picture snapping) and instructed to cover the lenses of the floor's security cameras with tape. She also hired an entire security team to guard her and the baby.

Extravagant? Yes. Necessary? Maybe. I get they were trying to prevent people from snapping photos of their kid or, god forbid, prevent a kidnapping. There are some crazy ass people out there who might do something like that. But really Beyonce? Did you think that you were the only person in the whole god damn hospital? I bet there were other families having babies in that hospital on the SAME day. Crazy how that works, huh?! Also, those security cameras are in there for a REASON. They are meant to protect the safety of everyone, not just the wants of a celebrity who thinks her shit doesn't stink.

Although the above does get me pissed, this is what really boiled my blood:

"Among other parents irked at how they were treated, a Brooklyn man named Neil Coulon is still reeling from his run-ins with Beyonce and Jay-Z's muscle men while attempting to check on his premature twins inside Lenox Hill's neonatal intensive care unit.

"Three times they stopped me from entering or exiting the NICU and it happened once on Friday [the day Beyonce actually checked in] just because they wanted to use the hallway," the frustrated dad told the New York Daily News. "They should have been more strategic about it. These are children with problems in intensive care and you're just going to take over the hospital like you own it? All I want is an apology."

Yes, Beyonce and Jay-Z were preventing parents from visiting their sick children in the NICU. Are you fucking kidding me? I can't believe that someone would actually think they were that much better than someone else - that just because they were giving birth, that gave them the right to prevent someone from seeing their very sick and potentially dying child. Can someone really be that ignorant and narcissistic? If you were so worried about security, why didn't you arrange to give birth at home bitch?? I can tell you one thing, if that had happened to me while trying to visit Naya while she was sick, the whole world would have heard about it. And Beyonce would probably have a black eye to go with her c-section scar.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I probably should have posted this New Year's Day but I didn't. I've had a few days to digest this whole 2012 thing now and I've decided to come up with a list of goals/accomplishments to complete this year in lieu of a resolution. Here goes.

1. Give birth to a healthy baby (yes, this is my number one goal and dependent on quite a few factors other than my own determination but it is staying on the list.)

2.  Be more patient with Ty and more active with his life. I was so depressed for so long that I was really neglecting this. Need to be better in this area.

3. Always be there for Dan when he needs me.

4. Revamp this blog and make it more of an informational/support center for infant loss. I will keep blogging but I want more resources for mamas on here. I especially would like to start by adding lots of local resources and start raising money to help parents with the costs after a loss.

5. Walk and raise at least $1000 for the March for Babies walk in April. (Putting my team together right now and more information will follow.)

6. Continue going to the gym everyday. Taking a week off right now (to avoid the New Years Resolution gym goers) but will return next week.

7. Put together a public event for this year's Candle Lighting in December. I've already got a location, just need to put this bad boy together. I've got 11 months, I think I can do it.

8. Try to meet my niece before she turns 1.

I think that's it for now. I am sure I will be adding more to the list as the year goes on. Strangely enough, I feel like the New Year has lifted some of the fog of the depression I have been in since Naya passed away. It's still there but just not as thick as before. I'm slowly pushing my way through it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome 2012!

Well, it's 2012. Finally. I am very glad that 2011 is OVER. Dan and I spent New Years with some friends and had a nice evening. We decided to have a white trash party, complete with fried food, cheese in a can and hostess products. It was definitely a lesson in what happens when you engorge yourself with crappy food and my stomach paid for that. I literally had a food hangover.

We spent most of the evening eating, talking and wii bowling. It was a nice, mellow evening. As we watched the ball drop on television with the last seconds of the worst year of my life quickly diminishing, I got tears in my eyes. I realized how bittersweet the moment actually was. After all, 2011 was not only the year my daughter died but it was also the only year she will have ever lived. Even though I have been so eager to put this year behind me, I feel guilty doing so because I feel like I'm losing her even more than I already did. That's the funny thing about time and grief. As it goes on, you are healing and becoming stronger but at the same time, it makes you sad because everyday that goes on is one more day that you've had to live without her. 

So here's to hoping that 2012 will be a better year, full of healing, love and (hopefully) second chances. I'm also sticking to the point of view that this year can't possibly be worse than last year. Well, maybe it can be but only if those damn Mayans were right, the world ends and I'm the only one left. That would probably be worse.

Happy New Year all. I hope this year is better for us all, no matter what your situation. Thank you for your love and support.