Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm not a superhuman after all

I had a hard realization today. Let me start from the beginning though in order to explain the background. After work, I picked Ty up and we went to a fundraiser a friend was holding to raise money for a scholarship program in the name of her daughter who passed away around the same time as Naya (yes, I have made a lot of friends who are also bereaved parents). Ty and I enjoyed a little date night and got home around 8:00. (Dan was still at work.) I opened my car door and our dog Feo was right there in our driveway. This is were the weirdness happened.

At first I was super confused. How the hell did Feo get out?! He is confined to the backyard while we are gone during the day. The gate was latched, he didn't dig a hole and all the doors were locked. We called a friend over and he checked the house to make sure no intruders had gotten in. Everything was there and safe. I am still not quite sure how exactly he got out although I think Ty may have accidentally left the gate open this morning and the wind blew it shut sometime today. Either that, or someone came into our backyard and he got out. All I know is that we were very lucky that our dog is such a wimp that instead of running away, he stayed on our porch waiting for us all day. I don't know what I would have done if something happened to him. Can't go there.

Anyway, Ty was pretty shaken up after this. He was scared that someone had gotten into the house and was waiting here to rob or hurt us. He wouldn't even let me leave the room for a moment while he was doing his homework because he was so scared. He was also afraid to go to bed because he was afraid that someone was going to break in and hurt him during the night. I told him that if I didn't think it was safe for him to be in the house or go to bed, we wouldn't be here because I would never let anything bad happen to him. He told me that I can't always control that and that bad things do happen.

This comment really made me sad. I think every kid realizes someday that their parents can't always save them but it usually happens when they are older. Shit, I am 31 years old and still believe, to a certain extent, that my parents can help "save" me. But he's 10 and because of everything that happened, he already knows how little control I have. I can't tell him that I am going to protect him no matter what - he knows better. After all, I couldn't protect his sister and keep her from dying so how could I protect him? I know that he doesn't blame me or anything like that but it just made me realize how much innocence he lost from everything that happened. His reality is so much different from other kids his age because he realizes that his parents aren't superhuman and can't always be there to save the day. He realizes that his parents are merely humans and not always in complete control and the world is a much scarier place because of this. It sucks and is just another consequence of Naya's death that I have to consider and deal with.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Alone Time

This weekend was a perfect definition of my life - all over the place emotionally. Let me preface with saying that both Dan and Ty were gone this weekend and I was on my own for longer than I have been since Naya died. I used to love my alone weekends in my former life. I could sit around, watch bad girlie movies, clean and do whatever I wanted with out worrying about anyone else. It used to be awesome. Not so much anymore. I was able to do all of those things but what unfortunately comes with this freedom is plenty of opportunities to sit and think. And my thoughts aren't pretty anymore. They are morbid and depressing. Dan left Saturday morning and, luckily, I had a spa day already planned with a friend. It was much needed and I believe we may be going back soon - it was a good time. I was exhausted when I got home (still battling the bronchitis and sinus infection), so I took some tylenol PM and went to bed. Sunday was a different story. I didn't have plans until later on in the day, so I spent my morning cleaning. And thinking. And crying. For some reason, I fixated on her hands. They were so beautiful. She was born with the most beautiful set of nails. Even while she was in the hospital and dying, they stayed beautiful. Everyone complimented them. I realized that I never took a picture of them. And now I can't. They are gone. Forever. I will never have the opportunity to go back and see or touch those hands again. They are gone forever and I didn't take a fucking picture. I could punch myself for not doing that. I know it may sound morbid but when this baby is born, I'm going to take pictures of all it's little parts, take video of it crying, etc., just in case. I regret so much not doing that with her. I thought I had plenty of time to do so - the rest of our lives - and I don't. She's gone and I will never see those beautiful little hands again. I wonder how long it's going to take before I can't picture them in my mind. I dread that day and I am not taking any chances with documenting this one. Life is so fleeting and you just never know.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm Back

Back home, safe and sound from Sacramento. The drive up wasn't too bad - only took me about 5 1/2 hours or so. The strangest part is that I don't think I've been by myself for that long without distractions since Naya died. I was surprised that I didn't break down crying at all, especially since I tend to that anytime I'm driving by myself. I was surprisingly stoic the whole time. Shocked myself, actually.

Anyway, I got to Sacramento at about 8pm, checked into my hotel and went to the restaurant next door for something to eat. The place was pretty empty with only a bartender working, so I sat at the bar to make her job a bit easier. Probably a mistake - when you sit at a bar, it's almost an open invitation for people to talk to you, which I did NOT feel like doing. This old man was sitting next to me who was pretty drunk and a mumbler. One of my pet peeves are mumblers. Non-eventful conversation until the mumbler turned racist on me. It was actually entertaining - he told me congrats on the pregnancy and that he was glad I was contributing to the white population of the state. I was a little taken aback but just said, "sorry to disappoint but my husband is Filipino, so this baby is one of those damn mixed breeds" and left. It was quite humorous.

But, back to the real reason I was there - to lobby for AB 1731. I have never done this before, so this was quite the experience for me. We spent the morning listening to speeches and preparing for our congressional visits. For those of you unfamiliar, this is how it works. AB1731 was brought up in the Health Committee and approved. Because there is a cost associated with the bill, it was put into a suspense file that the Assembly Appropriations Committee is voting on tomorrow. If they vote to remove it from the suspense file, then the Assembly will vote on it and send it to the senate for a vote. If they approve it, it will go to the Governor. So basically, we are still early on in the process but at a critical juncture. If it doesn't move out of appropriations tomorrow, the bill dies. And that's why we were there.

In the afternoon, we split into teams and went and visited various Assemblypeople and senators. My team consisted of three of us and we visited 4 officials, one of which I knew who was very receptive. I was basically the person who had the "real life" perspective and told Naya's story to all 4 of them. It was hard but I'm glad I did it. I love talking about her. It makes me feel better. All-in-all, it was a very successful time for us and we got 4 yeses, which was great! It was a wonderful experience and I would definitely do it again.

So cross your fingers that the vote goes okay tomorrow. I think either way, I am going to be lobbying my local hospitals to implement pulse ox screens (as well as following the AAP recommendations for release of a Newborn) with or without the law but it will definitely help make this next project easier. I am still working on my game plan but I will write more about it soon.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


What a week. Who am I kidding? What a month. I am officially exhausted. You would think I wouldn't forget how tough it is on the body to be pregnant, considering I've been pregnant for two freaking years now, but damn. I am tired.

This is my first weekend without something going on in months. No work (yea! 10th Anniversary is over and it kicked my butt!), no weddings, no fundraisers, NOTHING. Except for the bronchitis I've got going on right now, it was great. Now it's back to reality again.

I've got another busy week in store. I not only have a whole bunch of work deadlines. (I need to find sponsors and finish writing our Season Brochure) but I also have committed to lobby for a bill in Sacramento on Tuesday. I will be leaving straight from work tomorrow to make the 5-6 hour drive up there, stay the night, lobby for 6 hours and drive home. Oh yeah, I am also 6 months pregnant and have bronchitis. (Don't worry, this trip is okayed by my doctor although I'm pretty sure Dan is not very excited about me leaving by myself.) Yes, I am insane.

This is really important to me though. The bill (AB1731) that we are lobbying for is sponsored by the March of Dimes and requires that all newborns in CA receive a pulse oximetry screen before being released from the hospital after birth. Pulse ox screens are non-invasive and painless tests that measures the oxygen saturation in the blood that takes one to five minutes and is administered in the using standard hospital equipment. Research has shown that a pulse ox screen can be used to detect undiagnosed heart and lung problems and newborns (including sepsis!) and could potentially save lives. The Children's National Medical Center has a pretty good FAQ on this, if you are interested in reading more. Although Naya did not have a CCHD, the possibility that the sepsis could have been detected by earlier intervention and potentially saved her life is very real and something I can't ignore. As much as misery loves company, I do not want anyone else to have to live in the hell of my reality if it can be prevented. The 6 hour drive to share my story and maybe influence some politicians is worth it.

Speaking of the March of Dimes, we are still fundraising until June 30th, just in case you were interested.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

Yeah! My busy work season is over. We've been celebrating our 10th Anniversary at work and had public events held everyday for the last two weeks that culminated on Sunday with a black tie benefit. It was fun but my almost 6 months pregnant ass is exhausted. Mothers Day was my first day off for weeks, so I spent the day catching up on all of the chores I have been neglecting for the past month. Mothers Day went better than I thought. I was NOT looking forward to it. Yes, I'm a mother and I appreciate my mother but let's face it, the day really sucks for those grieving - especially for those of us who have lost mothers or our children. Mothers Day is a time to celebrate our mothers and/or spend time with our children. When your child has died, it's another day when it's glaringly obvious that a huge piece of your life is missing. Just another painful reminder that "normal" people don't even think about. It wasn't a "happy" day for me. I didn't get to hold all of my children tight. I got to visit a cemetery where my dead child is under some dirt. That is my reality. And it sucks. There was a bright spot that occured over the weekend. One of my closet friends gave birth to her rainbow over the weekend. (she lost her daughter after a long NICU battle last year).  I was able to go visit her and I actually held her new, beautiful daughter.  I was in tears then and am now just thinking about it. I'm not going to lie, it was difficult. This is the first baby I've been around and it hurts. I can't really describe it to people who haven't lost a child but it's a physically pain that we experience. A heaviness in our arms and our chests that won't let it up. It feels like we are struggling for breathe, like a heavy weight is constantly pushing down on our chests.   Holding this baby just made me ache for my own - both Naya and the nugget. These next 15 weeks are going to just drag by.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sibling Thoughts

This is kind of a continuation of my post yesterday (at least the end of it). I couldn't stop thinking about the whole sibling thing that I wrote about last night. It made me quite emotional and I spent some time over the last day trying to sort out my feelings. I came to the conclusion that I am not only upsets that my future children will never get to meet Naya (and vice versa) but that she will also never be real to them.

Its not like Dan and I are not going to tell our rainbows about Naya. There is no way in hell that we are ever not going to have her as part of our lives. We are always going to do our best to make sure that no one ever forgets about her (most likely to the point where people get sick of us). She is our child and will be forever. My problem is that to our future children, she will never be a real, live person. She will always only be a story to them represented by a group of pictures that they will see over and over again because that is all we have.

I am scared they will view her as we all do of family members who passed before we were born. We might feel some reverence toward them because they are family but we are not capable of missing them. How can you miss someone that you never met and was gone before you existed? It makes me so sad that she will never be real to my future my children.

I also have mixed feelings about the fact that that our kids will never really know the pain that our family went through and will always hold because of losing Naya. In one aspect, they are lucky. They have avoided some of the most intense pain that a human can experience. On the other hand, it worries me that because they don't know what it feels like so does that mean that they aren't going to relate to us? Are they going to resent us for missing a sibling that they have never known? I know I have lots of time before I really have to focus on things like this but I can't help it. That's how my brain works.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Deja Vu

When we were trying to get pregnant again with this rainbow, we knew to take all of the physical elements that would go into this pregnancy into consideration. Because I had just had a full term pregnancy, we knew that there were some additional risks. After all, my body was still recovering from giving birth to Naya in July. It was tired - being pregnant is a lot of work! Plus, having only 5 months in between pregnancies, I wasn't able to get down to my normal weight, so I knew I was going to be dealing with the consequences of that as well. I honestly didn't think we would get pregnant so quickly (it happened our first month of trying) so I thought I had a little more time to rest my body. Because of all this, I am actually quite surprised as to how easy this pregnancy has been on me physically. Most of the time, I forget I'm even pregnant until I look down at my stomach or feel this little nugget kicking away. I've been joking that this baby is taking it easy on me because it knows how hard this is on me emotionally.

Yeah. Emotionally. This is a LOT tougher than I thought it was going to be. I know I am still grieving and combining grief with hormones is a toxic combinations but damn, I didn't think it was going to be this bad. I have been having some very, very hard days. I mean the kind of days where I'm so down, I can't function. The kind of days where I just have to lie in bed and sob. The kind of days where I start crying uncontrollably and unpredictably and don't belong out in public because I might terrify people. This past week, one of those days appeared after our full anatomy scan and it was brutal.

Don't worry, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the baby. Having ultrasounds just brings along this wild sense of deja vu. We just did this all a year ago and look how that turned out. It's hard to be excited when we hear that everything is good because we heard that all before and she still died.

I think seeing this little person also brings to light what we don't have and makes us miss Naya more. It makes us feel guilty to be excited about a new baby when are still deeply mourning Naya. I want all of my babies here - this one, Ty and Naya. I want them to be able to know their siblings and that is something I will never, ever be able to provide. She will always be gone. It's so conflicting and it sucks. It's really strange too. We can completely see the similarities and differences between nugget and Naya already. It hurts. I wasn't expecting this.

Nugget - 21 Weeks

Naya - 20 Weeks

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

March for Babies

Sorry it took me so long to post an update as to how the March for Babies went. I had to work Friday night until about 9pm (lol - that was a crazy event), so we didn't get into the Bay Area until late. (We had a 4 hour drive). We spent the rest of the weekend up in the Bay Area, so I didn't get a chance to write and have been trying to catch up on my sleep since!

The march was great. It was really wonderful to feel the support of everyone there and to meet some great people. It really made us feel quite special and not so alone, as a lot of the family teams march for children that have passed. As Dan said in the previous post, we got a ton of media support which brought in (and still is!) a slew of donations. We found out that we will be allowed to accept donations up until June, so I am going to raise my goal one more time and keep the link posted on the blog. I am also trying to come up with another small fundraiser to do between now and June as well so if you have any ideas, let me know! I realized that I really, really enjoy being kept busy doing something like this. It's funny because even though it was a lot of work (and a challenge to keep up with as I do have a real day-to-day job!), the March was helping keep me sane. While I should be relieved that it is over, the past three days have left me feeling very empty and quite depressed. I think it was bound to happen after the excitement and euphoria of the walk - there was really no where to go but down - but I am so glad that we did it and can not wait til next year. I suppose that is something I can begin working on. I would really, really like to bring the walk to the Central Coast in the next year or two. I think we can do it. I really want this walk to be a positive event to celebrate the Naya's life year after year that we can do with all of our family and friends. I guess it's a way that forces people to remember my baby girl because I don't ever want anyone to forget her.

God, I miss you so much Naya. I hope you are proud of us baby. I wish you were here.

Here are some pics of the walk. Ty was on camera duty, so unfortunately we didn't get a lot. Some of these pictures came courtesy of my mother-in-law.


Thank you to everyone who came out and walked with us. Thank you to everyone who helped get the word out. Thank you to Lindsay Wagner & Phil Jagosz for having the t-shirts made. Thank you to anyone else who I am forgetting (I feel like I am giving an awards show speech here!) Most of all though, thank you to everyone who donated time and money to our fundraising efforts. I am blown away by everyone's generosity.

If you would still like to donate, we can accept donations up until June 30. Here's the link again:

PS - Oh yeah, about that crazy work event. Zac Efron showed up (it was a retirement party for his former drama teacher), so people went a little crazy. And yes, I look like a complete fat ass next to these two in this pic.