Monday, September 24, 2012


Having a newborn is exhausting for anyone. Not sleeping combined with the pressure of being responsible for a tiny, helpless humans every need is a huge stressor for anyone, even an experienced parent. When you mix in the fact that you have lost a child and are very much grieving, it's an insane combination.

I know every new parent gets stressed about many things. They may wonder "Is my baby getting enough food?" "Why is my baby so damn fussy?" "Is his breathing sounding normal?" The questions just go on, especially when we are working on minimal hours of sleep and dealing with roller coastering hormones. When you have a rainbow though, these stressors are magnified. Instead of wondering if the baby is getting enough food, you convince yourself that they're not eating enough because they have an infection and are going to get really sick and die. And if they are eating a lot, you start thinking that maybe they ate too much and they are going to spit up while they are sleeping and aspirate it into their lungs which will cause them to get pneumonia and die.

You worry about them not pooping for a day and, even though your doctor tells you that its normal behavior for a  newborn, you convince yourself that they now have a bowel obstruction and it's going to cause an infection and they are going to die. Or you hear them rapidly breathing and, though the books say that is normal, you are convinced that something is wrong with their lungs and they aren't getting enough oxygen so they are going to die. Not to mention the fact that you get up multiple times a night just to make sure they are breathing because you have convinced yourself while you are lying there straining to hear their breath, that they have somehow suffocated themselves with their blanket or have become a victim of SIDS.

Yes, all of these thoughts and more go through my mind on a pretty much hourly basis. Yes, I realize that I am overreacting and that the chances of anything happening are slim. But it's hard to believe that everything is going to be okay when you have been on the shitty side of the odds. I feel like I have limited time with my son and I am just waiting for the proverbial shit to hit the fan. I know it sounds really morbid but I can't help it. I have watched one of my children die. I know the worst can happen to anyone because it happened to me. I know I am not safe from the realities of the world. It makes it hard to believe that everything is going to be okay. 

I know this sounds sick as well, but my fears are part of the reason I am taking as many pictures and video of him as I can. I want something to see, to watch, to listen to, just in case. It's something I didn't do with Naya and as a result, I have absolutely no video of her and a handful of pictures. I regret it so much and don't want to make the same mistake.

I wonder if this fear ever goes away or if I'm going to have to live with it forever.

Friday, September 14, 2012

1 Year

A year. I can't believe it's already been a year. Sometimes, it seems like it happened yesterday and sometimes it feels like it was an eternity ago. The worst part is that sometimes it even feels like it never happened. Like she was a dream that ended in our worst nightmare. No matter what it feels like, the fact is that it's been a year. Naya died one year ago today and our lives changed forever.

I wish the memories of this day would subside. I hope that on the years to come I will forget the feeling of walking into her room and seeing her saturations hovering in the 70s and the look on her nurse's face when she saw us and we knew it was time to let her go. I wish that I could forget the emotions that ensued as we made that agonizing decision. The physical and emotional pain as we waited for family to make the three hour drive to the hospital to say goodbye. It still makes me sick that we were sitting there waiting to let our daughter die.

I wish I couldn't still hear myself wailing as she was handed to us alive for the last time. I wish I could close my eyes and not see her gasp for a last breath as her eyelids fluttered. I wish I couldn't hear the doctor call her time of death as her body stiffened in our arms.

I wish she was still here.

It's been a year since my daughter died and my heart is still in pieces. I still wish that I could wake up and that it never happened but I no longer believe that's possible. It's been a year and I still cry every single day although I can now control when and where I do so. It's been a year and even though I have my rainbow, I still avoid babies and pregnant women because it still hurts. It's been a year.

It's been a year and I thought that it would bring some clarity but I'm still angry. I'm angry at the hospital for not following standards of care and releasing her. I'm angry at the stupid bitch of a pediatrician for completely dismissing our valid concerns, ignoring her symptoms and being very, very complacent with her care. Mostly, I'm still angry at myself for not being more insistent that she receive the best, like I did with her brother. I am angry that I didn't have the foresight to realize that I should have delivered at a hospital with a NICU because they would have recognized what was going on. I am angry because I failed her. I am still so angry and it's been a year.

It's been a year and I still I wish I could hold her again. I wish I could have seem her smile and heard her laugh. Hell, I wish I could hear her cry. I wish I could have enjoyed every milestone of this past year and seen her sit-up and crawl and walk and talk. I wish she could meet her baby brother. I wish we could hold both of them in our arms. It's been a year and I want that year back with her in it.

It's been a year. It's been a fucking year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Wow. I have been absent for awhile! I have a good excuse though. On September 5 at 1:52am, I gave birth to a beautiful 7lb 9oz baby boy. His name is Rhone Nayin Manalo and he is absolutely perfect. Rhone means "that which runs" or river and Nayin is pronounced like Nigh in and means Bright Eyes in Indian. (It's also an obvious homage to Naya.) He's also very healthy. He's eating and pooping and doing everything normal newborns should do. He actually pooped within the first 6 hours or so after birth. A nurse was in the room with us when we opened that first poopy diaper and started crying with us. She told us that she had never seen parents cry over the first poop before and it was touching.

Speaking of the nurses, we had a wonderful and amazing birth experience this time around. My OB (gosh, I love her), had made sure that the labor and delivery staff knew our story and everyone went above and beyond to make sure that Rhone was thoroughly checked and that we were comfortable with everyone and everything. The on call pediatrician even called a Children's hospital to double check if there was anything he should be specifically doing to check Rhone's digestive system and make sure that his bowels were in working order. Every nurse took the time to check him thoroughly while taking vitals and treated us with so much love and compassion. I truly can't say enough good things about how wonderful everyone was. I am so thankful. It was amazing.

The only hard part was that Rhone had jaundice. He had to be brought to the nursery to be placed under the bili lights and could only spend feeding times with us. It was very tough to be separated from him for that 24 hours, especially because he was in a bed similar to what Naya was in while she was in the NICU. It brought back a lot of hard memories for us (PTSD is a bitch) and we had to keep telling ourselves that he was fine, jaundice is super common and he was in a nursery and not a NICU. Luckily, it only meant an extra day in the hospital and we were able to be released at the same time.

Physically, I am doing very well. Healing is going much more smoothly than it did for either Ty or Naya and I am ready to go back to the gym and start reclaiming my body. Mentally, I am doing well with some hiccups. I can truly say that I am feeling real joy again and the smile on my face is genuine rather than forced. My grief feels like it has changed a bit as well - it's still there, still intense but not constant. Perhaps I am just distracted with Rhone and the work and happiness he has brought or perhaps it's because it's almost been a year since Naya died but I do feel a change of some sort. I am feeling somewhat happy and excited about life again. I never thought I would be able to say that.

Not that the happiness doesn't come with a price. This whole experience with Rhone's birth and all the extra precautions taken have also made me cry. I wish I could go back in time and insist that Naya receive the same care. It has made me realize even more what a shitty deal she got and how much she didn't deserve the hand she got dealt. I wish I could have protected her better. I wish I knew then what I knew now. It makes it hard to fully enjoy my son without feeling guilty about the life my daughter was denied. I still miss her. I always will and I wish I could have both of them. Life can be very bittersweet.