Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My New Year's letter

In lieu of the Christmas letter, I bring you my very own, New Year's letter. ...first off, I may be one of the only people willing to admit that deep down...silence please...softly whisper from me....I like Christmas letters. I can't remember ever sending one out but I liked to receive them. I love you all enough to really be okay with hearing how well your year was, the little hardships and how you got through them, the little musings of what reminded you of how much you love your children, your spouse, your life. Yes, in the truth of the comedy parodys that go on and on about "your wonderful life and the Christmas letter and our distaste for your perfectness", well, of course, there are moments that I say to myself "how great for you" and roll my eyes...but come on, deep down, I love you and am happy that you are living your life so well. I know you aren't perfect...I've seen things, heard things, KNOW things!!! .............in this spirit, here is my letter for the hoping many blessings come your way and mine in the year 2010.

I have to start by telling you of a recent conversation I had with a friend that I have reconnected with. She was asking how I was doing and out of nowhere I said, through tears, "I feel completely and utterly incapable of bull-sh--! and just want to ...." Well, basically, I wanted to lose all forms of communication. Mind you, this was just one day. After the year we've had, well, I have to say it's truly been the best and worst of times. ....I feel okay starting my New Year's letter with this statement because I still have to say that I still feel a very strong sense of truth in my life right now. ...I'm going to do my best to explain because it's a lesson that I've always believed I knew but really, I didn't know "dittily-squat"!!!

Obviously, I'd imagine that if you are simply reading this, that you don't need a detail of our year so I'll keep certain facts short. A quick look back at http://www.lovingourirelandrose.blogspot.com/, can give you the details if you need them. .........first and foremost, right before last Christmas...actually the Friday before Christmas, I found out, after yeeeeeears of infertility, that I was pregant. This was a blessing and we'll forever tout the greatness of the drug "Femara" for any and all we meet that know the sufferings of infertility.

I will, without any doubt, say that my pregnancy and the birth of our Ireland Rose was our greatest gift of 2009. We had dreamed of having a baby....Tristan, Mikey and I. Tristan has always wanted a brother or sister....he used to ask Santa for one. Mikey and I....well we love each other and for us, we love our family life and only see good from expanding that. ..........and oh my gosh!!!!, I hate admitting it "out loud" but I soooooooo wanted a girl!!! The testosterone levels in our house exceed maximum limits at times and I just really wanted a baby girl. .........How awesome was that day the ultrasound technician said "it's a girl". I cried and cried and we'd already picked her name and everything! Ireland Rose Brady. .......I seriously don't know how we can ever top that name. .......Well, within 5 minutes of "it's a girl", we heard "CDH" and it goes without really saying, that our lives have forever been altered by those three little letters. Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. A condition of a diaphragm not fully formed and thus an opening for organs to crowd the precious lungs. .......I choose not to go into detail further about the condition but will say that the CHERUBS organization will forever be dear to us and I'd simply ask that when you think of Ireland, possibly visit her blog...visut the link to CHERUBS and give what you can, even if it's just a kind word to someone. (the UofU Hospital and Primary Children's should be added to that list of places dear to us!)

Well, somehow we were either made right or raised right, we kept positive attitudes. We were ready to fight, learn and deal with everything head on. Our excitement did not dim, there was simply a shadow present. We became learned on as much as we could about CDH and formed quite a bond with the University of Utah and eventually, Primary Children's Hospital.

Ireland Rose arrived with alot of expected and unexpected drama. I carried this precious baby full term. We said we wouldn't place expectations on her, but of course, we truly believed she would show everyone how tough she was. And she did. At 7lbs 12 ozs, she was pink and adorable and 100% beautiful girl. ...Beyond everything, we had our Ireland Rose. She is, was, and always will be perfect. Her beauty, her spirit, her very precense in our lives will always be a cherished gift. 11 days. We'd do it again and again and again.....

...now dry your eyes because Ireland's life was full of purpose. (she was much more than just being this perfect ball of cuteness!!!) She taught me (and many others) some important lessons.

First ....I have a rock solid family in my house. Many see my hubby, Mikey as fun and that's about it. You have good memories from high shool or military or working together....that's great. He is fun. He is quick witted and can either cut you out of nowhere or cause a complete burst of laughter....pretty awesome trait. I bet none of you had any idea on how sweet he was, or how much he'd do just about anything for our little family (or anyone, for that matter), or how well he provides for us in every way. I married a great man. He's not just funny or silly. He has a side that few are priviledged enough to see or know. I know many secrets and he knows mine, and I'm here to tell you that the acceptance and love you give and receive from a relationship like ours, is the stuff anything great is and can be made of. .........and, Tristan. I think alot of folks underestimate my son. He's not always had an easy life and yet, he is kind and loving and a truly good person. As a teen, he can inevitably be selfish and yet, at a moment's notice, if I NEED him, he'll be there. If you need him, no need to ask twice. Did you wrong him in some way? No worry, he forgives so much better and easier than me. I love Tristan so much and make sure that he knows it without a doubt. Ya know, he makes sure I know that he loves me.

Secondly, I learned and am still learning about grieving. D (denial), A (anger), B (bargain), D (depression), A (acceptance). You get a ton of pamphlets and good people letting you know that these are the steps of grieving, that it can take 2 or more years, that the steps can move forward and backwards...to go with it and seek help from a friend, a professional, a pastor, a pill when you need to. You get alot of advice...you get alot of avoidance...you get people thinking that you understand another person's loss ....Want to know the truth of grieving? It is a very personal journey. My experience is probably completely different from the next persons. My days, my moments vary greatly. I've thought I was perfectly normal in grieving and then broke down in a doctor's office wondering if I was crazy. ....My new year will begin with 4 months without my baby girl. It is an undescribable pain because she is not here with me. At this moment in time, my afterlife is not my desire. My desire is to hold my baby. My desire is to watch her grow into a beautiful and happy life of her own making. This desire, this dream of mine for her is gone and because of that I grieve. I don't know how long this will last. I have good days and know I have much to be thankful for. I talk about this when I am comfortable and sometimes, I've even talked when it's not comfortable. Sometimes, I turn my phone off. ..........bottom line, grieving sucks. There are no perfect words and usually comfort is found in just knowing that someone cares enough about you to say "I'm thinking of you" or even better, "I think of Ireland".

Third, I truly believe that my "inner Ghandi" has surfaced a bit and through darkness, I've discovered some light about the world we inhabit. ....Through Ireland's life, I found deeper meaning in relationships. I met tons of people walking a line so similar to my life that it was almost uncanny and surreal. I learned that the core of 99.99999999...% of people in this world are good and that that 1 gazillionth person that is a shmuck, well his significance only matters if you allow him to matter. (And yes, I encountered the schmuck and am amazed how I let him matter in the face of the constant stream of goodness and prayer that was being sent my way.) .........back to the surreal lives that mirrored my own. ...Truly, the blogging world opened doors to us. We gained a wealth of information but more than anything, we learned that we were not alone. Others were walking the line right with us (either personally or simply standing beside us). That world of strangers and long lost friends kept us going throughout our pregnancy, Ireland's lifetime, and many continue to keep in touch. You can love someone you've never met.

Fourth and last, the statement about me being incapable of bull. I find this significant. It's always important to live by truth but I find myself almost radical about the concept of personal truths. I know to tread lightly because as in politics and religion, I don't believe radical anything is healthy. ..........anyway, I have facts about my life that are significant but at the same time they are simply the truth of my being, who I am, where I've been, where I'm going. I'm adopted. Two people couldn't have another child on their own and for their own reasons, I was adopted. Two people had me and couldn't care for me so placed me for adoption. This is significant but it's also just another fact of who I am. We can make lists almost chronologically and you'd think you know me. ....funny thing though. You would not know a dang thing about me, or who I was or where I was going. ....this is where my incapablilty of bull or better yet, my radical thinking of personal truths comes into play. ....I find myself extremely opinionated and fortunately enough, I find wisdom through silence (and at times silence may just possibly keep me from looking ignorant, i'm sure!). I have opinions on everything from your expression, your sayings, the healthcare plan (which if you've seen the size of these plans, who really knows all of what is in that?!), our government, other govenments, my spiritual beliefs, my upbringing, your pretty garden and home, your opinions on things you've not even lived through, your self-rightous behavior, my self-rightous opinions and behavior..........on and on, I can go. I guess we all do this. It is human nature and probably psychologically or biologically essentail to our being. Who knows? I don't. ....anyway, my questioning everything is just one more truth about myself. Did you know I was pregnant again? After years of infertility, having Ireland, losing Ireland, deciding that maybe just making some money and buying that cool camper would be fun (while secretly just hoping to have another baby or atleast have Tristan give me lots of grandbabies down the road).....well, isn't that just nuts?! ........here we go again. I am 36. I have a great husband. I have a wonderful son. I had a beautiful daughter and she died. I am pregnant again and it's a miracle and scary and exciting..and scary. I live in Utah with a family in Virginia and Pennsylvania and Ohio and Arizona and many friends everywhere. I am essentially happy. I am sad too. I have a life I love and I feel a new life is coming my way. I don't think 2010 is going to be easy. I can not go back to my old job. Will I get a new job? Will we be broke before we are prosperous again?

I am hopeful for this New Year. 2009 was not easy and I doubt 2010 will be easy either. I do however feel armed for just about anything...by the way, no pun intended there. Tristan's recently fractured arm looks like it will heal on it's own and not need surgery. See? Blessing, ca-ching. Baby on the way? Blessing, ca-ching! ....Do you remotely understand my constant rambling about personal truths? I guess, I finally understand that life is faaaaaaar from easy, funny because my life has NEVER been easy....but seriously, we have endured what could possibly be the worst thing to happen in our lives and we live on. We smile. We work. We cry. We accept. We grieve. We talk to others and we also turn off the email, the phone, the facebook, the blog. We do what we have to and do our best to come out shining. ............I am hoping that all of my friends and family have a wonderful 2010 and that in the face of any hardships, you step back and count your blessings.

Happy New Year!

Chanda and the rest of our little Brady "bunch

Monday, December 7, 2009

This blog is a memorial

well.......Ireland's blog is going to be a memorial for Ireland.  I plan on adding a slideshow soon.  I began a blog   http://www.myverybradylife.blogspot.com/ .   .........I was beginning to blog random thoughts here and really don't want that.   ......I pray for you all constantly.  I love my CDH family and simply need a new start.  Come by and visit the new blog if you'd like. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Babies and blogging

I haven't blogged like I used to and think part of that is due to me maybe needing a new medium to blog on.  I've got this blog and http://www.mybabysbling.blogspot.com./  Two blogs and now, talking of a third?!  Crazy, I know.  Really, this blog was for Ireland and I'd really like it to stay that way.  The baby bling is to honor Ireland through helping others and that is more of a here's some more bling and eventually (hopefully) a "look at this cute baby needing this bling".    ..............anywho, I wanted to convey thanks and send love and prayers out to all of those that do the same for me and my family.  I also want to express that I am so grateful for this unexpected pregnancy.  My emotions have just been all over the place.  ...honestly, some of this could be due to my low progesterone.  Not a doc but maybe.  All of last week, I had to go in for blood tests to monitor low progesterone (apparently a good indication of miscarriage).  My numbers went up about 3 points and then actually went down between Thanksgiving and Monday from a 7.6 to a 7.4.   ....my normal OB doctor had just returned from a cruise and let me know to stop taking the progesterone (the yucky vaginal suppository kind).  I had been taking these at night and laying down a few hours a day.  ...He said that it was apparently useless due to the numbers normally double and my numbers were obviously going nowhere.  At the same time, he did say that my HCg (preggo number) went from a 6000 to over 30,000 and because of this meaning I was "very" pregnant....not to worry.  Worry would cause more harm than good and I'm dealing with enough.  ....So, I do my best to do as he says...I'm taking it easy and not worrying.
.........I have been thinking on some stuff though.  I've had it sort of rough dealing with the loss of Ireland and honestly, I think (beyond the normal grieving) it's because I have entirely too much time on my hands.  Last week, I literally had to lay down and NOT get up for around 3 or so hours a day....totally not the glamorous "lady-of-leisure" lifestyle!  Thanksgiving was a cinch....we were at a friends' house so my contributions were minor.  ..........I can still cry that uncontrollable, painful cry of losing her.  I hold it back for the most part but last night, I was wondering if that was even healthy for this new baby because when you hold it back, you feel it in your stomach.  ...this is hard to explain, and I'm thinking that only those that unfortunately have been walking this path themselves know what I'm talking about.  ....It's been just over three months now(the 30th of Nov. marked our 3rd month) and there are moments when you look at an album of pictures, the urn or the beautiful blanket you held her in....and ya just think to yourself, this is it.  This is all I have left.  I want my baby and instead I have a room that I avoid and a few very precious keepsakes and I'm supposed to move on.....I am here to tell you that it is the hardest thing in the world.  I can not imagine anything worse.  I know that there is worse but I truly hope that I never have to endure anything like this again. ........I have decided that in my newfound "wisdom-of loss" that I would not want to live to be 100 years old unless life has seriously changed by then.  As americans, we truly do not value our elderly as we should and I'd imagine that they are lonely.  I think of having lost my precious Ireland and the pain it brings me.  Can you imagine the old guy in the nursing home that has outlived several children, maybe his wife is gone, his siblings....these are my thoughts.  I couldn't bear that pain ...or rather I would not want to bear a pain like that.  It has sort of thrown a bigger respect in me for those that work in nursing homes and for the elderly folks I see in my day to day living.   ....I used to be that person that gets irritated when you're behind that white haired driver..and ocassionally, my sef-rightousness would come out and say well, I only hope to be that old one day.  ...well, yes and no.  ....If my children are healthy, Mikey is well and ....by now, you get the drift.  ....so today, I'm sending out prayers to all of those lonely in the world because I understand atleast to the point of losing one.   ..........anywho, to continue on with my random thoughts...I hope that when this baby is older and looks up his/her mom's old blogs and reads this stuff that they know that I was not comparing him/her to Ireland.  I was loving him/her and also dealing with a major loss.  ...........Ireland will always be perfect to us.  We never heard a voice but we saw that she had one with every single time she would look up and her eyes would widen just to hear our voices or that her toes would curl and her arms would stretch because she so wanted us to pick her up.  She was so present.  A touch from us would bring a calm to her face, and a change in her monitors.  We affected her and vice versa.  She was beautiful.  She never said a cross word or did a bad thing.  Her life was short and the most innocent.  She could only be perfect and thus will always be remembered that way.  ......No matter how hard we try, none of can achieve a perfect life like that.  We are not and those we love can never be like that either.  ....When those of us that have lost an innocent baby, we truly are the few that have been allowed to know and hold an angel in our arms.  .........I really do believe this and I do not profess to knowing what heaven is like but I know that is peace and love and innocence and well, that describes our perfect babies.   .........anywho, my point is, Tristan and this new baby are loved in such a seperate way.  They are different and wonderfully so.  I can't even begin to describe my love for Tristan.  He can be that typical teen at times and yet, he is my son and I'd hand him the moon if I could.  As for this new baby forming...I am just realizing that you are even there.  It is just beginning to click that there is a life inside me.  On Thanksgiving afternoon, the doctor monitoring my bloodwork called and asked if I were cramping or bleeding......wow, absolutely horrible etiquette on her part...and yet, I woke up and just wanted to go home, throw in the progesterone and will the number to go up so that this baby would be safe and fine.    ...........for those wondering, I haven't had abnormal cramping and not a drop of blood.  I do as my regular doc says and don't worry.  I can do nothing about it anyway, I tried.   .............anywho, to recap;  I miss Ireland.  I love Tristan.  I love this new one coming along.   ....I have special prayers going out to a few that have also suffered the loss of their babies this past year.  I think about a few in particular because their lives have seemed to parallel with mine and I want them pregnant with me.  ...Also, there are alot of opinions out there about age and pregnancy.  Even doctors are nice enough to say that I'm not too old.  ...I am perfectly aware of my age (36) and at times hope this baby doesn't think I'm a grandma and then look at my son, laugh and realize they'll wish to turn me into someone else anyway at times.  ....point is, my fact is that I'm pregnant now.  I'll be almost 37 when this baby is born.  I don't feel old but do feel, all of a sudden, that I should eat a bit better and care for Mikey better.  It is highly likely that when this baby is Tristan's age (14), I could become a grandma.  ....woh....need to breathe....in a good way but still......anywho, there are just others on my mind and I wish they were on this journey with me.  I would like to push the drug "femara" on them if they need to try something different than "clomid".  (I happened to just get preggo this time but after years of infertility "femara" is what gave us Ireland....and no, it did not cause the CDH).   My doc said that when "clomid" isn't working, usually "femara" will.  .....as Forrest would say, "that's all I'm going to say about that."      .............well, "babydust" to those that need it,   "sanity" to those that could use that (me, perhaps?), love to the elderly and really to all that have suffered any loss....maybe a small prayer that a recipient to babybling will send us a picture of their precious baby (selfish but would really love to post something...will stay legal though)............anywho, also love must be sent to CHERUBS and to all those dealing with CDH in it's too many forms (pregnancy, NICU time, growing up with it and taking care of those that have it.....and for those dealing with the loss from it)..........later

small p.s.  ....i can't find my spell check on here all of a sudden so forgive any screw ups, please