Thursday, September 29, 2011

This is where I should be

I had two doctor appointments today. The first one was with my new ob-gyn and the second was the follow up with my surgeon.

I was a little nervous going to the first appointment. I didn't know what it was going to be like seeing that doctor again. The last time I saw her was the worst night of my life. She was so kind that night, so gentle. A little background for those who don't know the story: after we had Ryan we had many issues with the OB practice I was with. The follow up care we recieved was far from acceptable. I knew I needed to find a new group of doctors but didn't know where to begin. My sister was taking my nephew to his ped. for a visit so I asked her to get a name from that doc. I got the name of the group and made a phone call. There are 8 (I think) doctors in this practice with 3 locations. I called and asked to make an appointment. They gave me an appointment at the location I wanted. They told me which doctor I'd be seeing (I didn't have a specific name of who to see so I just went with whoever had an opening). Around two weeks after making the appointment Ryan's birth certificate came in the mail. It was signed by a doctor with the same name that I had the appointment with. I called the birth certificate office at the hospital to ask who signs them. The lady answered "the doctor who delivered".

So I had an appointment with the doctor who delivered Ryan and I didn't even know it. There was a sense of relief that came over me. I couldn't tell you what she looked like or her name but I can tell you verbatim every word she spoke to me that night.

So today was finally the appointment. She walked in and shook my hand and Nick's. She sat down on a stool and rolled right over to where I was sitting on a chair. She asked about my history (finally a Doc who reads them!) and asked about my most recent surgery. I started to tell her why I had this surgery. I told her she was the one who delivered Ryan. She looks at Nick and says "that's why you look so familiar". She remembered. She remembered that night. She remembered Ryan's name. She remembered Nick pulling her out in the hallway and asking advice on what to do. She was one of our angel's that night. When I broke down crying telling the story and how much she helped us in the short amount of time she was there she rubbed my arm. Just as she did that night.

This is where I'm supposed to be. She took the best care of all three of us that night. I'm pretty sure Ryan had a hand in getting us back together and I'm so thankful for that. I feel like I got another little piece of Ryan back today.

She said looking at my history and all of the strange ways all of this went down that she doesn't see a reason there can't/won't be another child in our future. She's going to refer me to a high risk OB for an appointment just to get an opinion on how long to let my uterus heal, for my own piece of mind. We're in no rush for anything and know we need to be in the right place emotionally but to hear that the option is still there is a huge burden lifted from me.

The surgeon had the same outlook for us. He said everything looks good. I'm healing nicely (slowly but surely) and he sees no reason not to have another child. He did tell us the abcess he removed was the size of a grapefruit. Pathology came back fine -- no cancerous cells anywhere -- just lots of infection.

Today was a good day. We got good news with definitive answers. It's nice to go in and have a routine visit for a change.

On another note -- today I was watching the news and saw a story about a pair of women who were making a donation to Highland Hospital. They were donating knit hats and blankets and angel kits to the hospital. These are two babyloss moms who want to make a difference. I commend them for what they are doing and sure as hell wished we would have had one of those kits when we had Ryan. I'm including the link so you can all check it out. This is near and dear to my heart.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Due Date

Today was my due date. In reality Ryan would have been born last week via a scheduled c-section but this date will forever be burned on my brain. It's been a day on the calendar that I've been wanting to avoid for months.

How can you not think about the future you were supposed to have on a day like this? What you thought it would be like to have 2 children here with you.

I tried my best to keep busy. AJ had a fever since last night so he wasn't his normal happy self. It's hard with him not being 100% and me not being able to fully care for him.

I decided a while ago that I wanted to go to the cemetery and have a balloon release for Ryan on this day. My dad and step-mom and grandparent's are here helping us out so they joined us.

It was a beautiful, clear day. We got there and wrote messages on our balloons and then let them go. It was amazing how far they got and we could still see them floating to the heavens.

I hope Ryan got our messages...

After we released our balloons the family took AJ so Nick and I could have some time alone. We spent a little while there with Ryan. Then we took a ride to the tattoo shop where we're going to get our tattoos done. I'd like to get mine as soon as I'm cleared from the doctor...but we'll see.

Here are some pictures from today.

Getting ready for our balloon release

Nick helping AJ draw his picture for Ryan on his balloon

AJ concentrating on his artwork

There they go!

I love you my sweet boy. I miss you today and always.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Four Months

Four months and here we are still dealing with my health issues. I pray with all of my being that this is the end of it and we can start looking ahead to a healthier me.

Four months and I still miss his as much as I did that first day, those first hours.

Four months and some changes have been made. Over $4,000 was raised for March of Dimes. The hospital will (hopefully) soon begin using the new resource list I compiled. Nick and I will get to speak to some administrators at the hospital to let them know what needs to be improved and why. We'll also meet with the social worker at the hospital to possibly include a letter about Ryan in the packets they give to other babyloss families.

Four months and not a day goes by that I wish that we were meeting him for the first time this week.

Four months and I've tried really hard not to think about the "what-if's" and the "I wish we would have known". It's torture and it still happens from time to time but deep down in my heart I know we did everything and looked for everything we could have.

Four very long months...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Best Medicine

Last night was rough. I ended up throwing up at one point -- not really something you want to do after abdominal surgery. They had to hook me back up to the IV fluids and give me 2 meds for nausea.

I asked Nick to come up to spend the day with me to help me out. I didn't want AJ coming up and seeing me in pain. My mom spent the day with him and he had a great time.

By the afternoon I was feeling much better. AJ and my mom came up for dinner. They were here for about 3 hours. AJ is always so good when he's here. He plays with his toys, hams it up for the nurses and just hangs out. After he got in his pj's tonight he was looking to snuggle with me. He didn't ask "uppa" like he normally does but I could tell he wanted to come in bed with me. I got a pillow and put it over my belly and Nick layed him next to me in bed. He snuggled up and just stayed there with me. That was the best medicine I could have gotten. My little man taking care of his mama.

I really must have done something right to have such great kids and a wonderful husband and family.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A New Chapter

So my surgery went well. They didn't have to do too much to the uterus itself. They found that once they got in there I had an abscess. It was affecting my appendix, ovary and tube on the right side. They removed them all. They said it could have been there for a while (and we know it was) but I never ran a fever. Always the zebra.

Recovery hasn't been too bad. I've got a pretty big incision. It's been pretty sore but the pain pump they had me on yesterday was fantastic. Today they took my off IV fluids and I've been managing on Percocet and Toridol. There was talks of sending me home tomorrow but we'll see. I'm not sure I'm ready. I'll talk to the doc tomorrow.

I do still have a drain too. It's gross but with all the nastiness they had to clean out of there they wanted to make sure none of it stayed behind.

I brought my picture frames with me. One of them is from AJ from last mother's day. It says "I <3 Mom" on it. The other is the frame we had engraved to put the picture of me and Nick holding Ryan. I've gotten so many compliments on them both. I've gotten to tell Ryan's story and it's been helpful through this.

I also finished the resource list for the hospital. I met with the Social Worker today and got to tell her all that happened since we saw her last. She was shocked to hear all of the issues we had. She asked if Nick and I would talk to some people here at the hospital to let them know what has gone on and how they can fix it. We'll do whatever it takes to help fix the issues here. I hope Ryan is looking down on us and is proud of what we're doing. I want both of my boys to be proud of us. I know I'm so proud of them.

I'm off to get some rest. I truly appreciate all of the prayers and good thoughts that have been sent our way. We finally had something go in our favor...I hope this is the start of a new chapter.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tomorrow is the big day

I've done my best to keep myself busy today. I did more today than I have in the last week. I did what an good Italian mama would do -- I cooked -- a lot. I made beef stew, white rice, egg noodles, chocolate muffins and an apple crisp -- and that was all before noon.

I also did 4 loads of laundry, some other cleaning and of course played with AJ.

I did all that I could to try to keep my mind off of tomorrow.

I did get all of your phone calls and well wishes and I appreciate them more than I can tell you -- but the more the phone rang and the more I thought about it the worse my anxiety got.

I just put the finishing touches on the new resource list for the hospital. I'm so glad it's done and I think it's pretty good. I hope it helps at least one family in the future. If that's the case it'll all be worth it.

Surgery tomorrow is 11:45am. We're going to the cemetery tomorrow morning and then heading to the hospital.

I'll update when I can (and I'm not too drugged!) :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

And a good Monday morning to you

So our plan today was to go to the hospital to speak to someone in person about the bill we received for Ryan. I called (at 8am when they opened) to see if there was going to be a manager or supervisor available to talk to. I found out the billing office is not on site and I would have to do this over the phone.

The lady on the other end of the phone (who I've spoken to numerous times about some of the many bills I've received this year) asks for the name so she can pull up the account.

Me: Last name is Ippolito

Lady: Patients first name

Me: Ryan

Lady: OK, so it's for the newborn?

Me: *total silence*

Lady: For the newborn?

Me: Well, that's just it -- you see, my son was born at 21w5d gestation...

Lady: Let me get you a supervisor

Me: (in the best sarcastic tone I can muster) Yeah, thank you.

Supervisor: Hi, how can I help you?

Me: Well I'm having an issue with a bill I received. It's for my son and at the bottom of the invoice it says that it's being denied because he's not added on the policy.

Sup: OK, yes I see the claim was denied in July.

Me: (chocking back tears) Let me tell you that my son was born at 21w5d gestation and didn't survive. He lived for 55 minutes (officially -- we know it wasn't even that long). Am I supposed to add him to my insurance for that?

Sup: I am so sorry.

Me: And I want to know why I'm receiving this bill almost 4 months later.

Sup: Well the claim was denied in July. I show that we sent something out then.

Me: No, we never received this. I would remember. I save all of my bills. I've been in the hospital more times than I can count this year and I'll be back for another surgery on Friday. I know we didn't receive this. I've been getting bills in drips and drabs. I only received the bill for my delivery 3 weeks ago.

Sup: I don't know why you didn't get anything. It does show that we sent it out. It does show a zero balance on that bill so I'm very sorry you received it.

Me: Well I just wanted to let you know how I felt when I got that in the mail. And I want to know what is going to be done so another family doesn't have this happen to them. We've been the example for many things over these last 4 months that have not been handled properly. This can't happen again.

Sup: This phone call will take care of that. I'll make sure of it. I can't even imagine. I'm so very sorry.

So needless to say her Monday morning didn't go as planned. And I hope that this does take care of this issue but who knows...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crashing Down

Today was miles apart from yesterday. I was still pretty exhausted but we had a good day. We went to the market in the morning. AJ and I enjoyed our empanadas. We did a little shopping too. Nick had to go to work for 10am so me and AJ came home and hung out for a while.

After his nap we went to visit Nick at work. They were doing an event and were having a bbq. We ate (AJ had a frozen custard for lunch). Then he went in the pool and had a great time.

After that we came home took an afternoon nap (I think I needed it more than he did). We were going back to Nick's job for the concert they were having, the last one of the summer.

I was waiting for AJ to get up so I was getting a few things together. The mail came so I was sorting through. Two more bills from the hospital. I can tell from the envelopes. I open them up and the first one is for me. $18 and change for bloodwork. Fine. The next one isn't for's for Ryan. My heart skipped a beat and my stomach sank. What could they possibly be billing me for? And why are we getting this almost 4 months later?

The bill says "regular nursery" with a charge on it. At the bottom there's a message "We are unable to bill this claim to your health insurance company because your child is not listed as a member on your policy." Then there's another sheet with the bill...

Dear New Parents,
Congratulations on the birth of your child! This letter is just a friendly reminder that your newborn needs to be added to your health insurance policy.

It goes on to talk about how you only have a certain amount of time to enroll...yaddda, yadda, yadda.

This was just what I needed to send my day crashing down. I sat there starting at this bill, reading the letter over and over. Are you kidding me? Does no one have a clue? This can't happen. This shouldn't happen.

I've decided I'm going to the hospital Monday morning to take care of this. I want to sit in front of someone and make them listen. I want them to see me and hear me. It's going to be one hell of a Monday morning. But I'll be damned if this happens to someone else.

After the shock wore off and I was able to think straight again AJ and I went to the concert. We met up with Nick and had a great night. AJ had a blast dancing and running around. We actually got to stay out later than 8pm! It was a nice way to end the day.

Tomorrow Nick is off (finally) and we can spend the whole day together. I think it's just what we all need. Back to our routine.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wake me up when September ends

Today was awful. It's right up there with one of the worst days in the last three and a half months.

I went in for my pre-op testing this morning. I was the first appointment so I didn't expect it to take too long. It was just bloodwork, chest x-ray and instructions from the nurse. After two and a half hours, having to tell my story again and waiting 40 minutes for a simple x-ray I was done. And I was emotionally drained too.

It took 3 tries to get the bloodwork done. I should have just let them go to the vein I knew would work -- stupid me for wanting to give my poor arm a break. Then I had to go to get a chest x-ray. The woman checking me in commented on my necklace. She asked if it was for my son. I said yes, one of them. She asked how old he was. I told her he would be three and a half months. She looked at me and said "would be?" I replied with a simple yes while looking her straight in the eye. She didn't really say anything after that.

I wanted to cry when I was out of there. My nerves are starting to kick in. Being there made it worse. I so want it to be over and done with but I'm scared out of my mind.

I had a therapy appointment this afternoon too. I cried the whole time. My anger has been really getting to me. I'm sad, yes, but lately I'm more angry than anything. I should be going for a c-section not a different surgery. People should be coming to meet a new baby and helping out, not for this. It shouldn't be this way.

After my appointment I took some time and went to the cemetery. I sat and sobbed the whole time. I finally got myself back in the car and I screamed at the top of my lungs. I screamed and yelled and asked all of the questions that have been plaguing me all these months. I felt a little better. It felt good to get it out.

My day was shot after all of this and it was only 2pm. My whole body hurts like I've been hit by a truck. I'm exhausted. I need the physical issues to be taken care of so I can focus on my emotions. It's too hard trying to balance the two.

I'm praying to God that Friday will be the end of this chapter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thank You

There are so many people who have been so amazing these last three and a half months. Our families and friends have been wonderful. They've helped with whatever we needed, whenever we needed it. They spread the word while we were fundraising for Ryan's page on March of Dimes, they offered to come up and stay and help out, they've offered financial support and most of all emotional support for all of us. These coming weeks we'll be depending on them all again to get through surgery, recovery and my should-have-been due date. I don't know what we'd do without all of you. Thank you doesn't seem like enough.

There's also another group I need to thank. It's a community you never want to be a part fellow babyloss moms. I've made a few new friends through this journey so far and I can't begin to explain what these women mean to me. Some of them are women I've never met in person. My pen pals and FM buddy mean the world to me. I honestly don't know what I would have done without them. I still count on them quite a bit and hope they know that they can count on me as well.

I'm also thankful for finding Parent Link. Just in the two meetings I've attended I've learned so much and made great contacts. I know this is something I'll be involved in for years to come.

I hope no one ever has to go through this but know that God forbid, there is a wonderful community out there of women who have gone through it before you.

So to all of you who have helped -- even if you think it's something small -- know that it all counts and we couldn't have made it this far without you.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ryan's Stone

Ryan's headstone was placed on Wednesday. We've been waiting for it to come in for weeks. Christa from the funeral home called to let us know it was there.

Nick took his lunch break and we took a ride up to the cemetery to see it. It's beautiful. I'm glad it's finally there. It's so much better than the little temporary one they had. It was a bittersweet moment. It was nice to see his name but sad to see it there.

And here's a picture of all of Ryan's things...we've got puppy that Cole gave him, a ladybug (of course), his angel statue, his flag and another angel hanging from it.

You can see in the background some of the other graves. Almost all of them have flags and toys. If there was ever a "happy" place in a cemetery, it's here.

Oh, and yesterday before I went to the cemetery I saw my bunny. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I've been getting a lot of ladybugs this last week. I've had 3 come and visit. One of them actually smacked me upside the head (no really, it literally flew right into the side of my face).

Ok, make that 4. As I sit here typing this I notice a spot on the ceiling. I get up and look -- it's another one.

I guess she's been around a lot this week and I think I've needed it. It always makes me smile. I know she's watching and letting me know it'll all be fine.

I haven't seen my bunnies lately though. It's been almost 2 weeks. I know it seems silly but I really need to see one. Maybe she's filling in with ladybugs...but it's not the same.

I guess when the time is right I'll see one, it's just hard being patient.