Angelo’s Story

Today is apparently “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day” and being new to this whole world of babies dying I feel kind of guilty for almost missing it.  But at least I’m catching the tail-end of it.  I’m going to write the short version of Angelo’s story, but I have to warn you that it’s still pretty long.

Kevin and I got pregnant with our second son in September 2007.  My pregnancy felt completely normal, i.e. overwhelming nausea, depression, and a general distaste for life.  But I knew it was all for a good cause–we’d have a baby in nine months!  I never thought anything different.

At our 20 week ultrasound the OB noticed something in the baby’s stomach that told her the baby might have Down’s Syndrome.  We spent the weekend first mourning and then coming to peace with this idea.  At the second ultrasound, after an agonizing two hours of waiting, the doctor returned.  “Good news!” she told us.   “The baby’s stomach looks perfectly normal!”  It was a pretty cruel way to transition to the news that our baby also had six fingers and six toes, a heart defect, and mostly likely a fatal condition called Trisomy 13.  I was racked with sobs through the entire amniocentesis, which ultimately confirmed what the doctor had suspected.  While it was hard news to receive, I thanked God every day of my pregnancy that the OB sent us for a second ultrasound because many cases of T13 go undiagnosed and the parents are completely snowed the day of delivery.

Through our research we learned that if the baby made it full term he would likely die of apnea during his first hours of life.  A handful of babies survive beyond that each year.  These babies need lots of resuscitation, cannot eat solid foods, are plagued with seizures, and are severely mentally handicapped.  And that’s just a fraction of the list.  I talked to some of these parents and they all said it was hard but none of them would have done anything differently.

We were presented with many choices.  It wasn’t easy to decide to continue the pregnancy but Angelo had already beaten so many odds to have made it this far and I didn’t want to take away any opportunity from him.  I want the best for Vincenzo, and I wanted the best for Angelo too.  I watched this moving video, and it made my decision final.

We named the baby Angelo, or “messenger of God,” and David, which means “loved one.”  And we did love him so much–we still do.  We got pregnancy photos as a family and Vincenzo started incorporating Angelo in his nighttime prayers and even during playtime.  We always reminded him that his baby brother would be different, and although once or twice he seemed upset, he accepted it once he processed it.  I wrote a children’s book about Vincenzo’s experience and will post it once I get a chance.

Then one weekend in April, at 7.5 months pregnant, I could tell Angelo had stopped kicking.  We went to the hospital and an ultrasound confirmed what I knew.  While we were heartbroken we also felt a lot lighter that night as we were no longer anxious about what life would be like if Angelo did end up living, because while that would have been a beautiful thing, it was the unknown, and it was also terrifying.  We spent our last night as a foursome at the park where we would later toss Angelo’s ashes.  I got induced the next day.

Angelo was born on Wednesday, April 23, 2008, at 2AM.  Family came in to hold his body and a Jennifer of Bella’s Images voluntarily took pictures of our precious hours with Angelo.  My dad put it best when he held his grandson and said, “He looks like an angel.”  We told our son how much we loved him and what a big deal he was in this world.  We held him and held him and held him and the room was so full of happiness and love, much like it felt at Vincenzo’s birth, and then Kevin and I sent everyone away.  We spent the last hour with Angelo’s body crying and just feeling everything we needed to feel without saying a word.  Finally, we were ready for the nurse to take his body away.  I kept reminding myself we weren’t sending Angelo away.  He had said goodbye to his body two days ago and was just waiting for us to do the same.

A month later we had a beautiful memorial service for Angelo and tossed his ashes into the lake that we see from our house.  It’s the lake we play at all summer, and every time I’m there I smile to think I am with both my sons.  My family came over after the service and built a children’s garden at our house that is the most lovely spot on our entire property.  Just last week we decorated Angelo’s magnolia tree with pumpkin lights.  And we joked that he’s probably going to be a ghost for Halloween.

I look for Angelo in everything good that happens in my day (and a LOT of good happens every day).  Thank you, little Angel Baby.  You taught me so much about how to love someone I would never really know.  You taught me patience and sacrifice.  You showed me that I never have to worry about being lonely because my friends and family are 100% here for me (thank you, everyone, who knew exactly what to say and when to call and who still call up just to remember Angelo with me).  And I will never be lonely because I will always have you in my heart.  You have given me a reason to be hopeful my entire life because I will always have hope that we will meet in death.

Thank all of you for taking the time to walk a little in my shoes.  I know beyond a doubt that I have the greatest friends and family in the world.  If you know someone who has lost a baby, please give them a call this week to say you’ve been thinking of their angel.  Don’t worry about me–you’ve read this post so I know you’ve thought about my angel today.  Thank you.

Mrs Mouthy, Now with Credentials!

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, after I gave him a disapproving look for throwing his milk cup on the floor (again): “But Mom, I’ve been doing this for 16 years!”
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I love my MIL dearly and we get into a lot of fun trouble in the kitchen, but there was a time with I felt rather intimidated by her.  I couldn’t quite place a finger on it until yesterday, when I noticed her signature on an e-mail she sent me:

Judith Namity Name
PhD RD FADA
Professor, Nutrition Sciences
Director, American Dietetic Association Accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics

I just hope Kevin didn’t try to “marry his mother” because I’m definitely going to have to be creative in finding acronyms to add to my name.  Let’s see, first I got a BA, then an MEd, then an M.rS., then my M.Om…

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
A melange of frozen dinner options for him and for her

Categories Uncategorized

Wait a minute, those aren’t eyes…

QUICKIE:Vincenzo, running to bathroom: “I ate so many hard-boiled eggs that I have to pee!”
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I have been shamed into making Halloween cookies, after seeing some truly amazing culinary feats from the blogging world.  You saw the apple cupcake yesterday, right?  Check these out, from www.bakerella.blogspot.com.  She DESIGNED and MADE these, and I don’t think she has any connection to Martha.

Spooky Sweets

So I set out to make something that would make everyone else jealous too.  Unfortunately, I’m not that talented and also unfortunately I let my son help.  We started with cookie bats which turned out okay, until you take another look at the “Spooky Sweets” picture and then you’ll be all, “Oh.”

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When it came time for the ghosts, Vincenzo was adamant they be pink.  I begged.  I cried.  I tried to bribe him with interest-free college loans and a down payment on his first house.  He held out.  I made the ghosts pink, though it completely misaligned my spine to do so.  Things got worse when I allowed Vincenzo to add eyes.

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I also noticed he quite frequently did this to the frosting knife.*

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So for those of you who work with Kevin and were greeted today with a box of freshly baked, decorated Halloween cookies, and especially to those who took two in case there was a 10:00 rush, I need you to think back.  Did any of the cookies you ate look like this?

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No?  Whew!  If so, I’d have to tell you to check your underwear lest you caught whatever Vincenzo had this week.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Chicken & Stuffing with Cranberries and Pecans
Blue Cheese Potatoes
Assortment of Cookies: chocolate chip; peanut butter bars; turtle brownies; Halloween cookies

*BTW, I’m actually INCREDIBLY ANAL about germs when I cook, and I didn’t let Vincenzo’s knife, unsanitized hands, or bottom touch any cookie that went to Microsoft–except for the ones in Kevin’s lunchbox.  Kevin, you might want to check your underwear…

Potty Humor Gone Bad

QUICKIE: Me: “Looks like it stopped raining, Vincenzo.”  V: “Yup.  Now it’s just wind-ing.”
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We hit the mall last night and as Vincenzo played on the boat it became clear that someone’s kid had previously vomited in the area.  And as we sat longer, it became clear that someone’s kid had also pooped in the area.  Vincenzo had already touched every surface with every part of his body so Kevin and I looked at each other and said, “Meh,” then proceeded to make jokes about the kid who either had it coming out of both ends or actually vomited up poo.

On the way out of the mall, it slowly dawned on us that the smell was ALIVE.  And it was FOLLOWING US.  And it was CRANKY.  And it was definitely, most definitely, NOT WEARING A DIAPER. 

What is it they say about Karma?

I’m not sure how to smoothly transition from vomit-poo to cupcakes, but I really want to win a cupcake book over at www.iheartcuppycakes.com.  Not to mention, Clara has MAD SKILLS.  Like you know the bulldozer cake I made for Vincenzo’s birthday?  Imagine a bunch of miniature ones WITH working, edible headlights and probably a set of hunky bulldozer driver cupcakes “for the ladies.”  Clara could do it.  Check out one of her recent cuppycakes:

There I plugged it.  I hope the “anonymous third party” who reads this really sees the heart that went into writing this review.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Leftover Oaxacan Tacos with Black Bean Stew and Kale in Lemon Vinaigrette

Foot Note

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, trying to get quark cheesecake on his fork: “Ooo!  This is going to be a fun project!”
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Shoes.  I has them.

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I bought these darlings this weekend to go with my dress for an upcoming wedding, I paid about five bucks for every sequin on them.  Like, $$$!  But!  The owner of the store (Gotta Have Shoes in Bellevue) threw in this pair of pedi-bling for $30.  Thirty bucks! 

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And they even look good from the rear–maybe even good enough to draw attention from my own 32-year-old rear!

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(rear view of shoes)                  (approximation of my rear)

Since I’m throwing pictures around, we got the band back together last night.  I made a gingerbread quark cake and people ate it so it must have been decent.  (These same people have been known to say things like, “It’s not that I don’t like the kale you cooked tonight–it’s just that I already had a huge plate of kale for lunch today…”)

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One of these days I’ll start posting recipes, too.  When you earn it.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Creamy Chicken Soup
Gorgonzola Potatoes
Gingerbread Quark Cake

Thought Police, You’re FIRED

QUICKIE: I’m out.  Feel free to leave your own quickie!
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I love a man who cooks.  Mine used to.  I remember one time early in our relationship (but not too early, Mom!) when he made flapjacks from scratch and even flipped them without a spatula–a move he normally reserves for children under the age of five.  I was smitten.  Once I needed help making a reduction sauce for a dessert and Kevin stepped in and I didn’t even mind when he took credit for the whole thing.  My man can make a REDUCTION SAUCE!

But there were also snafus along the way, like the time I asked him to cook for my birthday and when I showed up after a stressful day at work, ready for dinner, all he had in his hand was a car key.  He thought it would be fun to head to the grocery store (at late o’thirty), and have me pick what to eat, then he’d cook it.  ??  He’s acted a little scared of me ever since that night.  Someone made us participate in an Iron Chef competition at his house and Kevin said he’d bring the cookbooks.  He brought one from the WWE and one called “All You Need to Know About Microwave Cooking.”  We lost.

Years passed.  I took cooking classes.  I learned how to  julienne, to brunoise, and to dice.  I began calling potato casserole “Gratin Dauphinoise” and poached pears “Pears Belle Helene.”  I lit things on fire.  Once on purpose.  I started realizing that Kevin’s scrambled eggs were good, but the French method is really best.  I realized that Kevin’s secret ingredient was ALWAYS paprika (ALWAYS).  I realized that flapjacks are best made on a large, flat griddle and flipped with a spatula.  About the same time, I realized that Kevin almost never cooked anymore, and I called him on it.  He explained that it wasn’t fun anymore.  Oh.

So last night I was in a time crunch and Kevin said sure, he’d make the balsamic marinated mozzarella-stuffed portobellos.  I walked by and noticed he hadn’t marinated them in a plastic bag the way I would have and I told myself it was okay–they’ll still taste fine.  Right?  They’ll be fine.  In fact, it’s kind of cute how he did it.  And it’s VERY IMPORTANT that I don’t mention it to him so that he can build up some self “esteam,” ha ha.  Okay, Rachel?  Don’t say a WORD.

So there we were, eating dinner.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: Thanks for cooking, dear.  It looks AWESOME!
K: Thanks.  Did Vincenzo do anything cute today?
Me: OMG, he ate FIVE hard-boiled eggs in a row and I usually marinate the mushrooms in a plastic bag.
(For the entire rest of dinner, all that could be heard was the sound of forks clinking and me groveling)

I’m an idiot.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE
Going out!

D is for…D!

QUICKIE: Vincenzo told us this morning that "mine" is his favorite word.
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Just finished up D week.  We kicked off the week by riding the ducks in Seattle.

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We checked out books on dragons, dinosaurs, dogs, and doctors.  Vincenzo became clinically attached to the doctor book, which mindlessly ticks off the items in a doctor’s office, The End.  As soon as we finish he shouts, "Again!" and if we sigh then he also signs it because he knows I think that’s indelibly cute and will read it again.  To keep my own brain from spontaneously combusting after so many readings, I change the words to see what I can get past Vincenzo.  He freaks out when I call the stethoscope a metal detector, for example, or when I call the rubber mallet a rudimentary chainsaw…but he doesn’t blink when I change the fridge of medicine to a fridge of waffles or the bottle of alcohol to the bottle of Peppermint Schnapps.

On Wednesdsay we actually went to the doctor, who I begged to administer shots so that maybe Vincenzo would change his mind about the doctor book.  She obliged but as soon as we got home, Vincenzo found the book and we were back to reading it on repeat.

Mid-week we did some duck art.  This one was made using shapes from an on-line template.  Vincenzo drew in a black hole all around it.  I swear, kids sense things before we do.

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Then I printed the "Five Little Ducks" poem and we glued feathers on the mama duck then added five little feathers for her wayward children.

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Those projects took a grand total of 2 min. 37 sec., so we filled up the rest of the an hour blowing feathers all over the table.

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The review was very different this week.  I asked Vincenzo what sound D makes and he answered correctly.  I asked for words that start with D and he named off about five.  I asked him to recognize D in a line-up and he did.  I was understandably disappointed.  What the frick am I supposed to blog about if he’s going to answer everything correctly?  How smart he is?  Stupid kid.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Grilled Marinated Mozzarella-stuffed Portobellos
Gorgonzola Polenta
Green Beans in Cider Vinaigrette
Milk Chocolate PB Cake

I Hate Waiting Wombs!

QUICKIE: V: “I didn’t know there were two twos in my name!”  Me: “But two is a number, and your name is spelled with letters.”  V: “Oh.”  (thoughtful pause)  “I didn’t know there were two numbers in my name!”
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I’ve never had to wait to find out if I’m pregnant before.  Vincenzo was the one who “got past the goalie,” so to speak, and Angelo happened our first month.  I have found this fall that waiting is one crappy piece of crap.  It’s like this.  I get a zit on my chin (see yesterday’s blog).  At first I’m elated because when do I get zits?  When I’m pregnant!  Then suddenly I’m depressed because I remember I also get zits when I’m about to, well, you know, and it’s about the time of month that would happen.  Then I excitedly realize that this zit is a solid inch south of where I usually get zits, and the only time that has happened has been when I’m pregnant!  But I’m bummed when the zit goes away after two days, like any normal, non-pregnancy zit.  I LiveSearch zits and all zit-related things to find out if a zit of this nature is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.  My zit is so grossed out by what it sees that it pops itself all over my keyboard.
 
But what’s this?  Another zit?!!?  Let me go get my ruler…
 
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Grape & Gorgonzola pizza (b/c we never made it there last night)
Noodles in Brown Butter Sauce
Salad with Something Really Exciting In It
Categories Uncategorized

Hi to all my non-SITS readers too!

QUICKIE: When Vincenzo got some shots at the doctor yesterday I explained that it was medicine.  Later I went to give him some doctor prescribed medicine and he asked suspiciously, “And how is this medicine going to get in my body?”
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Hey, thanks for all the love notes yesterday, SITSAS.  I feel MAJOR PRESSURE to write something EARTH-SHAKINGLY FUNNY today or lose all my new friends.  Like, this much pressure:

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No; that’s not quite right.  More like this:

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Still not there.  Let’s try one more thing…


Yep, that’s it!  One gigantic neck zit’s worth of pressure.

I also wanted to wonder aloud, why is it when I “Live Search” top images of zits (because my husband threatens divorce when I google), why is it this girl shows up?  And why does she also show up when I Live Search pressure cookers?  I’m not joking.

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Maybe google knows the answer.  How ironic, how bitterly ironic.

Anyway, back to my ZITSAs SISTAS.  In the comments you left yesterday, I was compared to an 11-year-old girl (for my fear of the LHC), harrassed for running my blog through Windows Live (thanks to all who signed up for an account, and I’m sorry for any ensuing injury/death), and reassured that your spawn are just as learning challenged as my own.  Do it again!

Thanks also to all of those who expressed concern about my wrists.  No, they were not/are not going to be surgically removed, but before you relax too much you better read this post.  It could happen to you, too…

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Grape & Gorgonzola Pizza
Pork & Beans Soup
Cheesy Polenta
Toffee Bars

Categories Uncategorized