Saturday, November 28, 2009


6 months.

Happy Birthday, Joel. We love you and miss you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks alot...

I've talked in that past about how I find myself living in some strange, alternate reality. A place where everything is very, very familiar, yet absolutely nothing is the same. A shadow of the world I once knew; the world I grew up in.

I am not thankful that I have to live here...

but I am thankful that in all this shadow, the bright spots are much more vibrant.

With so much going wrong, and still through all the fallout, pain and strife, we've found so many friends still there, supporting us and comforting us, moving from friends to family. Real family.

To my extended in-laws: thank you for ... everything.

To those who've been with us from before the darkness, to those we've found in it, the classmates, the co-workers, the message-boarders and "the club": thank you all for being our family, our strength and our light.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ooops, I forgot... *updated*

What seems like a long, long time ago, I gave you permission to get a snack as you read through what I suppose amounts to my manifesto.

The details of that post, and all the private conversations and exchanges it refers to, have been a great source of my pain, sadness and anger over the past few months (although obviously not the greatest). In the times that I cannot help myself but to think about my family, I have no regret for my actions or my words. Maybe somewhere along the line I could've tried a little harder, but I don't feel that it would have made a difference.

I am happy to report that I have had some positive contact with a few family members during these last few months. I truly appreciate those kind and understanding souls that have reached out with even the simplest of contact.

But a little birdie came along recently, a well-intentioned birdie looking to protect its nest, and it reminded me of some things.

In particular, it reminded me of slander, liable, and harrassment.

Now, the little birdie and I must agree to disagree, and I think in the birdie's references, the above-mentioned vocabulary means nothing.

BUT (and this will finally bring us full circle) in my little manifesto (see link at top, lazy) I made mention of a wonderful email I received from my email I thought I'd left a link to with the manifesto. Instead, I posted the link in a second less-noteworthy blog.

So for those of you in the here and now, and anyone concerned with the birdies vocabulary in regard to my Uncle, here is his "open letter" (which would mean it isn't private and can be shared) to me where he fully expresses his desire to be punched in the face.

Why even insert a jump... (click the pic if you want to see the full email)

I don't know if that falls into any of the little birdie's vocabulary, and I don't particularly care because I'm not the litigious type, but I think this covers that anything I said in my original comments about good ole Steve were fair and at best no more slanderous that Conan O'Brien's Kirstie Alley fat jokes.

And for the record, I never acted upon any of the items listed on that Facebook poll, not because I didn't want to, but because I realized that I could never say or do anything to Steve that would be any worse than what he has already spent 50 + years doing to himself.

As for the rest of my family: as I've said before, Steve's email, and my conversation with my sister, confirmed a lot of things. I know they have simply expressed what everyone else was thinking and saying behind our backs. If that weren't the case, the other members of my family would've stepped up and said otherwise. I've had only one person do that, and that person wasn't even involved in this maelstrom to begin with.

I hate that along with the greatest tragedy of my life, I also lost the family I grew up in, but I am sooooooo happy to be rid of their bullshit. So these instances where it pops up again, well, I hate to say that at least with this one, I'm thankful for it. It reminds my sentimental little candy-ass of why I pulled my family away from that twisted patriarchy. It reminds me of the odd behavior they trigger in me (behavior I always find myself realizing to be wrong, and apologizing for over and over and over and over again...I should really work on that. )

So look, I posted this to address the supposed legal implications of my response to my Uncle, but through the course of crafting this post, I've come (through various means, but monstly my own. [ no, really]) to this statement (because while implied, both internally and externally, I don't think its every been quite clear): As I feel that Steve speaks on behalf of my family, and I thank him for offering himself up as that lightning rod, my feelings for him are greatly the same as my feelings for other members of my family who are perfectly happy to let him do so.

More direct? okay, just for them:

I am just as disgusted with you as I am with him.

I hope you don't misconstrue anything as a desire to forgive or forget. Even those whom I may not consider to be responsible for certain things are still being held accountable for their own actions (or inactions).

You may cry for me and pray for me, and I kindly ask you to stop; save the tears and the desperate prayers for yourselves, you clearly need them.
Fix your family, don't try to fix mine.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get ready for Vegas...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Angry letters (in mass) work

An update.

The following day (Friday) after my wife's call for angry letters, she received a phone call from the hospital in question. This...guy, whom my wife had previously left messages for over the past couple months, and sent a letter to (all of which was ignored), with a lawyer present, finally explained why they could charge for the autopsy, and said that they would overnight a proper bill to us so we could contact our insurance (which they did).

What he couldn't explain, however, was why we were ignored. And really that was our big issue, we paid without question because we didn't really care about the money. We -- well, I say we, but all credit goes to my wife honestly. Most of this took place while I was at work, and even without that, well, she's the one that knows how to get shit done. So, my wife raised such a fuss over all of this because no one would simply talk to her and help her out or explain what was going on. All we wanted was a piece of paper with a medical code on it.

My wife and I both understand the torture of work-related paperwork, so I think we can relate to having trouble finding something, or putting together a previously non-existent piece of paperwork. We aren't the only people to have trouble with hospital bureaucracy, and surely we aren't the first to complain, so I find it hard to understand why people can't just do their job. Simple as "oh, we messed that up? Here, let me fix that for you." Which, come to think of it, is what we got...5 months late.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

really?, REALLY??

I haven't posted much lately because....well, life I suppose. But that doesn't mean things haven't been happening. As always, I bow to my wife's superior blogging for you to go and get the full scoop on this particular facet of our son's death.

I know I said a long time ago that Joel's story is not over, but I didn't think it would be quite like this.

I will always sing the praises of the nursing staff in the OB/ Delivery dept. where Joel was born, but to the hospital as a whole, I submitted this letter.

To the Entire Staff of PVH, Five months ago I sat in the backseat of my car, comforting my 15-month old son (he used to hate car rides) while my wife drove us all to your hospital. She made this 45 mile drive from Huntington knowing that when she arrived at your hospital she would be delivering our second son, dead from her womb at 41 weeks.

In that alone it was a traumatizing experience to my wife and my family; we will never be the same. We came to your hospital on recommendations, that we would be treated well, and all in all we were.

She endured hours of waiting with our dead son inside of her, ultrasounds, without me by her side, looking at our dead son, and even more hours of excruciating labor, lying in a hospital bed, knowing the only relief from the pain would be when she could finally see and hold our dead son -- hardly a relief.

Not knowing how our son died, we agreed to an autopsy, no matter the cost, but were informed we could submit it to insurance for possible reimbursement. We didn't think much of it at the time, but it was at least some reassurance for a paycheck-to-paycheck family that had just lost their beautiful baby boy.
Five months have now passed; constantly painful, but with small moments of progress. Unfortunately, the business side of death has always been willing to rip our wounds open again. Do you know how many people you have to talk to to try and claim your stillborn son's autopsy on insurance? How many times you have to describe what happened, over and over again, reliving it each time, just to get to the person that can explain the process? When my wife eventually found out that all we had to do was get a bill/invoice from the pleasant hospital that had treated us so well, we actually weren't that worried. We paid you 2800 dollars for it, we got a simple receipt, but surely a bill with a medical code could be pulled up. No, it can't. This is what my wife has been told by your hospital over and over and over again:

You have no idea, or you can't help...try this number so you can get the same answers.

For months now she has tried to get help from your hospital, from VPs down to simple clerks, and theres been NOTHING. Today we were told that "DOAs" aren't charged for autopsies, and that our son would count as DOA. Is this why you can't help us? Because your hospital cheated us out of 2800 when our son was dead? We honestly don't mind having paid for the autopsy, because we wanted it, but turning around and not helping us to submit it to our insurance, because its something you don't usually charge for...well thats just cheating, isnt it?

We gave our son to you. We let you wheel him off on a cart, knowing that some stranger, not his parents, but a stranger would be the last person to see him whole, and in that moment your hospital took the opportunity to swindle us out of money?
If you're actually feeling bad about your hospital's mistake, then go find a way to make that bill, so we can fight with our insurance company for 5 more months just to get a small portion paid back to us, or own up to the mistake and let our credit card company know that it was an invalid charge. Thank you, me

(Okay, so I signed my name, but for some reason I feel compelled to keep the oh so thin veil of privacy I keep here at ye old blog)

Stay tuned for more on this, and probably plenty more.

Upcoming: Orion

Monday, November 2, 2009

Never simple...

First, the good news: Picadilly, our 3rd child, is doing well. Measuring a little under what we'd thought, but looking good. So HOORAY for that, because after a week of cramping and spotting, well, we feared the worst.

Now, the "It's never simple, Charlie Brown" (or "AAAAARRRGH!") news:

The doctor dumped my wife. Why? Because, if we are to take things at face value, we're skeptical. So lets go back through the timeline and figure up what is going on here, as best we can.

After Joel's death, we both had quite a bit of bloodwork done to determine if there were any genetic risks for any further pregnancies. We took said results to a High-Risk Specialist in Charleston, WV. In looking over the results and all of Jess' charts and records, he determined that there was no genetic disorder or blood disorder for us to worry about. He said that we would automatically be considered "high risk" but not high enough to be seen by a specialist, just additional monitoring during the pregnancy, and probably a planned induction.

Now, she does have one mutation, but it is one that is only a problem when paired with another mutation. If she had both, she would have to be on a daily injected blood thinner. Still, High Risk Specialist says no biggie, probably no need for injections, but he wouldn't be seeing us so it would be up to the doctor that does.

This was, of course, before we even tried getting pregnant. Flashforward a few months and Jess heads to this new doctor who is loosely associated with the hospital we've had our problems with, but it is a self-contained office, so we're happy and hopeful. Initially all is well, blah blah blah.

Today we go in for the ultrasound and are very pleased to find out that our Picadilly is alive and well. Afterwards we met with the doctor, who was pretty nice and well-spoken and impressively open about his thought process (not used to that with guys in lab coats). He brought up his concerns about the mutation and the need for blood-thinners, expressing that he wants to do everything possible to make sure we take home a baby. Well, okay. Us too.

He explains that he consulted with the local High Risk Specialist about this. Uh-oh. See, we went to Charleston because the local guy is the same one that told us Joel had two kidneys when in fact he only had one. Naturally, we're a bit skeptical of dealing with that doctor.

So anyway, Uh-Oh Specialist says use the blood-thinners. Well, okay, we're fine with that. You know, better to err on the side of caution. Conversation over? Nah, the doc still isn't sure that the blood thinner would be okay, even though he really trusts Uh-Oh Specialist. So, his feeling is that we should go and meet with Uh-Oh Specialist.


Yeah, we turned down that opportunity, which confused the doc, and we finally had to tell him the most basic version of our interaction with Dr. Uh-Oh. The solution? we go back to the Charleston High Risk know, the one who already said Jess isn't high risk and that he saw no need to see her. When they tried to set up an appointment, the OK Specialist said they needed records first and would determine if Jess needs to see a high-risk specialist. See where we're going here?

So we found ourselves looking for yet another OB because, well, we were skeptical. I suppose I understand the doctor's issue. Obviously he intended to give Jess additional care and keep a close eye on the baby. Unfortunately, if any issues came up, he would be consulting with Dr. Uh-Oh, and inevitably, Dr. Uh-Oh would want to see Jess.

Of course, since Jess' last visit, all the doctors associated with the office we were at today were 'searched' on her blog by someone at the 'Corporate Health Hospital'... I'll let your mind run with that as it will.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bumps in the night

5 Months.

A lot can happen in 5 months. I would know. I mean, a lot has happened in the last 5 months.

We certainly tried to keep ourselves occupied at first, just to keep moving through the days. If anything, we've been spending a lot of times focusing on things we can control; taking back our lives, I suppose. Working on our home, visiting friends, spending time with family, going back to school, and even making time for ourselves. Still, none of it makes Joel's death any easier. There is still the unnoticeable empty space: where nothing was before, but something should be now.

The baby swing in the back room, fully assembled, but never used. So we worked on doing what we can to see that it does get used.

Thing is, as time has gone on, life has started doing its thing again, and we've started running into things we can't control. Little bumps, big bumps, bumps from the past: we've got bumps.

Tomorrow we go for the first ultrasound of Picadilly...and I'm pretty sure we are both scared to death. ... and all the bumps aren't helping.