Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas

I waited a few days to write this so my emotions wouldn't be to raw, more of a survival tactic for myself than anything else I guess. I had a few down times on Chrsitmas but for the most part it was a pretty good day. We kept so busy I didn't have much time to think about what we were missing. Not to mention the kids excitment was so contagious it was hard to not be in the spirit!

On Christmas Eve me and Dwayne wrote letters to Isabella and the kids drew her pictures, we put them all in her Stocking for her.

Here is a picture Katie made for her.

She also wrote her a letter that said I miss you Isabella, I love you Isabella. She wrote it all by herself with only getting help with Isabella's name, which she copied off her stocking, lol.

The first picture I took Christmas morning I think Isabella was letting us know she was here.

Check out the top right corner, it is right above her stocking!!

Christmas night though was the best of all. It snowed!! It NEVER snows here on Christmas, I think the last time it did was 1988 or 1989, not sure which. It continued to snow into the next day with us getting a total of almost 13ins!! There hasn't been that much snow in Dec in the area since the 1800's!! Of course most people just take it as a freak of mother nature, but I know Isabella was sending us her love. She showered us like crazy with her love for Christmas!! It was the best present I could get.


The days since Christmas have been harder than the day itself. Each day that passes is just one day closer to her angelversary. It has also been hard seeing everyones pictures with their babies around the same age Isabella would be on their 1st Christmas. I know this next month is going to be hard, but I know God will give me the strength I need.

Oh and before I forget I want to thank Shannon for putting Isabella on her angel tree and sending me this picture.

People will never really understand how important it is for our angels to be remembered, so there are no words to describe how thankful I am to her for adding Isabella to the tree.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

no idea

So I have no idea what to put as the title to this blog because I have no idea what I am going to write about. Normally I come on here with an idea of what I am going to write about, today though I just feel this need to write but with no real idea about what.

I have found myself down in the dumps the past couple of days. I am not sure if it is having to go through the holidays without Isabella, if it is my depression trying to make itself known again or just normal pregnancy hormone issues. If I knew maybe it would be easier to fight it and get it under control. The best way to describe it is just feeling blah.

I also find myself getting easily angered by things that normally wouldn't bother me. I find myself snapping at people for no reason. I am having to bite my tongue to keep from saying mean things to people.

I don't want to feel this way. This time of year has always been the happiest time of year for me. Even though we don't have Isabella here with us we do have so much to be thankful for. Even though there are other issues going on in our lives again there is still so much to be thankful for. So why do I feel so down? Why do I feel so negative about everything?

It seems I have had to pull that mask out again. The one that lets me put on a smile and pretend everything is okay. I wish I could put that mask away for good. I wish I could be as happy on the inside as I pretend to be.

I am praying and hoping that whatever this mood is that is visiting me is only here for a short stay. I don't want to feel this way anymore, and it has only been a few days! I can't imagine feeling this way for weeks or months. I want to be the happy carefree person I used to be, the person who wasn't constantly worried about things, the person who found good in everything instead of noticing the bad like I do now. Maybe it is finally hitting me that I will never be that person again. That even during the times I have been happy since Isabella's diagnosis I wasn't and know I will never be that carefree innocent type of happy again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Girl...

So we found out on Monday that we will be having another baby girl. The spine and head looked great on the ultrasound so I am more than relieved about that. Of course like they said ultrasounds aren't 100% but they are pretty sure everything there is okay. I have to go back on the 28th for another look at the heart because she wasn't in a good position to see it and they want to take another look at the placenta because it was looking funny to them, they really didn't go into any detail about it so I am not sure really what is going on, but they didn't seem real worried about it.

I am kind of mixed up on the news about a girl. I mean I am more than happy and thrilled and thankful for a healthy baby, no matter boy or girl, but I can't help but wonder how I will handle it. In some ways I think a boy would be easier, I wouldn't have to deal with all the emotions when I go buy baby girl things and after the baby comes home. But at the same time I will finally be able to buy all those baby girl things and bring a baby girl home again. Even though I know it will be hard in some ways it might be theraputic too. I will have to face those emotions and deal with them, where as with a boy I would be able to "ignore" it.

I am also worried people will think this baby girl will be able to "replace" Isabella. That is NOT possible. You can not replace a child. Just because she passed away shortly after birth doesn't make her any less of our baby our child that we love. She can never be replaced. We are just adding to our family, making her a big sister, no different than if she was here with us.

I guess only time will tell with how I will deal with it. I know God must think I am strong enough to deal with it and he thinks it is what is right for us. I have to trust in him, and I know he will get me through it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow!

The day Isabella was born it snowed, the whole trip from KS to VA for her service it snowed, the day of her service it snowed and then the day we got back to KS it snowed. So snow reminds me of her, the tattoo I got for her is a snowflake. Today, the day of the ultrasound it is snowing! Now people from this area know how rare a snowfall this time of year is. If it snows here it isn't until Jan or Feb so this isn't a normal thing.

I am taking this snowfall as a sign of Isabella. Her letting us know she is watching over us and sending her love today. She knows how stressful and worrisome this day is for us and she is comforting us.

Thank you so much baby girl for this beautiful snowfall and for sending your love to us today, we are truly thankful!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas in Heaven

I am spending Christmas in Heaven this year.

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below, with tiny lights, like Heaven's stars, reflecting in the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear, for I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear, but, the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring, for it is beyond description to hear an angel sing.

I can't tell you of the splendor, or the peace here in this place, can you just imagine the Christmas with our Savior, face to face?

I'll ask him to light your spirit, as I tell him of your love. So then pray for another as you lift your eyes above.

Please let your heart be joyful, and let your spirit sing, for I'm spending Christmas in Heaven and I'm walking with the King.

-John Mooney

I really needed to read this today. I have been feeling kind of down about not having Isabella here for Christmas and it really reminded me how selfish that feeling can be sometimes. How great it must be to celebrate with Jesus himself!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pregnant Women

I thought by now I would be over this. I thought when I got pregnant again it would be okay. I am getting better around babies but for some reason pregnant women still get to me. And it drives me crazy that I don't know why, lol. I am a control freak so I guess not having control over it is really what drives me crazy.

Everytime I have to go to an OB appointment or an appointment at the specialist office I dread it. I dread having to sit in that waiting room 30 minutes surrounded by pregnant women. I sit there having to hear their prior pregnancy/birth stories and their stories of this pregnancy. It hurts so much to hear those things. I wish I could be in those conversations like I used to be. But I know they don't want to hear about Isabella, she is my child and I would have to include her in those stories.

I think part of it is I no longer have that innocence they all have. I know that ultrasound isn't about finding out about the sex. I know the 16 week blood work isn't just another blood test you don't have to worry about. I know how special each little kick is, no matter how painful they can be. I know how precious each second that my baby is alive in me really is. Like them I am too excited and happy to be pregnant, but unlike them I also know the fear and worry that can come along with it.

I have read from other BLM that some of them feel this way too, that even years later pregnant women still get them. I just wish I could understand it better. I wish I knew what it was about them that gets to me. I wish I could do something about it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving and 10 months

First off I would like to apologize for neglecting this blog and not reading other blogs. I was kind of scared to sign into it, afraid to write or read something that would upset me. Things have been going good the past couple weeks and sometimes when I write or read another blog it brings up those sad emotions, and well I wasn't up to facing them. I guess I wanted to go pretending that everything was okay, that life was "normal" again. I should have had more faith in Jesus and known that nothing could break this new "normal" feeling he has brought into my life, I should have known that it wasn't mans doing but something stronger that has brought me to this better place in the grieving process.

So our 1st Thanksgiving without Isabella went better than I thought. Instead of being down about her not being there I made myself be thankful for the blessing she brought into our lives. So thankfully no tears were shed, not much saddness intervered with the day. Even though she was only in my tummy for 33 weeks and only alive for 3 minutes outside of the womb she changed my life in so many ways, she gave me so many things to be thankful for. I will ALWAYS be thankful to the Lord for blessing me and making me her mother, for allowing her to come into our lives and teaching us so many things. I am thankful to the Lord for giving me the strength and wisdom to see these things and be thankful instead of bitter, especially on such a special day.

Today is the 10 month anniversary of Isabella's birth and death. Also today I feel a new sense of strength, a new sense of peace on this journey. While yes of course I am a bit sad, and will always be, I can't help but smile as I think about my precious daughter. Instead of thinking of everything I am missing out on I am thinking of the day we will be together again, I am thinking of the memories we did make with her and smiling and praising Jesus for our time with her. I am thanking God for answering our prayers and having her born alive and allowing us those wonderful, magnificent truely magical 33 weeks and 3 minutes we had with her!

I pray that this new peace and strength will continue during these next months as we celebrate Christmas and her 1st birthday. I pray that with this new strength I will continue to celebrate her life and carry on her memory.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Holiday's

I can't believe it is already that time of year! So crazy how as we get older the years fly by faster. I have always found it odd that the holiday's never really got me down. With me suffering from depression that isn't a normal thing, then add the loss of my father shortly before the holidays into it and still they didn't get me down, they would cheer me up. Most people, especially those with depression get some sort of holiday blues, I never did. Heck even during my husbands deployments I didn't get that down. I worry though this year will be different.

I am already dreading Thanksgiving. I should be out buying Isabella a cute thanksgiving dress and the cute 1st Thanksgiving outfits. I should be looking forward to seeing her reactions to tasting all the new exciting foods. Should be looking forward to the mess she would make with those foods, lol. Instead my arms will be empty, there will be no cute outfits, no messy baby to clean up, no laughing and smiling at her reactions to everything. Instead there will be emptiness and hurt, that of course will be hidden to everyone. There will be smiles and laughter but there will be sadness behind them.

So we will make it through Thanksgiving and then bam Christmas is everywhere. No 1st Christmas outfits, no cute dress and no cute 1st Christmas pictures. No baby toys wrapped and put under the tree. No watching that 1st Christmas reaction to all the decorations, lights and presents. No little hands pulling down all the ornaments and messing up all the Christmas decorations. Then I wonder do we hang a stocking for her? I know Santa can't leave anything in it for her but to not hang one is like saying she isn't our daughter, that she didn't exist. Wesley isn't here for Christmas but we still hang a stocking for him. I want to hang one for her, but how sad will it make me to see it hanging there empty Christmas morning? It already hurts to see Wesley's there like that so I know it would kill me to see hers. Do I sign her name on the Christmas card with the other kids or again do I pretend she was never born and that she isn't our daughter???

Even though I know it will be hard we will make it through Christmas, and again it will be a happy day but with sadness right under the surface. Then onto New Years and all the 1st we will miss out with her. Then it will be her birthday, her 1st birthday. Even though we will have a party for her it will not be the same.

So yeah the next few months are going to be hard, very hard. It is looking like it is time to bring that mask back out. That mask that shows the world we are doing great when really inside we have days where we are dying. That mask that strangers see and have no idea of the hurt and pain we have been through and are still going through. That mask that has become my biggest accessory the past year, the mask that I keep thinking I am finally able to get rid of only to grab it back and put it back on.

So while all of you are enjoying your holidays and watching your kids enjoy it, please remember there are some of us that don't get to enjoy it with all of our babies, please take a moment to say a silent prayer, or whatever it is your belief does, for those families that will be missing out and hurting this holiday season. Please if you know anyone who has lost a baby please do something to acknowledge that baby for the family, that would be the best Christmas present you could ever get them. Let them know you are thinking of them and their baby. Don't be afraid you will "hurt" them by acknowledging the baby, because really by not mentioning the baby you are hurting them more than you will ever know.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Normal

* I didn't write this a fellow BLM posted it on her blog and she found it on a babyloss site.



Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.

Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is staring at every baby who looks like he is my baby's age. And then thinking of the age they would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my baby.

Normal is making sure that others remember them.

Normal is that everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.

Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this because..." I love God, I know that my baby is in heaven, but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why healthy babies were taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have a child, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my baby is in heaven. And yet when you say you have no children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your baby.

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.

And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".

Thursday, November 4, 2010

One year ago...

So I waited a couple days to post this blog, wanted to make sure my emotions were under control, lol. On the 2nd was the one year anniversary of finding out Isabella's diagnosis. I knew the day would be hard but didn't realize how hard it would be. I kept reliving that day over and over in my head and the days that followed. I still wonder how I survived those days. I had to go to the appointment by myself since Dwayne was deployed. I have no idea how I managed that hour drive home in the condition I was in. I still remember walking into that empty house and just crying, trying to figure out what I was going to tell the kids when I picked them up from daycare. I still remember how hard it was not having Dwayne to talk to. The phone lines were down where he was at so until he got the redcross message two days later he had no idea what was going on. Even then they had to drive him somewhere else to call me. I still remember trying to tell him over the phone what was going on, the redcross message made it sound like I had a miscarriage. I remember hearing his voice and longing to have his arms around me while I was telling him. I remember those 4 lonely days until he was home. My emotions during those days were like a roller coaster. I would just start crying and wouldn't be able to stop.

I can still close my eyes and see the excitment on Katie's face when I was picking her up at daycare. She knew we would find out if it was a boy or girl and she was so excited to find out, I also remember the heartbreak on her face when we got home and I had to tell her the baby was sick and would go to Heaven and not come home with us. I remember how hard it was to keep my emotions under control trying to answer all her questions she had about it.

And I remember my wonderful cousin Melissa and my two great friends Renee and Lisa all keeping me somewhat sane until Dwayne got home. None of them lived around me so I was constantly online chatting or on the phone chatting with them. I will never forget how you all were there for me during that time, you are all true blessings in my life!

But what I remember most about that day is feeling Isabella move for the first time. While I was at the doctors office I mentioned I hadn't felt her move, he said that was normal with babies with anencephaly. On the ride home I felt her move and she didn't stop! It was like she was saying Mommy I am in here, I am your baby and I love you! Feeling her move really made me realize she wasn't a "fetus" to be taken care of, she was a baby. She was my daughter who I loved and would love and take care of as long as God allowed me to. Even though at the time I hadn't relized it but that first kick made up my mind for me about what I wanted to do, which was carry her to term, if I medically could.

It is crazy how just one day can change your life so dramtically. I will forever be thankful to God for blessing us with Isabella, for choosing me to carry that angel and help deliever her into Jesus' arms. Of course I will always have a piece of my heart missing, and will always miss her but I don't regret at all being her mother. I can not imagine our lives without her.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Innocence Lost

I never realized how much losing Isabella would change everything, even the innocence and naivety of myself and the kids. I do not have enough hands and toes to count how many times the kids have stated they hope this baby doesn't die. I mean it is almost a daily thing. Sometimes they say they hope it doesn't go to Heaven. I explain that I do hope one day the baby will go to Heaven but just not too soon. I hate that in someways they almost have a negative view of going to Heaven, like it is a bad thing. I try to explain how it is good to go to Heaven, but I guess at their age all they can really understand is that that is where Isabella went and it means she isn't coming back. They don't understand there is a much worse place to go. At their ages they shouldn't have to worry about that, they should be excited about having a new baby brother or sister and not worrying that something could be wrong with the baby and again they won't be able to bring it home. I mean don't get me wrong they are extremely excited and are always talking about the baby, but in those conversations there are always the statements about the baby living or not. It just breaks my heart, they are to young to be having those kinds of worries.

It isn't just the kids though that have lost some of their innocence. Most adults think of the 20 week ultrasound as finding out the sex. They are so excited and that is all they talk about, is it a girl or boy??? We now know that that ultrasound has nothing to do with the sex, they is just a plus. We now know that ultrasound can tell you if your baby will be coming home with you or going home to Jesus. Or if there are other birth defects that will affect the babies life forever. We now know how scary that ultrasound can be. While yes of course I am excited to find out what we are having, I am also terrified of what else they will see besides the reproduction organs.

I don't think losing some of our innocence is a bad thing. Because we now know what can happen it makes us appreciate things more than before. The small things in life we used to take advantage of now mean a lot more. I now know what a blessing it was to be up all night with my babies have lack of sleep. I now know how lucky I was to have spit up covered clothes. I now know that if we get to leave the hospital this time with a baby in our arms, no matter if there are problems or not, that we will be more thankful that we have ever been in our lives.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Next Few of Weeks..

The next few weeks are going to be very emotional for me. Last year at this time I was counting down to go see the specialist. To finally see my baby on a sonogram, learn if we were having a boy or girl, waiting to hear that the bloodwork was only high because my due date was off or we were expecting twins. That is what I was told to expect by my NP and even by the genetics counselor at the specialist office. The levels in my bloodwork weren't much higher than normal, in those cases it is usually an earlier due date than you thought or twins. Normally with Anencephaly the levels are much higher than what mine were so no one was expecting that or preparing me for it. In the back of my head the worst it could be was spina bifida. I had glimpsed over information on Anencephaly when I researched NTD's and the quad screening bloodwork, but like my naive self never thought it could be that, especially when I read it was rare.

I still remember last halloween like it was yesterday. It was the last holiday before the diagnosis. You see once the diagnosis everything in our life changed and now things are remembered either before or after it. Even though Dwayne was deployed I still made the best of the holiday for the kids, life doesn't stop when your husband is off fighting a war. I still remember how happy we all were that day. It is so crazy to think that 2 days later our world came crashing down around us. That 6 days later my husband would be coming home on emergency leave, his 1st one in 3 deployments. That we would have to fight for him to be allowed to stay and meet his daughter and be able to say goodbye to her.

This time last year we were a normal happy family, well besides Dwayne being deployed, lol. The kids were so excited to find out if they were going to be having a brother or a sister, and I was a little nervous that I might be having twins, lol. I was a twin so it runs in the family and I was already bigger than I should have been at 20 weeks so in my mind it was a big possibility, especially since I was 99% sure my due date wasn't off. I was stressing over how I was going to care for two toddlers and two infants with Dwayne deployed. If only that was true, if only I was being blessed with two healthy babies. How stupid I was to stress over that, how naive I was to think that was the worst thing that could happen to me.

I had no idea in that less than two weeks time I would be shopping for infant urns intead of baby clothes, that I would be having to make a decision on wether to induce or carry to term, in otherwords deciding when my baby should die. I would be deciding if we wanted to bury or cremate my baby I hadn't even met yet. That I would be having to explain to a 2 & 4 year old why their sister wouldn't be coming home but going to Heaven instead.

So just a warning to everyone, these next few weeks are going to be hard for us. I am going to be emotional, on top of the already overly emotional hormonal mood swings I am already going through, lol. So just please bear with me as I work through these emotions, and if you get a chance send a prayer our way for strength and peace during these weeks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Special Day


My 5 year old daughter,Katie, told me today, "Don't forget Mommy, it is a special day." I asked her why and she said "Because it is a special day for Isabella and all the other babies". And she is right. Today is a special day. Today we remember Isabella and all the other babies in Heaven. Today we will light candles at 7pm our time. I pray that even those who haven't lost a baby will do the same in memory of our Isabella and the other babies. To many people hide from the baby loss subject. It is time we talk about it, time we stop ignoring it. Time to honor these babies and the lives they had, even if they were short they lived! A human, a lasting, eternal soul, is present from conception. So even if these babies were gone before they ever got to meet their parents they were still a person, a person that deserves to be remembered.


Psalm 139:13-16
"You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Help

I got this off of a fellow baby loss moms blog. It has some great suggestions in it I think everyone should read. I really wish I had something like this to pass on when we got Isabella's diagnosis and shortly after she passed.

Please remember there is no effort made in love, that will hurt the grieving parent more than your silence.

How To Help A Friend Who Has Lost A Baby

Bring Meals to them. The last thing your friend will want to have to worry about is food. Organizing the meals or having one point of contact might be a good way to keep things moving and make sure the meals are coming on a regular basis. Having a list of people who will bring meals to their home in the days after the birth/loss will be a tremendous help. Some easy ideas for meals would be a pot roast, lasagna, pasta, baked chicken... anything they can reheat, too. If you don't cook, but you still want to help, gift cards for meals are still a great option.

Mail a card. Come to the service. Send a plant/flowers. These seem obvious right? Yet, I think our generation has moved away from these common courtesy's over time. Your efforts will be noticed. Doing nothing, saying nothing or not being present will also be noticed. Just remember, no one wants to go to a funeral or visitation. We go to show our love and support for those who are grieving, not for ourselves.

Call, email, send messages, write notes... but don't be offended if they don't respond. It can get overwhelming to get lots of notes, and they are so encouraging, but many times the energy is so zapped that she won't be able to respond to each message. Do say something. And don't give up. Your friend may not feel like talking to anyone. But she will want and need to know her friends still love and support her. In the days immediately surrounding her loss, she may feel numb and not even be capable of a response. Your notes of love and sympathy will not go unnoticed. Same thing if you are on Facebook... send her a message or post a note on her wall. I read every single comment I received. I have gone back to them since when I needed encouragement. Even if you don't know the person very well... go ahead and send a note.

Don't stop writing notes....or texting....continue doing this weeks or months after the baby is born. The mom hasn't forgotten, but lots of others have, or it's not at the top of their minds anymore. It is so nice to know that others still care, even after family has left town and things have quieted down. Make yourself a note to write to that person or even just give them a quick note, "I'm still thinking about you...I'm still praying for you."

You'll want to offer them advice... don't. I would almost go so far as to say, resist the urge to say something positive, too. Well meaning statements such as "You can have more children" or "God has a plan for you" just don't help. This applies if you know someone carrying a baby with a fatal birth defect or after the baby is born.Your friend doesn't want another baby-- she wants the one she just lost. She also doesn't want to hear about God's plan right now. Just like in the book of Job when his friends sat with him in silence for days, just being with the in silence often speaks more than any words could. Allow you friends to feel sad, be a listener. Ask them how they're doing. Tell them what verses in the bible you are praying over them.

Do something practical. Offer to help with the dogs. Maybe your friend needs her yard mowed. Remember, dads experience loss and grief just like the mom, but often in different ways. The last thing he probably wants to do is mow the yard. Ask if you can help her with housework, laundry... whatever. I would suggest offering to do a specific task, not just saying "if there is anything I can do, just let me know." They may not feel comfortable asking for help or suggesting anything to you. If you want to reach out and help, just do it-don't let your hesitations prevent you from loving through service.

Continue to invite them to things. Even though your friend will probably not feel up for being around lots of people, still invite her. Don't give up even when she continues to turn you down.

Contribute to a memorial fund. Sometimes, parents will set up a memorial fund in honor of their baby who has passed away. Sometimes, they may not have a memorial fund set up, but there is some kind of organization or fund you can contribute to in honor/memory of their little one. Be mindful of the families desires and beliefs when choosing a charity or fund they have not chosen themselves.

Remember the anniversary of their baby's death. Mark it on your calendar, so that when the one year anniversary comes, you can send them a card or give them a call to let them know you still remember their baby.

Speak their child's name. When you speak of your friend's child by name, it acknowledges that their child matters. You will not make them sad or add to their grief by mentioning their child by name! They will appreciate that their child has touched you and continues to be remembered by others.

Pray for them. And let them know you are praying for them. A lot of times, people will say as an addendum to a conversations, "you're in my prayers." Some people genuinely mean it, others just say it because it seems like the right thing to say. Whatever you do, if you tell them you are praying for them, do it! Here's an idea...write out your prayers and send them to her or suggest that you say a prayer together before you hang up the phone or part ways.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Changes

It has amazed me how much losing Isabella has changed our life. In good and bad ways. Some of the good I expected, the bad I wasn't that prepared for.

I knew that it would change my outlook on life. It would make me appreciate the little things so much more. Make me cherish the things the Lord has blessed me with even more than I did before. One of the good things that I wasn't so sure of was how much it brought me closer to the Lord. I actually expected it to make me so angry that I would push that relationship even farther away. Instead it pushed me to him. Without the strength he gave me I know I wouldn't be where I am now. Yes there were times I got angry and literally screamed at him but that was okay, afterwards I would feel a sense of peace and a new surge of strength. I knew that was him telling me it is okay to be angry but that he was still there for me and that he still loved me. He has a plan for our lives, and even though we didn't and still don't really understand it he was there with us, never leaving our side. I am so thankful to him for not leaving my side, so thankful for his grace and forgiveness during my angry times, and the angry times that I know will still probably come.

Now these bad changes I was in no way expecting. I have become extremely protective over the kids. Things I would have let them do before I am scared to let them do. I know now how easy they can be taken away from us. What is weird about it is I am a firm believer that when your job is done here it is your time to go, so really it doesn't matter where you are or what you are doing. And it isn't just with the kids it is with Dwayne too. If he is a few minutes late home from work I start worrying way more than I used to that something has happened to him. I didn't expect this new fearful side of me.

I have also never been much of a materialist person. I knew and still know what is most important in life, that is people and love not possesions. But I find myself now clinging to certain things, not wanting to get rid of them. I also never minded much about the kids breaking things and stuff like that, I mean they are kids afterall, it happens. But if they even go near Isabella's things without me I freak out. We had bought a few items for Isabella before we knew her diagnosis. Before we passed everything down between the kids. But these items will stay in her chest, I already know I will not be comfortable with this baby on the way using them. I feel guilty about that because in some ways it is like I am saying this baby isn't worth it but at the same time they are Isabella's items. Everything that has to do with her for some reason are very cherished items, even things that are only worth pennies or have no monetary value. Maybe because we were only able to buy her a few items. I mean all her possesions don't even fill up the chest we bought for her. If I had kept everything of Wesley's, Katie's and Jonathan's our house would look like one on an episode of hoarders, lol.

I didn't expect this grieving process to be so emotional and almost consuming of my life. I knew it would be hard, I knew it would take a long time to feel "normal" again. And yes there are more days now that I do feel normal than before but I still have lots of bad days. I never expected 8 months later to still get sad sometimes when I see baby girl things in the store and am around babies. I never expected to somehow associate everything in our lives with Isabella. Like at Busch Gardens, on such a fun wonderful day there were a few minutes where I did get sad. I thought about how I will never get to bring her there, I will never get to see the joy and happiness on her face that I saw on Jonathan's and Katie's. Maybe I am expecting to much of myself. I know that it is normal to still have sad days, heck I have talked to people who lost their baby 20 years ago and they still get sad. They say there will always be a piece of you that is missing, even though they are happy and enjoying their lives there is always a seperate part of their heart that always remains sad and missing their baby. So maybe I should stop putting so much pressure on myself to "move on". I am normally not the type to live in the past, usually I pick myself up and get on with life. I am finding it hard to do that now, but maybe that is okay, maybe that is "normal". I know I will forever be changed. I know I can never go back to the person I used to be, I just have to learn to tell myself that that is okay.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Family Blog

I finished the family blog yesterday and figured I would add the link if anyone wants to follow it :)

http://smithfamilyblog01.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

8 months

So I know I am a bit late on this but we have been on the go for the past week and haven't had much time to sit down and blog. On the 30th was the 8 month anniversary of Isabella's birth and death. And yet again the days leading up to it were worse than the actual day. It probably helped that I was busy taking care of Dwayne since he had his wisdom teeth taken out that day.

It is so hard to believe it has already been 8 months! The time has flown by.I can't help but think about what she would be like if she was still alive. I can imagine her laughing and playing and crawling around. Thinking about how she would now be on baby food and the cute faces and messes she would make.

Like I would be doing if she was here with me I have started thinking about her birthday. We obviously can't have a normal birthday party but we will celebrate her day. I have decided we will get a cake and it will be a normal birthday cake. We will let the kids blow out the candles for her. We are also going to release balloons for her. And like we are going to do every year we are going to donate stuff to the hospital for other parents who lose their baby. I am not sure if we will do hand molds again. I will have to think if I can come up with something else. I am in no way a crafty person so it will have to be something I can buy already made, lol. I am also going to let the kids make gifts for her. And we will put them in her chest to look at over the years with the rest of her stuff. We are going to celebrate her life and rejoice that she is with Jesus in Heaven. I am going to do all that I can to make sure it is a happy day for her.

I had my first OB appointment yesterday. The doctor has put in the paperwork for me to go to the specialist here for early ultrasounds and bloodwork. If by around 20 some weeks everything looks okay then I will stop going there. They did do an ultrasound at my appointment but it is to early to tell anything and it was just a normal one not the 3D or 4D one I will get done at the specialist. It was bittersweet seeing the baby. I couldn't help but think about the first time I saw Isabella on an ultrasound. It was also the same day I was told about her diagnosis. But it was so sweet seeing that little baby on the screen. He/She is such a little mover! Quite different than how Isabella was. The baby is measuring on time and it's heartbeat is normal so everything is looking good. The nurse practitioner I saw was really nice and also very understanding of our situation. I am glad they are willing to do what they can to help ease our fears some during this pregnancy. Here is a picture of our lil peanut on the way :)



When I first was trying to get pregnant they took me off the xanax I was on and put me on zoloft. Well luckily I am now off that. It had a lot to do with the depression I was feeling. I have now been on buspirone for over a week and am already starting to feel better. Hopefully the majority of the depression will continue to go away and I can start feeling "normal" again.

Also I am making a family blog so I can share news about our family. I always want to post things that are going on in our family here but I feel Isabella's blog isn't the right place. I should have it finished today or tomorrow so feel free to add that one when I get done.

Hope everyone is enjoying fall! It has finally decided to show itself here and we are loving it! Looking forward to decorating for halloween and going to the pumpkin patch with the kids. I have already decided we will be getting a pumpkin for Isabella and decorating it all pretty for her. The kids have already gotten their costumes and Katie decided to be an Angel. She said she wanted to be one because Isabella is one :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Depressed & Hormonal

The past couple weeks I have found myself really down, pretty much depressed. All the sadness and crying has come back. I find myself just breaking down over stuff that I thought I was over. It has been forever since I have felt like crying when I am around babies but yet last week when we took Katie to the doctor and the room was filled with newborns for their wellbaby appointments it took everything in me to not break down there in front of everyone. Songs that used to make me cry but have recently been okay to listen to now have me tearing up again. There have been two days this week where I just broke down crying over Isabella and nothing even triggered it.

I am sure part of it is her upcoming 8 month birthday. I usually get a little down a few days before it. I am sure some of it is being hormonal from the pregnancy. But it just seems like it is worse than if it was only those two thing causing it.

I also seem to be having more fears recently, and not the ones where I worry that the baby isn't going to be healthy. I worry that Isabella is going to think we are replacing her. I worry that people are going to forget about her and stop talking about her because there is a new baby. I worry that I am not going to be able to tell this new baby about her wonderful brave older sister that he/she will meet in Heaven one day. I worry about that one because as the days pass I notice there is more and more that I seem to be forgetting or is harder to remember about the day Isabella was born.

I worry that if this baby is a girl that it will somehow be harder than if it is a boy. Then I feel guilty for thinking that because all that really matters is that he or she is healthy. I am just scared that if it is a girl that somehow I will resent her for not being Isabella. I have read that other parents have felt that way and I don't think that will be me but I can't help but worry about it. I worry that everytime I have to buy girl things I will be reminded that I wasn't able to do that with Isabella. There are just so many things going through my mind that I know are stupid and don't make much sense but can't seem to stop thinking them.

I am hoping that once my hormones ease up a bit things will get easier. I have always been an emotional person and with all my other pregnancies it gets worse, lol. I guess this time with still going through the grieving process it is just making things a bit more emotional and difficult for me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Guilt

I never realized how much guilt goes along with grieving. When I lost my dad I didn't have much guilt, I was more mad at him for not making me spend more time with him when I was a kid than I was mad at myself. When we lost relatives in Dwayne's family I never felt much guilt over anything. So now all this guilt I am feeling over Isabella is a new thing.

First I still feel guilty for agreeing to induce at 33 weeks. I still feel like I chose myself over her. Yes I was having a hard time breathing and my asthma was acting up because of the extra fluid but I am sure I could have held off a few weeks more. She could have stayed alive inside of me for longer. I tell myself that she might not have even been born alive if I had waited, I tell myself there could have been more complications due to the extra fluid if I had waited, but none of that seems to help.

I feel guilty for not keeping her in the room with me longer. I don't even know exactly how long we kept her in the room. If I had to guess I would say an hour. Dwayne and the kids were leaving to go get lunch and I was just so tired from being up all night that I wanted a nap while they were gone. I knew they needed to take Isabella to weigh her and all that stuff so I let them take her while I tried to sleep. I had planned on having them bring her back after they were done but for some reason still unknown to me I didn't. I think I thought maybe it would be harder on the kids because of course her body was changing. I did have them bring her back hours later when Dwayne and the kids were leaving so they could say goodbye to her and see her one last time. I kept her in the room with me for a couple hours after they left but it just doesn't seem like it was long enough. I mean I know it wasn't her it was just her body but I wish I had spent more time with her while I could.

I feel guilty because I feel like I didn't talk to her enough when I was pregnant with her. I feel like we should have made more memories with her while I was pregnant. That was the only time we had with her and I feel like we didn't take enough advantage of it.

The biggest thing I feel guilty about is I never kissed her. I don't know why. It didn't hit me until a couple days after being home from the hospital and I broke down crying when it did. I kissed my fingers and touched her face with them but I never actually kissed her. I never gave my daughter a kiss. I feel so guilty over that. I will never know how her skin would have felt against my lips.

I know a lot of the guilt is not rational or logical. I can sit here and argue with myself about it and have argued with Dwayne about it going back and forth with it. But none of that seems to ease the guilt, nothing seems to take it away or make me feel any better about it. Even almost 8 months later the guilt is still just as fresh as the first day I felt it. While everything else with the grieving process has gotten better the guilt is just as strong, not getting any better or any easier.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fears

When most women get pregnant all they think about is holding the baby, loving on the baby, picking out all the cute baby stuff and picking out names they like. For me it was always that way too. But this pregnancy is different. All I can think about is did the neural tube close and is everything growing like it is supposed to? Am I going to get to bring my baby home this time? Will I be able to watch her/him grow up? I have been trying not to stress to much about it because I know whatever happens is God's will, but it is hard to not think about it.

I also find myself comparing this pregnancy to Isabella's way more than what is normal. When I was pregnant with her it took forever to actually feel like I was pregnant. It was like subconsciencely I knew there was something wrong so I didn't allow myself to get attached right away. I find that happening with this pregnancy too. I also notice that like Isabella I am completely drained of energy and don't have much morning sickness. Since my other pregnancies before Isabella weren't like this I can't help but wonder if they are signs that something is wrong again. I mean I know that is not very logical but I can't seem to stop.

I am so worried that because I am so scared something could be wrong I am not allowing myself to get excited and bond with the baby as much as I can while I am pregnant. I am worried that if she/he is healthy and lives that I might somehow be withdrawn from her/him and not bond properly after they are born. I hate that I am already kind of distancing myself from the baby just incase something is wrong. I know that if something is wrong that doing this won't make it any easier, so there is no real purpose of this, but I can't seem to stop doing this too.

Everything has just been to good to be true. I mean I got pregnant the first month we kind of really tried, I haven't had much morning sickness, besides the being tired I don't even feel pregnant. It has all gone to easy, to smoothly that something has to be wrong, right?

I wish I could be like the other expecting moms. I wish everything was sunshine and rainbows instead of clouds and rain. I am envious and jealous of them, I wish I was still that naive and innocent about pregnancy and what can happen to your baby. I wouldn't trade Isabella for anything but it would be nice to just enjoy this pregnancy, even for just a day. Maybe as time goes and I start getting reassured with the bloodwork and sonograms things will get easier. Until then I guess I just have to keep trying to fight this stress and fears.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

7 months

Yesterday was 7 months from having to say hello and goodbye to Isabella. I can't believe how fast time has gone by. In a lot of ways it feels like just weeks ago that I had her not months ago! I didn't have any breakdowns yesterday, didn't even cry at all. I had some moments where I got sad but that was it. I guess that is a good thing but for some reason it doesn't feel like it. In some ways it feels like I am forgetting her. I know this isn't true. I tell myself it just means I am going on with life, like I am sure she would want me to. But at the same time I can't help but feel guilty that I didn't cry for her. I know it is weird.

We tried out a church here this past sunday. It was okay, the people were really nice. I don't know why but it just didn't feel right. So we are going to try a few more. I hope we can find something where we feel comfortable and at home at.

So about a week and a half ago I found out some good news. We are expecting again! I am due around May 1st, but since all of mine come a little early it will probably be end of April. We are both very excited about it. But I have to admit I am a bit scared too. I am told this is normal. So far the pregnancy is going good, no morning sickness or anything. My only complaint is I have no energy, lol. But other than that it is going good. I don't see a doctor until Oct. 4th. In the morning on the 4th I have to go to a stupid orientation class thing so they can tell me all about being pregnant, cause you know after giving birth to 4 babies I have no idea what that is like, lol. And it is a freaking 3 hour class, hopefully Dwayne can get off for it because you can't bring kids. Then in the afternoon I go back to actually see a doctor for that wonderful exam you always have to get, lol and she said they will also do an ultrasound! That was wonderful news because before with military doctors you only get that one ultra sound around 20 some weeks unless there is a reason for another one.

I hate that I have to wait so long to see a doctor. I mean I know there isn't anything they can find out right now about the baby but at the same time I want to talk to a doctor about it, maybe get a little reassurance that most likely it won't happen again. I don't know I just think I wouldn't be stressing as much if I could talk to someone about it. Oh and I found out that in the class is when we give our medical history, so yeah in front of other pregnant women I am going to have to talk about Isabella and my medical history of the birth and everything. While I love to talk about Isabella I don't think this is something I am going to like. I just wish there was some way I could get out of the class but they said it was manditory :( Oh and our clinic doesn't have an OB ward so I am going to have to go to Langley Airfoce Base. I am hoping after the orientation and the 1st doctors appointment I can get a referral to the doctors off post here.

I know over the next weeks and months I am going to be stressing like crazy. I know even after ultrasounds and bloodwork coming back as normal I am still going to stress. I know the only time I am going to stop stressing about it is when I am holding this baby in my arms and I see she or he is healthy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Past Month

Wow it has been awhile since I posted on here. I am not sure why but I kept putting it off. The past month has been pretty emotional for me. I had a little break down right before we moved. We were packing up the uhaul trailer and Dwayne put Isabella's chest with her stuff in it and her flowers in the trailer. I am not really sure why that got me. The only thing I can think of is that is all we have of her so in a way it was like putting my child in the back of the trailer. I was also extremly scared of someone stealing the trailer for some reason and the idea of her stuff being stolen scared me. Then of course I was scared of something getting broken or messed up. But everything survived the trip, nothing broken or messed up and thank God nothing stolen.

Our last few days and nights in Kansas were exhausting, lol. I am so thankful for the wonderful friends we had there that helped us get that place clean. Thank you to Marshall for pretty much taking over the hole patching from Dwayne and the oil change! Thank you to Tara and her kids for helping us prime over the paint. Thank you again to Tara and Dorothea for helping us get that place clean. Those few nights really made me realize what great people we were going to have to be saying goodbye to. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be to leave Kansas. Though there wasn't much about actual Kansas I was going to miss, it was the people I didn't want to leave.

What normally is a two day drive from Fort Riley to Fort Eustis we did much faster. We got a call about 2 hours after we left that they had a house there for us. If we got there the next day,friday, we only had to pay $42 up front, if we waited until Monday we would have to pay $2200 up front. Yeah not much a choice in it for us, lol. So we drove the whole way without stopping. Or I guess I should say Dwayne drove the whole way, think he was scared to let me drive the van pulling the trailer, lol.

We get here and see the house and I just wanted to cry. I had a totally different image in my head of what the new housing would be like. Especially when I read online it had a fenced in back yard. While I loved the downstairs, the rooms are HUGE. The kitchen is awesome! The bedrooms are smaller than what we had in Kansas and well the backyard is really a fenced in patio. Now keep in mind we have a 6 month old lab/german shorthaired pointer mix dog that is used to having a yard to run around in. When I saw that "backyard" I pretty much just wanted to cry. Now I am sure it wasn't all about the yard, I am sure it was part due to the lack of sleep and just the emotional drain a move is and already missing everyone back in Kansas. I also didn't like that we no longer would have a garage or driveway for the kids to play in. Here it is like an alley way behind the houses with parking spots, no driveway or garage. Now the house has grown on me but I do still wish we had a garage, yard and somewhere for the kids to play. Our old place had a huge parking lot type of thingy, we called it a court for the kids to play in. Here they can pretty much only play in the roads. Not something I really let my kids do. But we are adjusting and I find that during the day the alley way road in the back doesn't get to much traffic so I will go sit out there and let the kids play while I am constantly screaming CAR to the kids, lol.

Now that things are somewhat normal in our household I am getting a bit depressed. Dwayne is at work and just me and the kids bored at home. There aren't really any kids their age to play with and I haven't made any friends here on post either. I met one neighbor and well she is not the type I want to be friends with, the sterotypical drama queen military wife and on the other side the lady is so not friendly. Now the houses are in rows of like 4-7 houses, ours being one of the 7 ones so there are other people around but no one ever comes out of their house. It is hard to go from sitting outside everyday talking with your friends, while the kids played with kids close to their ages to not having any other adult to talk to during the day and the kids driving you crazy and each other crazy cause they are stuck playing together constantly. Even though it will be a sad day I look forward to the day Katie starts school too, lol. They need a break from each other and she needs to be around kids her age to play with. Hopefully we can find some for Jonathan to play with too.

Today was a pretty bittersweet day. Katie finally lost that loose tooth. While I have had constant reminders recently that she is growing up, like registering her for kindergarten, buying her school supplies this was just another slap in the face. While I couldn't help but be happy for her, she was so excited anyone within a mile from us could feed off it, lol, it was still a sad moment too. They just grow up way to fast, I wish I could wrap her in my arms and slow time down.

And then for some reason tonight I am back to that sad depressed mood missing Isabella like crazy. I am sure it doesn't help that the walls are so thin on these houses that I can hear my neighbors baby cry all the time, usually waking up to it in the mornings. But the past weeks it has just been a few moments of sadness and then moving on, but for some reason tonight I just can't shake it.

Anyways now that I have written a book I am going to go snuggle up in bed with the husband and with Isabella's blanket and allow myself a night of sadness. Tomrrow is another day, a day to be happy and enjoy my time with Katie and Jonathan because I know how blessed I am to have them here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Hurdle Crossed

So recently I have become very comfortable being around our neighbors baby. She is 3 months old so I think it has been easier because she is younger than what Isabella would be. The only times I get uncomfortable is when she starts to cry, not sure why the cry of a baby still gets me pretty bad. There has also been one or two times when people are cooing over her and I can't help but think I should have my baby there to show off too! Luckily my other neighbor is very understanding of what we are going through and I can tell she tries not to do things with the baby that might hurt or upset us. Another one of our neighbors isn't as kind about it, I know she doesn't do it to be mean, she just doesn't realize everything we went through I guess.

So anyways a few days ago I had mentioned to my neighbor Tara, the one that is understanding, that I had thought about asking to hold the baby. Well yesterday Tara had asked to hold the baby, the first time she had done it in infront of us again I am sure because of our feelings. Well she then asked me if I wanted to. I said yes. The minute I got her in my arms I wanted to break down, Tara saw this on my face asking if she should take the baby back. I said no and worked through it. I don't break down emotionally in front of people so since we were sitting out front with the neighbors around I held it in. I am glad I did. After a little bit I was able to enjoy holding her and laughing at the normal baby things. There was still heartache, especially when I was playing with her hands and feet. They reminded me so much of Isabella's. Especially considering they weren't much bigger, lol. Isabella had huge hands and feet, she would have been a big girl. I know I probably would have never gotten the nerve up to ask to hold her so I am happy Tara did that for me. I will forever be thankful for her doing that, lol last night we were calling it therapy. If it had been up to me I might have never held another baby until I had another of my own.

After I got done holding her I passed her over to Dwayne. He seemed to handle it better than I did, but we all know how easy it is for guys to hold that kind of stuff in. We never had a chance to talk about it last night but I hope it helped him as much as it helped me.

Thank you Tara for being such a great friend and for always being understanding about our feelings, I know you had been dying to hold that baby :) And thank you for "pushing' me to do that but also willing to take her back if I couldn't handle it. And a big thank you for always being willing to talk about Isabella and always asking us numerous questions about her. You help us carry on her memory and I will forever be greatful for that.

I Will Not Say Goodbye by Danny Gokey

Someone posted the lyrics of this song on their blog and wow did they ever describe how I feel somedays. I went straight to youtube to listen to the song and I just love it. I love how music can help us express the things we can't find the words to express ourselves. (pause music player at bottom before watching video)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bad Friend

I feel like such a bad friend right now. A few months ago a friend of mine found out she was having complications with her pregnancy. Her son wasn't growing and she didn't have enough aminotic fluid. While I felt bad for her I couldn't help but think in the back of my head at least your baby is going to live!

I found out just a little bit ago that she was induced today at 35 weeks, baby weighing 4lbs and something and again that thought crept into my mind. When I read peoples comments about it I just get more angry instead of more worried or sad for her. I mean yeah he is a preemie but really he isn't that small and at 35 weeks there aren't that many complications that can happen. Yes I am sorry this happened to her but again I KNOW it could be A LOT worse! I want to scream to people to stop feeling sorry for her and be happy for her. Be happy that the complications weren't life threatening, be happy that she can bring her baby home and watch him grow up.

I don't know how to be there for her because I feel this way. All I want to do is tell her how lucky she is. I feel horrible that I feel this way but I can't seem to help it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jealousy, Envy, Longing???

I am not sure which word to use to describe some of the feelings I have had recently. I see on other peoples blogs where they have family members and friends that help keep the memory of their baby alive, I wish we had people like that in our lives. They are given gifts with their babies names engraved on it or a verse that means something special to them and the situation. They have people make things and write out the baby name, or even something as simple as writing the babies name in sand and taking a picture of it. It isn't the fact that they are given gifts that I am jealous of, because even the handmade or free simple things get to me too.

It feels like only Dwayne and I are trying to carry on her memory. Pretty much from the time she was diganosed she was already erased from some peoples memories and of course as time goes by since her birth/death the more she gets forgotten by others. Those of us who have lost a baby know how important it is for their memory to be carried on, for them to not be forgotten. Even if they were only alive for mere minutes they were alive! They were here, they were a baby a person. They had a purpose. I am sure it means so much to them that they have people to help carry on that memory to show them that their angel meant something to other people.

People think that just because she was a baby and died shortly after birth that it is different than a normal death in the family. It is NOT! We grieve for our daughter no differently than people grieve for a loss of a parent or someone else close to them. I guess I just long for people to understand what we are going through, for them to show us that Isabella meant something to them. To acknowledge that we had a daughter and that we miss her and that they too miss her. I long for people to tell us or show us how she has touched their lives, how they do think of her and of us during this time. Maybe I am wanting to much from people? I have read in the grief books how people think of losses like Isabella as no different than a miscarriage, but it is! I have had a miscarriage and I know they are hard but this is completely different.

When Isabella passed away we got two cards in the mail. One from a dear friend of mine and one from the doctors and nurses at the hospital, and then at her service we got 3 cards from friends. I am not trying to be ungrateful at all. I am so thankful for the people who came to her service, I guess I just want her to be remembered long after her service.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Okay

So as I mentioned before we had new neighbors move in, and they have a baby, a 3 month old. Yesterday was the first time I had to face it for any length of time. Usually just the husband comes and hangs out with us, but last night the wife and baby did to. And I must say I did okay. I wasn't good or great but I wasn't heartbroken or depressed either. I would "sneak" looks at the baby and actually smile at how cute she was instead of my normal trying to hide or hold back the tears. I was actually going to get the nerve up to ask to hold her, mainly to test myself, but realized the baby had fallen asleep.

I have to say I am very proud of myself. Instead of running inside when I saw her coming out with the baby I made myself face it, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe because she is younger than what Isabella would be. I am sure if she was around 5 months old it would have been a bit harder. Hopefully this means I am slowly getting over this last mountain of grief.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To induce or not...

Recently I have been asked quite a bit how we made our choice to carry to term, though we didn't make it to term for medical reasons that was our wish. For us we didn't have a choice. The military hospital will not induce nor will our insurance cover one without a medical reason for needing it. Anencephaly is not considered a medical reason. Isabella still had a heartbeat and neither me or her were in any danger when she was diagnosed.

At first I did want to induce. My husband was home on emergency leave from Iraq and only had about a month home with us, after getting the orginal 2 weeks extended. I wanted him to be able to say hello and goodbye to her. To have a chance to hold her and see her beautiful face. To be there for me and the family for the shortwhile he was allowed.

In my heart I wanted to carry her to term but didn't want to deny my husband what he deserved. Then we found out we couldn't induce. Our hearts were broken because he wouldn't be there for the birth, to see his daughter to love on her. To do everything a father is supposed to do when their baby is born, especially when the baby won't live. After lots of fighting with the Army they let him stay. Despite knowing my daughter was going to die I was happy again. I could carry her in my tummy for as long as God allowed. I would feel her move and get all those months to talk to her. I would have my husband there for the birth and he would get to meet her and make memories with her.

So for me there wasn't a choice. But even if I had one and my husband had been home I would have carried her to term. I can't tell anyone what to do in that situation. It is a personal choice you have to make with yourself and your spouse. You have to decide what is best for your family.

For me personally an induction is no different than an abortion. Now that being said I do NOT judge anyone that has induced, because every person and situation is different. That is just my personal belief for myself. If Dwayne hadn't been able to stay I might have done it. But I know I would have regretted it forever. I would have regretted those months I would have missed out with her living inside of me. I would have regretted missing out on the memories we made with her. I would have regretted those months of letting her know how much we loved her. The time she was in my tummy was probably some of the most precious moments in my life. I treasure them so much. I now can't imagine my life without it. She has changed me and my family in so many ways, taught us so many things. She has shown me what true love is. Something I read online has always stuck with me. There are people who induce that regret it but you never hear of anyone carrying to term that regret it.

If you are in the situation where you are having to make this hard decision, first I am sorry you are having to do that and second don't make any decisions right away. Don't feel forced by the doctors to decide on the spot or even in a couple days. Take your time. Do some research. Think long and hard about your personal beliefs and what is best for your family. Do not let anyone push you into anything you do not want to do or feel guilty about the choice you are making. You are the only one that knows what is best for you.

My personal belief is that God gave us these special babies to love and take care of until he is ready for them to come home to him. Who am I to question God and go against his wishes? I believe that God doesn't give us more than we can handle, because with him we can handle anything.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday

Isabella was born and passed away on a Saturday. For a couple months afterwards I hated Saturday's. I wish I could just sleep right through them. Now 23 weeks later it isn't that bad. While I still remember the birth and death every saturday it doesn't affect my life very much. I kind of have a little silent moment every morning and then get on with my day. And there are sometimes through out the day I will feel a wave of saddness rush over me but it passes pretty fast. We stay pretty busy on the weekends doing lots of family activities and that helps a lot. Isabella has taught me how precious life is and how special it is to have the family we have. So I try to honor her memory by enjoying this life and my family. Today we will be going to the pool with our friend and her kids and I know Isabella will be looking down on us smiling. She will be happy to see we are enjoying life and enjoying each other as a family.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Making the right choice?

I sit here and wonder if we have made the right choice to do the compassionate reassignment and move. All the grief books say to not make any big decisions, like moving, right away, to wait at least a year. We put in the paperwork right after Dwayne's leave in March to move. We didn't wait the year. But most people who lose someone already live near family. We are a two day drive away from family. We didn't have the support of loved ones in the area during the hardest time.

I have hated Kansas from the time we got here. And almsot four years later I still hate it here. I am a southern girl and don't like the midwest one bit, lol. But at the same time this is the only place we have with memories made with Isabella. It was at this desk, in this chair when I had to tell Dwayne over the phone what was going on. It was in this room on the couch where Dwayne felt Isabella move for the first time. We have so many memories of when I was pregnant with Isabella in this house. It was at the hospital here where we both first heard Isabella's heartbeat, me before the diagnosis and Dwayne after. It was in this hospital where Dwayne first saw Isabella on the sonogram and where we met her and said goodbye to her.

But while we have the memories here we also have the constant reminder of what we lost. Everytime I look up the stairs or go up the stairs I see that empty room that was supposed to be a nursery. Everytime I sit in the recliner I think of all the times I daydreamed of rocking my baby to sleep in that chair. Everytime I have to go to the hospital for something, here that is where you go for regular appointments, I am reminded of having to say goodbye to her.

The thing is by moving I will be leaving behind the few things I do have of Isabella. But will the "bad" things actually go away by moving? We will be getting a 4 bedroom place in VA so we will still have an empty room we will have to use for something else, it will still remind me that room should be a nursery. That chair I was supposed to rock her in will be coming to VA with us so I will still think of that when I sit down in it. At all the family events I will be thinking about how I should be showing off my daughter to family, passing her around for everyone to hold and meet her.

I don't think by leaving here our hard times will be over. I think that by moving closer to family and friends that love us and care for us will help us move forward during these hard times. I know that our memories of Isabella will always be with us no matter where we live. Even if we stay here eventually the Army would move us and we would have to leave this place. So I guess it is better we do it and can go to where our family and friends are than take the chance of the Army moving us even farther away from everyone. I know in my heart it will be better to be back home with everyone, but at the same time my heart thinks of this place as Isabella's home and it is going to be hard to leave it.

Tag made for me


A woman named Katie who I don't know personally or even at all online made this for me. I am a fan of her page on facebook, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Real-Housewives-Military-Style/100466433338139 . I just wanted to share it here for everyone to see. It is always so nice to see her picture and name on things.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Before The Morning

A family member put up a few of the lyrics of this song as her status earlier today and it really spoke to me. Here are the lyrics she put:

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming.

Right away those words spoke to me, pulled at my heart. I went and listened to the song and wow, it was just what I was needing to hear. The weather the past couple days have been making me pretty depressed, bringing up the pain and hurt from losing Isabella. This song just put that hope back in my heart.


Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July

We have had a pretty depressing fourth of July this year. It has rained all weekend. We had so many plans with our neighbor for this weekend and we couldn't do any of them. For the first time since Isabella's birth and passing I was looking forward to a holiday so I am a bit depressed on it all being ruined. For the first time ever we didn't get to see a fireworks show. For some reason last night Junction City decided to set them off early, and we had no idea so we missed them. The kids weren't to upset because Dwayne had bought some and set them off, and the little kids loved it.

Even though Isabella isn't here I feel her in my heart and in my mind these are still her 1st holiday's. So it makes me sad her 1st fourth of July was pretty sucky, lol. I hope up in Heaven she was able to look down somewhere and see a great fireworks show.

The only good that came out of the weekend was our date afternoon. Was great to get away with just Dwayne and no kids. We went out to lunch and then to see Eclipse. Living so far from family we don't get many dates so we cherish the few we get. Tomorrow Dwayne starts the out processing he has to do with the Army to get us ready for the move. So the next few weeks are going to be crazy, lol. As of right now we are planning to leave KS and head for VA on the 1st of August, but as always with the Army things can come up and change so nothing is written in stone, lol. Hopefully everything goes smoothly and we can get out of here then. I am already stressing over the two day drive to VA with two kids, two dogs and a cat, lol. I am sure it will be an adventure I will never forget.

Friday, July 2, 2010

5 months

On June 30th it had been 5 months since Isabella was born and went home to Heaven. I had dreaded the day as it was approaching, like all the other anniversaries. But again the dread of the day was actually worse than the day. It sounds heartless to admit but no tears were shed that day. Instead it was a great day of hanging out with the neighbors and just enjoying life. I almost feel a bit guilty that there was no little moments of mourning or anything like that. But at the same time I think Isabella would be proud and happy that we are going on with life and enjoying it. I don't think she would want us to sit around sad all the time.

As the day was coming near I was thinking a lot about my other kids and how they were at 5 months and wondering how Isabella would be. Would she be like Wesley and hit the gross motor skills right on time? Or would she be like Katie and be way ahead, already crawling like a pro and starting to pull up to stand up at 5 months? Or would she have been like Jonathan and just be so laid back and lazy, lol, that she would have no desire to start that type of stuff on time? I wonder what her personality would be like. From the little time we got with her I have a feeling she would have been just as stubborn as my other three, lol. Like them she was a fighter which means she probably had a bit of a stubborn streak in her. I wonder if she would have been the cuddling loving on type like Jonathan or the more independant type like Wesley and Katie. There are so many things like that that I find myself wondering about during the few alone quiet moments I get through out the day. I find myself smiling when I think about what she might have been like. I am happy I can think of those things and be happy and not sad.

Even though I still have rough moments I think I have passed another hurdle in the grieving process. It is now very rare for my to break down crying, though I do still have sad moments it doesn't affect my life much anymore. Now if only I could get over this hurdle of my saddness around babies. We have new neighbors now and met the husband last night, the family is getting in today. He has a 2 month old baby. I already warned him how I might behave around the baby, that I am not purposely trying to be rude but that it is hard for me to be around them. Maybe living next door to a baby will help me to get over this. Maybe in the next month that we are here I will be able to start to move past this part. I am not going to be able to run away from it like I can in stores, I am not going to always be able to avoid it. I am going to have to face it head on and I really think that is what I need to get over this part. So I am just asking for people to send a few little prayers to help me to give me the strength to face this and work through this last hurdle I have.

I am really looking foward to this holiday weekend. Today Dwayne and I are going on a little afternoon date. Going to lunch and then to see Eclipse. Then on saturday Dwayne is going to be in the 4th of July parade so we are going to go see him in that and then in the afternoon going to the lake, hopefully it is no longer flooded, lol. Then Sunday we are going to a cookout at the pool and going to see the fireworks that night. Dwayne also has monday and tuesday off but haven't made any plans yet for those days. This is really our last fun weekend before we have to start everything for the move. And those of you in the military know how very stressful the moves can be so we are going to enjoy every minute of this weekend!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Another Mountain Moved

From the time we found out about Isabella having Anencephaly to now we have had to fight the Army pretty much all along the way. And everytime we won. Though I don't give the glory of the win to us, I give it to God. He has moved every mountain and obstacle that has gotten in our way. First there was the fight to get Dwayne home on emergency leave when I got the diagnosis, he was on his 3rd deployment to Iraq. 2nd was have his 2 week emergency leave extended so we could figure out what was going on and what the insurance would cover. 3rd was finding out our insurance wouldn't cover an induction and that I would have to carry to term, what is what my heart wanted. 4th was getting the unit to allow him to stay until her birth. 4th was allowing him to stay home after her birth, they wanted to send him back to Iraq right away. And now he has done it again!

We found out today that our compassionate reassignment request has been APPROVED!! Now we did have to do some fighting for this too but God put the right people in our lives to help us. We have a wonderful friend who pretty much told us the reglations involving it and that the unit wasn't following them. Then we had a wonderful chaplain get us in touch with one who knew about compassionate reassignments and could help us. One phone call to the rear d captain and things were moving as they should be! He knew we knew the regulations and that they could be in a lot of trouble for not following them. Then when things went to a halt again our wonderful friend gave us a card for a Soldier's Advocate. Now this advocate is actually for warriors in transition, the soldiers who have been hurt while serving overseas, but she heard our story and decided she wanted to help us. When our paperwork got "lost" she called everyone and tracked it down. A few days after the calls were made it showed up on his AKO(army website and e-mail) that HRC, the army's human resources, had received it and it was pending. Poor Dwayne checked it every day, most of the time way more than once a day, lol. Everytime he looked it said pending, until today.

August 10, 2010 my husband has to report to Fort Eustis, Va! We requested that post because that is where we are from and we have family and friends there. I am truthfully still in shock over it. It doesn't seem real yet. I am extremely happy and excited though. I hate kansas and can't wait to get away from here, lol. I know I will probably find it somewhat hard to leave the only place I have memories of being with Isabella. But I know I can't ever lose those memories, they will always stay in my heart and in my mind forever.

Also how ironic is it we get this news exactly 5 months after being induced? 5 months ago today I was laying in that hospital bed waiting to meet Isabella.

Tonight though I just want to stand on a mountain top and shout my praises to the Lord!!! Though he had us go through these trials not once did he leave our side, not once was he not there for us. He has given us this great amount of strength to continue to survive this. He has done everything he could to make it as easy as possible. And no matter how much we yelled at him with our anger over the situation his love for us never waivered!!

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, they are plans for good, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Letter to Isabella

To my Dearest Isabella,
First I would like to apologize for taking so long to write you a letter. Everyone and every book I read suggested it, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Now as I sit here it is weighing heavy on my heart to finally write to you.

A year ago I found out I was pregnant with you. We were so excited God had decided to bless us with another baby. Mommy had always wanted four kids, two girls and two boys. It turns out I got that wish, just with a spin on it. God had different plans for you and for our family.

I cherished every minute I had with you in my tummy and those three precious minutes we had with you after you were born. I hope during that time you could feel the love we had for you. The love we continue to have for you. You have blessed our lives in so many ways. It would take me days to sit here and write them all out. Most importantly you have taught me how precious life really is and how to appreciate all the little miracles in everyday life.

I hope you are getting all those kisses Katie and Jonathan send your way. And even though I can't see them or feel them I know you are sending them some back. They are so proud to be your big brother and sister. Katie is always telling people she has a baby sister in Heaven, she adds very proudly that you are an angel. I just wish Wesley had gotten the chance to know you. I look foward to the day I can sit down with him and tell him all about you and how special you are.

Please know that we will never forget you baby girl. There will always be a part of you in our hearts. We look forward to the day when we can see you and be a family again. Until that day comes we will continue to enjoy life, the way you have taught us to.

Love Always,
Mommy

Monday, June 28, 2010

Better Than A Hallelujah

A couple weeks ago a lady at church sang this while giving her testimony and it really touched me and has stuck with me. It reminds me that during these hard times I need to give everything over to the Lord and trust him to get me through these trials. That is something I fight with on a daily basis. I am a control freak and it is extremely hard for me to hand it all over to him. Though I know he would get me through it and I trust in him completely it is a constant struggle. But I am not giving up just like I know he will never give up on me!
*make sure to scroll to the bottom of my blog to stop the playlist before watching video :)

Isabella's Video

This is a video I made for Isabella a couple of months ago.

Why I made a blog on Blogger

So most people do this when they first find out about the Anencephaly. I really wanted to do it then but for some reason not known to me I never did. I decided to go ahead and do it now so I no longer bring down my facebook with all my depressing posts, lol. Also maybe here I will feel more compelled to post the good with the bad.

21 weeks

These past couple weeks have been a real rollercoaster for me. I had a great couple weeks but this last week has been bad. I think part of it is realizing that this time last year is when we found out we were pregnant with Isabella. I remember how excited and happy we were that the Lord was blessing us again with another baby to love and hold. Then that leads me to remember the day my world came crashing down, Nov 2nd, when the doctor said she had Anencephaly. Before Dwayne deployed we moved Katie into the playroom so we could use her room for the nursery. Even though I was only about two months along he didn't want me to do it and risk hurting the baby after he left. Now that room sits up there empty. A constant reminder of our baby not being here like she should be. I can't bring myself to turn that room into a playroom or do anything else with it. For awhile I tossed around the idea of turning it into a study/office type of room but I couldn't do it. I really think right now that would make it worse. It would make it seem like we are acting like it never happened. Not to mention I really don't want to sit in there on the computer thinking that I should be rocking my baby to sleep in that room and not typing on a stupid computer.

This past week has been bad for me with being around babies and pregnant women. I had been over the pregnant women part of it but I guess with the reminder of me finding out I was pregnant last year has brought it back up to the surface. I seriously thought about going through and deleting every pregnant woman and parent with a baby around 5 months old or younger this week. Luckily a friend of mind reminded me about the hide option, lol. But I hate that I am this way. I hate that I can't be all happy and excited for my friends. I hate these jealousy feelings I have. Then there is the one pregnant mom I see at the pool who downs energy drinks while she is very obviously pregnant. I really want to go up and slap some sense into her. Make her realize just how lucky she is to have that baby growing in her stomach and how lucky she is going to be to be able to take her baby home and watch it grow up. I just wish there was some way to make every mom and future mom know just how lucky they are. How I would give up almost anything to be able to do what they are doing or going to be able to do. Everytime I hear a pregnant woman or new mother complaining I really want to go crazy ass white girl on them, lol. Seriously it drives me crazy that they don't realize how blessed they are! I mean don't get me wrong, I know how blessed I am to have my 3 alive and well when there are people out there who can't even get pregnant. But I am not going to lie, I am human and I am selfish and I want my Isabella here too!

Also right now I am stressed and confused as hell about my body and what is going on with it. I am 19 days late and have had 7 negative pg tests. The symptoms I have could fall under my friend coming or me being pregnant since I have the same symptoms for both, lol. So I have no idea what is going on. I have no idea if I should go to a doctor or should I just keep waiting to see what happens. I am also tired of spending lots of money on these tests, getting my hopes up just to see the negative on it.

Of course I am also stressing about this compassionate reassignment. It is a good sign we haven't heard anything yet but it still sucks. First HRC moved at the beginning of this month so that is making it take a bit longer. Then like some of Dwayne's sgt's pointed out before it gets approved they have to find a unit to put him in which can make it take longer. Pretty much if it was going to be denied we probably would have already heard something. It just sucks cause I don't know what to do about Katie for school. Should I enroll her here? They have already started to enroll here, I know they are weird, lol. Or should I wait to see if we are moving and will be in VA before Sept when they start school there? If we do move will we have a place to live before School starts? If not then how do I know where to enroll her? It would have been so much easier if Dwayne's unit would have followed army regulations from the beginning, we probably would have heard something by now!

On a postive note we have been keeping really busy and having lots of fun the past few weeks. We are constantly at the pool or lake. We even drove into Salina for Father's Day to go to the waterpark there! I love summer and am slowly turning into an outdoorsy type of person, lol. I am really looking forward to Sundown Salute starting on Wed. It is a week long celebration for 4th of July, with most things being free! We usually pick a few things to do each day so we always have something to do, and the kids don't get overwhelmed, lol.

One Heart, One Life

Oh, how can one heart feel so much love
That it breaks just at the thought of you?
And how can one life be so very brief?
Yet so profound that it changes the world?

It is a mystery to me, the miracle of life;
We are a part of something larger than we know.
You've opened places in our hearts
we never knew were there.
And we are amazed at the love that overflows.

When you came into this world,
we greeted you with joy.
You were the focus of so many hopes and dreams.
But this world greeted you with pain
that we coudn't take away.
I guess the mystery is deeper than it seems.

Yes, there are mysteries we don't want to know,
Places of pain we'd rather not go
And we have walked that dark path
with you, little one.

But I know there will come a day
When we'll walk hand in hand
In love and together evermore.

19 weeks

Recently when I think of my pregnancy and time with Isabella it all feels like a dream. Like it never really happened. Life is pretty much back to normal now, there isn't that constant heart ache and reminder of what we went through. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. It scares me that after just 19 weeks it is already like a dream. I am scared what it will be like after a year or 2 years and so on. Is it to get where I don't even remember her at all? Is it going to take me looking at her pictures to recall what she looked like? The other day driving home from the shoppette it hit me that I can no longer remember how she felt in my arms. That broke my heart. I remember holding her, I have picture of me holding her but I can no longer remember feeling the weight of her in my arms, but yet my arms still ache to hold her. I don't want to live in the constant heartache anymore but I also don't want to forget her. It feels like I am trapped. I can stay in the past remembering every little thing about her but having to have that constant sadness and heartache or I can start taking those steps towards the future and have to leave her behind. I don't want to choose either of those. I want a mixture of both. I want to take her into the future with me, but I just can't seem to figure out how to do that.