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


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 :)

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 :)