Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Another day

Well, gee don't I sound excited about my "another day"? I am just tired and cranky this morning. Sleeping is no longer comfortable for me, I just heave and ho all night long to change positions. Lovely husband even said at one point "it's so annoying listening to you change positions all night." Right. Because it's extra fun to actually do it. Silly husband, he's lucky I love him so much ;)

The real reason I'm so cranky is because I've had something weighing on my mind and talking about hasn't helped yet, so I guess I'll write about it and see what that does for my peace of mind. And maybe, just maybe someone will read this, encounter someone down the road who has lost a child or will lose a child and will learn from what they read here and not be a complete moron. Maybe.

You see, when Isabella was diagnosed with Lissencephaly we had an outpouring of support, love and help. It was amazing, and almost spiritual. Husband and I just couldn't get over it........people didn't run from us, they ran to us! I will never forget that and cherish it to this day. Now fast forward to NOW and it's another story. It goes something like this: Isabella dies, our family and friends are fantastic the week she dies, then they are GONE. Poof. It's over. It turns out people don't really like it when a baby/child dies. Well, guess what? Neither do the parents! (shocking I know) I swear, if I didn't absolutely know better, I would almost swear that I am the carrier of some terrible, earth shattering plague. At least where people who know me are concerned. I either get the huge, sad, puppy eyes or I get total avoidance. Gee, which is better?? I went to my former workplace a few weeks ago (didn't want to go, I HAD to go) and it was the strangest experience. I mean, these people who rallied around me when I found out about my daughter's disorder scattered like mice when they saw me coming. Four out of the 12 people working said "Hi" to me. Most just avoided me and talked to my three year old. Afterall, he is safe, he won't talk to you about his dead sister. Or so you think.....hahaha. He told of them that he was pregnant like me with his sister and he was bringing her back. Imagine the shocked and horrified faces. I just met every horrified stare with a big smile. Yep. That's my kid! We all talk about death in this family, there is no escaping us!!!!! Ok, so I'm clearly feeling a little sarcastic as well today.

That's not even the worst part. Husbands family is the worst part. It's like Isabella never even existed. She's dead, she's gone, let's move on and keep pretending we're perfect!! That's what we do best! Deny, deny, deny! Thanks to them my husband has a host of fantastic issues when it comes to our daughter. I shouldn't just bag on my in-laws, believe me my family can stink sometimes too, it's just that during this they have been *fantastic*, my mom has been my rock and my dad and brother are even great! My family is just so open and honest that I don't have to be afraid to talk to them or cry in front of them. They didn't ignore Isabella and they don't try to hide her now. But oh my, if I cried now in front of husbands It would not be pretty. Let me just put it to you like this: the last time Isabella was sick with a pneumonia, it was a bad one. So, of course I was upset, because we never knew if "this was it" for her. So husbands emotion-less parents come over (who knows why, it certainly wasn't to provide words of support) and I'm holding my princess on the couch crying. Husbands wise father says "well, you need to just GET HAPPY in the SAME BRITCHES". I almost started choking at his wisdom. I have some little pet names for him, but I won't share them here ;) Anyways, I bit my tongue like I have a million times around that man, because really, what's the point? Oh, and the one and only time I didn't bite my tongue around him was the day we buried our daughter, wise old man offered another "pearl of wisdom" and since I did not agree with him (I never do) I spoke up. Enough was enough dammit! I just buried my daughter you thoughtless jerk! Well, guess where that got me AND husband? Basically disowned. Yeah. Really. Oh, and husband was told to keep me on a shorter leash. MWAHAHAHAHAHA. riiiiiight. So clearly, he really doesn't know me. That's husbands family in a nutshell. I said something wise old man didn't agree with, so now we don't exist and neither does our dead daughter. Well, guess what? She does exist and I will bring her up every time I see your faces just to make you uncomfortable. I guess if husband dies it will be the same thing. "He's gone, let's move on". For the record, if you ever die husband and leave me to fight the wolves that are your family by myself, I will really give it to you in the next life! :) I love you husband, I think I got the only normal one out of your family. Oh, just kidding. His whole family isn't nuts, just 75% of them. His sisters are great too, so I should mention that. It's really his parents, which is what makes it so much harder to handle. I can't imagine facing this without my mom. Much less my mom disowning me days after my daughter died because I said something she didn't agree with. Such is ignorance I guess.

Ok, so there is a real, honest vent to read. I know everyone has crazies in their family and I unfortunately am no exception to the rule. Death brings out the worst in people and I just don't get it. So please, if you know me, don't avoid me. Ask how I'm doing and don't be Afraid of my response. I WANT to talk about Isabella, no I NEED to talk about her. If it makes you sad or uncomfortable, DEAL WITH IT!, or better yet imagine how it makes ME feel. I live with it every second of the day and night. You don't. You just have to feel awkward for a moment, then you get to go back to your happy life, with your healthy kids. I wish my life could be so easy. Losing a child is not a contagious disease, ok? Don't act like it is! You won't "catch it" by being friends with me or asking how I'm doing. I promise. I have never known anyone in my life who has lost a child, I'm the first. Same for husband. We feel very alone in this. It would help a little if you wouldn't scatter or stare when we walk in a room. We are still the same people, just deeply wounded. I still have my same sarcastic sense of humor. I still love my life. There is simply a piece of me missing and if my arm were missing you would still talk to me. It's the same concept. My "arm" is gone and I will always miss it terribly, but it's not coming back.

Ok, time to go enroll Turkey in preschool. OMG. I'll save that for another day.............

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

some pictures of my sweeties

Turkey holding Isabella, she loved to let her big brother hold her (and kiss her!)
one of my favorite pictures of Isabella, just after her shower with me!
Isabella at the park, isn't she gorgeous?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Together forever..................someday

I am quickly approaching the three month mark of the death of Isabella and somehow her being gone doesn't seem real to me yet. Even still, when I think of it, it strikes me as so odd that she is really gone. I keep saying to Matt, "I can't believe she's really gone......." Do I expect her to come back? Not really. I am visiting her grave once a week now and I feel better about that. I was going everyday and it just made me so sad. Everytime I went I would just cry and cry, then go to my car, cry some more, then go home and yes, cry more. Besides, I know Isabella isn't really there, just her body, which is almost more than I can stand.

I keep re-playing in my head the night she passed away and having to give her away to some stranger and know that I would never kiss her sweet face again. I can hardly even type about it. I don't think I will ever come across a more difficult task than this in my lifetime. They gave us all the time we wanted/needed with Isabella before I told them to make the call. I think it was about 4 hours after she passed. Husband, Turkey and I just laid in bed with her for the last time. The funeral director is a wonderful man and made things as easy as I guess they could be. However, nothing could make the moment less traumatic for me. Now I am willing to admit that I briefly considered taking her and getting in my car and driving off. Now I kind of laugh at that, because of course, that's crazy. Where in the world was I going to take her anyways?? I don't think I even knew. I just knew that I didn't want to give her away. People can tell me until they are blue in the face that it was just Isabella's "body" not her "soul" and while yes, I believe that, her body meant a lot to me. It was her face that I kissed five million times a day. It was her body I bathed with mine in the shower a thousand times. I fed her and dressed her and hugged her to me. The physical loss is a huge loss and it's a pain that is so deep I've thought that I might actually die from it. So far though, I haven't, which I guess is a good thing! ;)

I had another parent of a Liss baby who passed away tell me that eventually I will forget the bad stuff like giving her body up and burying her. All I will remember are the times when she was alive and healthy. I really wish that would happen sooner rather than later, but I guess you can't rush this stuff. I truly believe you have to get through the bad to get to the good. If you skip the bad, you don't really heal the right way.

I miss her so intensely, I would just give anything to hold her one more time.....even on her most horrible "archy" day. I guess I should explain "archy", that was one of my many nicknames for her. Because of Isabella's Lissencephaly she would literally arch backwards like a giant C. Sometimes, if I let her, she could touch the back of her head to her bottom. Quite amazing to watch. I swear it was like she had no spine at all! Of course she did in fact have a spine and by the time she passed away I'm pretty sure she had some scoliosis from all that "wonderful" arching. :) Anyways, somedays she would just arch and arch and arch, and it usually meant something. Like, "put me down, I don't want to held anymore" or "pick me up! I want to be held again!" One time, I had her in her special "feeder" seat in my bedroom in front of the tv (she *loved* to watch videos with Turkey on a good vision day) and Turkey was watching with her while I took a quick shower. Well, 5 minutes into the shower Isabella starts whining a little (which was odd for her, she didn't whine/cry a lot), so I listened and eventually the whines got louder and angrier. I took a peak at her around the shower curtain and sure enough, she was arching right out of her chair. I immediately rushed out and grabbed her and knew exactly what she was so upset about. How dare mommy take a shower without me!!!! I laugh just thinking about it again. So I undressed her and brought her in with me and she immediately relaxed and went to sleep in my arms. My sweet girl. She loved her showers. My showers won't ever be the same without her. I took a shower with her every night the last three days she was on this earth. I will never forget the way she felt in my arms and how she loved to have the water rush over her head. (very odd considering she hated to have her head touched)

I miss you baby girl, and I love you so very much. I know we will be together forever someday..............

Sunday, August 19, 2007

For once, some good news

Well, we had our (hopefully) last ultrasound on Friday for Rollie Pollie. I am 28 weeks and time is flying by now! Things look really good, his brain is developing (Praise God!) and he's looking perfectly healthy in there. He is already a little on the big side, but I figured that. I have yet to have a small baby. Of course the OB's are already talking "Induction"....gee whiz I hate that. Why should I have to argue about when my baby is coming? Hello, I'm an intelligent woman, I know my stuff and I also know the *real* reason you want to induce. CONVENIENCE! I don't think so, you make six figures a year, you can come deliver my baby at 3 am! Or send a resident, I don't care, it's not like OB's do anything outrageous when you deliver a baby! They just catch, suction and pass it off to the nurses who do the rest. WOW. Of course, that's if everything goes right. :) I know that they do a lot more than just that, I'm just venting. I'll stand my ground and let this big guy come when he is good and ready. Only he knows when it's time, thankyouverymuch! Besides, I am doing this one without any drugs, so I really don't want the fake contractions. Those are waaaaaay worse than the real thing, believe me! Mother nature is much kinder than man in this case :)

Of course this last week has been full of emotion. I often wonder if I will ever reach a point in my life again where I am calm and at total peace with my world. It's been so long since I've felt that way. I can look at pictures before Isabella and it rips my heart out. Husband and I did a taped interview for a genetics something or other a couple of months before Isabella passed away. The interviewer asked us to describe our lives before Isabella. I totally lost it and husband almost did. I'm crying just thinking of it now. I feel guilty for feeling that way, like I have been so miserable since Isabella. That's not true at all. I had some real happiness when she was here, but it was hard. And life after Isabella is even harder. So when does my life get "easy" again? Ever? Was I really blissfully, totally and completely happy before Isabella? No, of course not. I'm not sure that is really possible. Was I blissfully ignorant to the cruelties of this world? OH, YEAH! Did I have my life mapped out perfectly? Yep. Did I have Isabella's life mapped out and our life together mapped out? Sure did. We were going to be best friends, I was going to be the best mom I could to her and always be there for her. We would go shopping together, talk about boys, teach her how to put on make-up, all that good stuff :) I just couldn't wait. I'm a pretty girly-girl myself and the idea of me having my own daughter was just too much! I did get to do some things with Isabella. I tried to really take advantage of my time with her. I made tutu's for her and bows, bought copious amounts of super girly clothes for her to wear. Everyday was a dress up day for us :) I had fun, even is she could have cared less. I went overboard in decorating her room, it's completely pink, with a splash of pink. Who knows if I'll ever get to do that again? I like to think that I will get to a point where I am really content again. Of course, I will be content and missing Isabella, but I hear that I will just learn to live with that pain and it will not always consume me like it does now. Here's hoping!

Now, life after Isabella is a whole other ball-game. Right now, it's a battle. A battle to not be completely lost and sad and all day. A battle to get out of bed and take on the world, because I have to, not because I want to. A battle to make her proud and remain the mom I was before she left me. I love my kids so much, I am so dedicated to my job. I have always wanted to be a mother. Not a doctor or lawyer, just a good mom. Like anything else, it's not as easy as I imagined or as glorious, but it's wonderful. I keep meeting these mom's who have also lost babies to genetic defects. God is really showing me that I am not alone in this battle. There are many, many mothers right there in the trenches with me. I met two of these mothers last night while volunteering at my church. Amazing women, who both lost their first borns shortly after birth because of defects. They were women like me, young, middle class, educated. They didn't do anything wrong, it just happened. It's funny, because they thought it was so much worse for me because I had Isabella for 14 months and then she died and I feel the exact opposite! I feel so blessed to have had her for 14 months! I have so many memories of her and pictures and videos, I love it. She was and will always be a real part of our family. Of course the other side always seems worse and I don't think one is actually worse than the other. The loss of a child is the same no matter if you had them for months or minutes.

I'm anxious for when Rollie Pollie gets here. I have so many conflicting emotions and thoughts. I know of course that I will love him just like I love all my babies, but it will be bittersweet. I should have three kids, instead I will have two. It seems lonely, only because one is missing. It wouldn't feel that way if he was really my second. I know Isabella is with us in spirit though. She came to me in a dream recently. She was a beautiful teenager which I thought was so funny. Also, we didn't talk much, I didn't go on and on with the millions of things I want to say to her and ask her. She simply said "I just wanted you to know that I have already met Rollie Pollie and let me tell you, he is a wild one! He will be trouble, but he will be so much fun!" :) I love to think that their souls have already met, Rollie Poilie just won't remember it. I will tell him later about my dream of course and let him know of his big sister's prediction for him :) Now we just have to see if she is right!!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Good to be home

So we are home again after our weekend away at the beach. Turkey had so much fun and it was nice spoil him rotten (like he's ever *not* spoiled, you get the idea). He loved the beach as expected, the water in Galveston isn't the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean by any means, but it worked :) We all took a boat ride in the harbor to watch for dolphins (one of Turkey's favorite creatures) and we saw SO many! The captain said he were very lucky, but I think Isabella helped out a little for her big brother. He really enjoyed it and so did husband and I!! I felt like a kid again, getting all excited to see a fin move in the water. We also took Turkey to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner one night, what a neat place! He loved it and we spent a small fortune, but it was worth it. :)

I did pretty good most of the trip, had a few shaky moments, but recovered well. That is, until our last morning there. We woke up early and went straight to the beach to hang out for a couple of hours and then went to our hotel, cleaned up and decided to go by a couple of cool souvenir shops we had seen on the beach. Well, we get in the first one, I'm looking around at all the "crap" (that's all it is really, but I'm a huge sucker for "crap") and I see these cute little colorful cups with kid names on them. Innocent enough right? WRONG. Those tiny, stupid cups that I now loathe were just staring at me. I knew I shouldn't go over and look for her name on a cup, but I did it anyways. Of course, right there staring at me was THE cup, that read "Isabella". There was only one left. I wanted to buy it, but why should? She would never drink out it, hell she would have never drank out of it if she were still here! Now, I should tell you that there is even more meaning behind this cup, beyond the fact that it had Isabella's name it. Life can be cruel beast sometimes and I know this more than most. You see, two summers ago, we took a trip to San Antonio. At the time I was 8 weeks pregnant. I already knew that if we were to have a girl, her name would be Isabella. I already knew that I was having a girl. Not conclusively, I mean, I was only 8 weeks, but instinctively I knew I was having a girl. Well, lo and behold we were on our last day of the trip there and we went to The Alamo. Went to the gift shop. What do you think I found? That very same cup, with Isabella's name. We found Turkey's too and bought his, but husband would not let me buy the Isabella one because he said "you don't KNOW it's a girl yet and that's silly". I wish I would have told him to shove it and bought it anyways. So, I didn't buy the stupid cup the first time I saw it because I was just barely pregnant and had no real idea at that time that I was carrying my sweet girl. The second time I see it, I have had my sweet girl Isabella, and she is gone. That's just really unfair, don't you think? Needless to say I began weeping uncontrollably in the middle of the gift shop and husband had no idea why. I just put my glasses on and walked out. I have been crying on and off since then. I was so happy to get home last night and walk through my front door and see the giant picture of her on the wall!

Husband and I talked this morning about how different our lives are now. How strange our family feels. We are back to being a family of three, not a family of four. It's like a part of me has been severed and I don't know what to do without that limb. I am having to learn all over again how to be human, but with a part of me missing. A part that will not grow back, or be replaced. Gone. It's overwhelming really when it gets like this. I have good periods and bad periods, and right now I'm in a bad one. I find it so ironic that the vacation made me miss her so much more, but I know she would have been miserable! She would have hated the busy, loud restaurants, the beach would have been way too hot, she hated water, unless it was warm and I was holding her, we couldn't have taken the boat ride together (no wheelchair access), the list goes on and on. For the 14 months we had her here, we did not spend much time together as a family of four, so it strikes me as very odd that we notice so much how we are not a family of four any longer. It was always one of us staying home with Isabella and one of us going with Turkey somewhere fun that Isabella would not enjoy. I shouldn't say *always*, there were times when we all did stuff together, they were just fewer and farther between. Despite the stuggles, despite everything, we'd give anything to have her back. Of course, I'd really like to have her back and have her healthy. But alas, that it is not going to happen. At some point I know I have to accept that. Someday...........not now though.

I love you Isabella and you never leave my mind or my heart. You will always, always, always, be my Princess. Nothing could ever replace you in my life or my heart. I love you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I've had several little epiphanies lately. All regarding my life and experience with Isabella. For so long I've had the questions of "why", "how", the "purpose", etc. It's funny how when something terrible and hurtful happens in your life you first think "what the.....?" and then later you gain perspective (if you look for it that is). I've been gaining perspective these last few weeks and it feels good. Isabella's purpose was so far reaching that it amazes me. Will I ever be able to see my own purpose as clearly as I see hers? Probably not. I truly don't believe that Isabella's purpose is even close to completion, and I really love that.

I now know that Isabella showed me some truly wonderful people in this world, which in turn showed me how I had become lost from the wonderful person I use to be. I was becoming very cynical and losing some of my compassion for others. I am working towards that "old" me now and it feels good. I use to love volunteering and helping others in any way I could! I use to have a heart!! I use to blow the little things off and just count my blessings. Isabella brought that all back to me. I met some really amazing and compassionate people who had TRUE good intentions for my family and I will never forget them.

On the flip-side, Isabella also showed me some of the real ugliness in some around me. That is always a painful experience, because don't we all want to believe that we chose the right people in our lives and have good judgment? However we don't always chose the right people (I'm exceptionally good at choosing bad people!) and we don't always have good judgment. I'm not sure why in the past I have always done that, but I'm more careful now. I finally learned my lesson......... husband is so happy, because he's warned me about *several* people in my past and I always told him he was wrong, and guess what? He was right every.single.time. Kind of frustrating! :) And although it's painful to see some people close to you are not good and kind, it almost always feels good when you "clean up" the friendship closet. You see, you gain perspective. For the first time in a long time I have great people around me, and thank goodness because I need good people more than any other time in my life right now. Thank you Isabella.

One more thing Isabella brought back to me. My faith. It started last winter and I was more surprised than anyone. (of course my mom was relieved, she feared I would be mad at God forever.) I was mad at God. Really, really mad. I needed someone to blame for her Lissencephaly, and God was an easy target for me. You see, I follow every rule in pregnancy, heck even BEFORE pregnancy. I don't eat x,y,z, I don't take ANY medications (maybe a tylenol), I try to eat good foods, I try to get my exercise, etc. So imagine my surprise to find out my daughter has a genetic birth defect. I was like "a WHAT?" But husband and I were so perfect, so "above that". HA. Turns out that isn't really true, and I was pissed. So God is totally responsible,right? He did this on purpose to my daughter, to my family! I will never love or trust in Him again! Wrong. Probably last November/December I began to make peace with that thought train-wreck. I don't believe God did this to Isabella on purpose or to Matt and I on purpose. Yes, I believe he saw it coming. Yes, he knew this would be more than difficult for us. BUT, He also saw that Isabella would do so much good. She would change her mother, her father, shape her older brother and change hundreds in her community and across the globe. Yes, across the globe. I have actually spoken with a woman in Australia who will always remember my Isabella and hug her children tighter and take them for granted less. Wonderful. I am a better person because of Isabella, I finally have a direction in my life that I had been longing for, for years. Matt is a stronger, better father. Jackson is the sweetest, most compassionate three year old you will ever meet. I still feel blessed in my life, if you can believe it. I feel blessed to be Isabella's mother. This little girl, who was powerless, had the power to change people around her and I am in awe. Oh, and I get to be her mother for eternity..........kind of neat :) So in the end, I realized that God is still GOOD and has my back, as usual. That never really changed. I just didn't see it at first. It's so hard to see things at first, isn't it? Those darn emotions usually get in the way. You just have to wait for the fire to simmer down and the smoke to clear and you will gain the perspective you need. Be patient, it's coming............

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A much needed rest

Well, it probably won't really be "restful", but we are heading to the beach for three days soon. I really cannot wait. We saved and saved for this and now it's finally here. Too bad I am officially in my third trimester and feeling the heat! I'm sure we'll manage to keep mama happy and comfortable though :O Turkey really needs this trip and since it's his first trip to the ocean he is so very excited. I wish we had the money to stay longer, but someday we will, I just know it.

Naturally, we first planned this trip to be with Isabella. I wanted at least one family vacation with her. Does it really matter? No. Would she have truly loved it? Probably not. But it was important to me, to have those memories. Of course when I think of it in a logical way, I know that Isabella hated changes of atmosphere and really disliked lots of people and noise. But she would have loved the ocean, I just know it. My sweet girl just loved to be outside, no matter when, no matter where. I like to think that she will be with us in spirit this weekend, enjoying the sun and water with us. See? I'm *trying* to be positive, here! If I'm going to be totally honest, which I might as well be, who is reading this anyways?, I will tell you that in my head I'm thinking "THIS IS CRAP!" "She should be here, she shouldn't have had Lissencephaly, I hate that WORD".

You know people are so funny. I hear the strangest things from those around me, and even though I know they mean well, it bugs the hell out of me. For instance, "someone" sat next to me on the couch the other day while visiting and I mentioned in the conversation "you know, since I've been depressed lately" and this "someone" looked at me in shock and said "your depressed?????" UH, YEAH. You know, since my DAUGHTER died and all, I just haven't felt real cheery! Somebody husband works with lately looked at him and said "so are you and wifey still sad?" Nah, I mean c'mon it's been two freakin' months.....we're totally over that whole mess! Yeah, man, we're still "sad". Gee whiz. If you are reading this, take a mental note and don't say crap like this if you ever have to deal with someone who has lost a child ok? Yes they are "depressed"......not clinically depressed, but SAD! I don't need prozac or anything, my SADNESS is justified! We are not more at peace with this because Isabella was sick or had an under-developed brain. I would be just as heartbroken if it were my normal child. I don't love Isabella less because of her shortcomings. That's not love. In fact, I love her MORE because of them. So there!

However I digress. I know I have a "serene, together" appearance. I can't help it....I'm not a weak person by nature, so I don't give that impression. So I guess I can't really blame people for being surprised that on the inside I am a totally different story. One woman described it perfectly. She said that I may appear like a duck on water.....floating peacefully across the pond, but underneath my little feet are paddling like crazy to stay afloat and maintain that calm apearance. WOW. That's really just perfect for what it's like to be me these days.

My main point though all this random babbling is that no matter what we do now, someone is missing. It's so intensely painful, and even though we push through and put smiles on our faces, believe me......when we get home at night we look at each other and say "I sure missed Isabella tonight". So when you see me smiling, laughing, pretending to be OK with my circumstances, I am always missing Isabella. I am acutely aware of who is missing in that moment of laughter. I'm sure that will never change for husband and I. I keep hearing and reading that eventually the pain will ebb and we will learn to live with our loss. But the loss itself will never change. She will always be the missing piece in our lives and yes, I think that just plain stinks.

So this weekend, we will go to the beach and I will love watching Turkey play and experience the ocean for the first time, but in my mind I will be wishing with everything in me that Isabella could be there too, it's what was supposed to happen, but did not.

I miss you Princess, I really do.