Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Funeral

Well, last night was the viewing and today was Isabel's funeral. We were able to go in on Tuesday and dress her the the sweetest dress and hat that was made for her. Isabel looked so beautiful! We even bought her some tights with the ruffle on her bum. She looked like such an angel. Then for the viewing, instead of having an open casket, we made a picture slide show that we played and we got to go see her again after everyone left, just to say goodnight to her for one last time. Today we said our final goodbye before the funeral and helped tuck her in before the funeral home people sealed her up. The funeral went very well and everything was nice. It is just hard to think that instead of burying your baby, you should be cuddling and taking care of it. I know that Isabel wasn't built for this world, but I still would give anything to be able to raise her right now too. I just ache to hold her, to feed her, to kiss her. I don't think we realize how important it is to focus on the health of our children when we are expecting and not on the stupid things like what gender they are or what they might look like. To parents like me and my husband, we would trade anything to get to keep our Isabel, even if it were just for one more day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Here She Is!

I promise I will get the full story up as soon as possible, but the short of the story is that I was in labor for 41 hours and ended up pushing for 4 before Isabel was born sleeping at 5:15 PM yesterday. We got to keep her for 19 hours and took pictures and made enough memories with her until we will be with her again. Here are some pictures of her...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Isabel's Christmas

Mark and I decided that we wanted to have a family Christmas this year, so today was picked because it is our 3 year anniversary of our engagement. So we got up this morning and went to a local restaurant that has a Toys for Tots bin to donate toys we would have given Isabel. We have decided to do this every year, not only as a nice way to remember Isabel, but also because we feel strongly that someone should benefit from Isabel's life. So, from now on, we are going to donate some age appropriate toys we would have gotten Isabel. Then we came home and did the traditional Christmas stuff, opened presents and ate our stocking stuffers! Isabel will be able to tell everyone in Heaven that she loves chocolate and root beer. :) A good friend pointed out today that Isabel was very lucky because she got a Christmas with us, and she gets to spend December 25 with Jesus celebrating his birthday too. That is a thought that Mark and I will always cherish. So, from Mark, Isabel, and I, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you remember the reason for the season.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Packing for Isabel

Because the time is near (we induce Monday) I decided to make sure we have everything packed for the hospital. Packing for Mark and I was easy. Packing for Isabel is a little more tough. Apparently, Isabel might be a big girl, which is something we didn't expect when we got the diagnoses last July. According to the measurements the doctor did last Friday, Isabel now has the body of a 7.5 pound baby and she could gain as much as a pound by time she is born. Newborn clothes go up to 8 pounds. So, Mark and I have packed little clothes, and some not as little clothes for her. Then, because we are taking all the stuff we need to make permanent memories with her, she now has a bag as big as mommy and daddy do, and we are packed in one bag! I knew babies needed a lot of stuff, but we are going to look like we are moving into the hospital! I guess the whole stereotype that girls need a lot of stuff is all true. Oh, well.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It Is What It Is...

Well, it's official. I have been measuring ahead of where I should for weeks by 6 or 7 weeks, which we thought would mean that I have a complication called polyhydraminos (which means too much amniotic fluid). Having polyhydrominos stops the baby's lungs from developing and can cause placental abruption, which can make the mommy bleed to death, or worse, it can cause uterine rupture, which can also quickly kill the mommy. Luckily, all the ultrasounds showed my amniotic fluid levels to be in the safe range. That all changed today. I now officially have too much fluid now. The good news is that Isabel only has to hold on for one more week. The bad news is that her life expectancy is now even lower than we had hoped for. Mark and I are really hoping that we get as much time with her as possible. Please keep us in your prayers. We need all the help we can get.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reading to Isabel

When you are a parent to a child that won't live for very long, you start to prioritize what is really important for you to share with them. I had always planned on all of these opportunities Mark and I would give our children from vacations to national parks to great literature we would read to them. And while these are opportunities we hope to eventually give our children, we know that it would not be possible to give Isabel any of these experiences while she is with us. So, instead, we are picking the most important ones that we think will give us the greatest memories with her. One thing that I have been doing is reading The Little House on the Prairie series. I think she is listening too because she kicks when I read to her. Mark and I also hope to give her a taste of chocolate before she goes. I would think that I would want to have that experience if it were me, so, God willing, we are going to give Isabel some chocolate. I am sure that there are plenty of other experiences that we have given her that she will talk to us about when we meet in heaven. I would hope she remembers when we stayed at New York New York in Las Vegas and watched the planes fly in and out. I hope she remembers Mark talking to her and kissing her in my belly. I hope she remembers the crab I ate, just for her. Most of all, even though we are very sad that she had to have Anencephaly, I hope she remembers how much we love her and how we tried our best to make her time with us memorable.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A date has been set...

So, I am sure everyone is interested to know that the doctor set Isabel an induction date. Because of her birth defect, Isabel probably will not tell my body to go into labor on it's own, so the doctor decided that we should induce a week early. That means, unless something does happen on it's own, Isabel will be induced on December 21.

A word about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

I just wanted to get the word out about the organization Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. This organization offers free photography to parents who lose a baby. Mark and I were able to find a NILMDTS photographer from here that willingly gave us a pregnancy shoot as well as pictures of Isabel when she comes. We get all the negatives on a CD and can reprint them any way we want to. This has been such a blessing to us. We just want to thank our photographer, Jessica, who is giving us such a wonderful gift. Here are some of the pictures from our maternity shoot. If you are interested in donating to NILMDTS, go to their website at

Things Isabel has taught us, so far...

So in this journey to have Isabel, I have learned several things I wouldn't have learned if I haven't been Isabel's Mommy. Here is a list of lessons I have learned that I would like to pass on to you.
  1. The saying "God does not give you any trials you can not handle" does NOT mean that God will not give you a trial that will be harder then you think you can handle. All that means is He will package your trails in a way that makes it easier for you to handle. It is up to you to see He has done this. In this case, I didn't think after all the infertility problems we had and that I could handle losing a child. But after talking to people that lost their babies without warning, I realized that God gave us a very special gift in letting us know that our time was short and allowing us to plan for the event.
  2. Seriously, worry more about whether your baby is healthy and not what sex it is. I know we always say this, but we don't really think about it until we are having a baby that isn't healthy. I know I always said "as long as it is healthy," but what I really meant "as long as it is a girl." I realize that now. To all of those people who are having or will have healthy children, focus more on what a blessing you have because your baby is healthy and not because it is one sex or the other.
Here are some things I have learned that do NOT comfort a grieving family...
  1. "She will be in a better place" or "She didn't need to be tried." Yes, I know that the Celestial Kingdom is a billion times better than Earth, but to a grieving parent, you are also saying that the child was better off not being raised by that parent. I know that sounds ridiculous, but every grieving parent I have talked to says the same thing. Please, don't tell a grieving parent either of these things.
  2. "You are young, you will have more children." This comment stings in two ways. (1) I don't want another baby, I want Isabel. She is real to me now and she will never be replaced bay any other child. She was our precious baby. This comment makes us think that you don't see her that way. (2) Some people can't have kids willy nilly. Mark and I went through a lot to get us here, including fertility drugs. There is no guarantee to us that we can have another one.
  3. "You should hurry up and have another one." I don't need family planning advice from anyone. The part that kills me about this comment is that it is always giving to us by people that don't know us, like people from our ward. Seriously, it is none of your business.
  4. "You will get to raise her." I know this, but I can't see that far ahead right now. All I know is that I want to raise her now. Besides, I look at people and think, "You get to have your kids here and there. Who are you to tell me that my situation is better than yours?"
  5. "I have an idea of how you feel because I know someone else who had a baby die" or "I can imagine how you feel." Um, no, you really can't. I know I sound mean, but you don't. I used to think I could imagine too, but you really can't until it is your baby. And you have no idea how you will react to the situation either, so don't judge people by the way they handle things. The way we are handling this situation is right for us and no one can possibly know how we feel.

This post may seem like a lot of "poor me" comments, but I think that everyone should know about these lessons. Besides, you are my captive audience. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

About Isabel

Okay, I realize that there will probably be people who are going to follow this blog that don't know anything about our little girl. So, here is Isabel's story.

Mark and I were overjoyed when we found out on April 21, 2009 that we were going to have a baby. The timing was perfect. The baby is due in late December and we would graduate December 11. We were naturally nervous to go from the lifestyle of college students to that of parents, but we knew it would all be great.

Everything was going better then normal. The baby had a strong heart beat and my health was great. Nothing to worry about. So, when our 18 week ultrasound rolled around on July 29, we were excited to find out if the baby was a girl or a boy. I mean, really, what else was there to worry about? We now know the answer to that question...

The ultrasound was going well, or at least we thought, except the tech asked us if we were sure about our due date. She said the baby was measuring small, but she gave us no reason to really worry. I mean, all the babies my sister and mother had were small, so it was no big deal to me. We did see that she is in fact a girl and from that moment, we knew she would be called Isabel Jane. At the end of the ultrasound the doctor asked if we had time to pop by our doctor's office. We thought it was weird, but this being our first baby, what did we know?

But, there are just certain things that, no matter how nieve you are, you notice. Like when you get to the doctor's office and they wisk you to a room to "talk to the doctor," that isn't a good sign. Or when your doctor is still dressed from the surgery they pulled him from, that isn't a good sign. But, what he had to tell us changed my life forever. Apparently, the ultrasound tech realized that something wasn't right about Isabel's head measurments, so upon further investigation she found that Isabel had a condition called Anencephaly. Anencephaly is a neural tube defect that occurs when the top of the tube that makes the brain and skull doesn't close between days 21 and 28 of pregnancy. Anencephaly is always fatal. However, he told us very little about Anencephaly other than "Your baby has no skull."

I can still hear him say that, "Your baby has no skull." Mark and I left the hospital thinking that we were about to have a baby with severe birth defects. It wasn't until the next day when we googled Anencephaly we found out that our baby was going to die, no matter what we did. But, in our doctor's defense for not telling us everything, he wanted to make absolutely sure that Isabel had Anencephaly. So, to make sure, we went to a specialist in St. George the next week. By then Mark and I felt sure that the diagnosis was right, so when it was confirmed, we were not suprised. What we were suprised at was how the "Specialist" was so insistant that we were crazy for continuing the pregnancy and how he was positive I caused this by not taking flic acid (which I was for 2 years!). Needless to say, we have never seen him again!

So the next while was a complete blur. We did have a baby shower in Idaho where we got some really beautiful things to remember Isabel by. Mark and I kind of gave up for a while and just went through the motions of work and eventually school. We continued our doctor's appointments as well as planning a funeral. We lived by the motto "Fake it until you make it."

People told us how strong we were. We didn't feel strong. In fact, we still feel so weak. We wondered how this happened. We questioned how we were going to deal with the very real possibility of losing Isabel before she is born. The statistics are not on our side. According to one study, 75% of babies who have Anencephaly will die either before they are born or during the first 24 hours of their life. The rest live a few days. Those are the luck ones. Those facts made us feel smaller and weaker. No matter what we did for her birth, she would die. As a parent, you try to protect your children. in this case, there is nothing we can do. No, we don't feel strong at all.

We did do what we could to prepare. We took a child birth class, got maternity pictures, and tried to make as much as we could with our time that we do have with Isabel. But nothing can really get you ready to say hello and goodbye to a baby. I guess all you can do is go through it and hope you come out the other side.

So, here we are, 37 weeks pregnant. Due to things going on, we are probably going to induce early. So we are trying to cherish each day and hope to be ready to meet our little Isabel.

Starting a blog and a little about what we are up too.

So, after reading all my friends blogs, I finally am getting around to doing one for Mark and I. I am always late to the party on stuff like this it seems. Oh, well.

So Mark and I are getting close to D-day for Isabel. All we know for sure is that the doctor is excited about moving up the induction date, we just don't know when it is going to be yet. All I know is I am getting antsy and don't sleep well. I can't believe I am already 9 months pregnant!

Mark and I will (minus something horrible cropping up) be finished with school as of next Thursday. Where we go from here is anyones guess. Due to everything going on, we haven't even began to look for jobs, so we might live the life of college students for a while longer yet. I hear these are the best times of our lives, why not live the lifestyle a while longer?