Friday, January 29, 2010

Over The Month Mark...

Well, last Friday would have been Isabel's month birthday. We celebrated it with snow. Every important day for Isabel so far has snow involved. It snowed when she passed and was born, it snowed on the day of her funeral, and again on her month birthday. Mark and I like to think that Isabel makes it snow so that we remember her. In a lot of ways, Isabel is like a snowflake. She is unique, like a snowflake. She came and was gone quickly, like a snowflake. And she was so beautiful, just like a big snowflake. We miss her so much. I don't think anything can compare to the pain a parent feels when they miss their child. It is like a peice of yourself is gone. I can't stop thinking about how I could have an almost 6 week old baby. But, instead, I am watching the mountains, knowing that Isabel is covering them with snow.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Today has just been one of those days. It started out when I got a call from a RN that works for my insurance company doing a follow up of my stay in the hospital. Basically, she wanted to see why I was there. When I told her that I had had a baby, that opened up a whole can of worms I wasn't wanting to visit. First, I had to explain that Isabel wasn't put on our insurance policy because she had passed away. Then I had to tell her Isabel passed because she had Anencephaly (which she probably should have known because it isn't like my doctor hasn't made claims with the insurance company because of that diagnosis). From there she tried to ascertain if Isabel had Anencephaly from something I did (which really pisses me off since even the medical profession realizes that this happens even when mothers are doing everything they are supposed to, their babies can have Anencephaly) and if our future children were also at risk. THEN, she asked how soon I was planning on having another baby! Okay, first of all, she is an RN, shouldn't she either know what Anencephaly is or look it up. And secondly, it is none of her or my insurance company's business when Mark and I are going to have children. Absolutely none. I was so offended when I got off the phone. She kept asking if my doctor put me on a special diet to stop all of this, if I drank and smoke during my pregnancy since that can cause birth defects, if I was sure I took my prenatal vitamins. How dumb does she think I am? Yes, Ms. I Work For Your Insurance Company That Can Kick You Off At Any Time Because We Are Not Regulated, I was messing around while I was pregnant, eating nothing but junk and fast food, smoking and drinking. AND, she knew that we were doing fertility treatments to get pregnant BECAUSE she could see my claims for last year. UGH.

Okay, that was the first thing that happened. Then, in the mail, we got stuff from the funeral home AND the cemetery. That was rough. At least that is better than when I get baby product e-mails from even though I reported Isabel as a stillbirth.

I know that under normal circumstances that Isabel's birth would have been the happiest time in my life. And it was, but her death will be the saddest part of my life too. Getting e-mails and mail reminding me that I currently am not taking care of my daughter, who would be 3 weeks old tomorrow is as difficult to deal with as knowing that there are people out there everyday that are having babies that didn't want them or there are people that neglect, beat, or even kill their children. I just don't get it. And I know that Heavenly has a plan. I know who Isabel is and that this short time on Earth was all she needed, but sometimes, in my humanly state, I question how much He loves us that we have to carry out His will. I keep saying to myself "Thy will be done," but my body also screams "why, why, why?" I am trying. At times I know with every fiber of my being that Heavenly Father loves me, that I promised Isabel a body, that I will get through this, and that someday I will see her again and we will hug and remember how wonderful our time was together. Then at other times, I am in my Earthly state and I have pity parties for myself because Isabel passed and I am now, to the world, a childless mother.

So, in other words, it is hard to balance the eternal perspective with the Earthly consequences of it. I know that that poor RN from the insurance company probably had no idea when she made the call today that she would talk to a mother that has just lost her baby only 3 weeks ago. I know that the cemetery and funeral home sending mail to us on the same day was a coincidence. But for me, it was one big day of ugh!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Isabel's Photo Shoot Part Two

There were so many good photos, I just had to post more!

Isabel's Photo Shoot

Here are some of the pictures Jessica from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep took of Isabel. They were done right after she was born, so she still had that newborn gunk, but she is still our beautiful girl!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Story of Isabel's Birthday

So, like I promised 2 weeks ago, I am finally posting the story of Isabel's Birth. We were scheduled to come in to be induced on December 21 at 1 AM. By the time we got to the hospital, I had been having contractions in my back for an hour, but like all the contractions that I had had for the month prior to the 21st, they weren't accomplishing anything. The initial assessment was that I as not dilated at all and I was put on Cytotech, which soften my cervix, but it works slowly, so we knew we were going to be in for a long labor. We were warned the Friday before by Dr. Gatherum that inducing my labor may take a few days and based on what we found out when we got into the hospital, we started to prepare ourselves for such a labor.

However, what we were not ready for was the fact that the Cytotech would make my contractions strong and one minute apart. Within two hours of having the first does placed, I was having them every minute and I was unable to sleep at all. By 5 AM I was watching Saved By The Bell to get my mind off of what was going on (it kind of worked too!). The nurse came and placed another dose and said that I had dilated a whole centimeter. Wow! All those contractions and only one centimeter.

Dr. Gatherum came in during rounds later that morning and decided that I should be switched from Cytotech to Pitocin because maybe the Pit would make my contractions longer and stronger, but further apart so that (1) I would be able to relax more between contractions so that I would (2) dilate faster. So, at 9 AM I was out on Pitocin. Unfortunately, Pitocin did make my contractions stronger and longer, but it failed to make them spread any further apart than 1 minute. So I continued on that labor pattern for the 9 hours and I only dilated 2 more centimeters. Keep in mind, I had not had any medication to relieve the pain because in the back of my mind I knew that if I had an epidural the chance of them wanting to break my water increased and I knew that Isabel would not live until after she was born if they did that. So when Dr. Gatherum came in and told us that he felt the best option was to turn off the Pitocin at 7 PM, feed me a good meal, and let me sleep until Midnight when they would turn the Pitocin on again, I could have hugged the man! I was so tired! He also warned us that if I didn't get into an active labor pattern the next day, he would send us home and we would be scheduled for induction the next week do that we could avoid a c-section. I really was hoping that a good meal and some sleep would help my body do what it was supposed to do.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sleep or eat very well. Mark went and got me Chicken Fried Steak from Chili's, but I was only able to eat a tiny bit of it because I was still contracting. Mark was able to eat it though, so it didn't go to waste! :) Then we went to bed and I wasn't able to sleep very well either. By the time the nurse came back at Midnight to start the Pitocin again, Isabel had a surprise for us. Apparently I had be contracting every minute the whole time the Pitocin was turned off, so the nurse was hoping I had dilated some more. So she checked me and Isabel grabbed at her hand. The nurse knew that wasn't normal and got an ultrasound machine in to see what was going on. Sure enough, Isabel had turned transverse and that meant we would need a c-section. But, before they were going to call in my doctor, they called in an ultrasound tech, just to make sure the nurse was right. So for the next hour Mark and I prayed that she would flip. Sure enough, by the time the tech got there, Isabel flipped and we were able to proceed with Pitocin. To this day I wonder what would have happened if she hadn't have turned.

So with the Pitocin going again and my contractions getting stronger and stronger, I decided at 3 AM that I would try out the tub again to help manage my pain. Well, Isabel didn't want me to, so before I was able to get in, my water started leaking. That changed the game for that day completely because I would have to deliver that day or I would have a c-section. So we knew that Isabel's birthday would be December 22 for sure.

I was so tired that by 6 AM I was asking for a second shot of Demeral (I had my first the night before) so that I could sleep and maybe my body would dilate. But, unlike the first dose, I was not able to sleep, but I was drowsy. So now I was trying to relax through contractions while drowsy good luck with that! My in-laws came to the hospital a couple of hours later and while Mark went and had breakfast, my mother-in-law sat with me. During this time, she, the nurses, everyone tried talking me into an epidural because I had been in labor by this point for 32 or so hours and was only 5 centimeters dilated. I really didn't want one, but the labor was back in my back and I was so tired that by the time Mark got back from breakfast, I wanted one. Let me tell you, those can be nice, if you don't mind the side effects.

One the epidural was in place, some things happened quickly. Because I had to lay on my side, the external contraction monitors no longer worked very well, so my doctor wanted to place an internal one. We thought because my water had a leak that we could place it without affecting Isabel. However, that isn't how it worked out. After the monitor was placed my water broke and flooded everything. Seriously, there was gallons of water still in there (because of my Polyhydrominos) and everything got soaked. Because my water was now broken and they were able to really crank the Pitocin because of the epidural, my labor progressed very quickly after that. But Isabel didn't make it. I felt two kicks after my water broke and sometime between then and her birth she passed. We don't know for sure because we took off the fetal monitor, but I think I know when it happened. In hindsight, I think we all knew when it happened. But we didn't talk about it, not even after she was born. If only my stupid water hadn't had broken. Her poor body just wasn't strong enough to survive literally gallons of water gushing. Or the pressure of the contractions on her now unprotected head. In the end, I will forever question whether or not I should have gotten the epidural. But, like I have been told, we make the best decisions with the information that we have at the time. I don't know that my water wouldn't have broken on it's own or that Isabel wouldn't have survived anyway, but to me right now, I wished I wouldn't have had the epidural.
So anyway, my labor ended with a little over 4 hours of pushing. Yes, 4 hours. That means that by the time Isabel was born at 5:15 PM, I had been in labor for a little over 41 hours. So if you see a picture of me with Isabel, that is why I look so bad. But what can you do? Isabel was beautiful and BIG too! She weighed 5 pounds 12 ounces, but had she had been healthy, Dr. Gatherum thought she would have been easily over 8 pounds. She was also 18 inches long and she was missing 2 or 3 inches of cranial. So, she was our pudgy cutie!

When Isabel was born I knew that she hadn't made it, but there was still some shock there. Mark really didn't take it well. I didn't know what to feel. It was one of the most precious days of my life. I really feel Like M'Lynn off of Steel Magnolias when she said "I was there when this precious spirit entered this world and I was there when she left." I know what that feeling is like now. I just couldn't believe that just like that, she was gone. I still can't believe that.

In the end we kept her with us for 19 hours before the funeral home picked her up. We talked to her, cuddled her, slept with her, and bathed her. Everyone got a chance to hold her. We have her hand molds, foot prints, and a lock of her hair. We took tons of pictures and Jessica from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep came too. We tried to cram a whole lifetime of memories into 19 short hours. I still stare at her pictures shell shocked with how fast time goes by. Today, if things were different, I would be holding a 2 week old. Instead, I am unpacking from going to her funeral. I don't know what to think. But I do know that on December 22 I got to meet the body that held an angel and I wouldn't have traded that time for anything.