Sorry I’ve skipped a few days.
Today I am thankful for my baby girl, Isabella.
I will tell her birth story here as well. Like I said, after Griffin was born we talked it over and decided one child was enough. The problem I had with my pregnancy with him (HELLP Syndrome) is basically something that only occurs during first pregnancies of women age 25 or over. So, even thought we knew the likelihood of me being sick again was small, it was scary enough to make us think we were done.
Well, four years later, Griffin really wanted a sister. Yep, he said from the beginning he wanted a sister, not a brother. He was so sweet about it. So, once again, we decided we would “not try” to keep from having a baby. It took us one try and I was pregnant. We were scared.
I was due in March and my doctor let us pick the day. Because I had a c-section the first time, I was allowed to chose whether I wanted to deliver naturally or c-section again. Because David works in surgery and told me the horror stories of VBAC deliveries that went bad, we went for the c-section. Now, remember I didn’t really know what was going on the first time. It was 4 days after Griffin was born that I remember anything. So, I was thinking it was a breeze. Not much pain. No labor. I was going to be shocked soon. Another reason I didn’t want to try naturally is because David is very hard to get awake at night. I just knew I would go into labor and would be going to hospital by myself because I couldn’t get him up. It was totally for convenience.
We chose the 18th of March and the year was 2003. We were supposed to be at the hospital at 8:00 a.m so Becky came and stayed with Griffin. The c-section was scheduled for 10 and she was bringing him a little later so he could sleep longer. We were excited. But strangely calm. We had decided on Kaelynn Elizabeth for the name. On the way to hospital David said, “I really don’t like that name, we need to pick something else”. Uh, okay. We had like 3 hours to think of something. We figured when we saw her something would come to us. LOL
I had taken heart medicine during my pregnancy because of mitral valve prolapse. The medicine was safe but because it could make the baby grow slowly I had 5 ultrasounds during the pregnancy. All were fine and showed no problems. We were so relived.
The doctor we chose to deliver was Anna Zabrecky. She was very nice during all of our appointments and so personable. We really loved her.
After being prepped for surgery, David was sitting by my side and we were waiting for the baby. I remember being anxious but praying for God to calm me. David, of course, was telling me all about what they were doing and were going to do. His surgical knowledge sometimes is so annoying.
Bella was born at 10:18 am. As soon as she came out of my belly, Dr. Zabrecky didn’t say a word. I remember the silence like it was yesterday. Someone turned off the music that was playing on the radio. All of the nurses and OR people were rushing around. The doctor looked at us and said, “She has a little spot on her back. It’s a small myelomeningioma. Now, I had no idea what that was. David’s face went completely white. I could see Bella in the bassinet they put her in. She was scooting up to the top. The nurse said, “it must not be bad because she is moving her legs really well”. Dr. Zabrecky didn’t say anything else to me.
Nothing. I remember thinking it must be bad cuz she’s not talking to me. I think she just didn’t know what to say at this point.
At this point David looked at me and said “That’s spina bifida.”
I couldn’t breath. I remember telling him “It can’t be. We had ultrasounds. Don’t they check for that in the ultrasounds?” The nurse said that sometimes they can’t see it. I wanted to scream, but five times they didn’t see it? I remember distinctly the tech telling me her spine was fine during one ultrasound.
I thought she was going to die.
I knew nothing about this disease spina bifida. They told us that the ambulance from Children’s hospital would come to pick her up immediately and that she would be taken there for surgery.
My tiny baby girl was going to have surgery the day she was born.
This was not how it was supposed to be. How was I going to tell Griffin that the baby he had wished and waited for might not live. Or that she wouldn’t be able to play with him like we had told him? It was my worse nightmare come true.
While I was being sewn up, David had to go tell my mom and dad, Griffin and my sister. Becky later told me that he came out and just sat in the chair with his head in his hands. Mom asked him what was wrong and he said, “she has spina bifida”. My mom started crying and walked away. I hate that David had to go through that alone. But, that was only the beginning.
I know my life changed that day. The neonatologist at the hospital where we were at came into our room. He said, “my sympathies are with you”.
I now thought she definitely wasn’t going to live. I hadn’t seen her yet which I thought was good.
I’ve read about Moms that hold their babies that they know aren’t going to live. But, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to love her any more that I already did and lose her.
He them went on to tell us that she would need a shunt.
She would never walk unaided.
She would never run.
There were so many things my baby wouldn’t be able to do. I was in shock. I know that now. I just laid there. I really didn’t cry much. I just kept thinking, this can’t be happening.
David was going to go to Children’s so the baby didn’t have to be alone. Becky stayed with me.
They brought her in my room in a little baby bed. She was laying on her stomach because she had a bandage covering up the hole in her back. She was crying so hard. They had given her a pacifier but she didn’t want it.
I patted her on the bottom but didn’t know what to do. I was afraid to touch her. She had really dark hair and her face looked all scrunched up. I couldn’t really see it very well. I also couldn’t sit up because of the c-section so that made it even worse.
Children’s came to get her when she was about an hour old. They told us the neurologist would do her surgery as soon as he could. He had 14 other surgeries to do before hers. I knew it was going to be a long day.
When David got to the hospital, they took him through the Spina Bifida unit and showed him what we could expect. he saw children in all stages of this disease. I know his heart ached. I longed to be with him instead of laying in a bed able to do nothing.
Becky and my cousin Gary sat with me while I waited. I will never forget that. They were both so much comfort.
I kept trying to think what I could have done wrong to make this happen. I just knew it was my fault. God was finally getting back at me for all of the bad things I had done. And I deserved it. But, my baby didn’t.
I prayed. Oh how I prayed. I didn’t know it at the time but there were so many people praying for Bella.
Our church and many other friends churches were praying for a miracle.
Little did we know. We were about to get one.
I didn’t really get to talk to David that day.
At about 9:30 pm that night he called me. The neurosurgeon had just left the NICU. This is the jest of that conversation I had with David.
“She doesn’t have spina bifida”, he said.
What? They told us she did. The neonatologist from children’s sat in our room and said she did, honey. She does. I know it’s hard but we’ll have to accept it.”
No, Lori, she doesn’t have it. Dr. Crone (her surgeon) just took the bandage off and said it is definitely not spinal related. It is just a hole in her back. She will have to have surgery to close the hole and they are going to take out one of her vertebra but she will be fine.”
“I don’t believe it. They said she did” How can she be okay"?
I was getting mad now. I had just spent a day in hell. I had laid and thought about all of the families who had heard this news before and lived through it. I knew I would too.
But I also had prayed for a miracle. Heal my baby, God. I’ll do anything if you just make her okay.
Well, God heard our prayers and I believe without a doubt that he healed her. I don’t think it was just a mistake of the first diagnosis. Several doctors seen her and said what it was. God knows in his infinite wisdom that we needed a miracle and he provided one.
I still didn’t believe it of course. David had to get the surgeon to talk to me and even then I was skeptical. That’s just how I roll.
He said there would be no complications. No shunt. She would learn to walk just fine. Maybe just later than normal. The only thing that could go wrong is that where the dermal sinus (that’s what they were calling it now) was attached to her spine is where the bladder is controlled. They said she may have trouble being potty trained and possibly may never be. I could handle that. No big deal at all after what I thought was going to be her life.
David came back to the hospital after her surgery was over. It was about 1 o’clock in the morning. He laid his head on my leg and cried. We both cried. Not for the bad things that had happened but because God had heard our prayers. I knew his day had been worse than mine. I will never know how bad. I can’t imagine all he saw and how scared he was sitting waiting with Bella for the 10 hours before her surgery. He is such an amazing Dad.
The next day he said, “we are never doing this again”. I was in total agreement. When Griffin was born, I was sick. I could have done that over and over. My newborn being so sick was something I knew I couldn’t do.
We named her Isabella Grace on her 4th day of life. I signed myself out of the hospital the day after she was born because I couldn’t stand to not be with her. I didn’t really believe she was okay until I could see her.
And oh yeah, I was kinda mad about the whole c-section thing not hurting. I hurt so bad. Just walking to her crib in the NICU caused excruciating pain. It crazy hurt. But, now looing back on it it was worth it. To see her look up at me was amazing. She knew me. She knew my voice. She kept trying to see me. She had to lay on her stomach for the first 7 days because of her incision. We could pick her up and hold her but she had to be on her belly.
Griffin loved Bella. She is his best friend.
They have such fun together.
This is the picture of her at her six month check up with Dr. Crone. We love him. We didn’t know it at the time but we were so lucky to have him do her surgery. He was the number 2 neurosurgeon in the country at the time. God definitely blessed us that day. In so many ways.
Her “cheesy” smile was precious (it still is).
All of the things they told us the day she was born were never to happen. She walked at around 8 months. The doctors couldn’t believe it. She was potty trained at 18 months. Completely. No accidents ever. She is excellent at gymnastics and ballet. She loves to run and play. She is our little miracle.
I know that we would have dealt with whatever God gave us. I do believe that he doesn’t give us more than we can handle. But, oh what a blessing that he didn’t make us travel that road. I still think about all of the parents that aren’t as lucky as we are. The ones that their days didn’t end happy like ours did. My heart breaks for them. I have a taste of what they are going through. But, I know I’ll never fully be able to understand their heartbreak. But, I pray for all of those families daily.
Bella now is so smart. She is in 8 years old. She was Daddy’s girl for awhile but now she is totally a mommy’s girl. I love it.
She is a precious gift from God and we thank him for her daily.
Thanks for reading this. I didn’t mean to be so long winded but I love to tell about the miracle of her birth.
Make sure you go check out what everyone else is thankful for over at Garden of Learning where this meme is taking place.