Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I miss you.. Until we meet again.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cinderella.. (Well more like Sleeping Beauty)

Our first Halloween was a success; well second, but this one was our first official dressing up Halloween :) Isabella dressed up as Cinderella. She looked absolutely adorable! The costume was so last minute, I didn't get it until this morning! What a horrible planner, but I've just been so busy lately! I have to admit though, the costume couldn't have been more perfect!

Wouldn't you agree?
It fit her personality pefectly, this little diva is such a princess!

I was so excited that I was actually able to find her a costume! She only wore it for less than an hour, but I got pictures! Yay! My little party animal was supposed to stay up with me to hand out candy, but by 6pm she was passed out.. I think the more appropriate costume would've been Sleeping Beauty! I'm sure there was too much excitement with all my little cousins running around. Those kids seem to wear her out, can't blame her though, they wear me out by just looking at them!
Overall, I think, today was a success. A relaxing Sunday before a busy week. We have so many appoinments this week. They kept telling me that the first year is the hardest. Well we hit the big first year on Thursday, and from the looks of my calendar that doesn't seem to be very true.. *sigh* Oh well, maybe they meant a year and a half.. fingers crossed :) This little girl sure knows how to keep us busy!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The day is approaching quickly. These past few days have been such an emotional roller coaster. I feel the need to write, only because talking about this isn't possible. I don't think I can do it without shedding a tear or two..
October 28th, the day my little angel made her way into this crazy world. I remember the day, as though it were just yesterday. I remember the calmness; I'm not sure I'll ever understand where it came from, but it was there. My trip to the hospital was a blur; nothing exciting, simply a drive there. It never dawned on me that on that very day I would officially become a mother. I expected this to be a false alarm, like the first time. Bella wasn't supposed to be born for another two months. I walked into labor and delivery, and I remember worrying about whether I'd make it to work on time. It was around 9am, and all I could think of was if I'd be out of there before 12. A nurse was waiting for me; she took me into triage and hooked me up to a fetal monitor. She kept asking me questions, not sure what they were, but I answered them; I'm sure of it. Of all the questions, I only remember one, "Are you afraid?" I didn't look at her when she asked, I couldn't. I didn't want to admit my fear out loud, if I did Bella might hear me. Silly, I know, but I couldn't bear the thought of not being strong for her. In all of the commotion, I hadn't noticed that my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart. The pain was not excruciating, it took my breath away at times, but it was not unbearable. The doctor came in and announced that this was the day. Isabella was going to make her way into the world, whether we liked the idea or not. I remember being excited to finally meet my little sunshine, but I instantly felt guilty; I knew she wasn't ready to come out yet, she needed more time. She needed to be bigger and stronger for the surgery that was to take place soon after her birth. I remember panicking at the realization that Bella would have to be transferred right after birth to Oakland. Who will ride with her in the ambulance? Will she be big enough for the surgery? What if something happens on the way? The Bay Bridge was closed that day, so that would mean that she'd have to be taken all the way around to cross the San Mateo Bridge. I prayed that by some miracle she'd come out completely healthy. I prayed. I thought He didn't hear me.
The room was full of family and friends, all patiently waiting for Bella to make an appearance. We talked and laughed nervously, no one wanting to touch the subject of her being so small, and the possibility that she wouldn't make it through. Bella's heart was racing; I could hear the thumping in the background. It was beautiful. Never once did it falter, her heart was beating strong, and I knew she was fighting.
I remember the Doctor coming in to take me to the operating room; my mom went with me. The room was bright, almost too bright. There was a huge window that overlooked San Francisco. I remember watching the people go on about their lives, they looked so carefree. I almost wanted to just go join them. I wanted to say, "Hey, I've thought about this, and I think I'm not ready. Can we hold off til December?" Right. Like that was going to happen. The delivery was quick, three pushes and she was out. Isabella Valerie entered this world, this crazy world. The first thing I noticed was the hair! My goodness; it was everywhere, her back, her shoulders, you name it. She was breathing, trying to take a deep breath. This was the only glimpse I caught before they swept her away. The doctor rushed out of the room with her, and the door closed behind her. I was speechless. Everyone talked to me, I know they did, but I don't remember any of it. I sat there in complete aww, she was really here. The doctor brought her back in and by this time they had cleaned her up and wrapped bandages around her lower back. There is the opening; I'd forgotten it was there. I had been so wrapped up in her being born, that I'd completely forgotten about the Spina Bifida. The doctor leaned Bella in for me to give her a quick kiss and again she was whisked away, off to the NICU she went.
Suddenly, reality struck; I could no longer protect her from everything. Bella was a part of this world, and all I could do was try my hardest to protect her, but the reality was that we were no longer one. She was now her own little person. My stomach hurt, not from having had a baby, but from the sudden realization. They wheeled me back to my room, where family and friends were waiting. They talked excitedly about having caught a glimpse of her as she was taken to the NICU.
When I was finally able to make my way into the NICU to see her, it was heartbreaking to see my baby so helpless. She was strong, there was no doubt of it, but it saddened me that life was already hard for her. The doctors were working hard to get her transferred to Oakland so that the neurosurgeons could take a look at her. They let me know that I would not be going with her. I had to wait until I was discharged the next morning. All I could think of was the drive there. How would I survive knowing she was on the road?
The ambulance crew came to get her; they were going to transfer her into their incubator so that they would be able to drive her safely. My mind was racing with all the possible things that could happen, I couldn't believe God. Had He not heard me? I looked over at one of the guys taking Bella, and on his arm was a tattoo of the Virgen de Guadalupe. It was then that I knew, she'd be okay. He was telling me so. I cannot explain the reassurance I instantly felt, in my mind, this was the sign I needed. I'll never forget that man or that image.
The next morning I made sure to be discharged as soon as possible. I remember the drive to Oakland; it seemed like the longest car ride ever. I just wanted to there already. Bella had been taken into surgery hours before and I wanted to be there when she got out. I anxiously waited in the lobby of the Oakland Kaiser for what seemed like an eternity. At last, the doctor made his way down to the lobby, he said, "The operation was a success. I managed to close the opening in her spine, despite the little skin I had to work with. However, she's paralyzed from the hips down.. She'll never walk." His update was as though he were talking about the weather. No emotion, no empathy, nothing. My heart was broken, the pain I felt was unbearable, I cried uncontrollably right there in that lobby; I didn't care who saw. I let it out, and when I was done, I collected my emotions and promised myself that I wouldn't let them get the best of me anymore. There was a little girl waiting for me on the 4th floor, that needed me to be strong. She was fighting for life, and I had to be right there with her, fighting every step of the way. I don't know where I found the courage to get up and keep going, but I did.
Today, Bella keeps on fighting, and all I can do is try to keep up. I have to be her rock because if I'm not, who will be? There are days when I just cry and cry, cursing my stupid luck, my daughters luck. Sometimes I wonder why us? why not someone else? and then I remember.. Because we are strong, and we can do this. Because God trusts us enough to handle this, and we will.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My little cupcake's FIRST birthday party!

I had so much fun planning for Bella's first birthday. I wanted to do something creative and fun, but most importantly kid oriented. Of course, to Bella it wouldn't make a difference whether all of the decorations matched or not, but to me it mattered. I spent so much time planning her birthday, hoping to make it a special day for Bella. I learned how to shop on ebay, and I'm convinced that I saved a ton of money. Bargain shopping at its finest! I was able to do a cupcake theme, and in my opinion, everything looked great. I dressed Bella in the cutest tutu, which she didn't mind at all! I love that kid, she'll let me put anything on her; maybe because she can't talk? I like to believe it's just because she loves my style! :) I have to admit, I was very nervous the day before. I had no idea was a hostess does! Tita said to just make sure everyone ate.. Okay, no problem, just direct them towards the tacos, right? The tacos were a good idea, no cooking; and cleaning up was a breeze! SCORE! I was worried that my munchkin would not be very fond of the idea of being around so many people, boy was I wrong. My social butterfly looked like a natural around so many people.. total diva.
I loved that our friends and family were all together. All the people that love Bella were under the same roof, it truly was a blessing. I can't begin to thank God enough for all of these wonderful people. He knew what he was doing when he sent Bella to me. He knew that she would have a wonderful set of people to love her unconditionally. When they see Bella, they do not see a child with a disability or delays, they see Isabella: the amazing almost one year old, that loves being the center of attention. This little girl has single handedly changed each and every one of our lives. She has shown us what a miracle looks like with each smile and every giggle. Who would have thought, months ago, that this little person would have the ability to capture your heart with just one look in your eyes? Yes, God definitely knew what he was doing. She is lucky to have such wonderful family and friends, but most importantly, WE are lucky to have such a beautiful angel in our lives.
Here is Isabella the night before her birthday party.. Did I mention it was around 1 am? Yes, she's a party animal.. Just wonderful -.-

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Today is the day..

I've contemplated starting a blog for some time now, it's probably been a little over a year now. A lot of people say it's a great way to relieve stress, so here goes nothing. I'm going to give this a try. Wish me luck. I'll be typing away, just me, my thoughts, and the keyboard. Yes, today is the day..Today isn't just any regular day, it is actually a very special day. Today I will be celebrating my daughter Isabella's first birthday. I have been waiting for this day for months! I can't believe the day is finally here. I know I went a little.. I mean maybe a lot, overboard, but I just couldn't help it. It's her FIRST birthday, such a huge accomplishment. A year ago I would've never thought we'd be where we are today. Despite all of Bella's health issues, she is such a content and beautiful baby. She has a smile that can brighten even the worst of days. She definitely knows how to keep us busy, but its all worth it at the end of the day. I couldn't imagine life without this beautiful little girl.
Just a year ago, I remember feeling so overwhelmed and afraid because I didn't know what to expect. I had stopped imagining my perfect child; I lived in fear of what our future would hold. Yet, here we are today, as blessed as could be. I can't remember ever being this happy. Every single day holds a brand new blessing. Her smile, her laughter, the way she observes any one within a five mile radius, all of those things are blessings to me. A year ago, it was expected that I would have a child with a severe disability; a child that might not have any quality of life. I don't even want to imagine what life would be like if I had listened to those doctors. I doubted myself every single day. I prayed to God that he would just make her better, and that by some miracle she would be born completely healthy. I was angry with Him for making me go through something so difficult. I envied every single person that had a healthy child. I felt that I, too, deserved to have a healthy child. On October 28th, that all changed. The minute I saw her, I knew.. We were meant for each other. God was not punishing me, on the contrary, He had given me the most beautiful, perfect child especially made for me. So today, we will celebrate Isabella's life. We will celebrate my beautiful blessing. I can't thank God enough for all the wonderful friends and family that we have. I can honestly say, my daughter has love pouring out of her ears, and I couldn't be happier.