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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

We walk.. For the Love of Bella

Our team name is For the Love of Bella. The name just fits. It fits the way that Bella fit into my life.. perfectly.

This is our second year walking in the March of Dimes, and I'm really glad that we did. I'm not the most organized person in the world, but I really am working on it. Last year we arrived a little late to the walk, but this year we improved and made it on time! I did stay up until midnight the night before making sure that our tshirts would be ready, but that'll be something I'll work on next year. *fingers crossed* I'll actually get the shirts done in advance and avoid myself a lot of stress. Anywhoo, we arrived on time and we actually started the walk from the starting point, which was really cute because they played music while all the family teams started their walk. In total it's 6 miles, which isn't bad because I'd be willing to walk a million miles for Bella. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and the view was great.

Before the walk started, a mother got up on stage to talk about her reason for walking. She talked about how all three of her children were born premature. She explained that her second child had been diagnosed with a form of spina bifida while she was pregnant and passed away on the day she was born. She explained how folic acid helped her to have a healthy little girl after that, and how grateful she is for all the research that the March of Dimes does for these babies.

It all got me thinking. She described what it felt like to have your child whisked away to the NICU right after being born. That helpless, horrible feeling. That feeling that I, too, have known. It just hit so close to home because here she was feeling just as robbed as I did; feeling just as disappointed as I've felt. The only difference was that she had moved forward. She seemed so determined. I'm still in a place of confusion. A place where the light at the end of the tunnel seems so far, far away.

I feel cheated. I feel robbed. I know that everything has it's reasoning behind it. I know that the truth is that most of the time when things happen we won't truly understand why. I just wish there was some way to understand even a little bit. Some way to know that I'm not just a horrible person being punished for something I might've done wrong in this life or in a past life. I never had morning sickness. I didn't feel achy or cranky or irritated. I didn't have the luxury to be able to complain about a big round Belly because we didn't make it that far. I didn't have someone to decide on her name with. On the day Bella was born my mother was in the delivery room with me. I decided on her middle name alone; quickly without much thought because I just needed to get discharged in order to go see her. I didn't get to hold her right away, until 6 weeks after she was born. I drove myself home from the hospital after I had her, and then straight to Oakland to see her. I was told by her surgeon that she'd never walk in words that could've been easily reciting the weather instead of my daughters future. And you know what scares me the most? That I feel as though this has all turned into simply I didn't get to... I find myself feeling that way a lot. I feel like I'm only thinking about me, me, and me. Bella was the one that despite it all, fought with every ounce of strength she had. She was the one that, despite being born early, used every ounce of her strength to cry. She came into this world as deterermined as could be. She, at 3 lbs 8 oz, endured a major surgery that most people would never even be able to fathom. Bella is and will always be my hero. So, as I go down this list of 'I didn't get to's' and 'I'll never be able to's' I can't help but think of how much I don't have a right to complain. I can't help but realize that I've witnessed a miracle; that I've been blessed. I'm the mother of an angel.

So as we walked for the love of Bella, I couldn't help but to feel proud of our journey. I felt proud of walking in the March of Dimes. I felt proud of being Bella's mom. And next year, we'll walk again because the hope is that someday, no one else will have to go through what we went through. That every baby will be born healthy. That no mother will have to experience the pain of having to say goodbye to soon, or have to sit in a NICU for weeks because their child was born too early or with a birth defect. Someday. Someday.

Bella had a mission and I believe from the bottom of my heart that she fulfilled it. She taught us about unconditional love and compassion, patience and determination. She opened my eyes to a whole new world. Bella made my world a better place, and I hope to someday make someone else's world better too, because of her.

I love you Lovebug, and not a single day goes by that I don't miss you more than yesterday. You are, and will forever be, my pride and joy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter

It's strange how some holidays are harder than others. I don't know what makes them different, but some just are. Easter was hard for me last year, and even harder this year. We spent one Easter together. It was raining really hard. Bella was wearing the cutest Easter outfit, completely inappropriate for the weather, but it didn't matter because she'd be inside the whole time anyway. She spent the beginning of the day with her dad and his family and the rest of the day with me and my family. I know exactly what the contents of her Easter baskets were that year. I remember being sad that I had to "share" her that day, and then feeling guilty because I knew how important it was to let her dad and family spend time with her. I'm not exactly sure what it is about Easter that gets me, but it just does.

Easter Day 2012
Bella always has so many gifts
She continues to be spoiled, even now.

And because there isn't room for EVERYTHING inside
her bench has to be decorated too.

I'm sure that in heaven Easter is far better than here.
I know that you're smiling down on us,
my heart won't let me believe otherwise.

I've been dreaming about her a lot lately. Somtimes she's still a baby and sometimes she's older. Sometimes I'm with her and other times I am desperately looking for her. One dream in particular, I was looking for her, wondering why we hadn't been to physical therapy in so long. I kept saying that I was a bad mom because I hadn't been taking her. In my dream I kept asking where I could find Bella so that I could take her to her appointments. I could see someone holding her at a distance, and then I realized that we hadn't been going to physical therapy because Bella wasn't here anymore. It all came back, all of the emotions and the questions. I could hear myself crying, but I just couldn't wake up. I was short of breath and I was terrified. When I did wake up, I felt so unsettled. My heart was pounding, my mind was racing, and I just couldn't shake the feelings.

I don't cry a lot, and I wish that I could. I wish that I could put aside how other people might feel if I really told them how I feel. If I could only stop saying, "I'm doing okay." when really, I'm far from doing okay. I wish that I could just answer honestly, and not feel bad about it. The truth is, I've put everyone else's feelings before my own, and I'm not exactly sure who I've been trying to protect; them or me. I don't trust myself not to fall apart if I don't hear myself say that I'm doing okay. If I would even begin to say out loud the way that my heart truly feels, I don't think I myself could handle it, let alone someone else. I'm completely broken. I'm exhausted. I'm feeling defeated and weak. I'm disappointed in myself, in life, in God. I'm still fairly angry with Him, and then grateful at the same time. I miss her immensely, and every single day feels longer than the last.

I must tell you though, that I know that Bella is always with me. I just know it. I can feel it. And on some of the most unbearable days, I try to remember how brave she always was. It'swhat I use as my motivation to make it through each day. Bella was brave, much braver than I could ever be. She smiled despite everything that was happening, and as her mother I owe it to her try and do the same. She is my hero, and will always be.

Someone gave me this orchid to remember Bella by.
The card read:
"White orchids are elegant and modest..
Their pure color symbolizes innocence, humility, and grace..
A reminder of your daughter."
That was in January, and it's still going strong.
I don't believe that's a coincidence.