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

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Lovebug

On October 28th, 2009, I went into labor unexpectedly. I can still vividly remember every single detail as though it were just yesterday.

4 am: The contractions began. I tossed and turned. I paced back and forth.
6 am: I showered in hot water. Exactly what I shouldn't have done.
8 am: I called the perinatal nurse. She told me to go straight to Labor & Delivery.
12 pm: It was confirmed that I was 4 cm dilated and that Bella would be born shortly.
3 pm: I received the epidural.
6:34 pm: Bella was born.
8:30 pm: Bella was transferred to Oakland, while I remained in San Francisco.

There was a blanket of fog covering the sky when we arrived at the hospital. I can still see the bare white hallways leading towards the elevator. I can picture the big window in the operating room overlooking San Francisco. The sky had cleared, and the sun was shining. There were nurses everywhere in the room waiting for Bella's arrival. I can still hear the doctor telling me to push. I close my eyes and I'm able to see every single detail of Bella's little face, the look of dissatisfaction from being taken out of her safe place.

Child birth is an unforgettable experience. It's amazing. It's scary. It's like nothing else in this world.

On October 28th, 2010, we celebrated Bella's First Birthday. I might've gone a little overboard on her party, but honestly I'm so glad that I did. It had never occurred to me that it would be the only party I'd ever be giving her. It never crossed my mind that there wouldn't be more birthdays here on earth for Bella.
Bella's first birthday was reassurance that we had made it. That after all the obstacles and struggles, we had finally made it to the one year mark. It was an accomplishment, and I couldn't have possibly been more proud of her.

First Birthday's, First anythings are the moments that stay with you forever.

October 28th, 2011, we released balloons at the cemetery in honor of Bella's Second Birthday. It was a difficult day, yet beautiful all at once. I wanted nothing more than to curl up into a ball and wait for the pain to swallow me whole, but I couldn't do that to Bella. We gathered around the garden in the cemetery, and we released balloons for Bella. A butterfly flew right past us right before we sang Happy Birthday, and that was when I knew, Bella had been there amongst us.

This year for her birthday we gathered as a family to celebrate her life. I wanted to do something a little different and a butterfly release seemed fit for the occasion. The weather was perfect, and the butterflies lingered for a little while, as if to give us the opportunity to admire their beauty before they flew away. We sang Happy Birthday and released balloons up to heaven. The day turned out exactly as I had hoped; filled with love and gratitude for our sweet little butterfly, Bella.

The butterflies were safely tucked into these beautiful pink envelopes.
The butterflies waited for a bit before taking flight.
Bella, like the butterflies, was briefly a part of our lives and in that short time she made our world more beautiful.
Happy Birthday Sweet Girl.
We hope you and your angel friends loved your balloons.

 Happy 3rd Birthday my little Lovebug. October 28th, 2009, will always be the most incredible day of my life because of you. You changed my world in the best way possible, and I will forever be grateful. Mommy misses you always, and I want you to remember something important:  For as long as I live, you too shall live. I love you, more than you'll ever know sweet girl.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


 My little Bella,

Your birthday is only 10 days away.

There are some days when I have to work really, really hard to pretend that everything is okay. They aren't often, and it isn't always, but they are still there. Sometimes I wake up and find that I've been crying, and I know it's because you were in my dreams. There are days when I replay all of the events in your life over and over in my head, almost obsessively, to the point where I am once again filled with all the anger, sadness, and guilt. There are moments when I dare to imagine what life would've been like if you were still here; only to be reminded that I didn't, nor will I ever, have the luxury of seeing you grow up.

I often wonder, who would you have looked like? What kind of personality would you have had? What kinds of things would you have liked? But I always come up short handed because those are things I'll never know.

I've gone through all your pictures. I watched all the videos of you. I've read and reread all the medical reports, scrutinizing all the words, trying to find a clue. I wonder how in all that time, I didn't realize that we didn't have forever. How is it that I missed the fact that you weren't here to stay? I made sure to always ask about the worst case scenario first because then I'd be grateful for anything that wasn't that. I had never been so willing to move mountains for anyone, but when it came to you, I knew that I'd be willing to do anything. I had planned the rest of my life with you in it. I just don't understand.

I had gotten to a point where I didn't have to try to be strong. I didn't feel the urge to cry all the time. I felt that I had somehow managed to escape that ugly monster called grief. What a ridiculous thought. Grief has become such a part of me, that I didn't even notice it lingering next to me, waiting for the perfect moment to make its appearance. October has proved to be a tough month. Just knowing that your birthday is near, and that you're not here, is too much.

Bella everything reminds me of you. I was at the store and a mother kept saying "Isabella" over and over, looking for her little girl. It was like music to my ears. I find myself saying your name out loud just to hear the sound of it. I've watched your videos searching for the sweet sound of your voice. I have a video where your diva personality is so obvious. The way you'd stare at me intently until you were done listening, then you'd shrug your shoulders and let out a little sigh, and you'd turn away, looking for something more interesting. I find myself afraid to be alone again, just like those first few weeks after you passed away. I try to keep busy, I try not to think about it all, but it's just too hard.

I miss you, every moment of every single day. I love you more than I could ever have imagined possible. You are, and will forever be, my pride and joy.

Your birthday is bittersweet, that's the only way I can describe it. October 28th, 2009, will forever be the best, most amazing day of my life because of you. I wish that you were here. I wish that I'd be planning a birthday party, instead of trying to figure out ways to honor your memory. I wish that I could be ordering balloons so that you could play with them, instead of ordering them to be released in honor of you. I wish that instead of ordering butterflies, I'd be ordering your birthday cake so that I could watch your eyes light up with joy. I can wish all I want, but it doesn't change anything.

We will celebrate your life and the beauty that you brought to ours by simply being Bella. We will gather together as a family in honor of you, and we will give thanks to God for allowing us to experience such a beautiful blessing. I thank God everyday that I was given the gift of being your mother. I love you Bella, and there isn't a moment that you are not on my mind.

Mommy misses you more than you'll ever know. That won't ever change.

Isabella Valerie Dominguez