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.