Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Magic nudges

I think back to the 4am email I sent to Aden & Anais in June, telling them of my Bubbles for Isabelle idea and asking if they would want to participate. I recall the fog of those days... I had completely forgotten that I had sent that email, when suddenly I had a response from them in my inbox telling me they wanted to donate the first 100 blankets. Wow - that was beyond my expectations. I was thinking more along the lines of receiving a wholesale price, but 100 donated? I really wonder if it weren't for their generosity would I have been able to muster the wherewithal to put it all together? And because of that encouraging push, I got to speak her name from the mountaintops. People the world over would hear and, in a way, meet our precious Isabelle. We were able to honor her on her birthday in a way that makes us truly proud. And more importantly, we got to bring a bit of our little girl to hundreds of children who needed the warmth and comfort of a simple blanket.

A similar, well-timed nudge came my way recently from my much loved sorority sisters. They had an idea to put a Bubbles for Isabelle event together at our college's upcoming Homecoming. Like the magical 100 blankets which helped make an idea a reality, these incredible ladies are the reason Bubbles for Isabelle 2012 is about to have an incredible launch. It's given me a reason to think through the details of our next project, how we can make the most impact, and to whom we want the cause directed. Thank you DZs. Love you.

Stay tuned for more information about Bubbles for Isabelle 2012!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Febrile seizures & an update

About a week and a half before Isabelle's birthday, we received her final autopsy report. It had taken nearly two months for all of the lab work to be completed. Up until that point we had been under the assumption that Isabelle had choked during a febrile seizure, based on her history of having experienced one of these seizures in May 2010.

Febrile seizures are meant to be harmless. Witnessing Isabelle's febrile seizure about a year ago had been, up to that point in my life, the most horrific experience. But we were told by countless doctors they are relatively harmless and not to worry, just treat her fevers with fever reducing medicine. So you can imagine our discomfort to think we were the one and only family whose daughter died from one of these, despite treating her fever at the time. Her sudden passing shocked us to our core, but thinking we were a medical anomaly nearly made it incomprehensible.

It turns out that she had a virus that had reached her brain. It could have been one of hundreds of viruses and they were unable to determine which one it was. Viruses don't normally reach the brain and I am still consulting with doctors to try to find out what could have allowed it to occur in Isabelle's case. Unfortunately it doesn't appear there are any key indicators, but I'm consumed in finding answers.

There are no words to describe how frequent I think of what transpired in the approximately 8 minutes that I was away from Isabelle. She fell asleep in my arms, I admired her beauty, I gave her a cuddle and a kiss goodnight, and gently laid her down in her bed. Then I went to collect Sebastian from his grandparents, who were giving him his milk, to bring him into the room he was sharing with Isabelle. I may never know if the virus in her brain took her life, or if the virus in her brain caused the events (seizing, lost consciousness, choking...) that lead to her death. I was admiring the luxury of her sleeping in my arms - why didn't I just stay longer? Could I have prevented this?

I debated publishing the private details of our daughter's autopsy, but my heart hurt to think of fearful parents whose child had experienced a febrile seizure thinking - after reading our story - they could be fatal. I know that we clung to the fact they are meant to be harmless, which is already hard to convince yourself of when they are so dreadful to witness. In trying to understand what happened in Isabelle's case, we spoke to a doctor who studied seizures - from febrile to epileptic - for 25 years in New York and he also dispelled that febrile seizures generally fatal.

As a side, I will forever be grateful that Sebastian and Isabelle were sharing a room that night. Normally, I only check on the children before I go to bed, but because I found her when I did they were able to restart her heart, which was a miracle in itself. This allowed us nearly two days to be with her, hold her, and love her before Isabelle gently, quietly and in my arms drifted away. She passed away on her own terms and took the extreme burden from Richard and I needing to make any difficult decisions. Isabelle was such a gift. I keep reminding myself that no amount of pain is too much to bear, knowing that we had the gift of having had her in our life for the most precious 2 years and 299 days.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thank you

Thanks to so many people coming alongside us in this time of grief and participating in Bubbles for Isabelle, we not only surpassed our goal of 300 blankets, but as of midnight on her birthday we had 495 bubble pictures. That is 495 - ah, okay, we rounded it up to 500 - Aden + Anais baby blankets going to children in need!