Isabella Valerie was born prematurely on October 28th, 2009 at 32 weeks and 3 days. She weighed 3 lbs 8 oz and was 15 1/2 inches long. Bella was born with a neural tube defect called Spina Bifida; it was diagnosed before birth. A surgery was scheduled immediately after her birth to close the opening in her spinal cord. The neurologist did not give very much hope when he spoke about the upcoming surgery. He was worried that Bella would be too small to handle such a big procedure. On October 29th, 2009, Bella was taken into surgery and made it out successfully hours later. Bella's second surgery was on December 17th 2009 when she had her shunt placed.
Bella remained in the NICU longer than anticipated. The average stay for babies with spina bifida is 1-2 weeks, but Bella stayed a little over 11 weeks. We were finally able to take her home on January 15th, 2010. Bella had to be specially fed through a feeding tube and she required a little extra oxygen as well.
Needless to say, Bella was off to a tough start from the beginning. The thing about Bella was that she was determined and courageous and ready to take on any challenge placed in front of her. Bella made it through surgeries that didn't look promising considering her tiny size. She managed to do things that doctor's didn't think she would. She changed our lives in ways we didn't think possible.
Bella returned to heaven on December 7th, 2010.
Bella passed away, I knew that I always wanted to keep her memory
alive. I knew that for as long as I lived, I wanted to know that I had
done everything in my power to make sure that people remembered her. I
don't associate Bella's life with negativity over what she went through
because what she brought into this world was love, and as her mother I
owe that to her. As her mother, it's my job to
make sure that I share the love that she brought me. I believe from the
very bottom of my heart that Bella had a purpose beyond what I'll ever
understand. I've thought about what life might have been like without
her, and I'm so grateful that a life without Bella doesn't exist. She
was here. She continues to be here, in my heart and in the hearts of
those that loved her.