stories.

Picture (im)perfect

Having a living child in the wake of losing a child is the most elating, surreal, and relieving feeling that a loss parent can experience. It feels like the impossible has been achieved. That a boundless light enters the deepest darkness. So many wonderful, and remarkable, feelings are associated with that moment. With that also comes a lot of confusion. A lot of anger, and a lot of sadness continues to exist. None of that takes away from the gratitude that you feel for the universe having brought you a healthy, happy child that you get the ultimate gift of watching grow. But there are still triggers, reminders, and feelings of panic that accompany your miracle.

Photographs are triggering. Whether it’s family or friends sharing an image of their newborn, or a family portrait. Why does their picture look so perfect? Getting swept in the swirl of negative emotions is out of your control when you’ve lost a child. It’s an exhausting experience (to endure over and over and over again). No one deserves it, no one wishes it upon anyone, but you’re stuck living with it. All of those awful thoughts (and feelings) still occur, exist, and even manifest when you have a living child in the wake of losing a child.

The holidays are what, most strongly and often, evoke this feeling for me. Seeing so many photos of families who have all their children is triggering. It’s important that I acknowledge, and honor, that feeling. I wish could just feel happy. Nothing takes away from the endless gratitude I feel for having my healthy, happy, living child here with me. And nothing takes away the sadness associated with losing my daughter, Lila. Our picture will always be missing her.

To Me, That Day

You’ll never get over this. You’ll never get past this. You will always be her father. This next year will be hell. It will be full of intense emotions, psychological hurdles, and a pain so deep in your heart that it physically hurts. Your family and friends will be there for you as much as they can. But what you’ve just experienced is something that no one else truly understands. Unless they’ve been through it. You have Jay. You’re both so incredibly unlucky to have the experience of losing your daughters. You’ll meet more dads just like you. There’s a unique, ever lasting, never ending pain in losing your daughter. It won’t destroy you. There’s an endless love. She is your daughter.

I’m writing to you 4 years, 10 months, and 27 days since you lost Lila. It still hurts. You’ll hear that loss is part of life. You needed more life with Lila before losing her. The world is different now. I can’t really remember the way I used to see it before losing her. There is still light. You are living with loss, now. Your context has shifted. Your innocence is shattered. “Shattered” is a word you’ll use a lot when talking to people in these subsequent weeks (months, years…). You’re not shattered anymore. Pieces are missing, but you learn to live fully without ever being “whole.” You’re stronger than you’ve ever been, and more resolved in what is most important in your life. I don’t think losing your daughter caused that change. That would have happened had she lived. That’s the change that occurred when you became a dad. Her father. Lila made you one. I know you don’t feel that way right now, but it’s true. Trust me.

Therapists. You’ll see a handful. All of whom will be uniquely helpful. You’re going to shut down. You won’t talk about Lila often. I get it. You’re still in too much pain. Pain will always exist. There’s nothing wrong with that. Somewhere inside of you, her absence evokes a breathtaking sadness. You’re going to open up and connect with a lot of incredible moms and dads who are living with this same pain. Take whatever time and space you need, always.

Put aside what anyone else thinks. Acknowledge your triggers. It’s not your responsibility to ensure anyone else understands. Hopefully they never do. Keep your compassion and empathy. You will, because you posses those so strongly. No longer waver to ensure the comfort of others. That’s been how you’ve lived before losing her, but you have permission to change that. This experience will open your heart, not close it.

A day won’t pass where you don’t think of Lila. That’s how she stays with you, and is always part of you. Honor her. You still see her, you still feel her, you’ll always love her. You’re her father.

A Day We Will Never Forget

Contributed by Spencer

It was a perfect pregnancy. Well, about as perfect as it could be from a dad’s point of view. Other than the first two trimesters working away from town, and then getting a new job locally in the last trimester, things went reasonably smooth.

We were 37 weeks, and Parker was already so big, every week we saw our midwives we pleaded to be induced. Shannon was in so much pain and kept saying that he needed out, but nothing. 38 weeks and the same story; Shannon pleading that she wanted to be induced – but the midwives were short staffed and our primary one was leaving for vacation in a week so we needed to wait. 39 weeks: We were left with students who could not make a call for induction, and had to be placed under a new temporary midwife – who was not there through our entire pregnancy. 40 weeks and he needed to come out. We went for a 40 week ultrasound to determine what our options were and if everything was still going ok inside. Parker was huge, but having a large baby didn’t tick any boxes to be induced vs. waiting for natural labour to start. Shannon did have high blood pressure though, but again, we were told that it was not a concern.

The high blood pressure continued into the next day 40+1, and we were told to go to the hospital to get it checked. The midwife at the hospital said that the blood pressure was high, but too low to be seen inside and gave us a referral to get bloodwork done. We went and got bloodwork and they said that everything was normal.

Parkers heart beat was tough to find throughout the entire pregnancy, and they always had to get multiple people to find it with a Doppler, so when Shannon started early laboring the next morning at 40+2, we thought things were finally going to plan. Finally. Everything was going as smooth as it could go – for me at least. Back rubbing, lukewarm shower, and whatever else I did; it was all a blur. She had been in early labour for about 6 hours at that point and the temporary midwife and student came to check in on us and see how she was doing. They could not find Parkers heart beat on the tiny portable Doppler they had.

They said we should go to the hospital to get it checked on the portable ultrasound they have and then we could come home and finish early labour in our own space until ready to birth. I packed all the hospital bags in the car just in case. The next hour was the single biggest swing in emotional and mental health in my life. Things went from so elated that we were finally at the end of one journey and ready to start the next with our boy in our arms to soul crushing pain. We got to the hospital and got checked in, the midwives were there and waited with us in the holding room we were taken in to. The doctor came in and got the ultrasound prepped and started looking. She saw Parker, and was looking for a concerning amount of time. She looked at us with a pain in her eyes and said the words that will ring in my ear forever “This is where his heartbeat should be. I’m sorry.” We screamed in agony as they left the room.

The midwives came in and tried to comfort us, but mostly it was an endless stream of teams and screaming crying. Eventually the doctor came in and we didn’t know what to think or say. All we could mutter was “What happens now?” At this point we were transferred out of midwives care and into the hospitals official care with doctors and nurses.

We were told that it needed to be confirmed by an official ultrasound tech and would need to wait for that. During that wait, we would need to decide how we wanted to get Parker out; birth him naturally or have a C-section. How are you supposed to decide that when you know there will be no live baby at the end? Shannon opted to try to birth naturally but with an epidural and induction – stating that we have gone through so much emotional pain and trauma that would hopefully help the physical pain of it. So we waited for hours to get it officially confirmed and went back up to the suite that they had prepped. Shannon still need to go through labour so I tried my best to help support, but in reality I was broken. The epidural failed, but she pushed through and did such an amazing job. When it was time to push I was beside her trying to be involved where I could, but at that point there were doctors and nurses everywhere.

I saw Parker when he was born, he was laid on Shannon’s chest, but because there was so much blood loss and needing to take blood samples, he was taken away pretty quickly. Due to the epidural not working and being on all the drugs the hospital gave her, Shannon was pretty out of it at that point. I had to move away from her and to the side, while they worked to stitch her up and take the samples they needed. Eventually they brought him back in the bassinet and we were able to see him and hold him. He was cold. I took him to the window and wanted to show him the world. The physical recovery was going to be hard for Shannon. And we were eventually discharged from the hospital, but not before getting to spend one last hour with him. Walking out of the maternity ward without a baby and crying was surreal. We got in the car and I was bawling the whole time, still. Looking back, it was not the safest thing to do – but I knew we needed to get home away from the hospital. I remember Shannon asking me if I was ok, and I just said that my only job right now was to get us home safe. Turning into our block we saw someone pushing a stroller, It was an immediate reminder of what we had lost not a day ago.

March 14th being a day we will never forget.

Normal

Contributed by Ethan.

Leaving the hospital without your baby is not normal.

You never thought that the L&D wing of the hospital could be the site of so much grief and trauma for your family. You find yourself desperate to leave the place that is now so closely associated with the hardest day of your life. You want to do everything you can to help and protect your wife, but you feel utterly helpless in trying to do so. You go to put the bags back in the car, forgetting that the car seat is still installed in the backseat. You sob as you undo every extra buckle that you had secured the car seat with. You had wanted your baby to be as safe as possible, not knowing that you would never get the chance to protect them. Later, as the nurse wheels your wife out of the hospital room, you hold her hand tightly and tell her to close her eyes as you pass the L&D gift shop. The stuffed animals and balloons have taken on entirely new connotations, bringing a wave of sadness and twinges of anger rather than the profound joy that they are supposed to bring. The silence of the car ride back home is one of the most deafening sounds you have ever heard. You simply hold your wife’s hand and cry together for what feels like an eternity. During that first night back home, the silence somehow becomes even louder. Leaving the hospital without your baby is not normal.

Planning a funeral for your baby is not normal.

Just days after your child’s birth, you go to a funeral home to make burial preparations following their death. Like most new mothers, your wife is supposed to remain relatively immobile in the first few days following the birth. Afterall, she has just completed perhaps themost remarkable feat of human strength possible, on top of having spent nearly an entire year carrying new life within her very being (she has beyond earned the right to relax and recover!). But you have to go to the funeral home and plan your baby’s burial; your wife wants to be there to help plan her baby’s burial. So you pick out an urn, you pick out funeral cards, you pick out a date. As the mortician prepares the financial paperwork in another room, you stare into your wife’s eyes in continued disbelief and both shake your heads in unison. You have no words, but you know exactly what the other is thinking: “We are not supposed to be here.” Planning a funeral for your baby is not normal.

Designing a headstone for your new-born baby is not normal.

It is likely hard enough designing a headstone for a parent, a sibling, a spouse, or even yourself (if you’re thinking ahead). Designing a headstone for a child has the added difficulty of just feeling completely backwards. You can’t help but constantly think of the fact that they were supposed to be the one burying you one day. For any loved one, you will always find yourself asking: “What would they have wanted?” You’re utterly unable to shake the thought of your own headstone: “What would I want if it were me?…It should be me…It shouldn’t be my baby.” In the case of an unborn child, a child that you never got the chance to really know, you find yourself at a complete loss. You haven’t a single idea of what they would have wanted, because you never got to know them in the way you had always hoped. In your mind’s eye, you attempt to fill in the gaps of their personality; you may pray for some divine intervention, or hope for an “a-ha!” moment, trying to draw on any deeper connection to your baby that will make it crystal clear how they would have wanted to be remembered. You do your very best to honour their individuality, their independence as a beautiful and unique human person, but ultimately you take a wild guess at what they truly may have wanted. Because in the end, designing a headstone for your new-born baby is just simply not normal.

————

After losing our beautiful firstborn, Cana Josephine (pronounced ‘Kay-nuh’) at 38 weeks, my wife and I don’t really know what normal feels like anymore. Honestly, as each day passes, I struggle to remember what normal even felt like before Cana Jo left us. As with many other things, I now know that I have to be okay with not knowing, and be realistic with what I do know. I do know that I likely won’t ever feel fully “normal” again; I have to be okay with that too. But through all of the seemingly endless grief and the resulting emotional turmoil in losing Cana, I also do know that all of that pain and confusion is deeply rooted in the boundless love I have for my daughter. If that overwhelming, life-giving love goes hand-in-hand with that gnawing feeling of being “abnormal,” then I hope I never feel normal again. That ocean of love I have for my first baby always overwhelms the pain that comes along with it.

Losing Liam

Contributed by Milan

Today is the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It’s also the day that our son Liam was due to be born.

Liam was born prematurely on August 9 and died shortly after birth. My wife Evelyn had a routine growth check during her 31st week of pregnancy, from where she was sent to the hospital for close monitoring and eventual delivery. This was sudden and unexpected as Liam’s progress was on track only four weeks prior.

I was on a ship in California for work when it all started. Evelyn called me from her doctor right as the ship was entering port. I got my stuff together and Ubered to SFO hoping to reschedule my return flight home for ASAP. Shortly after arriving at the airport, I got a call from our midwife, crying. Liam came out and his heartbeat was weak and going in and out. “They tried for a long time”, she said. In shock, not yet understanding, I asked “They’re going to try again, right?” “I’m so sorry,” she said after a long pause, “it wasn’t supposed to be like this.”

Within two hours Evelyn and I went from happily and carelessly expecting our second son, to holding his dead body. Within two hours Evelyn went from playing with our older son Nolan in the library and at the playground, to laying in a hospital bed with an empty belly.

My flight was not departing for another 11 hours. All I had was my backpack and photos of my dead baby. I spent hours just sitting and staring at his photos, swiping left, swiping right. And then I was roaming up and down the Harvey Milk terminal, aimless, expressionless, numb. Swiping left and right again. Completely dissociated, I saw myself in 3rd person — the reality is so unbelievable that the only possible explanation is that it’s happening to somebody else. I couldn’t be with Evelyn in the most difficult moments of her life. I couldn’t be with Liam and hold him while he was still warm. The worst were the brief moments when my mind drifted somewhere else, and for minutes I’d forget about what happened. And then I’d remember…

A part of me froze at the moment of Liam’s death and stayed there.

Soon it came the time to let many people know that I won’t be available for a while and why. Every time is extraordinarily difficult because writing about it I re-live it. It took me a long time and strength to let my friends know. I’m afraid that there may be people who care about me and who will learn about what happened by reading this article. I’m sorry.

I haven’t experienced grief until Liam. I never thought much about it. They say that losing a parent is difficult, and losing a sibling is worse. But losing a child has an added element of being cheated. Your child is given to you and then suddenly taken away. I wasn’t prepared for this— how could I be?

Grief permeates the entire fabric of existence and the state of mind. It’s multi-dimensional: I grieve my son who died too early; my wife who was so looking forward to him, and whose life got turned upside down in a mere hour; I grieve the life we would’ve had if Liam had the chance to live; I grieve our two-year-old Nolan who would’ve been such a great big brother to Liam. But most of all, I grieve all the moments, years, and decades of loving Liam the infant, toddler, boy, teen, and adult. Decades that we would’ve had but we won’t, for Liam is dead.

We picked up Liam’s ashes a week ago and he’s finally back home with us. The wait was excruciatingly long and we’re relieved that we can finally be with him whenever we want, and kiss him good morning and good night.

October 15th

October 15th, “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day,” causes me mixed emotions.  You see, every day is October 15th at my house.

Every day starts when I say “Good morning” to Izzy, and every night ends when I tell her “I love you.”  As we all are acutely aware, being a loss parent isn’t confined to a single day of the year.  A loss parent lives with this pain daily.  That’s why Sad Dads Club started, and it is the foundation on which this engaged and supportive community continues to grow.

The overwhelming number of “themed” days contribute to my feelings.  Here are a few of my “favorites”:

1. January 22: “Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day”;

2. February 4: “Work Naked Day”;

3. March 24: “Chocolate Covered Raisin Day”;

4. May 6: “No Pants Day” (people prefer nudity on Fridays); and

5. July 10: “Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day”.

You get the idea.  If you want to see other absurd days, just click on this link.

October 15th, a day that holds so much importance within our community, shares itself with “I Love Lucy Day” and “Sweetest Day.” I apologize to lovers of classic television and people who like to shower their significant others with candy,  but it lessens the impact of the day to me.

I love you, Izzy, and October 15th will serve as another opportunity to honor you.  I am grateful for that.  However, in a world filled with themed days, I just wish October 15th stood alone.

Take care of yourselves.

Chris

To My Wife

I don’t know how you did it. Everything that day. How you physically delivered our daughter into the world knowing she’d never see it. Our hearts broke together that day. But you alone, you delivered our daughter. You endured hours of her inside of you unalive. You went through the physical battle of having her taken from you. From your body. And then, you dealt with your body responding to giving birth. All of the physical signs of having a baby lingered inside, and outside, of you. That physical ordeal, compounded with the emotional toll, I’ll never know. And I’ll never not admire you for enduring that. That is a strength few people have had to exercise.

Fuck. That day. It’s so visceral, yet so hazy. It feels so close, yet so far away. But never really that far. I can always dive back into that day as though I’m still there. We sat in our hospital room. Waiting for hours. You held me while I sobbed against your stomach wishing I’d feel her move again and this would all have been a terrifying, and awful, mistake. It wasn’t. It was our reality. It is our reality. This is part of our life forever.

Life isn’t fair and it’s hard for everyone. It’s particularly hard for parents who have lost children. It’s confusing, dizzying, and often times maddening. A simmering, justified rage lives like a storm inside us. One that swirls with such chaos and intensity, it can be devastating. That storm will always pass, and it will return. We’ve been honest with one another about our grief. About our struggles. And about our fears. I’m proud, and relieved, we’ve been able to find the beauty in the world and embrace laughter and happiness again. I’m proud you’re my wife. 

Our daughter would be 5 at the end of this year. I know we’ll celebrate that, and her, everyday. We are so lucky to have our son, but that doesn’t mean we don’t miss our daughter, or that she’s any less a part of our family. Our inception, and journey, into parenthood has been uniquely challenging. I’m so glad, and lucky, I have such a strong partner by my side.

I love you,

Your adoring husband (forever)

Rainbow Baby Story Pt. 1

After losing Bella on 1/31/17, our world went dark. Figuratively for me. Literally for Elly – when she looked up at the sky, she literally saw black on the sunniest and clearest days Maine had to offer that year. 

It was as if storm clouds were always gathering above us no matter where we went. 

We had moved out of our East End apartment in Portland and were living in Brunswick, a quintessential New England college town where we first met as undergrads 13 years prior.   Senator Angus King and his amazing wife Mary Herman had heard about Bella and our need to move, and generously offered us their beautiful home for the summer. As they tell it, we did them a favor by house-sitting while they were traveling between Washington and their summer home farther up Maine’s rocky coast. The truth is that they saved us. They gave us a change of scenery and a second chance at happiness. 

In Elly’s first OBGYN appointment after Bella’s stillbirth, she immediately asked the doctor if and when we could star trying to have another baby. “June”, the doctor replied. “June what?”, Elly asked wanting a more specific date to look forward to. I don’t recall the exact date, but I’m confident Elly does. She had circled it on a paper calendar and would refer to it regularly. It gave her hope amidst the darkness in those early days and weeks. 

By the time June rolled around – four painful months later – we were living in our Senator’s home – you know, as one does – and were faced with the awkward realization of what would come next and whether or not that was appropriate. You get the point. 

Any couple who has tried to get pregnant knows that it’s not always as easy as they make it seem in middle school Sex Ed. I went to an all boys Catholic school, so I never did the whole condom on a banana thing, but suffice it to say that the closest thing to Sex Ed. at my school was the concept of abstinence.  We were led to believe that if we were even in the same room as a girl, she would immediately get pregnant. So the idea of trying to get pregnant was completely foreign to me. I had no idea women could track their menstrual cycles to determine the best opportunity to conceive. While Elly and I have been incredibly fortunate not to struggle with infertility, it took us a couple of tries to get pregnant after Bella. Three to be precise. And it was agonizing. Each month, the anticipation was palpable. We were ecstatic about the prospect of Elly getting pregnant again, and devastated each time a test came back negative.  That summer was a rollercoaster of emotions.

We had been invited France that August for the wedding of very good friends from business school and initially thought we’d be going alone, leaving our 2-year-old and 6-month-old at home with grandparents. But that all changed after Bella’s passing. There was no way we were ever letting our only living child out of our sight ever again. The bride and groom were incredibly understanding and said we could of course bring Jack. 

On our way to Bordeaux, we had a brief layover in Lisbon, Portugal where Elly decided she should take a pregnancy test. Having not brought one from the US, she purchased a Portuguese test at an airport pharmacy/convenience store. After peeing on the stick and attempting to decipher the Portuguese directions, it wasn’t immediately clear what the pink lines meant. So, we flagged down a random traveler who appeared to speak the local language, shoved the urine-soaked test in his general direction and asked him if it was good news.

“Depends,” he quickly retorted. “What are hoping for…?” Fair question. He smiled and told us the best news we had received in months. We were pregnant! We hugged each other. We hugged Jack. We hugged the random guy. We were elated! 

Elly then quipped, “Well, I guess I won’t be having any wine in France!”

We were so happy and yet terrified. While we knew that Elly didn’t have any underlying health conditions that had caused Bella’s tragic death at 40.5 weeks, we still worried that it could happen again. I remember reading an article about stillbirth that quoted someone who had suffered two separate full-term losses. “No. That’s not possible. People can’t lose multiple babies,” I blurted out. Thankfully, Elly didn’t hear what I actually said. I spent the next 9 months reassuring her that, of course, we wouldn’t lose another baby. That doesn’t happen. The truth was that I no longer trusted my instincts and belief that positive things happen to positive people. 

France was the perfect distraction from our anxiety, but it all came rushing back almost immediately upon passing through customs in Boston.  Vacation was over and we needed to figure out a way to get through the next nine months. 

Dear Lila

Dear Lila,

I can’t believe you’ll be 5 this year. You’re such a big girl! Your mom and I miss you a lot. So, so much. Every single day, we think about you. I know you know because we tell you. We know you’re here. In the sunrise, the sunset, the rivers, and oceans. You’re the reflection of the light off the branches and leaves, dancing on our walls. You greet me every morning with a soft whisper. I tell you that I love you before I do, or think about, anything else. We see you in all the beautiful things we love, especially your little brother. He’s growing so fast. We make sure to tell him about how much his big sister, Lila, loves him. I love knowing that you’re watching us, I just wish that you were here with us. I always think about all the things we’d do through the seasons together in Maine. I’d buy you as many ice cream cones as you wanted in the summer.

I’ve gotten to know so many dads just like me. And I’ve even heard about all their babies, your friends, in the clouds. All the dads and I wish we could play together here. But I know you’re out there adding wonder to the world in front of us. I’m sorry you’ve seen me so upset. It’s just because I love you so much, and I know that’s hard to understand. Sometimes, when someone’s heart hurts they cry. It helps them feel better. Eventually, they’ll stop crying. They’ll cry again, but they won’t cry forever. Their tears will always stop. The good news is people grow stronger after they cry! So strong, in fact, they could lift a car! Ok, maybe they couldn’t lift a car, but they definitely get much stronger. A person’s whole body is stronger after they cry. The muscle that grows the strongest is the heart muscle. And that is the most important muscle in your whole body. Your heart is where all the love in your life is stored. Pretty amazing that it all fits in there, right? That’s another place where I keep you, Lila. You’re always with me there. I just wish you were with me here. 

You’re my sweetest girl. Always and forever. I’ll never stop being your father and you’ll never stop being my daughter. I love you, Lila, and I really miss you. I always think about hugging you. For the rest of my days until I hug you, I’ll live for you and make sure that I’m doing my best to be a fun, loving, and patient father. To you, and Dallas. I loved seeing you in my dream on the morning of my 35th birthday. In that dream, I watched you through a window on a snowy night in Maine. You were playing quietly by the fire and looked so beautiful and cozy in your home. I couldn’t come in, but I will one day. My 38th birthday is coming up, but please visit me anytime. I’m always waiting for you.

I love you, I love you, I love you,

Your adoring dad (forever)

Happy Birthday Izzy

July is a confusing month at my house.  Our second daughter was born July 10, 2019, less than a year from when we lost Izzy.  The fact that my wife delivered two full term babies in under a year still blows my mind, she truly is a rockstar.

Happy fourth birthday Izzy.  It has been four years since I held you, four years since you were wheeled out of our room for the last time, four years since I spent my birthday, July 23, making your funeral arrangements.  These four years sometimes feel like twenty. 

I constantly think about what could have been.  Your first smile, your first word, your first step, your first tennis lesson, and so much more.  When things get hard, I lean on a line I wrote for your funeral, “Your mother and I don’t know how to take the next steps forward, but we will walk them for you.”  I still don’t know what every next step will bring, but I continue to push forward in honor of you.

Today brings with it a wide range of emotions.  This morning, my wife released an Instagram reel through Izzy Lee’s Kids, showcasing Annie and Maisie accomplishing milestones, and I will always wonder what you would have looked like in those moments.

Jay and his wife celebrate Bella’s birthday by sending floating lanterns to Heaven.  You can read about that here.  Our tradition is not quite as photogenic as Jay’s, but it is very meaningful to us.  Every birthday, we take Izzy’s poem, which was written while she lay beside us in the hospital, and read it by the tree we planted in her honor.

Izzy is buried at the church garden where we were married.  This year, both Annie and Maisie were able to visit their sister.  I still cannot set foot in her garden without crying.  Now that some time has passed, standing over her grave does bring a certain amount of peace.  I included pictures of our visit, and the garden where she is buried, at the bottom of the post.

We recently started talking about Izzy with Annie, our second daughter.  She received a Disney princess balloon on her birthday.  Annie, like most three-year-olds, accidentally let that balloon go outside.  Through broken tears, she turned to us and asked, “Will that balloon go to Isabelle for her birthday in Heaven?”.  She was so proud of herself for delivering that birthday balloon.

Who knows, maybe a new tradition was born, but whatever happens, it was an incredible moment in our journey.

Happy fourth birthday, Izzy, we love you from now until forever.