First of all… I have to say thank-you to every one of you who read and encouraged my on my first and very emotional blog post… Thank-you for coming with me on that journey. I have decided that this whole blogging experience is very therapeutic for me, so even if everyone decides that I am a little too long winded… (which is entirely true. ;-P) I will continue… if nothing else, than just for me. So please know that I am just honoured to have your interest and humbled to know that there are people who may like to read what I have to say. My heart is to always be an encouraging individual and not to bring heaviness and in essence be a ‘drag‘. So please know, that I always have the best intentions when I put these words to paper.
Last time I specifically talked about the beautiful baby boy that I was not able to keep… but immediately after I wrote and shared that post, I knew and felt compelled to share about the bundle of JOY and LIFE that, by God’s grace and mercy, I got to keep.
My ‘keeper‘… Izabelle Poppy Erikson was born on September 25, 2013 and boy did this adventure start off with a bang as well. I say this, because like my explanation of my right-sided heart, my life is full of the abnormal and it didn’t stop with the birth of my daughter. I will say though, that everything went very well in pregnancy… so well actually that it was a little eerie for me. I had just lost my son the year before, so walking through the next pregnancy was a step by step faith process and went very well.
Then it was time for her to make her debut…
Labor started relatively normal although contractions were coming a lot faster than I had expected and heard about. So we (My parents, Shaun and I) went to the hospital earlier than expected and did a lot of walking the halls. Everyone seemed to say everything was normal… just keep moving around and let it happen. So that’s what we did. It wasn’t till a lot later that I felt something was a little off. Contractions were coming fast and furious and my body was telling me to push… but everyone was saying that I was not dilated enough and to hold on. Now I cannot speak for every lady who has experienced labor because I believe everyone’s story is there own… but for me that was horrendous. When your body is in so much pain and then you have to try to suppress the urge to push… I won’t lie or sugar coat it… it was awful.
I can never thank my husband enough for that night because I only made it through by staring into his eyes as he breathed with me never shifting his focus. That and thank my parents because they were the ones keeping the prayerful and watchful vigil with the nurses and doctors… thus allowing Shaun to keep his focus on me.
Needless to say, they finally realized that although her head was down and she was definitely trying to ‘escape‘ the womb, her head was just off enough that she could not get out. They convinced me to get the epidural to help relax the situation and encourage her to shift to the right direction. Unfortunately, that too was an adventure because I apparently am one of those few lady’s where the epidural does not fully work for whatever reason. There was some relief to be had but I will admit that I was definitely hoping for more. 😉
By now, poor Izzy was too stressed and it was determined that she needed to come out ASAP… so off to the c-section we went. By that time, I was getting pretty heavily drugged because the epidural was not working as best as it could and they gave me some pretty heavy drugs that completely knocked me out right after she was born. I remember hearing that she was ok and that Shaun was with her and going to the NICU so I finally let myself succumb to the effects… not that I really had much choice. ;-P
Now I am no stranger to waking up groggy and drugged in a recovery room… too many times to count actually… but the urgency of ‘waking up enough‘ to finally meet my daughter was beyond urgent. The nurse was very kind and I know she could sense my urgency and I remember her ushering things along as well. So it wasn’t too long and I was in a wheelchair and on my way to the NICU to meet my baby. I remember still being quite drugged but just so happy to finally see her. She was dirty, covered in tubes, puffy and the absolutely most wonderful thing I had every seen in my whole life. She was alive and she was mine. I got to hold her foot and touch her hand and that’s about it. It was the shortest visit that a new mom should ever have to have but I was elated even just for that small moment.
So with that small cracker crumb of a visit, they sent me back to my room and it wasn’t very long after that that they walked though our hospital room door and told us that she had to make the air ambulance trip to BC Children’s to further her treatment. She had a very bad case of ‘meconium aspiration‘ * and definitely needed the extra help that only BC Children’s could provide. So the adventure was to continue and this time it was up to Daddy to be the watch-horse. I, of course was not well enough to make the trip and we knew that one of us had to be there for her. So steady as a rock, my husband’s mission was about to begin. But there was still one last thing that we had to do before she left the premises… My baby girl was NOT leaving without a Name. You see… I was ultimately waiting until I could hold her in my arms to decide on a name… We had a few picked a few out and I thought we would have some beautiful family time to make the ultimate call. Instead… we had a few minutes.
Thankfully, I think both Shaun and I had a favorite. We both loved the name Izabelle, loved the idea of calling her Izzy for short and I especially LOVED the meaning “consecrated to God“. Izabelle is also the Spanish name for Elizabeth with is not only my middle name but my mother’s as well. It also goes back much further in my genealogy, so it was very important to me to pass it on. ‘Poppy‘ was our affectionate term for her in the womb… started off as ‘poppyseed‘ and then then just got naturally shortened to Poppy, so to me her identity was already wrapped up in that name and had to continue.
It all happened so fast and there I was telling my baby girl and my husband goodbye for now. My heart was yet again being ripped out and yet I knew what had to be done. I clung with every fiber of my being that she was mine and I would see her again. I have no doubts that I had supernatural help and strength that day. Everything was no unknown at this point and I had to cling to the One who I know holds everything in His hands… So that’s what I did. I laid my little ‘Poppy‘ in God’s hands and let go. I couldn’t do anything more… I had to leave the rest up to Him.
And now here we are 2 and a half years later with a healthy, bouncing, challenging, stubborn and completely joyous toddler on our hands. ❤
As many of you know Izabelle’s adventurous beginnings did not stop at me saying goodbye… I was able to ship out (via air ambulance) about a day and a half later and recover in the ladies hospital which is connected to Children’s. We ended up spending a whole month in and out of the hospital (2 weeks in Vancouver and 2 weeks in Kamloops) before we were finally able to bring our daughter home. That month too, was full of adventures that I am sure I will get to as some point on this journey… but it is not the time to write a book… 😉
Instead, I must bring the joy that this post deserves and say that I am so in awe and amazed that since we brought her over the threshold of home she has never had to go back to the hospital for her health… not even for a serious infection of any kind. She is so happy and healthy and it does my heart so much good just to watch her be her. To grow and change, smile and laugh… she brings bounce and joy everywhere she goes.
In just taking this time to reflect and remember the challenging start she had, I am even more in awe of God’s grace and His blessing that He has bestowed on us in the form of this toddler so full of life (unexpectedness, stubbornness, tantrums and crazy giggles that melt your heart). I am at peace in knowing that her name has a meaning that states my dependence on my and her Creator, but ultimately I know that she is one of God’s greatest gifts to me. So I must publicly declare, yet again, my gratitude to God for ‘my keeper‘. In that gratitude I commit to being the best possible Mom that I can be to the gift that I have been given.
Now I feel as though I have at least declared public affection for both of my children. The love I hold for both is precious and unique, just as I believe it is for every child that comes along. Dexter will always be my first and I will always hold a special place just for him in my heart… and Izabelle will always be my “Joy in the Morning” **.
Thank-you for reading my ‘right-sided heart‘ full of gratitude…
Until my bravery returns…
Melissa Ann Elizabeth Erikson ❤
*PS. For those who are interested in learning more specifics of what Izabelle was struggling with when she was born I have attached a link that explains ‘meconium’ aspiration. I did not want to get into technical details and instead allow you to look up more info if you so choose. This is me… trying to respect your gracious time in reading this blog. 🙂
**Psalm 30 (nlt)
1 I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you restored my health.
3 You brought me up from the grave, O Lord.
You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
4 Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones!
Praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6 When I was prosperous, I said,
“Nothing can stop me now!”
7 Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.
Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.
8 I cried out to you, O Lord.
I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
9 “What will you gain if I die,
if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you?
Can it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O Lord.”
11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!