Isabella Danielle, born at 24 weeks and 1 day, 1lb 11oz, 12.5in

Zachary Michael, born at 36 weeks, 5lb 13oz, 18.5in

Alexander Charles, FULL TERM, 7lb 1oz, 20in

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Two years ago today I experienced the 2nd of the two most traumatic events in my life, Isabella’s eventful entrance into this world. I have read so many Facebook posts this week from friends in varying parts of the country speak of one life passing and another coming, as they have observed the renewal of life. Four and half years ago I witnessed the passing of my father from this world to the next as my first traumatic event. After 63.5 short years of life and 46 years of being a loving father, his soul evaporated from his body before his family’s eyes. To this day I am haunted by the memory of what happened in that hospital room, miss the feel of his big embrace and weep at the thought of not being able to sit in his lap to have him tell me how much he loves me. However, as is true, we have constant renewal of life. On December 4, 2008 as I had a living angel by my side physically holding my hand, Rebecca prayed with me and waited patiently as the next traumatic event began until Chris arrived in Virginia from Texas. At the same time, I had God's angel standing in the corner of my room telling me everything was going to be just fine. As peace washed over me by the grace of God, I miraculously held off delivery of my baby girl for 36 hours. Which was astounding considering after arriving at UVA, the swarm of nurses and doctors didn’t think I would be pregnant much longer. With Chris’ arrival from Texas Rebecca was physically relieved from watching over me, but never stopped being our advocate to the Lord and everyone back in Texas. On December 5, after hours of being inverted on my head, trying desperately to avoid pain medication, listening to the Juno soundtrack on the iPod over and over, and the constant replay of Toy Story in the VHS, Isabella’s tiny little head popped into place and I screamed at Chris that she was coming. With both of us in tears with the thought of a 60% survival rate of a baby girl born at 24 weeks on our mind, we heard our precious baby cry as she appeared in the doctors hands basking in the delivery room lights. Once the neonatal team evaluated her, they briefly brought her to my side to allow me the closest thing to a newborn embrace they could, a gentle squeeze of my left pointer finger. And in the same way that my father told me he loved me one last time by clutching my hand in response to my voice, my daughter had acknowledged her presence in this world. And the renewal of life began…

24 hours old

After 4 surgeries, 99 days in the NICU and developing a whole new family with the life of a preemie, Isabella came home. Although life was not normal, and to this day isn’t completely normal, she radiated a personality of determination and fighting spirit. Our micro-preemie has soared through her development and surpassed so many hurdles. She is a blessed child and we are fortunate parents to have a daughter whose life could be drastically different. So many micro-preemies physical and mental state turn out completely different all because of the slightest of margins in medical care and preventive care. We are eternally grateful to our UVA family and their team of medical professionals. After two joyous years of constant smiles and laughs, I continuously reminisce my experience in Virginia and often long to be back at the place where my life changed forever. Although Isabella went through many awful days and nights, the people and the city of Charlottesville always kept a bit of magic in my heart. No matter how much time passes, they will always be like family to me.

1 year old

At the age of 2, our little girl who has over come so much in her short life, is doing tremendous things:
1. Talking up a storm and repeating many words you don't ask her to.
2. Counting to 15.
3. Identifying animals, shapes, colors and recognizing them all by name.
4. Reading close to 100 words...Your Baby Can Read really worked for her.
5. Stringing words together when talking to you.
6. Walking like nothing can slow her down, although a little clumsy at times.
7. Attempting to run, jump and climb.
8. Weighs 32lbs and is 34in tall.

Each day she amazes us and lights up our lives. So here's to you Isabella...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one spectacular, courageous, determined, independent, loving and miraculous child. WE LOVE YOU!


Amanda said...

what a beautiful post, Machel! Happy Birthday Bella!!!

Amanda said...

Happy Birthday Bella! God Bless you always! XOXO

ellen marie said...

Happy Birthday Bella!! Loved the post and pictures! Miss ya'll!

lauren said...

Happy 2nd Birthday, Princess Bella!!! We are in as much awe of you as we ever were!!! You're a rock star who continues to amaze us every day!!! Xoxo