Mom to Isabella Grace

February 9, 2008 – March 17th, 2008

Riverside, California

I found out I was pregnant with my first child in September 2007. My husband and I were elated because we had been trying to get pregnant for 10 months, and our dream had finally come true. I was given a due date at my first ultrasound: May 14th.  My next ultrasound revealed another dream come true: I was having a little girl.

Within a few weeks, the problems started. My blood pressure began to creep up, so my OB/GYN put me on medication that was considered safe to use during pregnancy. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  By the time I was admitted to the hospital, my blood pressure was 216/211. The nurses on staff were waiting for me to go into seizures. Most of them had never seen blood pressure so high.  I was strapped to a bed, given a catheter and my blood tests revealed that my kidneys and liver were starting to fail. An emergency ultrasound showed that my amniotic fluid had dropped dangerously and my little girl was in distress. An emergency C-Section was performed and Isabella Grace was born on February 9, 2008, over 3 months early.  She was 1 lb., 3.4 oz and 12 inches long.

Isabella was a beautiful child. Even as a preemie, her features were very distinct: a cleft chin from her daddy, a round nose from me and dimples all her own. She had a strong heart, but her lungs were very underdeveloped and she was put on a respirator immediately after she was born. There were ups and downs with her health, and many of the nurses (and even her doctors) believed that she was going to be okay. Prayers for Isabella went global, reaching all the way to missionary friends in China from the United States.  I would have loved nothing more that to bring my little girl home with me, wrapped in her little rainbow blanket nuzzled close to my heart.

On March 17, 2008 I was getting ready to leave for the hospital when I received the call I had hoped I would never come: Isabella was in cardiac arrest and they were trying to resuscitate her. I rushed to the hospital and met my husband at the door.  The nurses were trying so hard to start her little heart again, but to no avail. Our little girl became our little angel that day.

Isabella’s funeral was one week later, the day after Easter Sunday. Our church was filled almost to the T with so many people. Their love and support was what really got my husband and I through next few months of our grieving.  

Four months later, still in deep mourning over my loss, I found out I was pregnant again. My new OB/GYN (I kicked the old one to the curb) watched me like a hawk, and my second child (a little girl) was born full term on March 24, 2009, exactly one year to the day of Isabella’s funeral.  We decided to name her Grace Roxanne, so she could always have a part of her big sister with her. 

I still mourn for my little Bella Bug, and I even got a tattoo in her honor. But I praise God everyday for the blessing of being a mother and for allowing me time with my first little one, even though it was only a little time. And I praise Him daily for becoming a mom again. Grace looks so much like her sister; I know Isabella looks out for her sister from Heaven.  That’s enough to turn my sorrow into joy.


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  1. Jessica,
    This story brought me to tears because I can relate. I too had horrible Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, so I had to deliver my son 3 months early. He passed away 4 weeks later. It also gives me great comfort because you had a full term healthy baby. I have been so worried about having other children because of my Preeclampsia. Gives me great hope to see other people succeed. Thanks so much.

    • Dear Becky,
      Please don’t let Preeclampsia stop you from trying again. It is beyond scary to try and have another child, but it is so worth it. My heart grieves for you and the loss of your sweet little boy; cry for him as often as you need to and take comfort in him as your little guardian angel. February 9th is coming up soon; my little Isabella would have been 4 years old. I still bring flowers and balloons to her grave every year. I had friend once ask me, “How long are you going to to that?”. I replied, ‘Until I’m buried next to her.”

  2. Your story brought tears to my eyes. My son was born 3 months early to the day. I also received the same phone call and walked in on them trying to restart his heartbeat as well. I am so sorry.

    • Dear Stephine,

      I, too, am sorry to hear about your son. I never thought I would get the call, but I guess my little girl had other plans. She is forever my angel who was just too precious for this world.

      I find comfort in you & Becky. Even though I don’t wish the loss of a child on anyone, it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this world.

  3. Jessica,
    This story brought me to tears. My beatiful little princess became an angel on 2/10/12 due to preclampsia. She lived for 2 days. Every day I think about her, she brought so much love into my life for the short time she was with us. She was too precious for this world, and I dream of the day that we will be together again. I have PCOS and was told that I had a small chance of having a child, she was our miracle. Now I am so afraid of having another one I don’t want to have to go through that again. But knowing that you had another precious baby shortly after and went full term gives me hope.

    • Jessica says:

      Dear Heather,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your little angel. I understand how an a child brings so much love into your life, and even if it is just for a short time. Please, do not be discouraged about getting pregnant again. It is so scary, but it is so worth it. I’m praying for you!

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