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Isabel Eve

Isabel Eve, baby with anencephaly

December 27th, 2006 - December 28th, 2006

I found out that I was pregnant with our third child in mid-April of 2006. I was feeling a little overwhelmed because our oldest would just be turning three a month before my due date in December, but I knew that everything would be alright in the end because I felt overwhelmed when I found out I was pregnant with our second also. The entire pregnancy progressed normally until mid-November, when I wasnít measuring as big as I should have been but I was still within the ďnormalĒ range so our mid-wife wasnít too concerned. I didnít have the usual mid-pregnancy ultrasound because we were giving birth at home and nothing seemed unusual. Three days before our baby was due my mid-wife checked to see if I was starting to dilate and something moved away from the cervix. She was surprised because she could feel the babyís feet and legs at the top of my uterus but she knew that heads donít move away like that. She sent us in for an ultrasound fearing that at worst we would need a c-section because the baby was breach.

During the ultrasound, which was the day before our baby was due the doctor and ultrasound technician seemed very serious and I just felt nervous about what they were thinking. The doctor then ordered an x-ray because he couldnít see everything he wanted. The x-ray seemed normal to me and my husband and the baby looked like it was in the right position for delivery. When we got back into the exam room I told my husband that I felt like the doctor was going to tell us our baby was going to die, then the doctor came in, handed us a box of Kleenex and said ďI have bad news, your baby has anencephaly and will not survive.Ē

We had no idea what anencephaly was and he explained that the babyís neural tube didnít close and the brain didnít develop and that as long as I was carrying the baby it could survive because I was providing it with all the oxygen and nutrients it needed but without a brain it wouldnít be capable of surviving on itís own. (We still did not know the sex of our baby at this point.) He told us that we could schedule to have labor induced for whenever we wanted since I had already carried the baby full term. We decided to wait until after Christmas, (it was the 22nd when we found out) and our appointment was at 6 a.m. on the 26th. Christmas night we all went out to eat together for our last meal as a family of five.

The next morning we were feeling so overwhelmed and scared of everything that we were about to do, the thought of going to the hospital to give birth only to turn around and plan a funeral was almost suffocating. The care pastor at our church was waiting at the hospital entrance for us to pray with us. We had so many people praying for us, I truly believe that we would not have made it through this time if we didnít have so many people lifting our names to God.

Isabel Eve with her parents

The labor was slow because the doctor was afraid that if he gave me pitocin my uterus could rupture, so I was given a really low dose of something else. We had another ultrasound at the hospital to confirm what the first doctor had said and we found out we were having a girl. We named her Isabel Eve, Isabel means consecrated to God. We donít understand why God gave us a baby with this condition, but we gave her back to Him and we were able to donate her two heart valves for children who are in need of a valve transplant.

Isabel was born at 5:17 p.m. on December 27th, 2006. She came out lips first and blood had pooled in her lips so they were bright red as if she had lipstick on. She wasnít scary like we were expecting, she was absolutely perfect from her nose down, and she looked a lot like her sister. Since we didnít know how long she would live we just stared at her and held her. Her heart beat was really strong and continued on really strong all through the night. She was even responsive to touch; we loved to let her hold our fingers. I know that medical experts donít believe these babies feel pain, but she seemed like she was suffering. She had a hard time breathing and would constantly gag up fluids. She didnít have a sucking reflex so she wasnít able to eat. Close to the end of the night she stopped responding to our touch, and wouldnít hold our fingers. About 8:30 the next morning our doctor checked her stats and her heart was still beating on as strong as ever but her temperature was dropping and her lungs were filling up. He said he couldnít give us an estimate to how much time we had left, but he would expect that it would be within 24 hours. I started rocking her while my husband made phone calls to our parents to update them. While I was rocking her she started to cry, something she hadnít done before and she started wiggling, like she was just trying to wiggle right out of her little body. I just kept saying ďitís ok, mommyís here.Ē This went on for about 20 minutes and then she raised her arms out in front of her and died. I donít know who meets us when we go to our creator, but Isabel went willingly, with arms outstretched, something that a normal newborn doesnít do for months. We found out a couple hours later that there were two children waiting for the valves in her heart.

Isabel Eve meets her sister

While I am still at the beginning of grieving for my baby girl I know that she was not a mistake, she was a person and she knew me and my husband and her sister and brother. Our pastor that gave the message at her funeral said that just as her dad and I know how to take care of her, she is with her heavenly father who loves her even more than us and knows how to take care of her even more as well.

 

Isabel's parents made a website in her honor.

 

Last updated June 9, 2009