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Anily 2/23/03
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Our angel Anily
Born sleeping on 2/23/2003

Born 8:26 AM
8.12  pounds
dark hair, blue eyes
Happy 3rd Birthday Sunshine!


Anily's birthday is coming up shortly.  I wrote her a letter, and I've found some cute little fairy pictures that looked more like 5 year old girls.  Much better than another gravesite picture.  I'm much better prepared this year.  I have the dress I will be 'donating' purchased already and I've got the letter for her card.  I need to figure out something for some flowers that will look nice longer and not blow away like last year.


Happy birthday my baby Anily.
What do I think of when I think of you?  I think of your headstone, the ground where you lie.  I think of your body in that little purple sweater with the little purple hat.  I think of your pink cheeks that were a little too purple.  I think of your whisps of dark hair and your perfect little fingers.  I think of how you moved them against my side at night.  I think of how the sun shone in my window the day you were born.  I think of your little plastic crib where you spent the day, and the way your brother asked why you couldn't come home.  I think about your beautiful name and how much I wish you were here.  I think about the days after your birth.  About holding your blanket close to my heart while I wept, aching, longing, crying for my little girl.  I think about how much I love you - no matter where you are.  I think about the mysteries of the world and what happens when we die.  I think about you as a 4 year old girl, and wonder if you age.  I think about how cheated I feel that I never got to hold you alive.  I think about people struggling with sick babies and kids and while I ache for their worry and stress, I hope they know too how much I wish I had even that time with you. 


You have touched my life so profoundly and while it is sad, it is not for the worse.  I have found a way to help others going through this through the Missing Grace organization and also just through mutual understanding.  You continue to touch your family's lives as your little sister asks and learns about you.  I can see how much she would like to meet you just like the rest of us when she talks about her big-little sister.  She is clearly just as perplexed by the whole aging after death concept as the rest of us.  Your brother still talks about you, crying at special moments.  He misses you a great deal as well.  What would we all give to just have a day with you.


I know I have to love you from a distance.  A distance of time or of the reality that is the world.  I'll never worry about you getting sick or hurt.  I'll never think about how well you're learning to read.  I'll never have to see you struggle with anything... but that isn't a big consolation.  Yet, I don't know what happens after we die.  I feel like I need to embody resigned acceptance and a sort of blissfull 'let her spirit dance' outlook to the whole thing just in case you're hanging about watching your mom.  I don't want to hold you back.  The thing is, I'm still ever so angry and pissed off and sad and without you.  I'm not anticipating that will ever really go away.  I would like it to because I'd like to have only good thoughts when I think about you.  My little dancing purple sprite. 
Yet, our lives go on and here you are turning 5 years old.  I don't suppose they have a little angel kindergarten for you.  You can learn to tie your ballet slippers and paint rainbows in the sky.  If you get a moment, little girl, paint your mommy a rainbow.  I'd love to see your touch on the world, an extension of your touch on my heart.  Then I will see it, and I will think about you - and all that comes with that.  Most of all, Anily, when I think about you, I think about love.

Hey, I just realized that I never put in anything from her 4th birthday.  Oh well.  I really have to figure something out for her birthday picture-wise because I really am getting tired of just another photo of her gravestone each year.  It doesn't really CHANGE as the time goes by, ya know?  The urge to do something to keep her in the family and to reflect on her spirit as time goes by - to keep her in our memories is strong but I'm having a hard time with the fact that, ya, she was born 4 years ago but really, my memories of her are still the little baby she was.  I'll have to figure something out.
Anyway, there have been some things happening to people that I care about lately that are really hard.  Not to get into too much details, close family members lost from a car accident and some other fertility issues.  These things hit home to me as I mean what I say when I tell them that I understand the grief and suckiness of it. I want to be there for them but at the same time, part of me wonders if I want to be there for them because of how it makes me feel.  Part of the empathy that I feel for them is inherently in how it brings up my feelings from losing Anily.  I cried all the way into work today just thinking about how much I miss her and hate that I lost her.  It is still very very sad and it just doesn't stop sucking.  I mean, no, it isn't the same insomnia-make-you-throw-up-hysteria-bleak-how-can-I-face-the-world kind of grief but still, my baby girl is dead.  I don't KNOW what she'd be like at 4.  I don't know if she'd have turned blonde like the other kids.  I don't know if she'd be blue eyed or brown or green.  I don't know if she'd like coloring or bikes or dancing or singing. I don't even know what shape her face would've taken on as she aged because the newborn face is so different then what they ultimately have.  Would she have slept through the night or kept me up at all hours?  Would she be shy or outgoing?  Would she have wrapped her arms around my neck and hid from fireworks?  I don't know and she's my baby girl and I miss her and that sucks.  And all of this is wrapped up in my saddness at my friends' losses and I want to support them and be there for them but I find that I have a hard time not just dumping all this out while that is the last thing that they need.  So I try to sit, and be quiet, and listen.  And cry when I'm on my own and driving into work and can't help but think about how horrible it is to lose people that you love.... and smile at my little 4 year old girl's spirit and hope that no matter what she knows how very very loved she is.
Yesterday was Anily's 3rd birthday.  I've been trying to set a sort of tradition for what can be done on her birthday but mostly what I've succeeded in doing is setting up the tradition that we do SOMETHING - what it is seems to change a lot.  For her first birthday, I dropped off these little sets that you can use to make crystal looking molds of baby's hands or feet at the hospital where Anily was born.  I told them to give them to the parents of other stillborn babies there.  This was not very gratifying as to be honest, I have my doubts as to if the hospital even used them or how well they were recieved.  Every time I asked about it, no one that I talked to even knew I had dropped them off at all.  They are probably still in a closet somewhere collecting dust.  Her 2nd birthday I took the kids out to pick out some items for birthday gifts and we brought them to her gravesite where we left them.  Fort Snelling doesn't allow that kind of stuff at their gravesites so at the end of the day they collect up anything that was left and donate it.  This birthday I didn't feel like buying a bunch of toys and all that.  I got her a beautiful card that went like this:
On your Birthday,
Suppose you dreamed a party in the Land of Unicorns
With dancing fairies, giant cakes, and singing party horns!
Your guests arrive together in a unicorn parade
To celebrate the day in this enchanted land you made.
No matter what you're dreaming, you deserve it to come true -
Because today is all about the one and only you!
Thank you Hallmark. : )  You have no idea how many cards I had to look through to find one that fit like that.  I also picked up a little pot with purple tulips (they allow flowers there and will leave them as long as they "look nice"), and a little stuffed lamb.  Kris and I then went up to the gravesite to drop the stuff off and visit.  I'm really shocked at how many of the gravesites there had things at them.  On the way home I picked up a little cake and after dinner we sang Happy Birthday to Anily and Gavin blew out her three candles and we all got to have yummy Cold Stone Creamery cake!
I also wanted to say a special thank you to my friend Michelle, my mom-in-law "Farma", and my mother.  They all added a little something special to help celebrate Anily's day.  Thank you!

Anily's gravesite

If you are pregnant, even if your pregnancy has been PERFECT, you have a 1/3000 chance of losing your baby to Vasa Previa if it is not looked for.  It is not hard to look for this, and diagnosis carries a 90% survival rate.  (Not only survival, but I have never heard of a Vasa Previa baby that was not 100% healthy other then the unfortunate cord/placenta problem.)
Your doctor will NOT look for this without you asking.  PLEASE ask.  The standard of care will continue to allow the unlucky 3000th baby to die due to not wanting to fund a simple color doppler check on the standard ultrasound if we do not demand those babies' lives back.

For Anily's second birthday, we brought her gifts to her grave - the items were later donated

This is a song by Train
It makes me just sob every time I hear it, but I love it all the same.  It makes me understand how I can think of my Anily with such love and happiness even when she is not physically here with me.
When I Look To The Sky

When it rains it pours and opens doors
And floods the floors we thought would always keep us safe and dry
And in the midst of sailing ships we sink our lips into the ones we love
That have to say goodbye

And as I float along this ocean I can feel you like a notion that won’t seem to let me go

Cause when I look to the sky something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything alright
And when I feel like I’m lost something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here

And every word I didn’t say that caught up in some busy day
And every dance on the kitchen floor we didn’t dance before
And every sunset that we’ll miss I’ll wrap them all up in a kiss
And pick you up in all of this when I sail away

And as I float along this ocean I can feel you like a notion that I hope will never leave.

Cause when I look to the sky something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything alright
And when I feel like I’m lost something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here

Whether I am up or down or in or out or just plane overhead
Instead it just feels like it is impossible to fly
But with you I can spread my wings to see me over everything that life may send me
When I am hoping it won’t pass me by

And when I feel like there is no one that will ever know me there you are to show me 

Cause when I look to the sky something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything alright
And when I feel like I’m lost something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here

Anily was stillborn due to a possible velamentous cord insertion.  This is a rare occurance where the cord attached to the amniotic membranes and the vessels travel to the placenta unprotected.  This is a diagnosable condition and her death could have been prevented. 
The International Vasa Previa Foundation is working to make this condition more well known and to prevent more babies from dying.  If you would like to make a donation in Anily's name, please visit http://www.vasaprevia.orgStillbirth takes the lives of many times more children then SIDS, and yet it is virtually unheard of and unstudied in comparison.  Please take some time and give to this cause.  It only takes a moment to diagnose life.
Thank you.

baby development