Bella’s Story

I’ve been reading a lot of Facebook posts lately that I comment on then quickly delete or decide not to post what I wrote. I’ve been struggling between wanting the world to know what happened to Bella vs starting a huge debate. I have decided that today will be the day that I will share the facts.
Bella was a healthy 19 month old girl. She ate well and had a strong immune system. Bella was rarely sick or missed daycare. Even when she wasn’t well, it took a lot to slow her down. On May 23, 2014, Bella had an eye infection and was required to stay home from daycare although her eye didn’t bother her much. She also had a runny nose and mild cough. I didn’t think much of it because this is pretty typical for kids in daycare. Her eye was completely better in 2 days but her runny nose and mild cough remained. It was minor and didn’t concern me as she was happy, energetic and had a great appetite.
On June 3, Bella went for a hearing test because I was concerned about her speech development. The first part of the test showed fluid behind her ear, which may have been caused by a cold (not surprising considering her symptoms) or ear infection (but Bella didn’t have a fever and her ear did not seem to be bothering her at all). Some kids are prone to fluid in their ears which is when tubes are inserted. The audiologist was not concerned and suggested rebooking in a month to see if it would clear up on it’s own. 
On June 10, Bella was scheduled for vaccines. I was reluctant to bring her because her mild cold symptoms were still present, but decided to attend the appointment and discuss my concerns with the nurse. She said that because Bella didn’t have a fever, there was no reason to not give her the vaccine (standard protocol). I questioned it because if Bella’s immune system is busy fighting off something, wouldn’t adding something else for it to fight off do more harm than good? Since Bella was already behind on her vaccines, the nurse reinforced the importance on “catching up.” Despite what my instincts were telling me, Bella received the Prevnar-13 vaccine (pneumonia) on June 10. Bella had a mild fever that night. It was the first time she had ever had a reaction to a vaccine. 
Bella’s mild cold symptoms persisted but were quite insignificant. I have been told before that this is normal for kids in daycare. As long as she has energy, is eating and does not have a fever, she’s fine! Look at the pictures from the 3 days before her death and tell me if you saw a sick child…
On the night of June 27, I went to a concert and my kids stayed with my parents. Bella was playing with Hudson while I was getting ready. She ate all her supper and was her typical happy energetic self. She didn’t nap at daycare that day and she didn’t want to go to bed that night. My mom said that she finally fell asleep at 3am. She slept in bed with my mother. 
Hudson woke up at about 8am and my mom let Bella sleep. Bella was still not up by 9:30, which is not unusual for my daughter who hates sleep but is very cranky when you wake her. She was face down and her bum was in the air (again, not usual) when my mom went to check on her. When Bella didn’t respond to mom’s touch, she turned her over. Bella was not breathing. It was estimated that Bella transitioned a half hour before mom found her.
The autopsy showed that Bella had pneumonia caused by Haemophilus influenza, which the coroner explained is a bacteria that often causes throat and ear infections. For some reason, Bella’s immune system was unable to fight the bacteria and it developed into pneumonia. The coroner called it “walking pneumonia” which explains why she did not seem sick other than minor cold symptoms. The infection was in her blood; she was septic. 
After seeing post after post about young children dying from bacterial infections, I knew I had to speak up. Losing a child is the most painful thing anyone could ever face, and if I can do something to help prevent another parent from feeling this pain, I will!
I am not against vaccines but fear them. I refuse to believe Bella was part of that “2%” who have a “severe adverse reaction” to a vaccine. Bella is NOT a statistic. I also do not believe in coincidences. These are just my beliefs and I am not a medical expert nor do I claim to be. I am simply a bereaved parent wanting answers if for no other reason than to prevent another family from experiencing the same tragedy. 
I’m curious about other peoples’ thoughts and experiences and if anyone knows of any research that can help me find answers, I would appreciate hearing from you.
Thank you for helping me #StayStrong❤️

Progress is difficult, but nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. The last 3 weeks have been all about pushing myself and today I am celebrating how far I have come in such a short time.

My last psychiatric appointment did not go as I had anticipated. My doctor was very blunt about my “condition” and stated that I need to go back to work soon. I am not depressed. I don’t have a psychiatric condition. I am suffering from complex grief. He told me that I would have to go back to work in 6-12 weeks.
I left that appointment feeling very angry. How can I go back to work when I can’t even function? How can I even think about work when it’s the furthest thing from my mind? Apparently I needed that push to jump start my recovery.
Recovery, to me, means living! It means enjoying life and doing normal things, including going to work. I’ve been in my safe place since Bella transitioned. I have come to realize that I have stayed in this place out of fear and convenience.
It’s easy to be sad. It’s easy to stay at home, sit on the couch reading books all day and justify it with grief. Realistically, I will be grieving for Bella for the rest of my life. It’s easy to give in to grief and let it take over. What’s not easy is getting up, going out and LIVING again! That’s risky and so scary. But you can LIVE and GRIEVE simultaneously!
Losing Bella has changed me. I have lost a piece of myself and I will never be the same, nor do I want to be the same. This does NOT mean, however, that life will always be difficult. The truth is that I am genuinely happy, but with that comes guilt. I’m working on letting the guilt go because Bella wants me to be happy. She says she feels me when I am happy. Happiness raises your frequency and Bella’s frequency is much higher than any human, so it makes it easier for her to feel my energy when I am happy.
My little monkey has been playing tricks on her momma, but these tricks are also sweet rewards. I found my work keys in her daycare bag (her telling me it’s time to go back to work?), random rocks (always just one and in the strangest places), and my urn necklace went missing the other day and literally minutes after I had finished packing up the last of Bella’s things it mysteriously appeared on my computer desk (which Tom and I both checked 100 times and I was sitting at earlier that morning).
All of Bella’s belongings are in pretty pink bins ready to go up in the attic, where they will stay for now. Her important stuff will stay in the beautiful boxes made by some friendly strangers. This allows me to have her close by so I can enjoy a little piece of Bella any time I want.
I’m officially getting ready to go back to work, and the first thing I needed to do can now be crossed off my list. Yesterday was an amazing day. I was overjoyed to look at every single item that Bella has touched and I feel great knowing exactly where things are. I made a point to focus on happy memories while I went through her things. The most difficult part was starting as it was painful and I ended up having a breakdown, which I celebrated because a few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to cry. I left it alone for a few days, until I was ready. 

Life isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be. But it is what you choose to make of it, and I choose to #StayStrong❤️
“Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said that it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.” – Harvey MacKay

Finally Breaking

It’s time to break open. Little by little I feel myself crumble and I celebrate every piece that breaks off. I can feel, and as painful as that is, it’s wonderful to be able to feel.
Recovery means so many things, but what’s important is what it means to me at this very moment. I need goals and I need a plan on how I am going to achieve these goals. I also need the proper supports in place to be able to achieve them. It’s time to create a plan.
Sometimes the truth hurts and it can be very upsetting to hear what you don’t want to hear, but sometimes we need to hear the truth from another source before we can open our eyes to it. My truth is avoidance. I am avoiding healing. It’s too painful to break open, yet this needs to happen in order for healing to take place. People often suppress pain and take on the belief that time will heal their wounds. I don’t believe this is true at all! I believe that in order to heal, emotions need to be felt, then let go. Healing isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a process, but that process must be experienced in order to make progress. When you suppress it, you are avoiding reality and ignoring the wounds. I believe that this results in much deeper scars.
Today I am making a promise to myself, and I’m going to track my progress here in order to ensure that I’m held accountable! My promise is to start doing the work and to stop avoiding the inevitable. Step one will be to set goals. Step 2 will be to create an action plan. I need to start preparing to go back to work and I’m avoiding this. The truth is I am not ready for this but if I don’t start doing the work, I’ll never be ready. It’s also possible that I will never be fully ready, and that’s okay too, but life has to continue. 
Yesterday was a groundbreaking day for me. I realized that it’s time to do the work. There is never a convenient time to fall apart, so today I’m going to take the box off the shelf, the one that holds all my pain, and I’m going to open it. Today I choose to feel pain. Let the healing begin! #StayStrong❤️
“Have the courage to shine your light into the darkest and deepest wounds of your soul. You are worthy of healing.” – Kate Spencer