The Purpose of Paizlee  (Our Borrowed Angels)

(Note: #OurBorrowedAngels is a series I will continue on my blog through the end of October in recognition of Infant Loss Awareness. If you have experienced the loss of a child, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, infancy, or an older child, I would love to share your story. Contact me if you are interested.)



For the last fourteen years, I’ve been aware of a talent in which I use to my advantage, and that’s the ability to write. I have never done anything defining with my talent other than use it as a venue to discard my negative emotions and to produce in words what I never could say out loud. Fourteen years ago, I experienced my first encounter with the harshest part of life, death. My uncle had lost his battle with colon cancer, and my world was turned upside down. Being that I was only the tender age of thirteen, I didn’t understand how to express all these new and uncomfortable emotions I was feeling. Before I had even realized what had happened, I was writing poems and finding I suddenly felt a lot better. It was a much needed outlet without really having to confide in any one person of my true heartaches and any of the other emotions I once felt. So, over these last fourteen years I have obviously grown, learned lessons, finished high school, met a boy and fell in love and stumbled amongst my new dreams of wanting to be a mommy. All these significant life events and some, but more so, the tragic and painful ones, somehow produced my best work, and my cherished masterpieces. All except for one that is, the day it all changed, the day I was oddly rendered emotionless and unable to write my heart down on paper. The day I became the empty nutshell of a person I use to be.

I wrote poems and little Facebook posts here and there, but I wanted to write down what I so desperately was looking for myself, a voice of guidance and validation that I was not alone in the days unfolding ahead of me—the journey down the all too familiar road called grief. I wanted to be a helping hand for young mothers, like myself, who had lost a child or their babies. In most cases, I reached out to the ones who had lost their want for existing among an unfair, agonizingly cruel new normal of life, in which their babies weren’t any longer to be a part of. I came across the “Borrowed Angels” series from an old close friend, whom also published her journey in this series. I am forever thankful; my opportunity to finally strive to share my story, with the hopes of helping many moms alike is a long time coming quest. For any grieving mother who is experiencing the cruelty of infant loss and wondering which road to travel next, I truly hope this finds you and shines a ray of hope into your life. There is purpose behind every event in our lives, both good and bad, mine being the Purpose of Paizlee.

jessie and michelle

Jesse and Michelle

Paizlee Rione Rix was a 4lb. 5oz portrait of sleeping perfection. She is every reason I am the woman and mother I am today, but above all, she is my motivation to be a better me. On December 2, 2013, my understanding for life was painfully altered and my outlook on everything was cloaked in a cloud of grey. I was 38 weeks pregnant with my first daughter, Paizlee. This was supposed to be my last one of two final doctors before I met my baby for the very first time. Unfortunately, that much anticipated moment had been taken from me and my fiancé Jessie. What was supposed to be the best days of our life, days of new beginning, had quickly become the worst days of our lives and the bittersweet ending to our “Normal” life. I had attended this doctor appointment alone. Jessie was at work, as he was all the weeks prior since we needed every dime we could get before our family of two morphed into three. Prior to sitting in the doctor’s office, I underwent my glucose test to rule out any possibility of gestational diabetes, and while I waited for an hour for my test to be over, I remember the post in which I had posted right there in that laboratory waiting room:
Getting my glucose test done then off to see the Dr, and see my pretty daughter. She’s so big she doesn’t even move a lot like she used too….I miss her…these weeks are going to take forever…

I’m not exactly sure how my heart seemed to already know there was a problem, saying I miss her? So heartbreaking to read this, seeing as at this moment in time I had no idea I’d lost her and how much I would really actually grow to miss her. Shortly after my post, my mom started texting me with questions relating to my Facebook post. “What do you mean by you don’t feel her moving? Is she okay?” and “When’s the last time you felt her move?” All very good questions that I thought I knew the answer to until I really sat there in that lonely examine room at my OBGYNs and suddenly felt like everything changed. I started to panic after the interrogation of questions and suddenly was willing to wait however long for my OBGYN to return. I fell into a state of shock pre-term. I was rationalizing all these scenarios, all these different times me and Jessie had seen her move kick and roll. But now for the first time in my entire pregnancy, I actually allowed my mind to present itself with the ultimate horrific reality no mother ever wants to wonder…. What if she has died? Well that’s not right, there’s no way that’s the case for me. I’ve done everything right…haven’t I? I just swore I felt her this morning? Oh my God, how come I’m feeling so alone? This was only the beginning of my thoughts and fears running wild in my brain. Suddenly, the door to my room received a knock and my doctor joined me in the room.

After our usual meet and greet, I informed him that I took my glucose test just shortly before his arrival, and also that I had been really struggling to remember the last time I felt Paizlee move. I was covered in embarrassment and cloaked with failure. I felt so dumb and pathetic. “How do you not know these answers Michelle? She’s in YOUR belly, you have to know something!” But I was shooting out nothing other than “I’m not sure’” and “I don’t knows” to every question thrown my way. I was so confused. The doctor said, “Okay, well let’s take a listen and see what we can hear, maybe even a look. The baby gets into a position and the heart rate is hard to find and movement is decreased sometimes at this point in the pregnancy” –words that I later found were nothing but entirely false. I’d never been so nervous and terrified in my twenty-three years on this earth. As he applied the cold jelly on my belly and began to curse the heart Doppler around, pushing every so often. I heard the same sound he in fact had heard for himself, and that was sadly nothing. The sound of Silence.

A few moments later, the doctor had instructed me to take the form he then handed to me and go immediately to my local hospital so they could conduct a more invasive ultrasound and correlate any findings. I can’t even understand to this day how right in that very moment, I didn’t lapse and forget the measurements in which to breathe and just die right there in that doctor’s office, alone. I pushed myself to walk to the car and drive home to pick up Jessie, and deliver the blow of bad news he would surely never forget. The only distinctive detail I remember from that car ride was cradling my belly, desperately begging Paizlee to please stay with me, to not leave me so soon not like this, to fight for her life, much as I had the past 8 months of mine. Knowing that after moving from California to Laughlin, Nevada then across the river to Bullhead city, Arizona, and after sustaining a major falling out with my own mother or suffering betrayal at the hand of my own lifelong best friend, and to falling down a flight of stairs resulting in three broken ribs and a fractured tailbone, or even not to mention the added judgments exchanged behind my back I knew had once taken place. Is this what I ended up with as conclusion to my love story? I felt nothing other than immense failure surround me. Overwhelming anger that every person that had doubted us from the beginning filled my body. I was about to deliver them the satisfaction of being right after all. I couldn’t achieve the goal I set out to eight months ago.

Once I arrived home to get Jessie, I ran inside and greeted him in the living room and told him the tragic detour our lives had just been directed to travel down. We went to the local hospital and had my fetal demise ultrasound performed. I didn’t need a nurse or a doctor to tell myself what I saw so plainly on that screen: no heat detection from her heart and no sounds of that 130 B.P.M. swooshing I heard every other time like music to my soul. I don’t know if it was shock or denial that kicked into motion next, or maybe if it was purely the empowering sudden hope that these machines were false, producing the hope that I was seeing the results all wrong. Jessie continued to try and calm and comfort my intense heartache as it poured out of my eyes and stole every other breath from my lungs. “Babe, you need to calm down and try to relax in case she still is alive. This could be stressing her out. Just sit down and try to relax.” These words confirmed that he in fact was on the same page of emotional unfamiliarity and disbelief I myself was on.

We waited and waited for what felt like days but in actuality was only 3 or 4 hours. While waiting for results to be divulged to us, Jessie’s brother Jay showed up to sit with us and be of any support he could offer. Jay is the one true reason this journey was ever made possible and the notable credit taker for my daughter ever having the opportunity to breathe her first breath in this world. If it hadn’t been for him and his wife Courtney, offering us a place to live when my mom had given me the ultimatum to abort my daughter or move out of her house, we would have never made it this far. In that moment, I somehow found appreciation in the blessing of going through ever thing leading up to this very moment, both good and bad, because in all honesty it’s the struggle that supplied my success later. Jay never left our side, even though I could tell he was falling completely apart inside. Courtney and I were pregnant together and they had just welcomed their beautiful daughter, Harlee Jean, In October of that year. Yes, just two months before now. I had so many thoughts running untamed in that waiting room. Before I knew it, I was face to face with staff demanding that I get the results of my test, and that I deserve to know the truth of my unborn baby’s state. This outrage was only product of the disheartening and cold delivery justified as being a result to my test by an unfamiliar facility member insisting us to go home and my OBGYN would call us in the morning with the plan of our next steps ahead. I completely lost my sanity. Nothing in the world mattered to me, just the test results. I was not going anywhere without them, not willingly anyways. As me and Jay took alliance beside one another as family always should, confronting conflict head on with staff and being slowly surrounded by security officers, the staff had finally agreed to have the hospital coordinator come forth and address the situation with me. Pleased, I patiently waited. Kelly greeted me at the check in desk and started to pathetically but admirably, handle the current wreckage, now my life, unfolding before me. After yelling at her to give me the decency of this one request and just tell me if my daughter was alive or not, she said probably the one statement you should never disclose to a mother grieving the loss of her child, “I know how you feel”. “Trust me Kelly, you have no idea how I feel nor do you want to,” I responded, completely insulted that a women not even close to my age or even close to similarity with my situation at hand, would dare and make that statement. No one in the world knew how I felt, even mothers who had suffered the same tragedy; every person perceives and reacts to death differently. Thus, being the number one reason couples who encounter this fatality loose more than just their daughter or son, they eventually lose each other; love becomes a temporary bandaid over finger pointing and agonizing guilt. I refused to allow us to become one of those 75% of couples that contributed to such a sad statistical fact. We would rise up and love one another through every dark day that lied ahead.

Finally, after my numerous exhausting attempts, Kelly agreed to have a medical doctor or P.A. (physician’s assistant) come deliver the readings we so desperately needed. As a familiar young blonde woman approached us, I realized where I had known her from. She was a nurse that had assisted on Harlee’s delivery back in October at the same hospital, and by the change in her pace and emotion on her face, she realized the same thing. However, we never confirmed the realization to one another. She advised us to follow her to the room ahead to our right and so the three of us, as a family, entered the room and prepared for the words that changed my outlook on everything forever.

At 8:47 p.m. on Monday December 2, 2013 I was told that the test I took earlier that afternoon had confirmed my OBGYNs suspicions and our ultimate fears. Our daughter, our first child, no longer had a findable heartbeat or heat detection coming off of her organs. My daughter, my unborn baby, my miracle, my reason to be, had lost the life she had not even begun to live. How I came back up from my knees off that hospital room floor is something I will never understand. I felt like I was punched in the gut with a demolition ball and blown backwards into blazing fire, painfully portrayed but perfectly painted. I couldn’t believe how nothing actually physically happened, but everything had entirely shifted around me and changed. I remember the drive home and wishing it would never end. That way I wouldn’t have to live the next few days ahead. I was going home with Paizlee still nestled inside my belly, which I feel may have been a comfort for me seeing as I knew the day I actually gave birth to her, I’d be giving birth to my new life—my life without her.

After we made our way home and notified family and friends of the awful turn in the day’s events, we had received nothing but overwhelming support and love. Even though nothing, no words, or money, or favors would fix our brokenness the presence of our best friends, our parents, and close family members showing up to accompany us through the next few days was a saving grace.

I recall my best friend Leslie showing up and that night. She had asked Jessie if she could sleep with me in our bed as it would be one of the last of two nights she would be able to spend with myself and Paizlee. The next morning, I called my doctor’s office and was told to come in and discuss our plan of attack for the days ahead. My doctor had asked our preferences for Paizlee’s birth, as far as natural or C-Section and I was never hesitant, only confident that I wanted to continue the planned birth plan as outlined. The doctor was accommodating and informed me that a different hospital was willing to admit me the following evening. Unwillingly we accepted. I say unwillingly because I don’t know that there could have been a perfect time for something so unexpected as this. That evening I remember showering before our trip down to the hospital and collapsing and becoming a balling wreck in our bathtub knowing with an overwhelming sense of reality that this was the last time it would be just me and her alone, our last shower together, our last venture out of the house together, and the last time I’d leave the house accompanied by her. But more realistically, the first time I’d return back home without her in my arms like the story of my life was supposed to go.

That night at 6pm, we arrived to the labor and delivery department of W.A.R. MC Hospital and prepared for the most painful moments of our lives. I was induced around 7:30 pm on December 3, 2013 and me and Jessie treated much of the labor process as if nothing had gone horribly wrong at all. My water broke, and I remember actually getting excited and throwing whatever was in my reach at Jessie asleep in the recliner next to my bed. That way he could witness the moments unfolding with me. Shortly after I was in a stage of unimaginable discomfort accompanied with excruciating back labor. I remember telling myself that the labor pains were a perfect cover to cry about what really hurt me the most, my shattered illusions and my sleeping daughter about to enter the world. I was finally able to sleep once I received an epidural but that soon wore off and the time was ghastly approaching where Paizlee would enter the world. Sadly, this was once a moment I was so anxious to finally encounter only now I couldn’t have wished away more. I could not grasp how the feelings of anticipation to meet her for the first time and finally witness who she took after most, me or her daddy, were still feelings of pure happiness and not that of avoidance as I had surely presumed they would be. I remember feeling her head start to crown and yelling at my mother to hold my hand. I was without a doubt about to finally give birth to my first baby. After a very short pushing phase, Paizlee Rione Rix was born sleeping peacefully into our world.

handShe was everything I imagined she would be, perfect, beautiful, and peaceful. When she had entered the doctor’s arms for Jessie to cut the cord, I still visualize them literally rolling her out due to the umbilical cord been wrapped around her neck several times. After they cleaned her as best as they could seeing as she was in the “de sloughing” phase of her development, this resulting in her skin being very thin and white, similar to the appearance of a third degree burn victim. However, I never saw any of the negative or imperfectness I just mentioned while understandably others might have. I admired a beautiful sleeping baby, my stillborn baby. Paizlee was so tiny weighing only 4lbs. 5 O.Z.s and 19” long. She was born at 12:21 pm and was the perfect portrait of everything my heart imagined and more. This was probably the hardest part for me because I only had so much time to spend with my newly formed family before the local funeral home would arrive to take her away from us forever. We took pictures as a family and several members of our journey also took turns admiring the angel we now called Paizlee. An hour or so later, faculty members came in and informed us that we needed to decide where I wanted my daughters remains to be taken and how I would like her services to be handled, via burial or cremation. More so, the difficult task of having to fill out her death certificate and not her Birth certificate. I recall asking staff members why I was not able to take part in filling out both certifications, and they responded with, “Well it’s in result of the fact that she was not a live birth”. That was so awful to have to accept. She had lived, I felt her, I knew her, and we loved her unconditionally for the last 8 months of our lives. Everyone else could say what they wanted amongst whispered exchanges, but my daughter lived, even if it was only inside my womb. Paizlee still existed. That was one of the monumental barriers to breach was the input of others’ opinions and medical facts labeling false thoughts on such a sensitive situation, all babies, despite born still and sleeping were still humans with heartbeats. They still lived a life.

Three pm rolled around and the staff had come in once more to repeat that the funeral home would be arriving within the hour to remove Paizlee and that she then would be transferred to a different room intended for post birth moms to share with their significant other and enjoy a fresh cooked meal and good night’s sleep. The gesture was well intended but nothing would comfort or distract our attention from the day’s horrible outcome of events. I couldn’t salvage any courage or emotions strong enough to be the last one holding Paizlee, when complete strangers would arrive to separate Paizlee and I for forever. I couldn’t find it in me to survive that by choice and now looking back I deeply regret my next choice made, but I had cowardly asked my mom to do the unimaginable favor and to comfortably hold my daughter in the wake of waiting for the funeral home to arrive and hand them world wrapped in a tiny pink blanket. At that very moment, I honestly was in shock and can’t say I was thinking anywhere close to rationally, if I had even been thinking at all. After the dreadful deed of waiting my mom’s presence rejoined us in the room and validation that I’d never lay eyes on my sweet baby again hit me harder than anticipated.

We chose to have Paizlee cremated for the purpose of being able to have her with us wherever we go in life and not have added guilt for not being able to visit her grave if we had ever relocated in the future. This was almost guaranteed going to be the case for the sole reason that our worst nightmare took residency there now, not the happily ever after we had planned.

The state of Arizona had regulations for infant fatalities which enforced them to perform a medical autopsy to diagnose the cause of any sudden or unapparent fetal death. Because Paizlee died in the womb and was almost at full term, they performed an autopsy and when I finally got her cremated remains on December 20, 2013, those results too were handed to me with her small, baby pink, three soaring bird, engraved urn. The memorial home coordinator explained to us that anywhere her remains traveled so did that paper. The paper consisted of all her information very similar to a birth certificate, aside from the fetal cause of death notation towards the lower left of the document. Jessie and I weren’t aware of Arizona’s laws or relations pertaining to the sudden infant death occurrence, so as we began our trek home and I started to inspect the documentation, I stumbled upon the answer I had been waiting almost three weeks to hopefully find. Paizlee’s cause of death was labeled as that being Chorioamnionitis. In plainer terms, it’s defined as being an infection of the amniotic fluid which is mostly acquired during or from prolonged labor. While I didn’t encounter prolonged labor at any point in my entire pregnancy, I however did have run ins with several urinary tract infections (UTI) and in May of that same year, was hospitalized with a severe kidney infection for three days with no clear answer to what was even causing them to begin with. After I repeatedly read the definition in my head, I tried to think back to when I had any situation that resembled the symptoms of this prognosis. Symptoms of Chorioamnionitis were high fevers, uterine tenderness, abnormal vaginal discharge, fetal tachycardia, and maternal leukocytes being above or below normal range. As I processed all the terminology, I was almost paralyzed with the realization I had retrieved. Weeks prior to finding out my daughter had passed I was at home with Jessie when I was suddenly hit with an intense migraine, so severe I couldn’t look at lights or even keep simple solids or usual fluids such as water down. It was completely out of nowhere and I tried to handle it in the same matter I did any other time I had gotten a migraine, someway though this was different. Jessie took me to the same hospital, Valley View Hospital, where I had my fetal demise test done. The doctor that had taken me through the ER wasn’t an actual doctor nor was he an OBGYN, rather he was a Physician’s Assistant (PA). Usually this type of title wouldn’t have bothered me before but being as pregnant as I was and him as plainly inexperienced and “new” as he was, I should have spoken up and requested to be transferred to Labor And Delivery or to be evaluated by an OBGYN, but I didn’t. I would look back to this event and painfully kick myself wishing basic common sense would have been present at that moment. However, I cannot change the past. No one ever can.

Once I was checked into the Emergency Department and explained my symptoms to the nurse and then the again to the doctor in charge of seeing out my care, I was hooked up to an IV and given intravenous pain medication called Dilated, and Zofran for nausea. I was sketchy to accept the pain medicine because I knew all too well from being a previous addict of pain killers and recovering addict, that this was a controlled III substance recognized by the FDA and that it was indeed some very strong medication. Trusting however that my doctor was doing his job properly and with the care of my daughter’s health priority, he reassured me that this late into my pregnancy it wouldn’t cause any harm to fetal development as long as I wasn’t using it or abusing it on a daily basis. For some reason this at the time made a lot of unexpected sense and so I continued to allow him to treat my condition. After the medicine was administered I have to admit I felt a million times renewed and was purely thankful for the relief of pain he had given me. I was discharged a short time later and the doctor ran down my course of treatment both at the hospital and what to do to for continued care at home as well as the symptoms to keep an eye out for as to avoid any further trips to the E.R. The doctor then handed Jessie the release paperwork and then he quickly added that he did the task of sending over a prescription for me as well for the preventive manner any symptoms should return or even worsen. I looked at it and looked up at Jessie and said “Really? This doesn’t seem very safe to take being pregnant.” The doctor had written me a script for Norco 10/325mg for pain and Zofran 8mg for nausea and vomiting. I was skeptical to take the Norco for more reasons then I feel needed explaining, so we picked up my medications and fortunately, I only needed to take one or two Zofran tablets over the course of the next week and was more than willing to discard the Norco’s and dispose of them with whatever means I felt necessary. Reflecting back to this significant event, I wondered heavily if it had been a factor of the medications administered to me that night that contributed to the death of my unborn child. Was I at fault for this? Why, if I had my doubts, didn’t I announce them and demand a different course of care? Why didn’t these medical professionals check on Paizlee via ultra sound or heart Doppler at any point in my visit? They should have evaluated her current health state before my own. That’s just basic medical procedure.

I was stirring in all these unbearable guilty thoughts, in turn making myself literally feel on the edge of insanity. I needed those answers to my unending questions. I needed someone or something to place blame upon for my devastation and loss because this doesn’t just happen to people for no given reason. Well, as I would learn, it does unfortunately and sadly there is no one person or particular event I can credit with the sole blame, not even myself, despite the fact at times I wish I could, just to have something to hold accountable. Paizlee just inherited a severe infection of amniotic fluid which she was surrounded by and grew dependent on as a living source. Now, reflecting back I can see with clear eyes and not clouded denial, that there was nothing me Jessie or anyone could have done to save her, and had there been anything to be done, we without doubt had done it. The only thought I still accompany almost daily is had I demanded the ER doctor to check my daughter’s wellbeing at any point during my visit, would it have changed the course of my daughter’s future? Could that man have initially discovered that my unborn baby was in fact experiencing tachycardia distress as result of infection, and performed an immediate C-section to save her life and the life of my family? I will say with all the confidence cloaked on my shoulders this, regardless how many points of time I can find some tiny detail I didn’t remember before, or rationalize the entire situation to the most minute moment, I can’t at any point go back to then. It’s not possible and it’s not fair to keep torturing myself with these what if’s anymore, instead appreciate the what is facts in my life and to one day find the strength in my own journey and grow from it—to make it chapters of your life and not your entire novel, to find purpose whether it seems desirable at the time or not. Don’t let one loss define who you are.

The desires to start the grieving process and move forward with our new normal was surprisingly strong. Not that I was quick to rushing the tragedy into the past but more so to save ourselves from falling into the tempting holes of darkness and depression that with our current condition, we would not live to see it back out to reach manageable, healthy living again. We were without choice handed a bad hand of cards at the doing of an unfair dealer, but despite what we felt was unfair or cruel to us, it was what it was and growing from it was the only tangible positive option we saw to take. And so, together, we did.

The roughest encounters of my new life began the day we returned home without our precious baby. Life didn’t seem real and the events of the days before felt like I lived in someone else’s life. All too much of my life and everyday miracles were taken for granted. I always felt invincible to the harsh cruelties of the world. Until that day that is. I remember walking into our room and then into Paizlee’s nursery just two feet away down the hallway. Starring emotionless at clothes my daughter was supposed to wear, toys she was supposed to learn and play with, and an empty bassinette I would never retrieve her from like I was meant to. I deserved to have her alive, not the replacement of agonizing misery I had brought home with me instead. It took me what felt like years to gather up the guts and face the reality of our new normal and take on my grieving process head on and pack up the shattered remains of her memory. I just didn’t want to but I knew deep down I had to for any real chance of survival in moving forward and doing so in a positive and healthy way. The first morning I woke up without her, the powerful urgency to throw my indescribable pain on paper was engaged, and I wrote for the first time in a very long time, and I felt every word as bold as it showed on my word template.

December 16, 2013 @ 11:57 am.
Last night was the first night I slept at home without you.
I keep waking up and hoping that the last few weeks haven’t been true
I think about you every second of every day
I wish you didn’t go and that you were still with me and daddy to stay
I feel so alone without you and dreading the upcoming day in which you were due
I cannot believe I let you go and I’m not with you.
I sat in your room and just cried so much today
Mommy can’t bring herself to put all your stuff away
I want to wake up from this awful nightmare and be happy again
I want to wake up to you kicking me every now and then.
The hardest part is not even being able to say hello to your beautiful face before we had to say goodbye
I don’t think one day will ever pass were I’m not balling my eyes out, desperately asking god why?
Why do all these people get to have their babies and I don’t?
People keep reminding me that one day I’ll understand but deep inside I know I truly won’t.
I feel like I failed you because I couldn’t do anything to save your little heart
I try my best to stay strong for Daddy but I’m honestly falling apart.
You were part of me for 8 long months and we made it through so many hard days.
I and daddy went through so much to ensure that you would see the world, breathe your first breath and grow to be like us in so many ways.
I know one day me and daddy will have another baby and you will forever be his or her big sister and they will one day learn what we have suffered through.
But always know my sweet Paizlee, no one on earth can ever replace you.
Mommy and daddy are trying to be strong and waiting for the next couple days so we can finally bring you home in your tiny beautiful urn, and wear our necklaces with a piece of you for the rest of all time.
My sweet gift of you, Miss Paizlee, is forever and always will be mine
We all miss you and love you so very much.
One day I will kiss you and hold you close, one day again I’ll feel your touch.
Until that day know you’re always and eternally in my heart and on my mind
Me and daddy are always here and are love is never far behind.


Although Jessie and I had almost surrendered numerous times to lingering devastation sustaining from the loss of our daughter, now coming up on it’s four year anniversary this December, we rose above it. We overcame the dark days to see the light on our better ones. Love is to be credited for this achievement. Love is the key piece to every struggle and barricade we ever come across in our days spent beside one another. Giving up was never a rational option. Learning to understand that we would grieve differently as individual people and how to comfort each other’s bad days was the best lesson ever taught to us along this journey. I can say for myself at the time this was not a situation ever to be justified with “God’s got a reason behind it”, or “everything happens for a reason”. Now I can see how these statements are found to be learned over time. In the mist of your world falling apart your main goal is to survive by any means possible, not to think or pay attention to anything other than that one goal. However, looking back at all the rubble we have risen from then looking down to where we currently stand, I realize the purpose of it. We wouldn’t be where we are now without have being where we were then.

In the four years that have lapsed between then and now, I can’t say I regret the experience because even though I lost more than I choose to recall, I also gained from the tragedy. Paizlee Rione Rix brought me purpose to my life. She changed me from the day I learned she existed inside my belly. The simple fact that I never met this angel and she changed my entire life, motivated me to become a believer as opposed to the doubter I once was. Paizlee brought out a warrior in me that I at times, can reflect upon and confidently credit the strength being that of my very own. I have people ask me on a daily basis, “How did you overcome that?” “Did you stay with the baby’s father?” Or the one I used to hate answering most, “Was she your only child?” Well, needless to say I overcame it by acknowledging and accepting it, not shoving it off to the side and pretending it was someone else’s nightmare, despite most times it truly felt that way. I learned to properly recognize when my fiancé was being affected by the loss and to be his supporting shoulder and find an alternate time to announce or handle my own grieving. I fully understood the steps and phases of healing this open wound and that anger was my first one taken. Try to find the positive points in the process. Your loss is not anyone’s fault, not even your own. Sometimes things go wrong. They don’t come with reason, they just unannounced show up on your lap. It’s just the course of life and no one ever stated it was going to be fair to everyone if at all anyone involved.

Fortunately, in my story I was blessed with a dream come true and revived faith that if I wanted something enough I could one day possess it. We tried and tried to get pregnant for three long years after the loss of our daughter and finally had fallen tired and exhausted to the reality that we may never be parents again. At first this was all too much to be admitted on both ends with acceptance and was a harsh slam to our damaged relationship. We decided mutually that if this was a path fate would take us down in our future we would have to just let it come when it was ready, even if that day never came to us at all. So we didn’t intentionally stop trying but we also didn’t focus our efforts to try like before, as I felt maybe the pressure its self could have been an underlying factor in why we couldn’t conceive again. Then unexpectedly in November of 2015, as a tasteless joke I had taken an old pregnancy test I stumbled across getting ready to move out of my old apartment. I almost passed out from shock when I read the test strip and it read POSITIVE. We were finally going to have our family once more, only this time, I wouldn’t let tragedy decide my destiny. I deserved this child, we deserved this child. We were ready as ever, to where looking back now, we might not have been as prepped as we had imagined then. The new baby’s arrival and anticipation behind it was just as strenuous on us as the grieving of Paizlee once had been. We did although do it and handled it very differently than one another. I was very hands on and nested as the loss in my past hadn’t stole that excitement from me before, I prepped and prepared much more and enjoyed and lived above average for every little moment as well as documenting the new embarked journey every step of the way. Jessie however excited as he had been portrayed a much more feared preparation approach. He wasn’t going to be fully on board with his heart and anticipation for this new life until he himself witnessed it unlike before. He wasn’t ever unsupportive or uneasy and snappy when I was in his ear about all the little things I had to get right this time around and all the activities we should embrace. However, I could feel the fear revisit every day until our new daughter joined the world. I can best explain my outlook on this new pregnancy by saying I had a fresh set of eyes and a new motivation to be a mommy again. I was not going to let fear penalize what may very well be the last time I got to experience the joys of becoming a parent. I didn’t want to look back at the end and regret not taking steps or doing certain activities in fear my doomed cloud of bad luck would reappear. I wasn’t afraid of losing my baby this time. Maybe this stemmed from the change of environment, or the move back to home in California, the comfort of being with my normal OBGYN, and mostly the growth of us as individual people, and as a couple. Our love has become unbreakable and stronger than ever before. We love without guarantees of promised tomorrows as well as value and appreciate all in which we presently possess. I strongly believe that was the purpose of Paizlee. To change us into whom we are, to unite us as one, and to prepare us in witnessing the elegant miraculous illumination of a rainbow after going through the unbearable misguiding hardship of the ugliest storm. The purpose of Paizlee was to honor our journey and welcome our new daughter, to welcome our Rainbow baby.

jessie michelle rileyAlmost exactly four long years later, we still have each other, and have added one to our family too! Our beautiful smart and indescribably perfect daughter, Riley Rione Rix was born on July 7, 2016 at 8:04pm it was a Thursday, and a day we will never forget. Riley weighed 7lbs 1.4ozs and was 19” long. She was absolutely everything we dreamed healthy and thriving to be a part of the world. Riley was born and placed into my arms and for the first time in my lifetime I felt put back together. I was complete for the very first time. That was my purpose in a bundled blanket. Riley is now 15 going on 16 months old and the only thing I can say I really still struggle with is paranoia. I always fear that something I do wrong will hurt her or even kill her; although I must credit myself on the fact I have improved very well since her first day’s home with this fear. I have my mommy overwhelming, stressful, irritating moments just as every other mom does, and try to be grateful for all the not so cute moments we greet together. Riley has cured my broken heart but not replaced the big sister she will always have. I love both my girls just as much as I knew I would. I take every day on as a blessing and know internally that at any given moment, just as before, things can alter and demise. This I shall never allow myself to forget. I am honored to have been Paizlee’s mommy and not a day goes by I don’t think of her pretty face and long for her powerful embrace. I miss her terribly even all this time later. The way in which I allow the tragedy to affect my daily life is the way I can digest the saying, “Time will heal all wounds”. Time in fact heals the fresh sting of the wound, but time also is what lapses and educated my young inexperienced mind of the unfairness and hidden beauty in this life. I am forever grateful to be the person I am now and so blessed to possess the blessing of discovering my purpose, The Purpose of Paizlee.

michelle and riley

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