It makes me happy to be able to honor this beautiful Momma. Erica is so extremely thoughtful and always remembers everyone’s Angels birthdays. As a loss Mom, having someone remember your angel, is like gold. I woke up on Averie’s 2nd birthday to a beautiful birthday wish from Erica to us, and it 100% made my day. Read her story and join me in celebrating and honoring her!
Name: Erica Ibanez
Angel baby: Emma Ibanez
Type of loss: Neonatal Loss, Born @ 23w1d
Home state: California
Best advice you’ve received: To take it one day at a time and embrace all the emotions that may come.
Favorite place you’ve ever visited: Hawaii
Biggest accomplishment: Being a mother to two beautiful girls.
Ways you honor your angel: I am constantly looking for ways to include Emma in everything I do. I like to donate to charities in Emma’s memory, join Walks/Runs such as Forever Footprints and March for Babies, finding other moms just like me so we can talk about our babes, using Emma’s name when putting in a food/beverage order just so I can hear her name, looking for anything related to Stars and Dream Catchers because they always remind me of her, the list goes on. But of everything I do, the biggest thing I’ve done have been donating Memory Boxes and celebrating Emma’s friends birthdays.
Here’s why: I left the hospital without a baby in my arms and was given a box instead. I didn’t think much of it until I opened it a couple days later to find photographs and everything that touched Emma’s beautiful little body. My heart rejoiced and broke at the same time, all over again. I cried over every. little. thing. Her belongings always bring me back to that very day, back to her. It’s because of this memory box that I’ve gathered meaningful items to make ‘Emma’s Love & Care Packages.’ So far, I’ve only donated 3 times (a total of 32) to the NICU. I do it in hopes that when it reaches a future hurting family, that they know they are not alone, that their baby is not alone, that they too can feel the way I felt when I held Emma’s belongings. Prior to losing Emma I used to have a love for DIY party decor and birthday cards, but after she left I had no desire to be that same creative person. I was robbed of my 1st daughter and didn’t feel like celebrating anything ever again. But after finding so many mamas on IG who knew my heartache, who openly shared their beautiful little babes with me, it was then that I felt inspired to celebrate them on their birthdays. So, on the night of their birthday and when my house is quiet, I’ll make them a card and light a candle to celebrate and remember them alongside their beautiful families. Having met these moms and knowing their children, has helped heal my heart a little more and I am so grateful for them.
Describe yourself in 4 words: Wife, Mother, Loving and Broken.
What food you’ve never tried and why: I’m an open minded person when it comes to food and will try anything at least once. If I had to pick though, it would be to never ever have escargot, again. Snails. Ugh. I just can’t.
What inspires you: My sweet darling girls, Emma and Mila. I’ve never felt driven to do anything until they came along. They’ve opened my eyes to a whole new world.
Prior to Emma’s arrival, I was considered high risk and was put on bed rest due to the (emergency) cerclage not holding up. Turned out that Emma and I had a septic e.coli infection and my medical team had to act fast to save us both. She arrived extremely early at 23w1d on April 11, 2015. She was so tiny that she was considered a micro-preemie who weighed in at 1lb 4.1oz. She was small, but was fierce. The NICU team even said she was a fighter and she was responding well despite being so young. When I visited her that night, I felt a sense of calmness wash over me as she waved her leg in the air. It was as if she knew I was there and she was saying ‘hello mama’. I managed to get a few hours of sleep after that. The next morning as I was learning how to pump, Mike came through the doors with a NICU nurse following close behind. I was told Emma’s organs were failing and I had to make a difficult decision that no parent should ever have to make. I rushed to be by Emma’s side and we kangaroo’d until we were ready to let her go on her own. Emma passed away on my chest on April 12, 2015. A part of me died that day too.
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