Friday, February 24, 2012

Amber's Birth Story - Welcome Baby Braxton

With every Annie & Isabel designer hospital gown that we send out, we always think about each individual who will be wearing the gown. It may sound corny, but we almost feel a reverence for our gowns as we press and fold them for mailing. While we package each hospital gown, we are thinking...this gown will be a part of a very important day in someone's life. Will it witness a baby's first cry? Will it aid in a strong recovery? Could it comfort someone and their loved ones during the last days of a life? We truly send our love along with each order and hope our gowns add to the joy, peace, and comfort of these important life events. Long after an Annie & Isabel hospital gown has been sent out, we continue to think about each customer which is why we especially cherish the feedback we receive from so many of our "warriors".  We find inspiration through the strength and beauty of all the women who grace Annie & Isabel hospital gowns and share their stories. Each story motivates us to keep on doing what we are doing and by sharing these stories it helps spread the word about our company so other women can choose dignity and style in the hospital. We have really become a village!  

When someone posts a picture to our Facebook page or on Twitter we are SOO appreciative and overjoyed. That is how we "met" Amber. She posted this fantastic photo of herself laboring the halls hand in hand with her supportive husband. Amber then shared with us a slideshow of her birth experience. It was amazing. We felt the highs and lows of Amber's labor with her in her Anita designer hospital gown. The Anita gown was the perfect backdrop to such a memorable day for her. Amber really loved her gown and she was nice enough to share her birth story and experience in an Annie & Isabel hospital gown with all of us. It is so beautifully written and made us both a little misty eyed! Thank you Amber!! 

"I first saw an Annie & Isabel gown on a blog that I read well before I even thought we might have a third baby. I loved the idea of having your gown that made you feel pretty. Then we found out we were expecting our 3rd blessing in October of 2010. The first thing I told my mom was that I wanted a custom gown. I knew there was more than one company making them so I started my search for one in a fabric/pattern I liked that came in a plus size. I decided on the Annie & Isabel Anita gown. I absolutely fell in love with the purple edging. 

Due to some family circumstances my mom was delayed in ordering my gown before my baby shower.  Luckily the  wonderful ladies at Annie & Isabel helped my mom and expedited the package. It arrived just in time for my baby shower Mother's Day weekend with a hand written note of congratulations. No one at my shower had seen a custom hospital gown so it was fun to show it off.

When I packed my hospital bag my Annie & Isabel gown was right on top so that I could change into it at the hospital. That day came June 14th 2011. I drove myself from my midwifes office to the hospital.  My water broke at noon while I was waiting for my husband, my mom and two older kids to arrive. I got to my room and changed into my gown and immediately got compliments from the nurse checking me in.

As my labor continued we walked the halls of the hospital. While others were wearing the normal green & white hospital gowns with the open back, I walked confidently knowing that my backside was covered! Many patients and nurses complimented that the gown was so pretty and asked where I purchased it. I should have put a stack of business cards in my pocket. I hope that some of them went home and looked up the gowns. I think the pocket was one of my favorite features. I had my iphone in my pocket the whole time to stay updated with my friends and to track my labor.

I wish that my story ended with my baby being born as I wore my Annie & Isabel gown. Instead I had to be taken for an emergency c-section almost 11 hours after my water broke.  My loving L&D nurse changed me out of my gown right before we went to the OR so that nothing would happen to it. At 11:18pm I heard my baby cry and my midwife announced "It's a boy" (the gender had been a surprise). We named him Braxton.

I had not packed for an extended stay in the hospital, so I ended up changing back into my Annie & Isabel gown when I was finally allowed out of bed. It was nice to feel pretty again and cuddle with my little guy. Over the next 2 days each new nurse raved about my fabulous gown. It didn't interfere with the I.V.'s or blood pressure cuff and I was able to easily nurse my new baby. It was bittersweet to take it off as I changed to go home. 

Thank you for being such a great memory in our unforgettable birth story."


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Cancer Is Not a Gift, But It Brings Many Gifts With It"

So I am getting closer to my surgery to remove the second half of my thyroid and I am so looking forward to having that date behind me. It’s funny….I keep wishing for the days leading up to surgery to go by quickly, yet as each day passes, I also get more nervous. I am not the kind of person that likes to wait for things to happen. I would like to get it done and know what the future holds for me. I want to have a plan, conquer it and move forward. The waiting, however, has given me some precious time to think . I have learned a lot in these last few weeks of having cancer.

I’ve been told so many times that I am lucky to have Thyroid Cancer. It is one of the most curable cancers you can have. Don’t get me wrong, because I do feel grateful that my cancer is the “lucky” cancer but, then I think to myself, there is NO lucky cancer! Cancer just plain sucks. It is an unwelcome disruption in my life. It has made me cry a lot. It has caused a lot of stress. I’ve dealt with some insomnia that I was lucky enough to never have experienced before my cancer diagnosis. Cancer has made my children worry about me when really the only thing they should be worrying about is doing their homework, having fun and being kids. Although my husband doesn’t say it, I know it has been hard on him too. It’s been hard on my entire family. It is going to cause me to have more surgery, pain, exhaustion and an isolation period, away from my family when I will be “glowing” from radioactivity. The lucky cancer is going to cause me to have countless blood draws, scans and doctor appointments for the rest of my life with always the possibility that I will have a reccurrence and more surgeries….. and the list goes on. I could dwell on all of these negative things but then I think about all the positive things that have come out of this diagnosis and there ARE many.

Through Annie & Isabel, I had the pleasure of meeting a woman who has been battling cancer for over 20 years. In fact, I wrote a blog post about her because she was so inspiring to me and now, her strength is something that is helping me on a personal level. Her name is Molly and she has fought her cancer with grace, humor and strength. She is definitely someone to look up to when you need a boost. So I wrote to her after my diagnosis, and she told me something that really struck me and I’ve found to be so true. She said, “Cancer is not a gift, but it brings many gifts with it.” You may wonder….how can cancer bring any gifts? When I was first diagnosed, I would never have understood how cancer could bring ANY gifts. There is nothing good about the word cancer, yet it has indeed brought so many gifts.

The greatest gift I have received from this diagnosis is a huge appreciation for my life, my children, my husband, my family, and my friends. I’ve always known I have an amazing family but, with this cancer diagnosis, I am reminded of what a gift they are.

Prior to cancer, I took so much for granted but now I try to listen to my children more, listen to them talk, laugh, scream, cry, and even fight. I appreciate my husband so much more. I feel blessed that I chose to marry him over 16 years ago….the best decision of my life.

My parents, whom I know felt so sad to hear I had cancer, have been with me every step of the way for doctors appointments, taking me out to fatten me up, watching the kids and just loving me.

I can’t even begin to tell you how lucky I am to have my sister, Selena. She has had her own heart wrenching problems recently and, yet, she is ready to take on cancer with me and do whatever it takes to make sure things are done right. She is the best sister, advocate, and friend and her love is unconditional. She is such a wonderful gift to me and I appreciate her more than ever.

A recent doctor visit - bye bye thyroid!

I’m still not perfect and I know I will continue to take some things for granted, but I feel so much more love for my family since my cancer diagnosis because I now know, first hand, how fragile our lives can be.

I have learned that the best medicine is laughing. Doesn’t laughing always make you feel better?? My kids do a good job of helping in that department. If you have a good joke, send it my way. I’ll take all the laughing I can get now. I’ve also learned that turning the music up in the car and singing with the kids does a body good! I doesn't get any better than singing Rock 'N' Roll Lifestyle from the band "Cake" right??  (Sorry if you get a little dizzy watching this....that's what happens when you let a kid do the video recording!!)

I have been given the gift of such a huge community that has truly surrounded me in love. I cannot thank everyone enough for all the well wishes, cards, thoughts, prayers, hugs, encouragement, family dinners etc., etc ., etc.!! I feel so blessed to have such an amazing amount of support because it has made this whole cancer diagnosis so much easier for me. You know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child??” I have come to realize that it also takes a village to kick cancer’s butt! I am one of the lucky ones because I have a huge village of supporters.

As I gear up for surgery on the 29th I’m thinking good, positive thoughts. With my own strength and the strength of those around me I will get through this challenge and I WILL WIN!! I’m not going to say that I won’t be a little scared throughout this process, because I am, but I think CANCER might want to give a second thought to who it is messing with here!! I am ready for the fight and I have a whole army of people who are standing behind me for this battle.

Last weekend, my parents watched our boys and my husband and I were able to get away to our favorite beach destination, Santa Cruz. There is an older roller coaster there that I have grown up riding. Joe and I got on that roller coaster, for once with no kids in tow. We screamed and laughed as we rode over the old rails of the roller coaster. We felt so good and alive!

So here I am on my daily life roller coaster now and I want to remember to scream and laugh and enjoy the blessings of the ride that my life has dealt me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

{GIVEAWAY} "EveryTHING Happy" Makes EveryONE Happy!!

Annie & Isabel has partnered with an amazing company to bring you a sweet Valentine's giveaway this week. The company, Everything Happy, also known as Happy Blankie, is one that we have been wanting to share with our fans and customers for a long time. Whenever we come into contact with a company that not only has fabulous products, but more importantly, a great mission, we get so excited.  That is what Everything Happy is all about. 

The idea behind this company came about in 2008 by a 7 year old boy named David who knew that blankies and stuffed animals made kids happy. From this thought, he came up with the idea to make blankies in the shape of animals. His family helped David take his idea one step further by not only helping him create a company selling adorable animal blankies, but also teaching children and adults the art of giving to others in need. For every blankie bought by a customer, Everything Happy donates a second blanket to a child in need. What is so special about Everything Happy is that they allow the customer to pick who this second blankie is sent to from a designated list of places Everything Happy has chosen. We think this is so wonderful because, while the company knows how important it is to spread happiness to others, it helps their customers also see how special it can be to give to others. What an amazing lesson to teach your children!!! They call this program "One to Love, One to Give".

So now the fun part! We have partnered with Everything Happy to provide two facebook giveaway packages which will include one large LOVE BLANKIE (shown below) and one Annie & Isabel designer hospital gown!! Everything Happy will giveaway one package on their FACEBOOK wall and Annie & Isabel will giveaway a second package on our FACEBOOK wall. 

Happy Blankie and Annie & Isabel designer hospital gowns are a perfect pair, don't you think? Our designer hospital gowns keep you dignified and stylish in the hospital and your silky-soft Happy Blankie will guarantee to make you and someone in need smile! 

Here are the ways you can enter this contest:

1.  LIKE Annie & Isabel's FACEBOOK page AND like the this contest post on our wall.

2.  LIKE Happy Blankie's FACEBOOK page AND like their contest post for this giveawy on their wall.

3.  You can get a bonus entry on each facebook page by hitting the share button below the contest post and saying "Go LIKE Annie & Isabel and LIKE Happy Blankie on facebook to enter a great Valentine giveaway for a large Love Blankie ($96 value) and an Annie & Isabel hospital gown (up to $80 value)"

4.  You can also tweet about the contest saying "Enter @annieandisabel & @happyblankie giveaway to win a large Love Blankie& a designer hospital gown worth up to $176 here -> "

Lastly, since it is Valentines week, we would love if you shared on our walls a special Valentine's story or write about an incredible person who is going through a difficult time and why they/you would be blessed by winning this drawing.

You can enter on each page but you can only win one prize package. Contest is only open to U.S. residents. This contest will run until midnight PST on February 20th. Winners will be announced on each of our facebook pages on February 21st. Good Luck!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Elizabeth Designer Hospital Gown is ON SALE!

This post is bittersweet. We always knew the day would come when we would have to say goodbye to one of our designer hospital gowns. The Elizabeth has been dear to us, because so many women have purchased this gown; some to welcome a beautiful new life, some to fight the good fight, and for some it comforted them in the last days of their life. We will forever cherish the stories of these women....our Annie & Isabel warriors.  

To make room for our new Elizabeth designer hospital gown...we are putting our first Elizabeth gown on clearance! We have sizes M, L, and XL in stock. They are currently on sale for $45 {regular price $68}. If you are interested you should order soon, because we have a feeling they will sell fast! {These could make great Valentine's Day gifts for last minute shoppers - hint hint!} Thank you everyone who loved our first Elizabeth gown. We are excited to introduce our brand new Elizabeth very soon. We have them and they are beautiful.

Here are some of the beautiful women who so gracefully wore our first Elizabeth hospital gown... 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Connie Welcomes Beautiful Baby Boy in the Anita Hospital Gown

We just love sweet baby boys and when a new mom is celebrating the birth of her third son, we get SO excited for her! Boys are all that we know. Between the two of us we have six of them, so we know that the bond between brothers is a magical thing. We received this beautiful testimonial and pictures from Connie. She looks radiant in her Anita designer hospital gown! We want to thank Connie for sharing this special memory and gorgeous family of boys with all of us!!!   

"There is something special about being able to wear a hospital gown that makes you feel beautiful at a time where you may feel a bit out of sorts. We have three wonderful boys, but I was only fortunate to wear an Annie & Isabel gown on the last go around. What a difference it makes to be wearing something that you feel good in. Thank you so much for adding to the beauty of the experience of having a child and I look forward to sharing Annie & Isabel with friends and family." ~ Connie

Congrats Connie!!  You have a beautiful family.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Annie & Isabel ~ The Stylish Alternative to a Hospital Gown on Pinterest

Guess what...we are on...

Follow Me on Pinterest
{follow us by clicking link}

If you or a loved one has been in the hospital and was 
forced to wear a to standard issued hospital gown... 

We think you might want to pin this! 

If you don't know what Pinterest is, it's the fastest growing social 
network at the moment...A virtual pin board of all your 
favorite things found on the web and SOOO addicting!

{read more here}

Happy pinning & thank YOU!

If you'd like to pin your favorite hospital gown...
please check out our selection HERE. You never know...
someone you love might look at your pins and treat you to 
dignity, comfort, and style during an upcoming hospital stay!