Wednesday, June 29, 2011

8 Months

HAPPY 8 MONTH BIRTHDAY to my sweetest little angel Ainslee Ryan! First, I can't believe you are 8 months. Second, I can't believe you're not here to celebrate. 8 months was a big milestone for me. By 8 months, you're getting out of your newborn look and looking closer to being a year old. The only thing at this point that I have to compare what you might be like at 8 months, is to remember what Adrian was doing at 8 months. I'm sure you'd be doing it a lot quicker since you were a girl and also the 2nd born. You would have tried to do everything your brother was doing, I'm sure.

By 8 months you would be babbling a lot. You would be sitting up on your own, you would be on all fours and crawling around our house. You would be pulling up on so much. I can't help when I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner thinking that you should be at my feet pulling up on my legs. I miss that you're not here to do that. I miss that I don't have the joy of seeing you crawl around the corner, the joy of seeing you play with your brother, the joy of your beautiful face. You are so beautiful-I hope you know that. I'm sure you're more beautiful now than ever. I hope you know how much I love you. I hope you know I had so many plans, wishes, and dreams for you.

Since I can't have a picture of you on your 8 month birthday, here is a picture of what your brother looked like at 8 months so that I can try to remember how he was and imagine what you would be like.

I can't imagine you being this old. I sometimes can't imagine having a 2 year old and an 8 month old. This is how it was supposed to be. I just miss how it was supposed to be.

My dear Ainslee...please know that there's not a minute that goes by that I don't wish you were here. I think about you constantly. I wish you were here constantly. Today was such a hard day for me. I felt so out of control, so sad, so helpless. There is nothing I can do to fix this. And all the while, it seems as if life goes on for everyone else. I hate that life goes on. It seems that if you're not here, life should just stop. I know that it can't stop, and I know that I can't bring you back, but just know that your mother wishes on your 8 month birthday for a little peace. This peace comes through the understanding that our Lord will reunite you and I once again and what a celebration that will be. Until then, my girl, watch over your Mommy, Daddy and big brother. We love you oh so much.

Ainslee Ryan Soppe
***Picture taken at 2 1/2 months, just a month before she passed.


Monday, June 27, 2011

BitterSweet October

October will be here before we know it. I have so many mixed emotions about October. There is so much going on that month that I initially was looking forward to, and now it'll be a painful memory of what was meant to be. I'll go in chronological order so I don't lose track. :)

October 1st- This will be our first annual "Walk to Remember." I have been going to a M.E.N.D. group (mommies enduring neonatal death) and I have met wonderful people there. I hate the reason we were brought together but am thankful for the time we spend together and the stories that are shared. I will be sending out an email soon to all who are interested in participating in this walk. It's not a fundraiser at all, it's simply a time to remember our Ainslee. I've started to gather ideas to get our shirts coordinated so our family and friends participating will all match and be representative of our sweet girl.

October 9th will be my 30th birthday. I thought I'd be sharing this special day with my girl. I was so excited to have both of my babies as I jumped into a new decade-one I was not too fond of. I wish I could just skip over this day.

October 15th is National Infant loss and Pregnancy loss awareness day. This will be a day where all around the world a candle is to be lit. At 7 p.m. in each time zone, if you can light a candle in remembrance of all the lost babies and keep it going for an hour, there will be a continuous light burning for our babies that entire day. For more information you can go to

October 20th is Travis' birthday. 31's definitely not as cool as turning 30! :)

October 29th used to be the day I would have my daughter in her pink tutu with an enormous bow in her hair and celebrating a year of life. Instead, I'll be at the cemetery. I just can't believe this is how we have to celebrate with her. I miss her so much. Happy 1 year Ainslee Ryan!

To top it all off...October is Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month, along with SIDS awareness month. This is a time to really drive SIDS home and teach those who are unaware. I'm not saying we can definitely find a cure, but I know we can all do our jobs to educate.

I came across the following info from another blog that I feel gets the info across accurately:

How to reduce the risk of SIDS
We don’t know what causes SIDS, so we cannot say how to “avoid” it, but we can provide you with the most up-to-minute guidelines for reducing the risk of SIDS and other sudden unexplained infant deaths (SUID). First and foremost, educate yourself and everyone who cares for your baby on how to reduce the risks by following these guidelines:
1. Always lay your baby to sleep face up.
Side and tummy positions are not safe; check with your doctor if your baby has breathing problems.
2. Don’t smoke while pregnant and never smoke near your infant.
While pregnant or considering pregnancy do not smoke. Never let others smoke near your baby. Smoking is a major risk factor for SIDS.
3. Don’t let your baby get too hot.
Overheating is a leading risk factor for SIDS. Dress your baby in as much or as little as you would wear. If your baby is sweating, has damp hair, or a heat rash, he or she may be too hot. Room fans have been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. Consider using a wearable blanket or other type of sleeper instead of a blanket.
4. Lay your baby to sleep in an approved crib, on a firm mattress.
Do not let the baby sleep on soft things, like a couch, pillow, sheepskin, foam pad, or waterbed. Remove all loose bedding, stuffed animals, and pillows from crib. Crib bumpers are not recommended and can be hazardous.
5. Create a healthy lifestyle for you and your baby.
When pregnant, see your doctor often and do not use drugs or alcohol. Talk with your doctor about changes in your baby and how your baby acts.
6. If possible, breast feed your baby.
Breast feeding has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
7. Offer your baby a pacifier at all sleep times.
Pacifiers have been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
8. Put your baby on his or her tummy to play when your baby is awake and supervised.
Make sure someone is always watching. “Tummy Time” is good for your baby because it makes neck and shoulder muscles stronger.
9. Don’t share sleep surfaces.
Adult beds, couches, and chairs are not safe for infant sleep and increase the risk of SIDS, suffocation and accidental infant death. After breast feeding put your baby back in his or her crib.
10. Share these tips with everyone who cares for your baby.
Education is the key to keeping your baby safe
I'll end with the following to try to lift me up before I close....

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." ~Psalm 34:18


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Adrian Reese!

Today is Adrian's 2nd birthday! I can't tell you how incredibly blessed we feel to have spent another year with this sweet little boy. He is such a beautiful blessing and is my personal reason for living. He has seen me in some of my worst moments over the last 4 months and he is quite the little sweetheart. He has comforted me in some of my darkest times...something most 2 year olds aren't supposed to do. He does it naturally. He naturally consoles his mother. It's beautiful.

Today was a wonderful day with our sweet boy. We got up and we headed out to the Fort Worth Children's Museum. We had so much fun and Adrian just loved it. I did pretty well, I wasn't too sad at this point. It was easy to just focus on Adrian...this was His day. On our way to the museum he said Ainslee's name...and then said "in car." I asked if Ainslee was in the car with us and he said, "uh-huh". I was comforted to know she was going with us. She wasn't going to miss out on her big brother's birthday...nothing could stop her from being here with us.

After all of our much needed 3 hour long naps...Both grandparents and our family took our first trip to Chuck E Cheese. Adrian loved it! He had so much fun riding the little rides, climbing through the jungle gym (which Mommy had to do with him)....pretty sure my knees are going to be bruised tomorrow. 29 year olds are not meant for enclosed jungle gyms...but Adrian loved me being in there with him and going down the big slide together. He loved the little shows and loved the "mouse." We ate pizza, cherry tomatoes(Adrian's favorite), and had birthday cake. We had a wonderful time at Chuck E Cheese's. Here are a couple Chuck E Cheese pictures.......

After our Chuck E Cheese fun, it was time to go see sister. Before we left we got two balloons. One for Adrian to keep at home, and one for him to release to his sister. We got to the cemetery and were ready to release Ainslee's party balloon to her. We haven't released any balloons yet to her and so I didn't know what to expect. I had done so well most of the day....and as our sweet birthday boy, our little 2 year old, released a single Chuck E Cheese balloon to his baby hit me. She wasn't here, she wasn't around to celebrate with us, she wasn't going to be 2, or even 1. I just can't believe this. I can't believe she's not here. I want her back, it hurts so bad. Seeing the balloon slowly fade into the sky reminded me of how very far away my girl is. This is what our life is now. Visiting a cemetery to keep her close, releasing a balloon so she has a piece of her brother's birthday, trying so desperately to hold onto her. Ainslee has to know how much not only her Mommy and Daddy love her, but how very much her older brother misses her. I see so much of her in this little boy and am so thankful for that.

At the age of 2, Adrian is doing so much and learning more and more everyday. His favorite things are trucks, tractors, cars, dinosaurs, playing hide and go seek, playing in water, digging in dirt...he's all BOY! He knows the colors red, blue, yellow, and green. We're working on orange, purple, white and black. When he counts instead of saying, "1, 2, 3, 4" he says, "no, no, no, no"'s really funny. I'm so looking forward to watching this little boy grow and seeing his sister in him everyday is just wonderful.

Adrian-Happy birthday to the sweetest boy I know-I love you more than I could ever begin to tell you. You are absolutely my most precious blessing.

Ainslee-I miss you with every fiber I have in my body. I long to hold your body, to feel the weight of you in my arms. Keep a close eye on us, we need you now more than ever. Give your big brother a heavenly birthday kiss, he misses you so.


Monday, June 20, 2011

For God so Loved the World.....

A Very Happy Father's Day to the 3 important men in my amazing Pappy, my ever so patient and humbling husband Travis, and my Father in Heaven.

As I was listening to the sermon in church yesterday, I kept hearing about a "perfect" love. A love that surpasses all understanding. Everytime I would hear about this perfect love and what it consisted of, I kept thinking of my Adrian and Ainslee. I thought about how perfect they are, the perfect relationship I have with the two of them, the perfect HOME I have waiting for me with my ever so perfect daughter and Father.

What I came to the realization of was that no matter how hard I tried, I could never love perfectly. I have loved with all my heart, I have loved with every fiber in my body, I have loved effortlessly. But in this love I have for my babies, for my husband, for my Pappy...this is absolutely no comparison to the PERFECT love our Father in Heaven has for us. HE willingly gave up his son for us. If I was ever to be asked to do that, I could never. He knew His son would be ridiculed, tormented, beaten...and He loved us so perfectly, that he accepted this. To have a love this perfect is unfathomable.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16

Happy Father's Day to all you Fathers..whether your children are here on Earth or patiently awaiting for you to join them in Heaven. My prayer tonight is that you, along with my husband, will have the peace to know that our "perfect" love for our children is understood by our Father.


Friday, June 17, 2011

My Heaviness Began 5.24.2011

PREFACE***This is a long post and also is graphic about what happened the day Ainslee passed. It's raw emotion but remember, it's important for me to remember. I never want to forget.

Just thinking about writing about what happened...the grief..the terrible things we've had to do since Ainslee's been gone makes me so "heavy." I feel a physical weakness, a cool numbing feeling, a heaviness that consumes my mind, body, and heart. I miss my girl when I walk into Ainslee's room. I get heavy. So many memories, emotions and wishes come flooding in. I still can see her sleeping in her crib-I can even feel her in there. Every night, Travis and I check on Adrian before we go to bed and then go to tell Ainslee goodnight. I leave Ainslee's lamp on all day so I feel like she's still here. Last night when we turned her light off, I stayed in her room for a minute. Her night light was on and I felt her there-she should be in her bed sound asleep. I should be next to her in the guest bed, waiting for her nightly feeding.

I cannot believe she is not here. I cannot believe we have to live without her-we have to live this life of pain and anguish. It all still seems so unreal. I can't believe she's now been gone longer than she was alive. We've spent more time without her than with her. How could this be? The pain is so strong-like it's just beginning. I feel so sorry for Adrian. He should be able to be playing with his little playmate. They were going to be the best of friends. He knows she's not here and I can tell he misses her too. I feel like I didn't do my job as a mother to protect her. I could've been a better mother and advocate for my daughter and I wasn't.

The day everything happened was by far the worst day of my life. I've had 2 other calls to date that people I love had died-but that was NOTHING compared to this call...the call that would forever change me...the call telling me my DAUGHTER was lifeless.

February 8th, 2011 was awful. The morning started out as a very normal joyful morning. I woke Ainslee up at 7:15 to get her dressed. I changed her diaper and had her ready for our daycare lady's. Travis fed her a bottle at 7:30-I was mostly breastfeeding but we had to supplement formula too. Ainslee was happy that morning and ate just fine. The last image of her I have is her sitting in her car seat on the dining room table while I tucked her blanket around her so the kids could leave with Trav. I gave my kids a kiss, told them I loved them, and was off to work. I would never, in a million years, would have thought I'd get the most horrific call just 2 hours later.

Travis dropped Adrian and Ainslee off at 8:00 a.m. The daycare lady said Ainslee was happy and smiling all morning and even flashed her a huge "Ainslee" smile before she laid her down. She said she laid her down for her nap at 9:15. She didn't take her paci when she laid down like she normally did. Ainslee always took her paci.

I was at work and was enjoying my morning when I saw my phone ringing. It was our daycare lady. I had no idea that what she was about to tell me would forever change our family. When I answered the phone I remember her saying, "Channan...I went to get our girl up from her nap and she's not breathing."


Make her breath! Dangit why couldn't she make her breath! She said she did CPR without any response from Ainslee. When I found out 911 hadn't yet been called, I literally hit the floor at work screaming No. This just couldn't be happening. She called 911 and so did my co-worker. I was now faced with a terrible thing-I had to call Travis. After telling him, I ran out of the office with 2 of my co-workers. We drove like maniacs to get to Ainslee. I kept trying to call my mom on the drive, called my sister in law, Travis, firefighters...I had to figure out where we were supposed to go. Once I found out I told Travis-we met at the hospital. I remember seeing the ambulance that brought my daughter there. I frantically was searching for her and was then shown where my baby was.

She looked so little-so helpless.

We got to be in the ER with her while they kept working on her. They worked on her for an hour and the entire time we held her hand, rubbed her foot and pleaded with her to come back to us. I could tell she was gone. Her feet were losing color, her cheeks looked chapped and dry, her tongue has the post mortem look. I will never forget that. It's awful.

The doctor came to me and said they did all they could do and she wasn't coming back. Our little girl was forever gone. Time of death: 11:17. I will always hear that in my head. We stayed with her until probably 2 that day. My father in law picked up Adrian for me-I wanted him safe.

We held our sweet baby, kissed her, pleaded with her to still come back.

This is the day the heaviness began...


102 Days of Love! 4.19.2011

Again, I wrote this on 4.19.2011...

Ainslee's 102 "earthly" days were some of the most wonderful days I've ever had. As a mother, having the memories, the hopes, and the love your children, it makes this life worth more than just existing-you actually LIVE life.

I remember when I found out I was pregnant with Ainslee. I thought, "how am I ever going to love her the same as Adrian?" I soon came to find out I wouldn't. The love I have for Adrian and Ainslee are one in the same-yet completely different.

Each child gave me something a little different. Adrian is my sweetest boy-my partner in crime. He is so funny-always can make me laugh. He's my first born and although a toddler-forever my baby. He's my heart.

My precious Ainslee...she is my girl. She showed me a different love. She was completely dependent on me-she loved her Mommy. She would sit in my lap and we would talk to each other and it was one of the most sweetest sounds. When I would nurse her, an entire sense of peace would consume my body. She had such a contagious smile-so beautiful. Her hair was so dark, her eyes were dark brown, like her Daddy's. And when she smiled-so did her eyes. She is my heaven. When I'd give her a bath, I'd cover up her chest with a wash cloth to keep her warm. By 3 months old, she started to come around to baths. She didn't like to be cold. When she was a newborn, she'd like to get in Mommy and Daddy's bed to snuggle. When Mommy couldn't get her to sleep, I'd sit her upright on my chest...soon she'd snuggle in with her head nuzzled in my neck and she'd quickly fall asleep. It was one of THE best feelings. Heaven on earth.

I loved to put bows on Ainslee, and dress her in cute outfits. I think I had her entire first year's worth of outfits bought in hopes of seeing her in each one.

My love since that horrible day has continued to grow for my sweet angel as I'm sure it will continue to do. In the short time she was here, she showed me so much unconditional love-something you don't find too often. I'd give ANYTHING to have those 102 days back....

"God pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise!" ~Psalm 17:14



Today marks the day I am just typing "something" to start this new blog. I've never blogged before but I do have entirely too many thoughts in one brain to contain so I must get them out somehow. The feelings I've had over the last 4+ months are many I've never had before so I think it's time to get them out. Hopefully through my healing, others will enjoy and catch a glimpse of the daily journey/struggle we're on. In preface, I hope to never offend anyone or seem selfish...but some days it may seem that way and I apologize in advance. I've journaled twice since our daughter, Ainslee has been gone and I think today I will go ahead and post them separately to catch you up on a couple of my thoughts thus far. I don't intend to get better through this journey..I intend to get a little bit stronger.