Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Thanksgiving to Remember

Last year on Thanksgiving day, I remember a few things:

I remember holding you.

I remember rocking you.

I remember nursing you.

I remember our family was so excited to have a new addition to the Thanksgiving table.

I will always remember my sweet Ainslee. I love you and I miss you. I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving my love, and now that you're a year old, I'm sure you're enjoying turkey, stuffing, and everything that goes with a feast. I pray that you are happy, healthy, and full of laughter. I pray that you watch over us as we go into the holiday season. Keep us safe, keep us healthy, and keep us close to you.

Last Thanksgiving....

My sweet niece holding her cousin, Ainslee, on her first Thanksgiving.

Ryan, my nephew, holding Ainslee, my mother in law and my niece

My sweet little Adrian on Thanksgiving day last year playing outside.

I sadly didn't get a picture of our family on Thanksgiving, or a picture of Ainslee and I on Thanksgiving. I thought I'd have more Thanksgivings with her and tried not to be like a "first time mom" since I always heard it so much with Adrian. I regret not taking pictures because now we don't have the chance to take them anymore. I'm at least glad I have these pictures of that day, a very memorable day for me, and one I was always remember and cherish.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and their families. If you're traveling, please be safe.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It is a Small World Afterall

So yesterday when I put up my SIDS information that I wanted to share, I had a friend of mine share it on her facebook wall. I thought it was so sweet that she is just as passionate about it because of all she's witnessed with us. It definitely made me feel supported. As I checked facebook last night, I saw that someone had responded to the post on her page. This is what that response said:

Great post and a wonderful reminder. My brother, Brad, was the firefighter that responded to Ainslee. He said that was his hardest day ever on the job. We have been praying for the Soppe family, that God will give them peace and healing and will BLESS their family abundantly.

I read this and became hot all over, I started to sweat, and thoughts and feelings came flooding in immediately. I have thought about the responders to Ainslee since the day she died, and I've always wanted to thank them. They were the only ones there to help her. I haven't gotten the courage up to actually follow through and writing the letter or figuring out what in the world to say. How do you thank someone for trying to revive your child and be with them when you couldn't? I decided immediately to send her a message on facebook....

Hi Stacie. I just saw your response to the post Stacy put on her wall about our Ainslee. I saw that your brother responded to her. There has not been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought about the EMT's and firefighters that responded to her. I have the address down to send them a thank you letter for trying to save our little girl but haven't gotten the courage or the right words to say to write it. I can't believe your brother was there. I have been so terrified that she was alone, that I wasn't there to help her, to be her mother and protect her. I have awful, vivid thoughts that cross my mind about what she was going through and what the team was doing to save her, knowing I could do nothing and wasn't there to protect her. My son was there at the time too when this happened. He was 19 months old at the time. I can't believe your brother was there, I just can't believe it. Can you tell him thank you for me? For doing the best he could for our little girl. I've thought about how that day impacted the responder's life. Since I couldn't be with her when it happened, I have prayed that the people that responded to her cared for her as if she was their own. I'm just in tears. I'm so glad you responded to Stacy's message she put out there. Please let your brother know what him and his team means to us.

Channan Soppe

Her response:

I hope that my response was okay. I just recently made the connection that the famly I have been praying for is Travis Soppe's family. I went to Bell with Travis, although I did not know him well. My heart breaks for you, truly breaks. My brother cared for your sweet baby girl. He was the first responder with his friend Ryan. Ainslee was not alone, he was there and was praying over her even after he handed her to the doctors. He was very worried about you. Brad is my baby brother and one that does not let things affect him. He called me after he left the hospital when he was alone and asked me to pray for you. He knew your first name and Ainslee's name. He told me what happened and he cried for you and Travis. We have been praying for you ever since. He knew your son was at the babysitters. He told me a big focus was to protect your son from what was happening. I want you to know that my brother has done many calls, it is his job, but your daughter was more than a job to him. You and her have affected him more than anyone. You have made him a better responder. There is no thank you necessary. Although, I greatly appreciate it. I know that God has a plan and a purpose although, many times it is hard to understand. Thank you for sharing your story, your heart, and your hurt. You are saving many lives by making us aware. How can I continue to pray for you? As a mom, I cannot imagine what you are going through. Know that there are many people you are not aware of and do not even know that are still praying for your family. My family will remember Ainslee forever.

Love, Stacie

Again in tears, I responded back to her.

Your response was more than okay. It's just been heavy on my heart to either meet the team that worked on Ainslee or thank them in some way but it makes me feel so comforted to know that your brother was praying over her. Thank God she was in good hands. That is so comforting as a mother because I have felt so helpless. To know she was in the care of a Christian person who was using the power of prayer to help her does numbers for me. I still sit here and just cry thinking about all they did for her, to her. The pushing of medicines, the CPR, the intubation. It's just all so overwhelming and sickening. I remember when I was trying to find my way to the ER, running around the hospital and finally saw the ambulance that brought her there, there was a man standing by the ambulance as I looked in the back frantically for her. He told me they took her inside. He looked young. I was thankful they let us go into the ER room with her while they worked on her. That day forever marks the most awful day for us. We are definitely still trying to recover and I'm sure it'll take alot longer to do so. It's now been 9 months, feels like yesterday, and we'll soon be approaching her 1 year mark. I just still have a hard time wrapping my head around this and realizing this has happened. Again, thank you for letting me talk to you...and please please, tell your brother what he means to me. When I couldn't be with my daughter, which is the most gut wrenching thing, he was....and he prayed over her. I couldn't ask for more. Thank you.


What a small world. I couldn't believe this girl went to high school with Travis, and that her little brother helped our Ainslee. This of course brought up a lot of sadness, tears, and pain. But I am so thankful to have that communication open and get some of those hard emotions out. I will forever be greatful for the love and mercy God showed, even in such a difficult time. He sent in his prayer warriors to pray over our daughter, she was well taken care of. And of course I would still rather have been with her, to ride with her to the hospital instead of meet them there, but since I couldn't, I am so thankful that Brad and his team were the ones to care for her. She wasn't another job, she was a perfect baby girl, a symbol of life and love. The responders saw that, cared for her, and once again, Ainslee has used her short life to better others. What an amazing legacy she has left and how wonderful for a sweet baby to leave such an imprint on this world.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Safe Sleep Environments for Babies/Children

The (Strict) New Safe-Sleeping Guidelines

Until babies are 1 year old, they should:

Be put to sleep on their back. Always, always, always. At some point, your baby will be able to roll from her back to her front and from her front to her back—and at that point, you can leave her in whatever position she ends up.

Sleep in the same room as—but not the same bed as—their parents. To keep a baby in your room until age 1 may seem… let’s say… difficult, but “these recommendations are most important in the first few months,” says pediatrician Rachel Moon, M.D, lead author of the new guidelines and chair of the AAP SIDS task force. Bedsharing is not recommended at any age, even if you’re using an actual cosleeping device that attaches to the side of your bed. “No bedsharing can be classified as safe,” says Dr. Moon, who adds that babies under 3 months are at a “very, very high risk” of suffocation.

Use a pacifier as often as possible. Pacifiers are associated with a decreased risk of SIDS, perhaps because it may position the tongue in a way that helps keep the airways open, Dr. Moon says. Pacifiers also tend to arouse babies as they sleep (I’ll say! Who else has experienced that sinking feeling every time their newborn’s pacifier popped out of her mouth and woke her up?!), and when babies are able to be easily woken, their risk of SIDS goes down.

Be breastfed. Lots of research backs up the positive connection between nursing and SIDS risk reduction.

Be fully immunized. There may be a protective effect here, too; evidence points to a 50 percent decrease in the risk of SIDS.

Not have anything in their cribs (or bassinets or Pack & Plays) except a tight-fitting sheet. No bumpers—not even the mesh kind. (Chicago now bans the sale of bumpers.) No stuffed animals. No pillows. No blankets. Nothing between the mattress and the sheet to make the surface softer. (“Soft does not equal safe,” says Dr. Moon. “Soft is bad.”) No elevating the head of the crib mattress by propping pillows underneath it, either, because babies can slide down to the bottom of the crib and end up in a position that obstructs their airway, or get wedged between the mattress and the side of the crib.

Not sleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, or sling for more than 60-90 minutes, and even then only under close supervision. Nothing but a crib, bassinet, or Pack & Play is recommended for extended periods of sleep. If your baby falls asleep in one of those other places, Dr. Moon recommends moving him as soon as is practical. Otherwise, they run the risk of sliding or slumping down and boosting the chance of suffocation.

Not sleep with the help of any products marketed as reducing the risk of SIDS. This goes for wedges, positioners, and home apnea monitors. “Parents believe that if a product is sold, it must be safe. They don’t always understand that these items don’t have to be tested or proven to work in order to be in stores,” says Dr. Moon.

She made an important point about why some parents don’t follow safe sleep recommendations. “Everybody thinks their baby is the exception to the rule,” she explains. “They’ll say ‘My baby has reflux.’ ‘My baby was premature.’ ‘My baby’s not a good sleeper.’” But she sees more than her share of infant deaths—at least one per month in her hometown of Washington, D.C. “We have to get the message out.”

Another key thing that I've been told is to keep a fan on to help circulate the air the baby breaths, this doesn't have to be on high or blowing directly on baby. Just enough to keep it circulating. These tips won't prevent SIDS, but they are the appropriate steps to take to make a safe sleep environment for your baby or child. Again, all of these tips are things that we did as parents and as you can see, it didn't save our baby. Sometimes, sadly, SIDS just happens and it's out of our control. However, it's always nice to have peace of mind that you've done everything possible to prevent this and keep your child safe. Don't make excuses for your baby if they "need" to sleep a certain way....they'll eventually catch up on sleep one day, and so will you. :)

You can also click HERE and HERE for more information on SIDS.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Toes Toes Toes!

So, this week has been incredibly busy. I am ready for it to slow down, not sure when that will happen. At any rate, I ended my day with a visit to my OB. His sono machine vs. my sonographer's sono machine are very different. His machine is from like 1902 and you can see basics on it....however, we saw her TOES! What a relief it was to see her sweet little feets swimming so freely.

We followed up my visit with a conversation that actually went well. I was just going to let this appt play itself out and it did just that. We did discuss medication again, and I did tell him he's brought it up a number of times and that if he didn't get the request from me, not to even bother bringing it up anymore. He told me that he forgets if he offers it, and he prefers not to use it, but didn't want me to feel like there wasn't help. He told me that he just genuinely cares about us, and it's hard for him to see us so sad. I explained that while it is hard for outsiders to see us suffer, cry, and grieve, that it doesn't make it their job to fix us. We're not a project and due to the tragedy of losing Ainslee, it's now a life we have to live. And we do it as best as we know how. I explained that I do feel comfortable coming into his office and crying and that I didn't want to feel insane or crazy when I left for letting my emotions out as I see fit. I told him how this pregnancy was wonderful and how I couldn't feel more blessed to have another child. But we are in the middle of a disaster and we're searching for pieces and ways to construct our lives back to "normal." I understand he likes to see the happy pregnant mommy, and I love to be that person. But, our story took a different turn and now along with my happiness in this pregnancy, is my sadness with our loss. He then hugged me and I felt that I left there with a common understanding. I genuinely believe he does care for us, I just think he thought it was his job to fix us.

All that said, I am still going to consult with another OB and after that, make a decision on what I feel is best for our family. If I decide to stay with my current OB, then that will be just fine. I have been praying about it along with praying for what we will name baby "Hope." I do feel God will show me the answers to both and the comfort for each decision we decide on.

On a greater note, I have felt this sweet little girl move around all day long today and what a blessing and wonderful reminder she is to the life we have still to live. When I think about her, I think about her older sister watching over her, guarding her, and protecting her every move. And I just love that her older sister already knows this sweet little girl. To think that Ainslee last was in my tummy and now her little sister is in there is such a wonderful thing. To think that they both were/are in the same place growing in my stomach makes me feel like they are close to each other.

I love this sweet baby "Hope" so incredibly much. She is just wonderful to see, to feel, to hope for. I go back December 7th for my 20 week sono, I'll be 21 weeks at that point and will be so ready to see her and pray that everything looks just great.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A weekend with Pappy!

So this is completely over due; however, here it is...our weekend. So, this last weekend Travis and I planned to head down to San Antonio. I haven't been down there since my Pappy got moved to a nursing home down there. It would be our first time out of town away from Adrian and I was so nervous about this. I almost chickened out many times. But I kept telling myself that I needed to see Pappy, this would be my only opportunity to before the holidays. Holidays are always so important to me to be with Pappy because I know our time is limited. I know everyone's time is limited, but obviously an 88 year old man has numbered days. I don't know when he'll be gone and I want to spend as much time with him as possible. He means so much to me.

We made the 5 hour trip down there on Saturday morning. I was getting nervous as we approached the nursing home. Was it going to be clean? Was the staff going to be nice? Was it going to be "good enough"? Let's be real. There's never anything good enough for the people you love. But, I tried to keep what's best for Pappy in the forefront of my mind and tried to keep a good head about it. We walked in, headed up the elevator to the 2nd floor....and there he was. At the end of the hall, in his wheel chair, waiting. I approached him as he had his back to me and he turned to me with a smile. Oh how I love this man. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. The first thing he asks me is, "have you seen your grandmother yet?" I got nervous and replied, "no." I planned to leave it at that, I didn't know if he was having a memory lapse or what was going on. He then said, "have you tried to call her?" I then replied, "not yet." He was persistent. As he always is with something he's passionate about. "Well you need to give her a call, she wants to see you," he says with his caring heart. "Pappy, remember Mima passed away a few years ago. " He says "yeah, I guess you're right. I just forgot, this is the only time this has happened." I told him she had a very important job to take care of my Ainslee and he got the picture. It was a momentary lapse of forgetfulness, sad nonetheless. I hated having to tell him this, almost like I was correcting him. But know he's still "with it," so if he has these temporary brief moments, I feel like I can still get him back on track.

We spent time visiting with him and took him on a walk around the facility outside with his dog. My aunt lives in San Antonio and now keeps his dog so she can take her up there every day. Here are a few pics of our day.

That night, we had a Thanksgiving dinner at the nursing home prepared by my family. I got to celebrate  "Thanksgiving" with Pappy. Pappy was at a retirement center prior to moving here and because he gradually became a 2 person assist, he wasn't able to stay there in our hometown in Oklahoma which was the driving force behind his move. There is such a difference between his retirement home and this nursing home. The quality of care isn't the problem, that is apparently great and exceeds family expectations. I haven't seen enough of it to make an educated judgement. From what I can see, the other tenants are not as "with it" nor are they able to do as much as he does. They don't look as good as he does. They do look like they would be in a nursing home, like your typical nursing home patients. I wish that there was no such place as a nursing home, with old patients that lose their independence, with quality of life slowly slipping away. It makes me so sad to see other people get old and lose this independence and revert back to a child with the dependence of others. I think it was hard to watch and see that this is what it's come down to for my Pappy. I've never wanted him in a nursing home. I grew up with my mom as a nurse in nursing homes and some of the things she would witness were inhumane, so I can't help but have anxiousness about nursing homes. I know there are great ones, and there are not so great ones. I just wish there was something in between the retirement center where he was and where he's at now.

As we left that day, I just cried and cried. I felt so sorry for him. I miss him so much all the time. He just means so much to me. He's always been there for me, he's provided for me, he's been my father, he's shown me stability, he's shown me what love looks like, he's been a faithful Godly man, he's been what I've looked for in my husband.

I got through my emotions, and started to smile thinking about returning back to my sweet Adrian. Oh it was great to see him. We walked in the door and he had made Mommy something special.

Handpicked flowers out of Grandma's garden in a gatorade bottle. Just precious. "Made you Momma." Oh he is so sweet. I've been trying out my new camera a lot more that Trav got me for my 30th this year, and I think I'm starting to figure some things out.

Tomorrow I go to check on Baby "Hope." I'm now 18 1/2 weeks pregnant. Tomorrow I don't have a sono scheduled, just an OB visit. My 20 week sono will be scheduled for 2 weeks from now. Here's an 18 1/2 week pic from today after a very busy work day.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sorting through the Jumbled Mess

Oh what a mess. I don't even know where to begin to get this pain, insanity, and confusion out. I guess I'll just start from the beginning and hopefully by the end of this I will have some clarity. Either that or remain a jumbled mess.

So yesterday when I was having my sonogram of my sweet baby girl, the sonographer mentioned a couple things that were concerning to me. She just mentioned that she couldn't depict baby's toes yet, and that this one part in the brain she was looking at was there, but she wants to see it more prevalent at my 20 week, along with the outflow tracts of the heart. She saw those, but wants to see them "better" at 20 weeks. Why she thought it was a good idea to tell this mother who has already lost has got me puzzled. I left the sonogram feeling over joyed that God was blessing us with another baby girl...terrified that she would be taken from me also. I also have a subchorionic bleed, a tiny one, but I do have one to say the least. And I'm terrified for that also. I know every mother wants to keep their babies, but Lord, please...I pray, let me keep this daughter of mine.

I wrestled with anxious thoughts last night, fighting the fear. I'm so tired of living in fear. I hate that I worry. I hate that I have this anxiety. And I hate living without Ainslee. The fear is exhausting and I so wish that I could hand it over to God. I think that's easier said than done. If I could literally hand it over, I would. Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows as a human it's not as easy. Those are human emotions that are difficult to escape from.

This morning came and as I still had doubts and fear, I decided to call my OB. I felt his "job" would be to ease the apprehensions, help me get through this phase also. He did nothing short of blaming me for my guilt and my fears, he told me I basically brought it on myself. He said he thought they were doing me a favor by bringing me in earlier to do a gender check but in the grand scheme of it, only hindered the problem. I guess I've now become his problem. He did tell me he thinks she is just fine, that she will be perfect.

He then proceeds to tell me that I need to be having more good days than bad days. I don't even know how to respond to that except to ask,  "have you lost a child?" When you've lost a child, then please talk to me about my grief and about how I should or should not feel. But as if that wasn't enough, he then highly suggests I be medicated for this new condition of grief I have. I need to suppress it and ignore it. I need to get on anti-depressents to have "better" days. It's not that I disagree with anti-depressents, but it's not my choice at the moment for how to filter through my grief feelings. And I especially will not be taking anything during my pregnancy. Those are my personal choices. There are no judgements for those that do. I feel that's what's best for me and my baby right now.

After this, I called the OB line again to ask another question, a question he had brought up during our previous conversation that hadn't been discussed before. But, I am the type of person where information has to register in my head before I really discuss it. It had registered what he had said, so I called to question it again. His nurse called back, also his wife, and explained to me that the sonographer hadn't seen Baby "Hope's" toes but would check that at 20 weeks, it could be a gestational thing. She then told me that I should seriously think about anti-depressents. I can't believe that now days you can't ask simple questions without being viewed as a head case and someone who needs to be medicated. I can't believe I can't cry over my Ainslee without being judged. I can't believe that when someone tells me that they need to check back on certain things at my 20 week mark and I have questions about that and the well being of my "hope" I'm then ridiculed for being a mother.

So, I'm seriously considering finding a new OB. I'm one that really likes consistency and he's delivered my other two babies. I hate change. But, I can't have someone thinking I'm crazy because I'm still grieving my daughter. And if after 5 years, I'm still grieving her, don't judge me. And if after 40 years, I'm still missing my sweet beautiful Ainslee, don't you judge me. ESPECIALLY if you don't know this pain. I would never want anyone to know this pain, but I would at least hope for others who don't know it to be sensitive, especially in the "professional" field.

So tonight our church had a mass for All Souls Day. They happened to have it at the cemetery...the cemetery where Ainslee is buried. Travis and I visited Ainslee first and then went to the service held at the mausoleum. I just sobbed during the first part of it. Grieving for Ainslee, scared for this baby girl, fearful of losing again.

At the end of all this, all the fear and anxiety, I'd like to think that I'm making some head way and gaining some clarity. I'd like to think that I'm going to get through this and that this baby girl will be healthy. And if she's not, we will love her and be so very thankful for another beautiful baby girl. Now that I'm at the end of this post and have scribbled all my thoughts down from the last 24 hours, I still feel like a complete jumbled mess. And while this mess is hard to sort through, I will do it. And I will do it on my own. I will do it with the help from my sweet Adrian and my supportive Travis. I will do it for my sweet Ainslee girl. And I will do it for this wonderful life growing inside me. So, while I may seem like a mess, and my life may seem upside down more times than me, I will do this.