I am a wife and mother. I married Travis the summer of 2007 and life really took off. We welcomed our first born, Adrian Reese, June of 2009. We welcomed our second born, Ainslee Ryan, October of 2010 and had a short time with her. She was taken from us in February 2011, just 3 months and 10 days old, from the silent killer called SIDS. 6 months after she passed away, we found out we were expecting our 3rd, due in April of 2012. Our rainbow baby is a girl, sweet Hadlee Hope. We're slowly picking up the pieces and learning how to fit grief and happiness into this crazy thing called life.
So the day we had Hadlee was wonderful yet so nerve wracking. We left our house that morning at 6:10 to get to the hospital. My mother in law had come to stay with Adrian while he continued to sleep. I was anxious how he was going to take this whole thing. We were driving to the hospital and the song "Over You" by Miranda Lambert came on the radio. The part where it says "but you went away, how dare you, i miss you, they say I'll be okay, but I'll never get over you," really gets to me. It reminds me of Ainslee. I was having such strong emotions of missing her in that moment yet trying to fight it and not give in to the grief. I wanted that day to be about Hadlee and the joy she was going to bring us. I didn't want to muddy the water with this grief that has consumed most of our life the last year.
As we pulled into the hospital parking lot, it was all surreal. We were walking into this hospital for the 3rd time ready to have our 3rd baby. We checked in and everything moved pretty quickly. There wasn't any down time. I felt myself getting so nervous and anxious. I didn't know what in the world we were doing there. It all just seemed like a strange dream. Losing Ainslee, fighting grief, having Hadlee. What were we doing and was this right? It was so confusing.
The nursing staff was all aware of our loss and embracing it. Then it was time for me to walk to the OR. I hate the walk to the OR and having to leave Travis. Travis is my comfort and I wish he could be by my side when they did my spinal and prep me for delivery. As I waited on the table and had to get my spinal, I remember thinking Ainslee is here. She gets a front row seat at the birth of her baby sister. As the needle went in my back I kept breathing thinking, this is for Hadlee. The anestesiologist hit a nerve and my right leg went shooting out, not pleasant. As the spinal was complete, they laid me back and began to get everything ready. They got the blue screen up, had my arms out to the side on the OR table, and escorted my sweet husband in. He's always so sweet when he comes in asking if I'm okay. They started cutting on me and the pulling, tugging and pressure began. I've had this done twice before only this time was a little different. I started to feel everything. I thought I was going to vomit from the pain. The spinal didn't work as well as it should have and caused windows of feeling among my body. As they made their way down to Hadlee, they started saying they see lots of hair, and had to grab the vacuum to position her better to pull her out. Travis stands up the entire time watching his baby girl being born. I lay there trying to breath from the pain. And as she comes out, I hear my doctor say, "She's here. She's big. She's healthy." When I heard her cry, I could breath. Travis immediately was taking pictures and video taping. They cut her cord and brought her to me and placed her on my chest. I was staring at this beautiful black haired baby girl who we had desperately prayed so hard for. She was here. Our hope.
She lifted her head off my chest and took a look around. She was so curious about what she was doing here. I couldn't believe she was here. I couldn't believe we had just had our 3rd baby. I never imagined having 3 babies at my age. But, then again, we didn't plan losing Ainslee and when we lost her, it changed everything.
In recovery, I nursed Hadlee. 18 minutes on both sides. She did great. The pain was still pretty bad since my spinal hadn't worked the way it should. We were in recovery for about an hour and a half and then it was time to go to our room. Adrian was waiting on us and I couldn't wait to see him and let him see Hadlee. He was walking next to my hospital bed the entire way, holding onto the side rail. It was so cute. He had the biggest smile on his face. He was proud.
That was a memorable day. I had a cake for Hadlee and we sang her happy birthday. We had our priest come to the hospital to bless her and say prayers over our family. And we celebrated a day in our live that will be remembered for something positive, something good. We are starting to build new good memories.
Due to all the excitement of having Hadlee, our families were running around trying to gather all their belongings as I came out of recovery. One of my camera cases got left behind and it happened to have all my memory discs with every picture I own along with every video. I have all the pictures for the most part saved, but dont' have any of the videos. That means all of my Ainslee videos are gone. I don't have one. Adrian's first Christmas, the funny things he would say growing up. Our only Christmas as a family with Ainslee. It's just awful. I have felt so incredibly sad about this. I'm not sure I can get over the grief associated with losing such a special thing to me.
While we were in the hospital I was constantly feeling like my bottom was numb. I didn't sleep any in the hospital and thought that my numb bottom was due to the awful hospital bed. When I got home I noticed I was having a hard time walking and it was impossible to bear any weight. One night prior to getting in the shower, I noticed that my entire lower back surrounding my spine was swollen. I thought the swollen area was pushing on my sciatic causing the numb feeling and additional pain. It's been a difficult recovery and a hard c-section. My first two were not bad like this. But, I think I am starting to slowly get back on my feet.
I've been telling Hadlee about her sister Ainslee and every time I do I get so emotional. My emotions are at an all time high. I feel sad a lot about various things but they are getting better. I can't wait until I feel 100% and am able to lift Adrian and be more involved with his care. I miss him and he's right next to me. It's an odd feeling.
Hadlee is a great baby. She is so sweet. She is a great nurser which I am thankful for and I hope it stays that way. Sleep is slowly starting to come better. I have her on the angel care and have a snuza. she sleeps in a bassinet right next to me and so I can just reach through the slats on the bed and hold her hand or touch her in some way. It is comforting to me. I'm thankful every day for another day with her and keep begging for us to grow old together. We are so glad to have her here and a part of our family. Her presence is much needed. And it's so sweet to see Adrian with her. We are happy and blessed.
Hadlee Hope Soppe arrived safe and sound. She was born on Thursday, April 12th, 2012 at 8:28 am. She weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces, and was 20 1/4 inches long. My birth story was quite interesting and my recovery has been difficult. I will blog about it soon. But for now, I wanted to just say how wonderfully blessed we feel to have Hadlee a part of our family. She fills our hearts with joy and love. I see her sister and brother in her. The times I see her sister in her, it's bittersweet. I love nothing more than seeing Ainslee shine through her little sister. And it then reminds me of all we are missing with her. But, Hadlee has come and she fills us with more hope than we can imagine. I am so in love with this little girl. And I am beyond grateful to have her here. Here are a few pics from her Birth day. :) Enjoy!
Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. You need to remember that when you find yourself at the beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up...and it will too.
I've put a lot of faith in Hope and in the possibility of good things to come. Taking the leap of faith to trust that if we give hope a chance to better our lives, good things will surface.
St. Paul would write to the early Christians about their faith journeys referring to their trails, tribulations, and suffering. He encourages them by referring to faith, hope and love as armor "putting on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet that is hope for salvation" (1 Thessalonians 5:8). It's ironic that the helmet reference is used to protect our heads, which contains some of our craziest thoughts. I've seen that my thoughts in this last year are often consumed with grief which then leads to various other thoughts that can consume the way I act, think and feel. This can beat us down. Yet, when covered with a helmet of hope we can put those often self-absorbing thoughts aside and allow the hope we have in the promises of Christ to protect us and ultimately allow us to serve others in our midst. This allows us to be a good example of Christ and His love for us in our lives.
If hope keeps man from discouragement, it sustains him from times of abandonment. Often when you are experiencing hardships, it's easy to feel lost and alone. I love the portrayel of hope being a comfort and shield for us in times of despair keeping us afloat in times of trail, despair, sadness, parting with loved ones. Our trials truly can open our hearts to the hope of being rescued from our trials, if we only give hope a chance to float up and "preserve" us in our faith. It's the middle that counts the most, the story of our lives so to speak. If you look at it like a life preserver, you can put yourself in the middle, allow Christ's love to encircle you, and promises of hope surround you which don't let you sink.
Our Hope will be here tomorrow. She will be placed in my arms and I will look into the face of another daughter of mine, sent to fill our hearts, mend some aches, and provide the promise that hope does exist. It's okay to be scared, unsure, and falter in faith. But if we cling to hope, we have the promise that good things are to come. And that is what will keep us afloat.
Lots of prayers for a safe and healthy delivery followed by filled arms of our sweet baby girl Hadlee Hope. I know that the coming days will resurface many emotions and even bring out some new ones. I'm praying to embrace each one with care, remind myself this is a joyous time, and that Ainslee is with us every step of the way. Tomorrow we become a family of five!
Happy Easter! It was such a blessed Easter for me. It amazes me what one simple year can do. While I still feel incredibly sad and miss Ainslee, I am much more content with where we are this year versus last Easter. I was in a fog last Easter and I do not miss it. I will share more about my evening at the Easter Vigil and all it meant to me. But, for now I wanted to simply share my faith statement that was read at the Easter Vigil.
My faith statement was read during my confirmation. My name was called and I walked to the altar and stood face to face with our Priest. The same Priest I absolutely adore. To my left, our sweet Deacon who also lost a child when she was 2 years old. I was in great company. As the head of our RCIA read my faith statement, I started to tremble, I was shaking. Our Priest closed his eyes, fighting back tears. Our Deacon was so careful with me, escorting me down the altar. He didn't do this for anyone else. The words that were read still moved me to hear. They were my journey. They were my life. It was my faith. And it was because of my daughter.
My faith journey started about 8 years ago upon meeting my husband, but it really took off when we started having children. I had always prayed for a Christian man, but didn’t know that my prayer that would be answered could also be challenging. I decided that the prayer I had prayed for, that I would let it be used for good in my life and embrace what was given to me. A strong Catholic man.
Life was blissful with the birth of our first child and then expecting our second. Our second wasn’t planned for us, but she instantly had a purpose. A purpose that would seem muddied at times, but is crystal clear now. After the birth of our second born, we wouldn’t be a family of four for long. She would pass away of SIDS at 3 ½ months old. And the day she was born into Heaven, I was given the light of her purpose in my life. I was shown that the prayer I had been praying for so long, for God to lead me in the right direction with faith, would be sent to me by Him, through my daughter. We baptized her at 2 months and the day she passed away, I knew it was then my job to continue not just my journey, but hers as well. The day of her funeral, I was already wanting the Eucharist to be a part of me and knew it was nothing I could receive at any church.
The last year has not only provided me with the faith I needed to continue on my faith journey, but my personal journey as well. The support was needed and God led me to the Catholic Church at just the right time. He sent His sweet little messenger, my daughter, to teach her mother her place in the church.
As I partake in the Eucharist, I know that all of Heaven will come down to celebrate such a Holy moment. As Jesus comes down as the heavenly host, and heaven surrounds us, I know that I will be as close to my daughter as I could be in this life.
Each step I take in this faith journey is done for me, for my family, and for my daughter. As I partake in the Lord’s Supper, in a heavenly host, I also am one with my daughter and help to continue her journey as well. Although her life was short, she lead her mother to the Catholic church at a time when I so needed it. Usually we as parents are teaching our children. It’s not often you receive the most valuable life lesson and faith opportunity through a 3 month old. I couldn’t be more thankful for her purpose, for my Catholic faith, and for the life given through the Eucharist.
What is so good about Good Friday? This is the day that is celebrated amongst Christian faiths worldwide, remembering the death and suffering our Jesus Christ. The good in all this suffering, is to remember that Jesus did this for our sins. And because of that act, we are able to celebrate with Him eternally. That is not just good, it's wonderful.
When I think about the cross we bear as humans, I've come to see that there are many people which carry such a heavy burden. I've come to see that we are not the only family that has been faced with tragedy and loss. I've come to see that there are so many families, individuals, that carry their own burdens and that have so many hardships. Some more than ours.
Last year when we lost Ainslee, I thought "Why us?" But, why not us? We are no exception here. We are just as human as anyone else. And we all have our individual crosses to bear. While there are times when I feel my cross is too heavy for me to carry, that's when I let Him do the heavy lifting for me. I know with pain and suffering that it will come and go. But through it, I have really tried to allow Jesus to help me and turn over some of my anguish to Him. He of all people understands what it is like to suffer. To have pain. Anguish. Turmoil.
"My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?"
Even He in His human nature cries out why. God has not promised us a calm passage, but a safe landing. If we believe in Him.
Holy Thursday. What is Holy Thursday? It's the day marking the leading up to of the Easter Vigil. It is a day where Catholics celebrate not only the Eucharist, but Christ's priesthood, His last supper with His disciples, along with celebration of the Passover. The Last Supper was also Christ's farewell to His assembled disciples, some of whom would betray, desert or deny Him before the sun rose again.
John 13:14-17 14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
The Catholic faith still practices this on Holy Thursday. The Priest has 12 individuals in which he washes their feet, just as Jesus told us to do. After, we are all invited to do the same and do for others as Jesus does for us. At this 'Chrism Mass' the Priest also blesses the oil of the Chrism used for Baptism and Confirmation.
"The action of the Church on this night also witnesses to the Church's esteem for Christ's Body present in the consecrated Host in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, carried in solemn procession to the flower-bedecked Altar of Repose, where it will remain 'entombed' until the communion service on Good Friday. No Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection.
And finally, there is the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by the people during the night, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal by Judas."
The above information is so profound to me. As our Priest wrapped up the body of Christ, and processed out of the church tonight, holding it almost like a casket, I wept. The procession followed, the church sang a solemn song, flowers were carried out following the procession. So many emotions overcame me. There's the emotional side for obvious reasons of being pregnant. There's emotions for the sheer thought of what Jesus has done for us and how we all strive to be Christ like. There's the hunger of wanting to partake in the Eucharist so badly to have that little piece of Heaven a part of my life. And then there's the utter sad side of me. That remembers Ainslee's procession, the way our Priest was so reverent to her body. How he blessed her with holy water. How he used incense to show his respect for her. He did this just in the way he would for Jesus. I love our Priest so much. He is the most reverent man, so caring, and I absolutely love him. He means a lot to me. He baptized Adrian, Ainslee, and soon to be Hadlee. He did Ainslee's funeral mass. And he will be welcoming me into the Catholic church on Saturday night, giving me my first Eucharist. He was there when Ainslee died. He blessed her as she laid lifeless in my arms and prayed over her. He means a lot to me.
I left church tonight overwhelmed with emotion for many reasons. What a holy night and what a start to this Easter weekend.
Tonight we hit 100,000 page views. That means 100,000 times Ainslee and our family were welcomed into the homes of others. I am so thankful to share Ainslee's story and hopefully help other families who struggle with some of the very same issues know that there is always hope to come. I am so proud of our dear Ainslee and what a big voice she has for being such a little person. God bless her sweet heart. I miss her and love her dearly. Thank you all for your support and checking in on us constantly. We do this blog in memory of our precious daughter and hope to let her little light shine as much as possible.
Yesterday was quite the adventure here in North Texas. It all started for me at about 1, just as our appliance repairman was arriving. He was taking a look at our stove and I was on my work laptop working. I started to get a funny feeling and knew that storms were a possibility for the afternoon. I pulled up my WAPP application and saw that our area was covered in red, there were various tornado warning alerts, and I thought I'd turn on the tv. Just as I turn it on, my Mom calls to ask if I'm paying attention to the weather.
Just as the picture comes on the tv I hear that all of Tarrant County is under a tornado warning. I instantly panic. It started to pour and in my panic all I could think of was Adrian. He was at his preschool that day. Naturally I left the two men at my house to fix the stove, asked my father in law to meet them at my house, and I was heading straight to Adrian's school. I had to get to him and know he was safe.
I drove like a crazy lady with my Mom on the phone the entire time. Everything around me was a greenish black. And then all of a sudden, the sirens start blasting all around me. I just knew this was going to be it for me. I thought I was either going to vomit, or go into labor. Neither happened. :) But I was the most panicked I've been. I finally got to the school, one door was locked and had to run around the building to the other office doors. I was drenched when I got in there and trying to run and find Adrian. They had evacuated his classroom and the panic got worse. I had no idea where he was. I knew they had taken cover but my anxiety was taking over. I ran into the girl's bathroom and there was his class, covered by safety mats, and he was in his teacher's lap. I threw my arms around him and have never felt more relief in all my life. I didn't care if we died together, as long as I was with him to protect him in any possible way. It took me a little bit to calm down, I was shaking so bad. But, having him in my arms was all I needed. We had to stay there and take cover for an hour and 45 minutes. I am so thankful that we are alive, that he was safe, that God got me to the church/school safely, and that our home wasn't touched. Those tornadoes really wreacked havoc on North Texas yesterday. But just like every storm, it has passed and today is a new day. You can absolutely go to the site of the storm and see how much damage it caused and how much it took away from some families. It's just like grief. There's always a new day, but the storm does it's job of leaving it's mark.
On a different note, I am so thankful for Hadlee. Today I saw my dr and of course am measuring 41 weeks at 38 1/2 weeks. I've now gained a total of 22 pounds but that's my last weigh in before I have her! Today was my last appt. I go in next Wednesday for my pre-op and then Thursday we will have her! I've been having a lot of pain so he did a cervix check, and of course nothing. My cervix is very soft, showing favorable signs of dilation but nothing at this point. I was for sure I was going to be dilated. I never dilate to anything. Most women can go in at like 38-40 weeks and be at least a cm dilated, oh but not me. He could feel her head though and was pushing on her head, which caused her to kick me in my ribs.
Tomorrow is my last day of work and then we have a busy weekend! I've felt emotional today. I know there's a lot of emotions coming out due to Easter, my faith journey, and preparing for Hadlee. But one week from tomorrow, some joy will be restored, and I'll be seeing the face of another sweet daughter of mine. I can not wait.
Today I am 38 weeks pregnant! Every day I feel Hadlee moving is another day closer to having her in my arms. I still get paranoid all the time if I don't feel her that we're going to have another loss. I'm sure that's normal to feel and I try not to let it consume me. We have 11 days to go!
I have put on a total of 19 pounds thus far. I had a sinus infection for 10 days that made me not want to eat anything and it took off 6 pounds so I had to gain it all back. Hadlee keeps gaining weight and growing but I've kind of plateaued. I've been measuring 3 weeks ahead, I do with all the babies. :) So, I'm now measuring 41 weeks.
I've got Hadlee's bag packed, some of my stuff packed, her car seat together, her bassinet assembled. Now we just need her here. I go back to the doctor on Wednesday of this week and it may be my last appt.
Today after our Easter Egg hunt at church, we were driving home and Adrian was asking about Ainslee. He questioned if she was still in Heaven and we said yes. He then asked if she could come back from Heaven. It completely shatters me when I have to look at my innocent 2 year old and explain that she is so happy in Heaven and that one day we'll all be there together. But for now, we just have to keep remembering her and doing kind things for her and in her honor. It gets me emotional every time he asks about her. Or at night when he is saying his prayers and he looks up at the ceiling and says Goodnight Ainslee, Miss you Ainslee, Love you Ainslee. It tears me apart and gets me choked up. He is just the most amazing big brother for such a little guy. I've never seen so much love from a 2 year old. He loves his sisters. He already loves Hadlee and plays with her in my stomach. It's just the sweetest thing. He is so deserving of being a big brother to a living sibling.
We are really anticipating Hadlee's arrival and having her a part of our family.
This week is Holy week, the holiest time of the year. We are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and our Hope for eternal life. I can't wait to share my Holy week through Easter with everyone. I wrote my faith statement last night that is to be shared at the Easter Vigil and I will share it on Easter. I hope everyone has a blessed week full of prayer, love and many memories with loved ones.