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.
February 8th, 2013.....2 years. I can't believe our 2nd year is complete. The week leading up to February and to the 8th made me sick to my stomach in anticipation. I knew it was coming, and I knew there was no way to avoid it or sleep through it all. The night of February 7th I felt the sadness creep in and after putting the kiddos to bed, talked to Travis for a bit on the couch. I began saying how much I am missing out on Ainslee. I miss her being 2 years old. I think about what type of bedtime routine she would have and how she would wake up in the morning. Would she play for a bit in her crib or would she be in a toddler bed? Would she say "Momma" and I'd go to her rescue...would she want to immediately get on the couch with a sippy cup of milk and watch a show? Or would she want to get in bed with me to snuggle a bit and wake up slowly. Would she want breakfast right away or want to wait a bit and what would she want for breakfast. How would her voice sound and what would her smile look like. I hate not knowing. That made me so sad. That night I went to sleep wishing I'd wake up and it'd be a dream, knowing I couldn't be that lucky. The next morning, I woke up to the babbling of Hadlee and walked out to see Adrian on the couch with Daddy snuggling. I reminded Adrian what this day was and he was so excited, "It's Ainslee Day!!!!" He was so excited to celebrate the life of his sweet sister and I was glad to see his happiness in this moment. My goal was to celebrate her life, not dwell in her death. Even though February 8th will forever be a sad day, if I drowned in the grief and sadness, I won't be able to be the best person I can be. We went and got Ainslee flowers and balloons and first went to the cemetery. We let her balloons go to heaven, gave her flowers, and prayed as a family to have glimpses of happiness. We then headed off to the Fort Worth stock show. We had such a good time. I did have a moment of sadness out there thinking what if Ainslee is sad she's gone, and we're just off celebrating. I tried to push that out of my head and keep saying let's do fun things for Ainslee. We talked about her all day. We always talk about her as if she's physically here with us all the time and we are truly a family of 5. Adrian loved seeing all the animals, the big cows, the sheep, the pigs, the goats. Adrian just HAD to hold these baby goats but in order to hold a baby goat, you had to purchase a $12 picture. We of course said okay. So, he sat down and had one goat on his lap and another one standing right next to him. Just as the photographer took his picture, the goat thought his hair looked quite appetizing and decided to start eating it. Adrian got tickled with laughter as the goat enjoyed his hairy snack and the picture turned out priceless. My $12 laugh was a memorable one and I am so glad we have that funny memory. After all the animal fun, we went over to the carnival and ride area to have fun riding rides! I got to ride a roller coaster with Adrian and it was his first roller coaster ride. At the end of the day, we thought we'd buy Adrian his first pair of cowboy boots and they are adorable! I carried Hadlee most of the day in the baby bjorn in front of me and she seemed to really enjoy all the things there to look at. She took a little snooze in my arms and I found myself staring at her and finding such hope and healing in that moment. I remembered 2 years ago when we lost Ainslee holding her lifeless body in my arms, returning to a cold empty home, having to pump and wean myself of breastfeeding. Fast forward 2 years, I was looking down at Ainslee's little sister Hadlee and admiring how beautiful she was, alive and breathing in my arms. I was still breastfeeding and able to give Hadlee that milk. Travis and I really enjoyed our time as a family on this day that is sad. Through the sadness we were able to remember our sweet Ainslee girl. We talked about her. We loved on her. We celebrated her. We will always celebrate her. And she will always be a part of our family. Another year has gone by and I will say more healing has definitely taken place. We will always miss her and be sad she's not here. We'll always wonder. Travis and I were talking at dinner tonight...Hadlee was already in bed and Adrian was eating with us. We were discussing how Adrian and Hadlee will be 2 grades apart. If Ainslee were here, we'd have all three children in back to back grades. That means in high school we'd have a 10th grader, an 11th grader, and a 12th grader. Life would be wonderfully chaotic. I told Travis that we're always going to miss her and the what if's and how things should be. I guess it's come to a point where we have to accept some things here and there in order to allow this loss to be a part of our lives. Every day is still so different, but we are surely using this loss for good and allowing beautiful things to come of it. We are wonderfully blessed and for that, we are truly grateful. We love you and miss you Ainslee girl!