As many of you know, today was an international day of rememberance for babies lost due to misscarriage, pregnancy loss, or infant loss such as SIDS. Some of my students organized a candlelight vigil in honor of Ayden and other families who share our story and our tragedy. I will have to write more about the vigil later, but I did want to share a link to pictures that were taken at the vigil - you can go to Lauren's Home
Below is my portion of the events. I gave addressed the crowd and told them about Ayden, SIDS, and where we are right now as we continue to take it day by day.
When I was seventeen, my English teacher asked us to write about the plan we had for our lives….the track we saw ourselves taking. This was easy for me; I had had my life planned out since I was young. My plan included this:
- I would go to college to become a high school English teacher
- I would get married when I was 22 to a man who shared my faith and lived by good
morals and values
- I would do my best to live my faith and be a positive example to the students in my
-I would have my first child when I was 26
I have lived every single one of those goals. Up until almost two months ago, my life had gone as planned. Everything I had accomplished had happened by God’s guidance in my life and my obedience to His will. It had all fallen into place. Until that day…..
But before I address that day, I must go back to the happiest day of my life. On April 26, my birthday, I woke up knowing that this time, the contractions were real. I was so excited! I had had the perfect pregnancy….healthy, on track, never a complication. And to top it all off, Ayden was coming on my birthday….or so we thought. All day, I waited for the contractions to get stronger, but it wasn’t until late that night when we would finally get into the hospital. Did I mention we were excited? I couldn’t tell you what one of those contractions felt like….all I cared about was that we were going to meet our little boy in a matter of hours. After 36 hours of labor, Ayden came on April 27th. He decided he needed a day all of his own. It will forever be the happiest day of my life.
He weighed 7lbs 14oz, and he was 19 inches long. The pediatricians said we had a healthy baby on our hands….he looked fantastic. We were so proud. We were also terrified. What were we going to do with this little person? We had to take him home…he was ours….it was our responsibility to give him everything he needed. The day we took him home was so scary to us. It was up to us provide for him and keep him safe. We quickly adapted and learned that it really wasn’t as scary as we thought. We learned that being parents was what we were meant to do.
As a newborn, Ayden was so full of expression….always making some interesting faces. He was also holding his head up better than most newborns, which I found to be so unusual. I have been around babies all my life, so I was accustomed to how they develop and the stages they reach and when. He always seemed to hit the milestones earlier than expected. At four weeks old, he was smiling away at us and by 6 weeks…other people. At 8 weeks, I believe he laughed for the first time. At 3 months he was holding his head up on his own, fully supported by himself. And by 3 and a half months, he was able to roll to his side on his own and was beginning to get the hang of rolling to his stomach. He was so talkative….speaking baby language of course. He would have conversations with us and just talk and talk and talk….and laugh and coo…..so full of life. If I could describe Ayden in one word, I would say happy. He was just happy, all the time. We never dealt with colic or much fussiness with him. He would cry if he was hungry or tired…but that was it. He loved to just sit with us and laugh and play. He loved to lay on his play mat and kick until he wore himself out. And bath time was his favorite time of the day. He would splash and kick and enjoy every second of it. Bath time came with some of his biggest smiles. Just a joyful, happy baby.
Ayden saw the mountains and the beach this past summer. I’m so glad we did those things. He experienced family vacations, going out to eat, visiting friends, running errands, going to church, visiting family, going to work with Mommy, visiting Daddy at work, even his first baby shower. So many people met Ayden in four months…..and now, I’m so thankful for that.
I won’t say much about August 25th except that it is a day I hope I never have to repeat again. No one should receive that news. No one should have to hear those words. No one should have to be walked into a room to see her child lying lifeless with teams of people desperately trying to help. No one should ever have to hold that little child praying for a miracle. No one should have to feel this lost.
Our hope for all of our children, however many we have, has always been for them to live lives that reflect Christ. To live lives that honor Him and the will He has for their lives. Most importantly, our hope is that they attempt to help change this world, even if it’s one person at a time.
In four short months, Ayden did that. He fulfilled every hope we ever had for him. We are so very proud of the imprint he has made in so many lives. Remembering Ayden means cherishing every minute with your kids…even the frustrating ones. Remembering Ayden means hugging them a little tighter….spending a little more time with them. Remembering Ayden means realizing that the little things are not important…petty differences, he said/she said, the mess left in the kitchen – it doesn’t matter; it isn’t important; it can wait.
SIDS is something I educated myself on early in my pregnancy. I knew a lot more about SIDS than most. I knew that SIDS was not suffocation, nor was it a heart malfunction. There are many other theories, but they are without substantial proof (many of which I can personally disprove). SIDS is unexplained and mysterious. We can’t pinpoint a cause. It is also unpredictable and unpreventable. We did everything right. We put him on his back to sleep, we kept dangerous objects out of the crib, we did not co-sleep at night, we dressed him comfortably, he didn’t sleep with a pillow or stuffed animal anywhere in his crib, we don’t smoke. All the risk factors were not applicable in our household. But it still happened to us. That’s the scary part. As a parent, you do everything humanly possible to make sure your child is safe and protected from harm, but there is only so much we can do. You can’t prevent the unpreventable, and unfortunately the unpreventable is what we’re dealing with.
I am able to make it through each day because I trust a God who carries me through. I used to pray over Ayden every night, sometimes multiple times throughout the night. I would pray for his protection and safety and for his health, but I would also pray that God would help me trust Him and understand if for some reason Ayden needed to be taken from us. It was my biggest fear, but I knew that it was out of my hands. I could only do so much. I knew that if God decided Ayden’s time was earlier than I had planned, I would have to accept that and trust Him. I never believed I would be living that prayer….those words I spoke to God every night on my son’s behalf.
I continue to rely on my faith, but I won’t lie to you – it’s hard. There have been times when I have felt angry and bitter, and I have argued with God until I couldn’t argue anymore. Those arguments are often onesided, but I know He hears me, and I know he aches and his heart breaks just as I do and mine does. This was all in God’s plan…..definitely not mine. I have to trust that God is preparing us for something bigger….perhaps he was sparing us from something worse happening. Who knows. But one day, I will know, and I will hold my little boy again. We will laugh and talk and play and best of all, we will worship together forever.
Although Ayden had to leave our lives to soon, we feel blessed to know that he never knew the ugliess of this world. All he knew was unconditional love and happiness. If nothing else, I find comfort in knowing that.
We know we will see Ayden again. He is waiting for us in Heaven….just waiting to see us again and share with us why he had leave us so early. I long for that day…. But until that day comes, we will continue to ask why, and we will continue to say, “we just don’t understand”, and we will continue to live with a little less joy in our lives. Something like this stays with you for a lifetime; it’s not something you go through and then just move beyond…..it stays with you forever.
At the opening of the school year, Mr. Frazier shared with us a theme that he hoped to use for this school year. The theme was letting your light shine. I have seen many shining lights throughout all of this. We have received support from friends, family, our church family, and colleagues. People provided meals, groceries, cards, gifts, and books….anything they could do that they thought might help. Individuals have had lunch with us or have taken us out for coffee…just to catch up and say, “I’m thinking of you and praying for you.” I can’t tell you how touched we have been by all of you. Especially my students who have shone their lights brighter than all the rest. When I walked into the gym and saw almost the entire student body in white shirts and blue ribbons, I was amazed beyond belief. I couldn’t believe that they had all come together and had done this for me. And now, with this vigil….honoring us and families in the community who have lost children in infancy or pregnancy. This is awesome, and such a testiment to the kids we teach here at this school. I have never been more proud of my students. Thank you all for your support, encouragement, thoughts and prayers. They have been what has gotten us through each day. We are so blessed to be surrounded by so many people who care about us and just want to see us make it through this. We will….because of you and because of Ayden. I hope our story has touched you and that Ayden has left an imprint on your life forever. He will always be our first child, our sweet, sweet boy. We look forward to seeing him again very soon.