Happy 3rd Birthday, Ayden


We will never forget. You are forever in our hearts...our cherished son. Happy Birthday, Ayden. We love you.

April 27, 2012

I didn't mail out birthday invitations.

I didn't spend the last month hammering out details of the perfect birthday for our soon-to-be 3 year old little boy.

I didn't look for the gift he really, really wanted.

I didn't watch him in anxious anticipation of his birthday - asking about his party, reminding me that his party would be this weekend.

I won't wake him up and tell him Happy Birthday tomorrow morning.

I won't be giving him many, many hugs and kisses tomorrow to show him how much I love him and am so thankful that he came into our lives.

There will be no gifts to unwrap and no birthday cake to enjoy.

We won't see his face light up as he celebrates another year...another birthday.


We've never had those things with Ayden.  Instead, we will

...lift balloons into the sky in his memory.

...thank God for 4 wonderful, beautiful months with a child we cherish and love more and more every day.

...shed tears and feel the ache and pain of living without him.

...we will lift our faces to the sky in anxious anticipation of the day when we will all be swept up to join together in Heaven....forever. For eternity. For much, much longer than we get here.

...we will smile as we think back on memories of our precious son.  Our "sweet boy" who stole our hearts before we ever knew he existed.  


1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The Message (MSG)
The Master's Coming
 13-14And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don't want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus. 15-18And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence—we have the Master's word on it—that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind. In actual fact, they'll be ahead of us. The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God's trumpet blast! He'll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they'll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we'll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Ayden! 
We love you so much and can't wait to be with you again...very soon.

"There will be a day..."

3 years & 6 months

My sweet Ayden,

I dreamt of you last night.  It has been a while since you've entered my dreams.  I welcomed a visit from you, but as all of my dreams of you go....I awoke feeling so low. Because when I wake up, you're gone.  And in my dream, I was fighting to keep you.  That's how most of my dreams of you have been lately.  The past few have been me frantically trying to hold on...something or someone is always trying to take you from me.  I wake up feeling so drained and just sad.  

This Friday, you would have been 3 years old.  THREE years! How quickly time passes, yet the past 3 years have felt like an eternity. Especially the past 2 years and 8 months. Those 4 months with you - life was perfect.  I was the happiest I've ever been in my entire life.  Since you went to Heaven, though, it just isn't the same.  Sure, I've been able to find happiness, and there is so much to be thankful for, but Ayden....I've learned so much about life and loss these past 3 years.  I've learned that life is hard. Loss is hard.  And living both simultaneously is nearly unbearable at times.  I've spent the past week...especially today...feeling the weight of it all.  Yet, thinking of you and that sweet, bright smile brings light back into this life.  I'm reminded of the day you were born...the sheer joy and elation I felt in that moment!  My first baby...the one who made me a mommy and in an instant, stole my heart forever.  That moment will live on forever.  My memories of you are still so, so clear.  Some have faded, and pictures bring me back to those moments, but so many of them are still right there...vivid...so real. It doesn't seem like 3 years have passed in the moments when I'm remembering, but when I'm alone with my thoughts and the weight of it all...it feels like an eternity.

I miss you, Ayden.  I miss you every single day.  There isn't a day that goes by that you don't enter my mind so many times.  You will always be a part of me and of our family.  When I look at Collen, I see traces of you.  The two of you share so many similarities - your smiles, your eyes, that furrowed brow when you're both really concentrating.  He has your same playful personality - that bubbly happiness that is so contagious!  I think you could have taught your little brother a thing or two about patience...because he sure doesn't have any.  You have left a lasting legacy, sweet boy.  Bigger than you could ever imagine.  I pray every day that Collen will "know" his big brother - through pictures, videos, and our stories.  I pray that he will feel the connection to you and to Heaven and that this connection will draw him closer to faith and to Christ.  You are still fulfilling your purpose, Ayden.  I believe that.  You're work isn't finished here, and I believe God will continued to use you.  There is no question in my mind that you were placed on this earth for a definite purpose - we all saw how much you did in such a short time.  I remember perfect strangers looking at you, and I immediately recognized their puzzled look.  I heard it so many times. "There's just something different about him.  He's not like other babies."  They could never put their finger on it.  Neither could I.  But now, I know.  

I hope you know how very much we love you.  Sometimes, I feel as if I may burst with the love that my heart feels for my children.  I ache for you.  My arms still ache for you...to feel the weight of your solid little body...to hear those sweet, sleeping baby sighs in the middle of the night after you've fallen asleep on my chest.  I miss those simpler times when you were here, happy, alive, and I was living in the arrogant world of "it won't happen to us."  I always knew there was a chance, and boy did I fear it, but I didn't think it could really happen to us.  But it did.  And here we are, 3 years later, and another birthday without you.  What a party you'll be having as we lift our balloons into the sky.  I wish I could have just a little glimpse....

And now, you have another guest at your birthday table.  You were PaPa's first grandchild.  And how he adored you!  He only knew his grandsons as babies....I'm just now realizing that.  And being a child at heart himself....it's quite fitting.  I could see his eyes light up when he saw you and when he saw your little brother. Being a grandpa seemed to be his favorite title of all - he called you both "PaPa's man!" And he sure did/does love his little men.  

It has been 6 months for us here without your PaPa.  And it has been a long, hard 6 months.  So much seems to be missing from our lives without the two of you.  But I keep the image of the two of you together in my mind, and the hope of seeing that with my eyes...actually seeing it someday...keeps me moving.  And now, I need to be sure your brother (and your sister-to-be) live with that same hope.  My prayer is that your story will help them see the beauty of this hope.

3 years.  I can't really picture you at 3...as much as I'd like to.  I try, but all I see is my precious baby boy and that big grin that melted my heart in an instant. I love you, Ayden, and we will continue to celebrate your birthday because it marks one of the happiest days in the lives of so many of us.  I don't know how things work up there, but I hope God will let you in on the small celebration (compared to what you get up there!) we will have for you and let you know how much we love and adore you.  

Thought I'd post some pictures I haven't posted in a while.  The first two, Ayden is around 6 weeks old.  In the next, he is 10 weeks old, and the next two, he is around 3 months.  Then it moves to newborn Ayden with me, Jeremy and my dad.  Heaven is now those 2 pictures of my dad and Ayden.  When I "see" Heaven...along with Christ, Angels, and so much more....the image of those two together is one of my first thoughts....one of the things that helps me make it...one day at a time.

Big, deep breaths...

Today was our big ultrasound for Miss Charlotte.  Of course, we already knew she was a girl.  She made that quite clear a few weeks ago.  Today, though, I was anxious to be sure all was well everywhere else.  We saw the 4 chambers of her heart, her kidneys, her bladder, tummy, cute little feet, and she was not going to let us get a profile of her face.  She was much too comfy with her hands up by her face.  She kept turning her face away from us instead of turning so we could get the profile shot.  She is a busy little wiggle worm and kept the ultrasound tech. working trying to see everything. 

 One thing we couldn't get a clear look at at first was her umbilical cord.  Finally, we were able to see it, and we found out that she does not have the typical 3 vessel (one artery, 2 veins) cord.  She has a two vessel cord - one artery, one vein.  If you would like to know what that means biologically, Google it - and read it from a medical website. Basically, it means instead of two veins taking blood away from the baby back to me, there is only one doing that.  The artery is still doing it's job....taking blood to the baby.  So one going in, one going out...instead of two going out.  This can mean different things in different situations.  A lot of time it is an implication of chromosomal abnormalities.  However, I've already undergone that testing, and she is very low risk for any chromosomal abnormalities (she scored even lower than Collen did).  The main thing we will be watching is her growth, movement, and fluid.  I will go in for more frequent ultrasounds, and we will keep track of how she is growing.  So far, she is right on target and looks great anatomically.  All of her organs look good...we couldn't see her hands (just fists), but I did see five toes on each foot.  Everything looks good....just going to have to monitor her more closely.

With all of that said, and everyone assuring me that this isn't highly unusual and most babies with 2 vessel cords end up being fine, I'm still just trying to hold myself together.  At the appointment today, I was able to stay positive and hopeful.  As the day went on, I got more and more worried.  Every possible thing that could go wrong popped into my head.  God knows that I struggle most with fear and worry....if He wasn't testing me before now, I think He definitely is now.  I'm going to do my best to trust Him and His will.  I will believe that the odds are in our favor and give the rest to Him.  It's in His hands ultimately, anyway.  

For the next 22 weeks, I'll just be taking a lot of deep, deep breaths.  I already adore this little girl so much....I need her to be okay.

Some pictures we were able to get from our little wiggle worm...


Sweet little foot :)

Happy Easter

Happy Easter (a day late) from our family to yours. May you be daily reminded of Christ's sacrifice and the promise of Eternity He gave us through the cross.  I spent the weekend feeling overcome with humility that He would give His life for us...as imperfect and selfish as we are.  Heaven and Eternity have been made sweeter for us over the past 3 years.  We long to be there, free of this world.  However, while we are here, our goal should be holiness (we were never promised happiness...and boy is there a huge difference between the two!) and shining the light of Christ to those around us.  I hope your Easter was filled with love, reflection, and cherished memories.

He's constantly on the move these days!

Prayer Request

Many of you have either come to my blog by way of Lori over at "Lori Does Maryland" or you've found her blog through mine. We met Lori and John at David and Nancy Guthrie's Respite Retreat.  If you have lost a child, please check out their website and GO!  It helped us immensely!  And we met people and made connections that helped us survive and live with hope.  Lori and her husband John have a story very similar to ours.  They lost their first son, Matthew, at birth to an undetected umbilical cord issue. They have faced infertility, adoption hopes and disappointments, successful IVF procedures that resulted in 3 pregnancies - their first, Matthew, who renewed hope and joy in their lives and then led to the deep sorrow of the loss of a child.  Next came Luke....who like Collen for us...brought back that hope...but hope that was guarded at times, yet determined to shine through and believe that this child was meant to live!  And little Luke has been an amazing blessing and shining light in their lives and the lives of so many.  I know what Collen is for us....the hope, joy, and amazing blessing he is each and every day, so I know what Luke brings to their lives!  Then, around the same time we found out about our little surprise (who we know now is Miss Charlotte), Lori and John were undergoing another IVF procedure in hopes of conceiving another sweet, precious baby, and it worked!  I was so thrilled to know that we were in this together again.  She and I were pregnant together with Luke and Collen, and it was so nice to have someone to talk to who understood the fear and hope and every other little emotion that comes with a pregnancy after the loss of a child.  And here we were again....carrying little lives again together....remaining hopeful, yet knowing all too well that we aren't promised that this child will live.  Just because we've lost one doesn't mean it won't/can't happen again.  Lori and John are experiencing that now.  Lori nicknamed their newest baby "Dash-3", and the little one's heart stopped beating some time in the past few days.  There are no words to offer in these times that can make any of this better.  It's something we are not capable of understanding....ever.  Perhaps when we meet God face to face, His plan will be clear.  But here, now, it's impossible.  Please lift Lori and John up in your prayers.  They are obviously heart-broken and hurting.  Little Luke will be a welcome distraction as they go through this process, but the pain will still remain.  Little Matthew is playing with his younger sibling....and both will run to meet Lori and John in Heaven someday.   And what a wonderful day that will be...


For those who have just experienced a SIDS loss, the questions come flooding in.  What is SIDS? Why did this happen?  Was it our fault?  Was something wrong with my baby?  I didn't find answers to all of my questions, but the following resources may help you gain a better understanding and also help you feel less alone in what has happened:

SIDS Center

 First Candle

SIDS America - find resources in your state

SIDS Facebook Support Group

Raindrop Memories - based in NC; provide families with special care packages/support items. I love the part of their mission statement that states that they provide:
Tokens of: Honor.Optimism.Peace.Encouragement.

Resources for Grief and Mourning

Rest Ministries

Just Between Us

Respite Retreats/Guthrie Family


These are books that I found especially helpful after losing Ayden so unexpectedly.  People would send books to me, and I read a lot of them, but as I read I began to see what type of healing I needed, so I searched for the books that specifically fit me and what I was craving.  What helps you through this process is personal to your experience and your beliefs.  These books helped me grieve with HOPE.

This book....oh, this book.  Look no further if you want to find hope in the darkest of times.  This was a go-to book for me, and I am so thankful it came into my life at the perfect time. This one is a must!

This was by far the most helpful of all of the books I read.  I cried, laughed and grew so much stronger in my hope.  I loved it because it was real.  I was feeling what she was feeling.  I could touch the pain she expressed in her words because it was the same pain I felt daily...minute by minute.  If you don't read any other book, read this one!