Saturday, January 14, 2017

Five years.

It's been FIVE years since my baby took his last breath in my arms.
This has been a tough one to swallow.  I'm at a crossroad between being so happy with my 2 sweet boys and being so sad because I am missing one of them.

I still remember the night before/morning that Tripp died.  He was doing so bad.  I knew it was coming, I just didn't know how much longer we had.  The night before, I put him to bed like normal and fell straight asleep with him.  Usually, a typical night would consist of me waking up and having to suction him about every 20 minutes, but the last week or so he had been so exhausted and he's breathing was much more shallow, so we weren't waking as much through the night.  But this night, I woke up at about 3am, just out of the blue, looked over at him (he slept right next to me in my bed) and I knew it was close.  He was pale, more swollen and breathing so shallow.  And for some reason, I never panicked.  I was actually very calm.  I grabbed his swollen little hand in mine, and I started whispering to him.  I told him how very much I loved him.  I told him how proud I was to be his mommy and to be able to call him mine.  I cried. A lot.  And I told him that I didn't know if I could make it without him.  But that I wanted him to be free of his pain and never have to hurt again.  I made a promise to him that I would try my hardest to get to heaven so that I could be with him again.  And I asked him to watch over me, because I was going to need it.  I cried and cried and kissed him a million times.  Then I started to pray.  I started a rosary, and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before I finished it... with tears in my eyes and his hand in mine.

Then I woke up... on my own, without waking to the sound of his trach.  I looked over and I panicked.  He was so pale, slightly blue.  I jumped out of bed and ran to the other side.  I felt and listened closely and he was still breathing, but things were just different.  I ran for my mom, who followed me back in the room and we picked him up gently and brought him into the living room into his rocking chair where we spent all of our time.  I was panicking.  It was nothing like the peaceful feeling I woke up to in the middle of the night.  We were both in tears and not sure what to do.  But as always, Tripp coached us through and ever so gracefully and peacefully took his final few soft gasps and then stopped breathing.  In my arms.  In the rocking chair.  With my mom kneeling beside us.

And I didn't imagine it then (because I was hysterical), but I can imagine it now, that he left his tiny, lifeless body and looked down at us and smiled before the angels led him straight up to heaven.  I just  get chills thinking about his little soul, so mighty and so brave, and finally free of pain, making it's way back to Jesus... and Jesus saying, "well done my child."

When I think back on his death and the way everything happened, I am so grateful for that peaceful hour I spent with him before he died.  I know he could hear me.  Even though he didn't move a muscle.  I know he knew how much I loved him.  I may have been lacking at some things, but I ALWAYS told him and showed him how much I loved him.  And he definitely reciprocated that love back to me.

I'm not sad because Tripp died.
I'm sad simply because I MISS him.
I miss the joy he radiated in the room.  I miss the way he made me feel.  Even when I had the whole mom thing wrong or when I was stressed to the max, he made me feel like I was the best mom in the world.  And I know that sounds silly because he was only a baby, but he knew me.  He could read me and my feelings like a book.  When I was sad, he was so calm and still.  Almost like he was sad too, or like he was trying to calm me down.  And when times were happy... he made them oh so extra happy.  With that drumming, or "lip" singing or dancing he would do.
Tripp lived a life of suffering.
And he LOVED life.
Gosh, he is my hero.
The times that he cried were few and far between.  He only cried at bath time, and rarely ever even cried during dressing changes (until the end).
He was the definition of strength.
And he gave me the strength every day to carry my cross, as I watched him carry his with such grace.

I see so much of Tripp in Crew and Nash.
It's like he kissed both of them on the forehead before he sent them down to us.
I wish with all my heart he could be here in our arms, in our house, with us and his brothers.
But deep down, I know that was never meant to be.

I am so grateful for my faith.
I think about parents who are walking in my shoes all the time.
Do they believe in God?
In heaven?
In eternal life?
If they don't, I don't know how they survive.
Literally, like how are they breathing?
I've had ONE dream about Tripp since he died.  And I wouldn't call it a dream, it was more like a nightmare.  I was driving in my car and someone called me and told me that they saw Tripp (that he wasn't actually dead- he was still alive)...  I won't give all of the details of the dream, but it consisted of lots of panic and crying and hysteria.  I woke from that dream soaking wet and sobbing.  And for that first 5 seconds of waking, I actually thought it was real life.
I imagine this is what every day life is for someone who has lost a loved one and doesn't believe in God and in heaven.  Like a constant nightmare of wondering where they are.
Without my faith, I would be in a dark, dark place.

This five year anniversary of Tripp's death has been hard.
And there is NOT a day that goes by that I don't think of him.
I feel that I've made huge progress in the last 5 years.
But no matter how many children Stephen and I are blessed with, or how many years go by, these anniversaries will always be sad, the holidays will always be bittersweet and I will forever be looking forward to the day when we are ALL together- with no more suffering and no more tears.
But until then, I will obsess over and love and kiss and hug on these 2 little godsend blessings as much as they will physically let me... knowing that their big brother is smiling down on them.
Thank you, Jesus.

I love you all.
Thank you for loving us back.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Nash Michael Alexander


We are so very happy to introduce to you our newest little blessing, Nash Michael Alexander

He was born Wednesday, October 26th at 10:55am. 7 lbs. 11oz. and 19.5 inches long.  I was totally convinced at the end that we were having a girl, so when he came out I was shocked and absolutely THRILLED to be having another sweet baby boy.  

I have totally been on cloud 9 for the past week.  I still feel like I'm dreaming.  I can't believe that we have been blessed with a THIRD baby boy to love.  I cannot wait to watch Crew and Nash grow up together and become best friends.  I can not possibly express in words how grateful and blessed I feel.  I just keep whispering "Thank you, Jesus."  

My friends, God has been SO good to us.  He has answered so many of my prayers.  Not on my time, but on His time.  We have trusted His will and he has blessed us with more than we deserve.  I cannot wait to share our journey with all of you.  Thank you to those who have continued to reach out to me and to all of you who still follow our story.  It truly means so much.  I get teary eyed every day thinking about what I have been through and how far I have come and how CRAZY blessed I am.  This world is scary and bad... but it is also holy and good.  We just have to keep following what is holy and good.  I love you guys! 

"He always gives back to them with His right hand, what He has taken away with his left."
 -C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Crew is happy to announce...

that he and Tripp both get to be big brothers!

Stephen and I are expecting another baby at the end of October.  We feel so incredibly blessed and are so excited about growing our little family.  Though, I don't think Crew is as excited.  Every time we ask him if he wants Mama to have another baby, he shakes his head "no."  Like a lot.  Ha. We had our half-way anatomy scan yesterday and baby looked great.  We decided again that we aren't going to find out the sex of the new baby, though it's reeeeallly hard for me this time for some reason.  I could have been persuaded to, but Stephen was adamant about waiting.  It's definitely more fun on the day of if you wait!  Baby is a MOVER again, just like Crew was.  I feel it dancing in there just about all day long.  I don't remember my sweet Tripp moving as much as these two kiddos.  

Life has been going great.  We have been keeping super busy chasing after our little non-stop wild child.  He loves to climb, dance, and get dirty!  He brings us more joy than I could have ever imagined.  I see SO much of Tripp in Crew.  They have so many of the same mannerisms and Tripp definitely taught Crew all of his dance moves.  Stephen and I just sit and laugh and laugh at him in the evenings.  He dances to the church bells outside, the washing machine, or just our voice sometimes.  Every now and then, Crew will look straight up at the ceiling or at the sky and say "Bubba" just out of the blue.  I cry every time.  I know Tripp is with us. 

Crew is a constant reminder to me that God is good.  He is my little tender-heart.  He loves life and he is the most friendly child I've ever seen.  I call him Mr. America because anywhere we go, he waves to everyone he sees.  He was hand picked for us.  He makes me so happy.  I can't believe how he made my heart double in size.  I can't wait to see how it triples with the third.  God had blessed us more than I could ever imagined.

We can't wait to share our next journey with you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Blog update

So, I decided that it was time for a new, fresh blog update. 
I have been stuck in a (big) rut, as I'm sure most of you have noticed and I thought that this new update might get my butt back into gear and blogging again.  Because I really do miss it.  I know it's not the same for everyone, but for me... writing is such a release. It helped me so much when Tripp was alive and I just completely gave it up after he died.  But I feel like now could be a good time to get back writing.  

I think I struggled so long with what to write about because my blog was completely about Tripp and his care and our every day lives.  And after he was gone, I just didn't feel like there was anything for me to say.  4 years is a long time to step away, I know.  But I really think that it was so good for me.  It has given me time to really step back and take a look at my life.  It's given me time to focus on my husband and my new little family.  And now that Crew is finally (gosh, I hope I don't jinx myself) napping during the day pretty good, I feel like I actually have some time to sit and write down my thoughts.  

I've been thinking about "what I want this blog to be" for so long... and I've finally realized that I'm just thinking too much (as always).  And I've decided I'm just going to write.  Whatever I'm feeling for the day... I'll just go with it.  Whether it's just about my day with Crew, or whether I'm missing Tripp and want to remember him, or if I'm thinking about something in particular that I would really love to share with you guys (I certainly have a lot of those things going on in my brain).  
But whatever it is, I hope you'll join me on this "continuation" of my life.  I'm not sure where God is leading me, but I'm just going to try to hang tight and enjoy the ride.
I hope you'll hang with me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hello my lovely friends...

First of all, thank you so much to all of you who have been contacting me about how we are doing.  It is really nice to know that you guys truly care about how life has been over here. 

This month, on the 14th, made FOUR years since our Tripp has been gone.  
I can't believe it.  
How has that much time gone by? 
Where did it go? 
How in the world have I survived without my son?
This is always such a hard time for me. 
Throughout the year, I am always really good about distracting myself. 
And lately, our sweet Crew has been keeping me so busy and exhausted that I don't even have much time to sulk and be sad like I have been every year before now.  
But around the time that Thanksgiving hits, no matter what... 
I always get a heavy heart.  
My mood always changes... I get anxiety, I just get blah.
This year, when the time came, it was extra hard. 
I was having to function as a mommy when I was sad and missing my baby, too. 

Some people seem to think that having a new baby lessens the pain of losing a child.  
I say to those people: 
Tell me, which one of your children could you live without?

I spent some time recently reading through some of my blogs at the end before Tripp died.
It was absolutely heart-wrenching.
I had to stop reading.
It brought back SO much pain and so many vivid memories about how he suffered at the end.
How in the world did he physically endure that much pain?
It is so heart breaking.
It's a really hard thing to do... to go back through those memories.
Someone once told me that my suffering is greater that Tripp's was.  Because his was short-lived and mine is enduring.  At first I thought that was ridiculous... but now I am starting to understand.  Though Tripp suffered an unbearable amount in his short time on Earth, he is now pain free forever.
I bear the pain of being his mom and not being able to save him.
And having to watch him endure that pain.
And now... the pain of not having him here.
 I think I will be in pain until I join him in heaven.

This has been an incredible journey.  
And I have learned so much.
I have learned the importance of really trying to care about myself as much as I care about the people around me.  And by doing this, in turn, it will help me to to take care of the people I love even better.  My mental health is SO important... because it affects the overall function and health of my family.  When I disregard my feelings and I try to cover them up or hide them, it just causes tension in me... therefore causing tension in those around me.  
This is still very much a work in progress. 
But I think the first step was recognizing this.  
Grief is a truly awful thing to try to understand. 
But it really can bloom beautiful things.  
It's just the way you handle it.  
And I am slowly learning that being happy and having joy back in my life, does not mean that I am forgetting about Tripp or that I am a bad mom. 
I said "slowly" learning.  
The road is long. 

I think the devil tries to put these thoughts in our heads.  
Guilt can be good and guilt can be bad.  
The guilt that I feel is bad.  It puts me in a bad place.  
I have to constantly remind myself that my guilt is not from God.  
That Tripp not being here is not my fault.  
That my "moving on" (I hate those words)... my "continuation of life?" is not something to feel guilty about.  It's something beautiful.  
And God has given me another beautiful gift.  
A child to raise up in this scary world. 
A child to teach about God and about love.  
A child that will know what an amazing big brother he has and how much his brother changed people's lives, especially his mama and daddy's. 

I'm sorry I've been away for so long.  
Writing was outlet for such a long time when Tripp was alive.
It gave me peace.  It healed my broken heart.  
And then Tripp died... and I just couldn't write.  
It was like he took my words with him.
I had no clue what to say or what to write about.  
And again, I felt guilty about that.  
I felt guilty for leaving behind my army that had stood behind me for 2.5 years.  
Through everything. 
But I knew you guys would understand.  

Life has been amazing.  
Stephen and I trusted God to give us another child. 
And he did.  
And you know what? 
I thought that my sweet Tripp was high maintenance with all of his bandages and tubes and machines... well, I'll put it like this:
Crew knows he's the second child. 
He has major second child syndrome. 
He's NON-stop, into everything, loves dirt, loves to climb, LOVES your attention, and probably the most nosey child I've ever seen.  
But oh my, is he fun.  
He keeps us on our toes and he brings us SO much joy. 
Watching him grow and seeing him do things that Tripp never got to do is so bittersweet.  
I know Tripp had a hand in giving us Crew. 
He is absolutely everything I knew I needed. 

And I cannot believe that next month, he will be 
ONE YEAR old already. 
Why can't I just stop time and keep him this little forever?? 


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happy 6th Birthday, Tripp.

My big boy would make 6 years old today. 
I can't believe it. 
It's hard to believe that I could be a mom of a 6 year old.  
But I really try hard not to think of things that way.  I feel like God knew exactly where my life was going and this is exactly how He intended it to be.  He never intended for me to be the mom of a 6 year old, because He knew that Tripp would only be here with me for 2.5 years. 
Believing that, helps me to cope. 

I've been through a lot in 6 years. 
A lot of pain. 
A lot of anxiety. 
I went from an oblivious 23 year old girl who was over the moon excited to have her first child... to a mentally exhausted almost 29 year old woman who sometimes feels like she's been put through the wringer. 
My love at first sight turned into heartache and pain.  
I watched my only son suffer the cruelest disease known to man.  
I watched his little fragile body slowly deteriorate right before my eyes. 
I watched him struggle to breathe, struggle to eat, and struggle to survive.  
I watched him in pain.  
And I couldn't do anything to help him.  

I watched him die in my arms.  
I had to place my son (whose side I never left for 2.5 years) on a gurney... for someone to take away.  
And when I finally got the courage to stand up again, my feet didn't know where to go. 
My feet had known the same path for 2.5 years. 
A path that only involved caring for Tripp. 
Feeding him, changing him, doing his dressing changes, giving his medicines, cleaning machines, etc, etc. 
When I walked, I had no clue where I was supposed to go. 
Or what I was supposed to do.  

I had to survive.  
I had to go on living my life when all I wanted to do was die. 
I'm not sure if I was ever honest with you all here. 
But for a really long time... I didn't want to be here. 
And for the first time in my life, I wasn't scared of dying. 
 I wasn't scared of anything. 
All I wanted was to be with my baby again and to know that he was okay.  
It was painful. 
It is still painful. 

I'm saying all of this, not because I want sympathy. 
But because for every ounce of pain and suffering that I've endured... 
I've been blessed 10 fold. 

It's been a beautiful, beautiful journey.  
The hardest, most painful, most rewarding journey I've ever experienced. 

First and foremost, I have been blessed with THE most amazing man that I know for a husband. 
Together, he and I have prayed and trusted and given all of our worries to God. 
God gave me a husband that makes me a better person. 
A husband who never questions and always supports me. 
We are the best team.  
He takes better care of me than I ever could have asked for.  

Everything in my life has happened in order, for a reason
I didn't know it then... or when it was happening. 
But I know it now.  
I look back and I see all of the beautiful things God did in my life. 
And all of the beautiful blessings He's given me.  
The biggest one being my new little family. 

He also gave me hundreds of thousands of strangers who have become like family to me.  
People whom I have never met, who send me emails and letters and gifts...
just to make me smile. 
People who have followed our story and loved my Tripp.  
And who,  STILL to this day, check on me and my family.  
There are NO words that I could ever type that would even begin to express my gratitude to all of you who read this, who reach out to me, and who love us. 
Thank you...
for every single thought, gift, and especially every prayer. 
It truly, truly means everything in the world to me.
Because the pain of losing a child NEVER, ever gets easier.  
But every day that I spend here on Earth puts me one day closer to the day I get to see my baby again.  

So, today... on my sweet boy's 6th birthday, 
I want to remember everything.
Not just the good, sweet moments.  
But I want to remember all of the hurt and the pain, too.   
Because all of it- every single suffering, has made me into the person I am today 
and has brought me to this moment.  
And I couldn't be more grateful for what God has given me and for taking care of me 
He has never once left me to question if He is present. 

So, Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet angel in heaven.  
You have left me with so much.  
You have made me a better mom. 
A better person. 
A better Catholic. 
And I will never, ever forget the JOY you brought into my life in the short time that I was blessed to be your mommy.   
I will never stop missing you until you are in my arms and we can make music again together... forever.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Our newest little blessing...

Stephen and I are SO proud to announce the birth of our 
sweet baby BOY! 
Crew Stephen Alexander 
was born on 2/5/2015
7 pounds, 14 ounces and 20 inches long. 

We are overwhelmed with joy
 and we are so grateful for this healthy little miracle 
that has been given to us straight from God.  

I can't believe he is ours...

 Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers.  
They have been answered.  
I am certain that Tripp sent this precious boy to us.  
I know he is a proud big brother in heaven.  

God is so good.
We are SO blessed. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

3 years...

"Child loss is not an event,
 it is an indescribable journey of survival." 

I am so grateful today and every day for the 2.5 years of joy this little angel brought into my life.  
I can hardly believe it's been 3 full years since he's been gone.  
I don't know how my heart does it.  
I am broken-hearted that Tripp won't be here to meet his new brother or sister soon.
That we won't get to buy "big brother" shirts and take pictures plenty of pictures together.
It's not fair.  And it hurts.  
But I realize this is not something I can change and that God had a different plan for our lives.
So I am hopeful that this new baby will have the greatest big brother guardian angel in heaven.  

Mommy misses you so much, sweet boy. 
I'm so thankful for all of the pictures and videos I captured of 
you so that I can keep your memory close in my heart...
Every day, but especially on days like today, 
when the bad memories and the pain try to sneak in. 

From the day you were born, until the day you took your last breath in my arms,
you filled my life with so much happiness.  
I had never felt more complete. 
I dream about the day me, you, Stephen and your new sibling are together again as one big family. 
And until then, I will never, ever stop missing you.  
Not for one day. 


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and pictures

 When Stephen and I got engaged, I received the sweetest email from Corine at Studio Tran Photography.  
But a little back story first- I've been drooling over her and her husband's photography for years.  They are so good.  I love their style and I love their pictures. Not to mention, they are just the cutest couple with the cutest little family!  The email said that she and her husband wanted to offer to photograph our wedding for us.  At no cost.  I was in awe.  It was such a humbling offer after I had spent years admiring their work.  

But our wedding date that we had in mind had gotten postponed due to some issues with my annulment through the church, so when we had finally set a date (kind of last minute), I let Corine know and they were already booked.  I was so bummed.  But being the kind heart she is, she instead offered to take engagement pictures for us because she said she wanted to do something.  It had been a little over 2 years since Tripp had passed away... and here were two people, still offering to do something to make me happy.  
It was humbling, to say the least.  

I LOVED how our pictures came out and I am so grateful that we have them to look back on (especially since our wedding photos turned out to be a disaster!)  But Corine and Beebe at Studio Tran are not just good at what they do, they are an amazing couple with such kind and generous hearts.  Because about 3 months after our wedding, when we found out we were going to to be parents again, I anxiously awaited my 20 week U/S so I could share the news with all of you here, who have so wholeheartedly loved us and our story... and as soon as I did, I received another email.  Corine again offered to take my maternity pictures.  I was in shock and just felt so grateful.  Especially since I probably wouldn't have taken them otherwise.  She told me to bring Tripp's special toys and pictures of him so that we could include him in our session.  
I just can't tell you how much these pictures mean to me... 
I will treasure them forever. 

Corine and Beebe, I know you guys wanted to do something special for us. 
But you really did SO much more than that. 
Thank you for capturing the love, the sadness, and the new joy all together. 
You guys are incredible people. 

As Christmas approaches, I am feeling so many emotions.  
I'm feeling really sad that another holiday is passing and my sweet boy is not here with me.  
I'm feeling sad for my fellow mommies and daddies who have lost babies like I have.  
I'm feeling some expected guilt over being happy about becoming a mommy again soon. 
But I am also feeling grateful for what God has given me and for the amazing people who have come into my life.  The friendships I've made and the love I've been shown reminds me every day that Tripp's life was not in vain.  His 2.5 years here on Earth was successful and fruitful.  
He did so much more than I even realize.  

Merry Christmas to you and your families. 
I hope aside from all the gifts, that everyone remembers the "true" meaning of Christmas while being able to spend special time with the people you love the most.  

And again, thank you all so SO much for loving us and for loving my sweet Tripp.