Wednesday, February 27, 2008

1 month ago....

Today is February 27th! I cannot believe that 1 month ago our precious little boy quickly slipped from my arms into the arms of Jesus. We miss Tristan so much as our hearts, our lives and our home has been changed forever!

I look back on Sunday, January 27th and I am still in shock of how everything happened so fast and unexpectedly. I really believed, as told by several doctors, that we would see a change, a decline in Tristan's health, something that would prepare us for the end but we didn't! I am so thankful now that we "lived in the moment" and lived every day to the fullest because our time of saying goodbye was so quick. It's still hard to even remember exactly what happened from the moment I rushed in the door, ran up the stairs to our bedroom and Trayc handed Tristan to me at 4:35 pm and he passed away a mere 5 minutes later. I question Trayc about those last few minutes all the time asking "he was alive when I got home right?" "he was looking at me?" "do you believe he knew I was there?" "do you believe he heard me?". Just so many things as a mommy that I need to be reassured of! I only have one regret in 56 days - I regret going to the store that day as that was always my biggest fear of why I never wanted to leave the house!!!! My sweet husband tells me, all the time, that I don't need to look at that day with any regret because Tristan looked great before I left for the store. We changed his clothes, his diaper, he was alert, his apnea monitor had not gone off that day nor the night before, he was looking at me when I leaned in his bassinet to kiss him on his little checks and said, "Mommy loves you, I'm going to the store and I'll be right back okay!" I really didn't want to leave that day but then again I never wanted to leave his side. Because I was having such a hard time leaving him Trayc and I even talked about him going to the store instead of me but then I told him that we needed a lot of groceries and I'm better at that than he is (we've always gone to the store together so if he goes alone then he gets what he thinks is important like cookies, cereal and Dr. Pepper). Trayc reminds me that if I had seen any kind of change in Tristan I never would have left and he's right. He also said that I need to turn the regret I feel into thankfulness for the way everything happened for several reasons: (1) it was a Sunday so Trayc was home and not at work (2) Trayc was home NOT me, I can't imagine how I would have been if I had been at the house without Trayc (3) Tristan 's health looked as though he was progressing not digressing so we did not know we were near the end (4) We did not see Tristan decline and suffer (5) Tristan passed away quickly without any pain or suffering (6) Tanner and I made it home from the grocery store in time to have the last 5 minutes with him and most importantly, (7) Tristan had the strength to hold on until I got home - oh how thankful I am for this!!!!! So, I'm trying to remember all of that and although I regret going to the store that day, I know in my heart that just as the Lord planned for Tristan to be born on Monday, December 3, 2007 at 12:42 pm and planned for him to have 56 days with us, He also planned that on Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm He would take Tristan home. That was His plan and I trust in His plans far more than my own plans or desires.

There are days when the pain still feels so fresh and real and yet there are days it seems like a lifetime ago as our lives are adjusting to a new kind of normal. Overall though, I honestly believe that I am doing a lot better than I expected to be doing this soon afterwards and as a family we are back to laughing, having fun and making memories. I wake up every morning, turn on the computer just so I can get to this blog and enlarge (full screen) the last picture we took of Tristan on Day 53. He looked so sweet, so happy, so healthy and I certainly never imagined that would have been the last picture we took. During the day I'm good. I am busy home-schooling Tanner, taking him to soccer 2xs a week, piano lesson 1x a week and church 3xs a week along with keeping up with Tayden. However, at night time (when we're at home) it's a different story. As soon as the sun sets and the darkness appears my emotions change and my carefree, happy, fun spirit seems to quickly diminish and I become very quiet and sad. I try so hard to stay the same way I am during the day but along with the darkness also comes the memories which breaks my heart! My nights are really hard at home so whether it's church on Sunday night or Wednesday night, going to the mall, going to the grocery store, walking in our neighborhood, a family member's house, whatever it is....... as long as we're out of the house at night time I'm good. It's like I've mentioned before, Tristan's days and nights were mixed up, he was awake at night so that is when we made all of our memories. You know, when you're living day-to-day, in the moment and trying to cram a lifetime of memories into a short period of time you don't think about anything else except making memories so now, even the simplest of things we did like praying at the dinner table is hard. We would put Tristan's bassinet, or his bouncy seat, between Trayc and I so that I could hold his little hand as we prayed so I feel the emptiness from the very beginning of the evening with prayer at the table! And then there are the other things we did for 56 days that I miss like looking into his big brown eyes, rubbing his little face, kissing his little cheeks, holding him in my arms, watching him turn his little head and look at me when I'd talk to him, changing his little diaper, dressing him in new little outfits, using Dreft detergent to wash his preemie clothes, sitting in our brown chair and holding him when we watched TV, getting in bed and leaning halfway in his bassinet to pray with him and sing "Jesus Loves Me", sleeping without the noise of the oxygen concentrator, sleeping with the lights on so I could see him ALL NIGHT, feeding him every 3 hours, running every time his apnea monitor went off, coming up with creative family events to do every night, taking pictures, bathing him and the absence of his bassinet beside our bed. And the hardest of all - being able to hold my precious little boy in my arms with Trayc, Tanner and Tayden beside me and feeling as though time stood still for 56 days and my life felt more perfect, more whole and more complete than ever before! The days we shared together healed every tear I cried and every fear I felt when the doctors shattered our hopes and dreams, on August 15th, with the Trisomy 18 diagnosis for our precious little boy. The days we experienced were everything I had ever prayed for and more! I am so thankful the Lord chose us to be Tristan's parents and that He allowed us so much time.

Although the last month has been hard as we grieve the loss of our little boy, I would do it all over again! The fulfillment I experienced being Tristan's mommy is far more than words can describe. I always feared the thought of having a "special needs" child however I now know that there is nothing to fear, they are just the same as healthy babies they just require a little more attention and you know what, I would have spent the rest of my life giving that required attention to Tristan and never have any regrets!

The comfort we hold to on the hard days is that Tristan is now in Heaven and in the presence of Jesus, face-to-face! He has no feeding tube, no apnea wires, no oxygen tube and he takes no medications. His little body has been made whole and one day our family of 5 will be reunited. Oh, I long for the day to stand in the presence of our Heavenly Father and thank Him for the 56 days he blessed us with and at the same time be reunited with our precious little boy! The song that comes to mind is one we used to sing at church when Dr. Lindsay, Jr. was alive - "What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face, the one who saved me by His grace, when He takes me by the hand and leads me to the promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be". In elementary, jr. and sr. high I would sing this as just another church song, but oh how time and life experiences change the way we long for Heaven and causes us to sing songs in a whole new way. I can't even get through a song at church these days without crying (sweet tears) as I sing them with all my heart and as a praise to the Lord for all that He has blessed our family with. I long to be at church and 3xs a week just doesn't seem to be quite enough - I just want to sit on the front row and be ministered to and sing songs about the Lord and Heaven 7 days a week. How grateful I am for such an incredible pastor, music ministry, church body and Christian friends who greet us with smiles, hugs and words of encouragement and support every time we're there.

Thank you for understanding my inability to blog the last 2 weeks. I can honestly say I now know what it means to have writers block. I have been at such a loss for words and didn't really know how or what to say. I greatly appreciate my sweet husband being willing to blog on behalf of our family.

I would ask that you continue to pray for our family as we are healing, please pray for me as I continue working through the night hours and especially pray for Trayc and I as we are working on the foundation, in honor of our little boy, to help minister to other families that will eventually travel this same Trisomy 18 road.

Tanner's post: My picture for Tristan


Tanner asked tonight if he could write something on Tristan's blog, so this is, in his own words, his entry: It was one month ago today that my little brother went home to be with Jesus. It was the saddest day of my life. When mommy and I got home from the store we ran up the stairs and mommy held Tristan and talked to him and then I talked to him and said words I will never forget, "I love you buddy, you were the best little brother, I loved being your big brother, I will never forget you, I promise". I kissed him and then mommy told him that all his friends (Poppy Joy, Maddox and Mary Grace) were waiting on him and then he passed away. I drew this picture to put on our refrigerator so we can remember the 56 days that Jesus gave us with my little brother, Tristan. Thank you to everyone who leaves me comments, who ask about me and who prays for me. I really miss Tristan being here with us but I know he is in Heaven with Jesus and that I will see him again. Please keep praying for me and my family.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our 56 Days

This is the slideshow that my brother put together for us to show at Tristan's "Celebration of Life" service. This is a little glimpse into the 56 wonderful days that we enjoyed as a family of 5. This is just a portion of the over 1600 pictures taken during our time together. As you watch this we hope you are reminded, as we are, of God's faithfulness to our family as He granted far more than we could have possibly imagined.

Trayc

video

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tristan's brick

Sundays, as you can imagine, are very hard for us because Tristan passed away on a Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, church gets us out of our house and into the Lords, where we are uplifted. This morning in Sunday School one of our care leaders called me up to the front and presented us with this memorial brick that reads "Tristan Asher Hostetter, 56 days". What a great surprise! Yvette and I were just talking the other day about having Tristan remembered in some way at our church. Right outside the main auditorium of our church is a granite memorial wall for the unborn where name plates call to mind all of the little ones that never made it to this world and in front of that is a brick paved walkway which displays names of little ones that did make it but left all too soon. This pathway is where Tristan's brick will lay in honor of our sweet little boy. We appreciate this brick more than words can even describe.

With brick in tow, we made our way to the morning service that God had especially prepared for us. Dr. Brunson taught from Exodus chapter 15 verse 25. The Lord had led the Israelites out of captivity and had brought them through the Red Sea. They had just experienced one of the greatest miracles of the Old Testament and yet three short days later they found themselves at the waters of Marah in need of fresh water to drink with only a bitter pool before them. Verse 25b ... and there the Lord tested them. The pastor went on to explain that this test wasn't because of disobedience, but rather in order to determine if God's people were going to trust Him with their every need. The interesting part was that the people in just three days had, for all intensive purposes, forgotten the miracle parting of the sea. They watched their Creator peel back millions of gallons of water, flash dry the muddy sea bed so it would support their weight and that of their supplies and livestock. They saw the entire Egyptian army, those that beat them and mistreated them for their entire lives drown before their very eyes as the walls of water fell back into place. You would think they would have been able to trust Him to provide the very basic of needs such as water to drink? How quickly we can jump to conclusions because here we are the other side of Tristan's miraculous 56 days and God is asking us to trust Him with the very same thing; to be all that we require, to be our sustenance, our sufficiency. It seems simple doesn't it? He just brought us through the part that should have been the hardest to trust Him in right? Well, not necessarily.

Tonight was another service I believe the Lord had especially prepared for us. Our pastor spoke of the life of Joseph in Genesis, and how sometimes it takes years for us to see how the hand of God moves to bring His plan into fruition. How the testing that we experience in the valleys of life prepare us for God's appointed time and place. Once there, we can look back and see how God was working through every situation, every detail, to bring about His best for our lives. Yvette and I spend a good bit of time looking back over the past 17 years, now, having a different perspective, we see how His hand has moved and this gives us the peace we so desperately long for to make it through this time.

Thank you for all of your comments and encouragement. They are often read more than once.

Please continue to pray for our family as we approach Wednesday the 27th.

Trayc

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Our Vision

Back in August, when we found out that our little boy would be born with Trisomy 18 we did not understand at that time why the Lord had allowed this to come our way. Laying in bed one of those first nights Yvette and I decided that despite the pain, disappointment and uncertainty we would not allow the devil to steal the joy that became ours the moment we realized we were expecting our third little miracle. What was meant to tear our family apart has only served to strengthen us and bring us even closer together. What was intended to stifle our walk with the Lord has caused us to rely all the more on His everlasting arm to guide us. We rest in the knowledge that not only did He have this covered, He also has a plan. A plan that did not come into clarity until an early afternoon in December as our little boy adjusted to life here on earth. Although at the time we did not know what the next 56 days would hold, we determined that God would be honored and glorified in all that we did.

We began this blog as a place of information for our family and friends. A place where they and you, our internet family, could come to see how we were doing and to see how to specifically pray for us. Our blog allowed you to step into our lives and walk this journey with us without feeling as though you were intruding. This became an amazing opportunity for others, most of whom are complete strangers, to pray for our family and immediately see the results of that prayer as God miraculously provided for us each and every day. As the Lord guided us to other families on this same road, we too became emotionally invested in their lives as we began to pray for God's presence in their present need. This became a place where we could be vulnerable, putting forth our requests and displaying our weaknesses without fear of embarrassment or retribution. Not long after we began blogging we realized that this, in a very real way, was beginning to heal us, long before the time when we would need it most. Comments on this blog seemed to come when we needed encouragement the most. Like a soothing ointment are the prayers and support that we still receive to this day. From the very beginning your love and kind words have been "healing it forward" in a way, preparing our hearts for this time when we still feel such a loss.

Over the last few years, Yvette and I have felt as though we were being drawn into some sort of life ministry together. God's hand being so evident in our lives that we knew He was preparing us for something, so we kept praying that He would reveal Himself to us and that we would trust His perfect plan. Well, in case you missed it, go back and look carefully at all of the pictures in our blog. Our Heavenly Father is present there; the creator seen in the depths of Tristan's dark brown eyes, the joy on our faces that suppressed our tears and the very breath that sustained our little boy for eight wonderful weeks. As for His plan, that takes me to our vision. Just as Tristan was entrusted to us for a little while, so is the power and wonder of the 56 days that has left us forever changed. We cannot begin to comprehend why God, in His omnipotence, chose to allow us 56 incredible days while our sweet "internet" friends were given a fraction of that time. But let me assure you, we were humbled by the privilege we were given.

We've always been taught; that with great opportunity comes great responsibility, and this weights very heavily on Yvette and I. So we have begun the process of creating a foundation that will encourage new Trisomy 18 families to keep their pregnancies and not terminate as we have all been pressured to do. This foundation will support a new website that will be a safe haven for trisomy moms and dads to come and seek the answers that were not easily found when our family started this journey. We want to provide hope that trisomy babies can survive despite the opinions of expert doctors who call them "incompatible with life" and give God no acknowledgment or place. God is still in the life creating and sustaining business (see our previous posts). There are survivors of full Trisomy 18, some living up to 11 years. When Yvette and I started researching Trisomy 18, the first survivor we came across was Eliot Mooney (see link at right) who lived 99 days. WOW, 99 days is eternity when you are being told not to look forward to even meeting your son this side of Heaven. That gave us our first sense of hope, that if Eliot can make it 99 days maybe our little boy can at least make it to birth. This is the hope that every family facing this situation needs to hold on to. Our prayer is that as they see the time that we were blessed with that, they might be encouraged as well. It isn't how much time we have with our children, the point is that every moment is precious. As a parent of one of these special little babies, it only takes one moment to be completely and utterly changed. Just ask any of our sweet "internet" friends that had only hours with their little boy and girl. We also want the site to be a resource where facts about Trisomy 18 can be accessed to help prepare parents for the birth of a child with special Trisomy 18 needs.

So, please be praying for us as we hoping to have our site up as soon as possible. I know it seems simple enough, but as I type, satan is trying to discourage and derail any effort we make. Please be praying that the Lord will provide the resources needed to have the site built and that the finished product would continue to bring more honor and glory to God in the days to come. Please continue to pray for our family as we still long for the sun to rise as most of our memories were at night. Please pray for Yvette as she is having a hard time knowing what to blog. Hopefully she will be back soon. Please continue to check our blog as I will update as soon as we have the foundation up and a website started.

Trayc

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day



Happy Valentine's Day! Well, today is supposed to be the big day for love, cards, roses, chocolates and a nice, quiet, romantic dinner for two at a quaint restaurant. That is how Trayc and I have shared every Valentines since we started dating in 1987. But this year was different, although Trayc was wanting to spend the evening alone, as we always do, I just couldn't bring myself to do it this year. I find myself needing to be with the boys more than ever before and I know it's because they make me feel like a mommy which I am really missing because of losing Tristan. I miss the 24 hr. care I gave Tristan, I felt like I was needed by him every second of the day for 56 days, whereas now my days (and definitely my nights!) seem so empty and I am trying to fill that void with Tanner and Tayden. Fortunately, Tayden has become this very sweet, loving, affectionate little boy who has been hugging on me since the first day of our trip, last week, so that has greatly helped me emotionally. However, I still miss my precious little boy so much.

Tanner is all about celebrations of any kind and today was no exception, so I got Tayden out of his bed and we got in Tanner's bed and all snuggled for about an hour, we made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then Tanner made Valentine cards for my mom and step-dad. I should have taken a picture of the cards because they were so sweet - he decorated them with lots of colored hearts and then made 3 hearts in the middle of the paper and wrote Tanner, Tayden and Tristan on it! He misses Tristan so much - he said, "Tristan celebrated his 1st Valentines in Heaven with Jesus today". Oh, he was so sincere, I smiled and said, "Yes baby, he did" but on the inside my heart just crumbled and I fought back the tears. We had a great today together and then Tanner was so excited that he was actually go out to dinner WITH US for Valentines so we asked where he wanted to go and he said, "Koi", it's his favorite Japanese Steakhouse, so we all went to dinner and had a wonderful family night. I am so thankful for a sweet husband who understands that although I would love to spend a nice, quiet, evening alone with him, I just need to be with my boys right now.

Please continue praying for our family as we deal with the loss of our precious little boy and for me as I continue trying to work through these first few weeks of night hours that seem to be the most difficult for me.

Happy Valentine's Day from our family to yours........
Trayc, Yvette, Tanner and Tayden

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Our great escape








When we found out about Tristan on August 15th we were so devastated those first 2 weeks and unfortunately due to the circumstances our focus from August to December 3rd shifted from Tanner and Tayden to Tristan. Knowing this was going to happen we promised Tanner, back in August, that when Jesus took Tristan to heaven we would go to Disney World. We always reminded him of the trip until Tristan was born and then we stopped because the excitement now needed to be that Tristan was alive, at home with us and we needed to "live in the moment". Two days before Tristan passed away Tanner came in my room and said, "Mommy, I don't want to go to Disney World now" I said, "Why Tanner?" He said, "Because when we go that means Tristan will have passed away!" I simply said, "It's okay honey, we don't have to go if you don't want to, but let's not worry about that right now, Tristan is alive and he's with us". On the inside though, my heart sank, he was right! Well, obviously we did not know two days later, on January 27th, that Tristan would pass away as he was doing so good and seemed to be progressing. As we were making plans for Tristan's Celebration of Life service we were also trying to make plans to go to Disney World, after all we've promised Tanner since August and we did not want to go back on our word. Although we knew this was NOT the right timing financially because of all the funeral expenses and the fact that Trayc had been off work for 1 1/2 months, we had to go, we had to do what we had promised Tanner, he and Tayden deserved our undivided attention. We started praying that the Lord would provide the funds for us to go because we did not have any extra money. I admit, I was scared first because we only had days to get the money and because I just didn't see how anyone would give us money for what they might consider a vacation instead of a "healing getaway". Well, without mentioning it to anyone, only praying, the money came - we were blessed by several family members and several friends that generously contributed to our trip. And then, the biggest blessing of all, we were given (through a friends' friend) a FREE, 5 day/4 night stay in an absolutely beautiful, brand new condo on New Symrna Beach. Our entire trip was paid for and we were so blessed! Thank you to everyone who gave money for our trip that allowed our family time to be alone, away from our own surroundings and to begin the healing process.

We left on Wednesday morning and spent part of the day on the beach walking and picking up shells and letting the kids get their feet wet, on Thursday we spend the entire day at Downtown Disney, on Friday we went to Disney World from 10:00 am-11:00 pm, on Saturday we spent 5 hours at the Daytona Speedway (it was set up for the races which begin this week) so we enjoying all the activities and walked around looking at all of the drivers merchandise trucks. We left this morning and went straight to my mom's house to celebrate my grandmother's 83rd birthday and got home at 4:00 pm this afternoon. We have had a very, very special week! It was so much fun being together, laughing and making lots of new memories. As you know, I've really struggled with the night time hours because that's when I'm so sad about Tristan and lay awake crying until I finally cry myself to sleep. I guess the change of scenery was exactly what I needed. As soon as I got in bed, every night, I fell asleep immediately. I took a picture of Tristan with us so I could look at it every day, it never made me sad to look at, they were all sweet and happy thoughts, I feel like for me that's a big step as I've really struggled looking at Tristan's stuff since he passed away. These are several pictures of our trip. Picture #5 is Tanner and I standing on Main Street holding a Mickey Mouse hat that we bought and had Tristan's name put on it, this was Tanner's idea since we celebrated "Disney at our house" with Tristan on Day 17.

Please continue praying for our family as we heal, please continue to pray for me as I try to work through hard, night hours and as our family is beginning this new journey.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What timing....


I'm sure you've said "what timing" before, meaning the timing was exactly what you needed at that moment, well that's how I have felt about the past few days. Every February, for the past 22 years, our church has a Pastor's Conference where 1000's of pastors/church staff from all over the world come to our church for 5 days of encouragement and rejuvenation. They attend classes and sit under some of the most powerful preachers of our time (Paige Patterson, David Jeremiah, Junior Hill, Jerry Vines, Johnny Hunt and many others). It started on Friday night with a service honoring the late Dr. Jerry Falwell and then preachers taught every day, and there were 2 services on Sunday night, Monday night and tonight.

Trayc and I were in the choir for 18 yrs and a part of the pastor's conference until we got out 5 years ago. Year after year the messages and music are always so powerful and it's one of those weeks you never wanted to miss. And this year was certainly no exception, we definitely did not want to miss it because we just lost our precious little boy 10 days ago, this is exactly what we needed these past few days, to hear the words of the Lord to help us heal our hearts and a week of spiritual encouragement and renewal, the Pastor's Conference came at the right time for our family......what timing! I listened intently to hear what the Lord was trying to teach me through the message and I sang with a heart of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord for what he has done for us through our little boy. I am so grateful for such a wonderful church that has an incredible pastor and minister of music.

The service ended tonight with a finale presented by our 2nd-5th grade, middle school, high school and adult choirs (approx. 1000 voices). The adult choir began singing and then slowly the high school, middle school and 2nd-5th graders walked in from the back of the church and filled the aisles. They were all wearing white robes and each held a gold, jeweled crown. As they were singing the last song they all bowed on one knee and lifted up their crowns --- WOW, this was so gripping!!!!

Tanner was a part of the finale and as you can imagine it was so touching. I smiled and had tears running down my face as I watched him singing to the Lord and holding up his crown. He has been through so much since we found out about Tristan in August and with him passing away just a few days ago. We were so proud of him tonight. His love for the Lord is so sweet. This was a concern back in August because we didn't want him to ever question why the Lord would do this to our family or why he would take Tristan away so soon and I have to say that he has no bitterness, no anger or does not question anything. He firmly says, as he has to remind me when I'm sad sometimes, "It's okay mommy, Tristan is with Jesus now and he has a new body and we'll see him again soon".

Please continue to pray for us as our hearts heal from the loss of our little boy, as I continue to struggle with the emotions in the night hours and as we are walking on this new journey in our life.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Got out!

If you've followed our story since Tristan was born then you know we were "homebound" because of Tristan's condition and all of the devices he wore (oxygen tube, feeding tube, apnea wires) so we have not been out of the house as a family (except to have our picture w/Santa and the baby dedication). Well, we did it - tonight we got out as a family for the first time since December 2nd! It felt so good to get dressed up and get out of the house. We went to dinner and walked around Target for an hour (hey, that's therapy for me!). Getting out is great for me because I am not surrounded by all of Tristan's things which cause me to be so sad and then I just start crying and am overwhelmed with the pain and loss of our little boy. Tonight I was not afraid to see other moms with babies, maybe because I had Tristan for 56 days and we experienced so much in that short period of time that I feel like we did everything we wanted to do so I wasn't lacking that feeling of being a "new mommy". Tristan wore baby clothes, he wore diapers, we put him in the car seat, we put him in the stroller so seeing those baby things didn't make me sad. We had a great time tonight. We talked and laughed and just really enjoyed being out together as a family trying to move forward even though our hearts are aching.

Please continue to pray for us as we are still grieving the loss of our precious little boy and as I struggle with the emotions I feel during the night hours.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A new month, a new journey

Today is the 1st day of February. It's a new day, a new month, a new beginning and a new journey. This new journey will certainly be different than one we've ever traveled before as I have never suffered the loss of a baby. I have also learned that you can never be prepared, just as we are each different individuals we each grieve differently. All 3 of my sweet "Internet" friends lost their precious babies before me. I would read their entries trying to understand what the grieving process would be like to prepare my heart for the inevitable. I now know that it is in no way the same as my friends. Although our pregnancy journeys were the same because our precious babies were diagnosed with T-18, our grieving is totally different. I did not realize I could love my precious little boy so much, become so attached and miss him as much as I do after sharing a mere 56 days. He impacted our lives in such an unbelievable way, one that is truly unexplainable. We were touched in a way that has forever changed us.

We've been so busy since Tristan passed away Sunday night so I really didn't feel the loss until yesterday morning! There was such a difference about the house, it was so quiet without the oxygen concentrator and there was such an emptiness without Tristan here. How is it that EVERYTHING in our home reminds me of Tristan? From our night stand light that we kept on all night long (I never did have enough faith to turn it off - now I'm so glad I didn't, I was able to see him all night), the area beside our baby where his bassinet once was, the counter top in the bathroom where we had all of his feeding tube supplies, the Dreft detergent (I never realized how much that little baby looked like Tristan - his fist are even clenched), drawers of preemie clothes, tiny diapers, cabinets of formula, cabinets filled with feeding tubes and oxygen tubes, the shelf in the refrigerator where his feeding IV bags were, the oxygen concentrator, the oxygen tanks, the car seat, the list goes on and on. I was fixing dinner tonight (facing the opposite direction from the TV) and I heard a beeping noise. I stopped and literally turned around to run up the stairs and then realized.......it was the TV....... not Tristan's apnea monitor, my heart just sank. I fought back the tears and didn't say anything to Trayc because Tanner was right there but later I mentioned it to him and he said, "Oh I know, I heard it - it's the same sound you hear when a construction truck backs up too!" I have to keep reminding myself that I'm ONLY on day 6 so this is all normal, I'm sure. The pain is so real right now, I'm ready for it to subside so that I can think of the 56 days we had with excitement instead of being so sad.

I know that for me the best thing is to stay busy and fortunately I have Tanner and Tayden with me all day to help with that. I sat down tonight and made a list of upcoming things for me to start focusing on. I'm better when I get up and get going and have a plan - I'm a planner. So, I got out the calendar and scheduled everything for the rest of the year. I usually do this the day I buy a new calendar however I did not do it when I bought the 2008 calendar because of all the uncertainties with Tristan and not knowing what the year would bring. When Tristan was here I would wake up every day and write what day we were on so I would never have to use white out if he didn't make it to the next day - we lived in the moment and lived for the day only! Now, in order to keep my mind consumed I need to get focused on the rest of the year. We have church, soccer, piano, vacation, Easter, Tayden's birthday, Tanner's birthday, etc. Oh, and of course add home-schooling Tanner to that.

Honestly, overall I really feel great and am surprised at how good I feel during the day, however, the night time is a different story. As the sun starts setting and the darkness appears that's when my emotional sadness and struggles begin. Tristan had his days and nights mixed up so he'd slept all day long so I really only feed him and changed him during the day but as soon as Trayc would come home around 5:00 pm Tristan would wake up, look around, move his sweet lips and try to talk to us and he would be alert the entire night so we'd hold him and love him and smoother him with kisses at night and then I spent my nights either holding him or leaning halfway into his bassinet. This is why the night time is extremely hard. I've laid in Trayc's arms for the past 4 nights crying myself to sleep because I feel so sad and so alone, I miss my little boy so much and I just want one more night to hold him, to rub his little face, to pray with him and to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to him - just one more night! Of course, Trayc feels the loss too but in so many different ways. His heart breaks when he turns on the water in the kitchen because he feels like he should be cleaning out/making more IV feeding bags and he struggles with not being able to feed Tristan every 3 hours. Our bodies are set to wake up and feed Tristan and that has not changed yet, so the loss is felt over and over and over.

Tanner is doing really well! We are so proud of him. Of course it was so emotional for him as Tristan was passing away and he was talking to him but we've all been so open with each other and sharing our feelings so we're all working through it together. He was so excited to go to church Tuesday night, there was a special rehearsal for the upcoming Pastor's Conference so my step-dad took him. He was able to see all of his friends, he loves going to church so it's been hard for him to miss the last 8 Sundays and Wednesdays but he understood why we weren't able to go.

The Lord is continuing to carry our family just as he did throughout our pregnancy. He is continuing to bless us with sweet family and friends to love and support us as we begin this new journey.

I would ask that you please continue to keep our family in your prayers in the days ahead as we deal with the loss of Tristan and begin our lives again and please pray specifically for me that I will work through the pain, the loss and the emotions I feel so much during the night hours.