Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tanner!

12 years ago today Trayc and I were holding our first little boy, Tanner Alexander. He was definitely our miracle baby! We were told by 8 different doctors that we would never be able to have children. After 4 years of attempting to get pregnant, infertility medications and 2 invitro procedures we were pregnant! I am so thankful the Lord allowed us to get pregnant with Tanner, he was the answer to many prayers. Tanner was born 4 weeks early, weighed 5 lbs. 11 oz. and had no hair. We look so young don't we? We were so happy.......we NEVER thought that day was even possible!

If asked how I would describe Tanner this is what I would say: innocent, loving, happy, funny, sweet, polite, thoughtful, helpful, loves celebrating events and is a true perfectionist. Tanner says when he grows up he wants to play soccer in college, work for his dad's company (tile/stone), play the piano like Michael W. Smith and he wants to go on mission trips with his dad so they can tell the world about Jesus. What more could a mother ask for?

We have home schooled since 1st grade. It has been a decision we will never regret. In the beginning we only pulled Tanner from private school because we were having financial difficulties and the plan was to keep him out for 1 year. Well, 2 months into home schooling my heart quickly changed because I loved spending that time with him and because he was the only child at the time, we had a lot of one-on-one time together. And then it was fun while I was pregnant with Tayden because Tanner got to feel him kick, watch him grow for 9 months and be a part of our pregnancy. When Tayden was born Tanner stayed all 4 nights at the hospital and slept in his sleeping bag - the hospital doctors/nurses thought he was so cute sleeping on the floor beside me and they would just laugh when he'd walk up and down the hospital halls in his PJ's and big doggie slippers to go to the kitchen to get snacks! After Tanner finishes with school he will sit and play with Tayden whether it's trucks, trains, cars or sitting to watch Tayden's "baby" movies. And then being pregnant with Tristan, I could not have imagined Tanner not being there every day. With a Trisomy 18 baby you are only promised THAT day and not knowing whether we'd even make it to December it was so important to us that Tanner have as much time as possible being a big brother to Tristan even before he was born. And then to be able to bring Tristan home for 56 DAYS? What sweet memories Tanner will always have of being at his baby brother's bassinet all day, every day. So homeschooling has allowed so much more for us than if Tanner was at school all day. Home schooling has so many advantages and along with educating him I also get to teach him how to act like a godly christian young man.

Tanner has only played one sport, SOCCER!!!! He has played the Spring and Fall season since he was 4 years old. He had the same coach and team until we moved last August, it was neat watching all of the kids grow up together. Trayc was Asst. Coach and I was Soccer Mom for his team up until last year. We love going to games on Saturdays to watch Tanner play and it's so cute hearing Tayden clap and yell "YEAH, BRO BRO".

Tanner has taken piano lessons since he was 8 years old, and he has received trophies the past 3 years. Trayc and I both played the piano growing up but Tanner is so much more dedicated than we ever were. He will sit and play an hour or two a day. It is relaxing to hear him play throughout the day. We hope he will continue to use his talent in the years to come.

Tanner has 4 very close friends (left to right) Ben, Tanner, Drew, Harrison and Avery (cousin). All 4 of these are boys from sweet christian families, we are grateful for their friendships and the christian influence Tanner is surrounded by.

Tanner loves going to church and has been very involved. His favorite part is being in the musicals twice a year. All 4 years he had received a part, whether it's speaking or dancing. His last Elementary musical was in May, he was Lazarus in the boys' dance routine, which he dedicated to Tristan because his part centered around Tristan's life verse - John 11:4.

Tanner and Trayc have their own sport they enjoy doing together, kayaking. They began about 2 years ago and we surprised Tanner last year with his own kayak on his 11th birthday. Now that we live so close to the water it's very easy to drive down the street and put the kayaks in. This also give them father-son time together.

Children grow up so fast don't they? I can't believe Tanner actually leaves for Middle School Church Camp on the 28th. He is really excited about moving up to Middle School, at church, because they go on Mission trips, Retreats, Camp and have Friday night Bible studies. He is so excited that we are going to be working in the department too. Camp is going to be the beginning of a very exciting time for him and the beginning of some great opportunities for him to learn more about Jesus and how to have a deeper and more personal relationship with Him in the upcoming year.

Tanner was an only child for 10 years, all he ever wanted was a house full of brothers/sisters, so you can imagine how excited he was when we told him on his 10th birthday that he would be a BIG brother! Although there is an age difference you'd never know it, they play like they are best friends.

And Tanner was really excited when we told him, last Easter, that we were pregnant again. Tanner handled Tristan's diagnosis, his birth and his death far better than we ever expected. He has experienced more than most by the age of 12 in losing his brother. It's been a long road but he has no anger or bitterness and never questions why the Lord only allowed Tristan 56 DAYS with our family. I have heard him on many occasions explain how much of a miracle Tristan was, it's so sweet to hear him share his testimony about him. Tanner has been a big encourager for me, during the day, when I'm sad or missing Tristan.

We are so proud of Tanner, he is such a blessing to our family. Our prayer is that Tanner will continue to be a young man who loves Jesus with all of his heart, that will never turn away from the Lord, that he will never comprise his standards and personal convictions for this sinful world.

Happy 12th Birthday, Tanner!!!!

We love you,
Mommy, Daddy and Tayden

1 Samuel 1:27 says: "I have prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him."

Friday, July 18, 2008

my LARGE shirt

LifeWay's Outrigger Island logo

This has been a very busy and exciting week, our church had Vacation Bible School for the 3 yr old through 5th graders. We had a lot of kids, the average was about 1,200 per day and the 1st-5th graders collected a daily offering, for a local children's mission field within our church, which exceeded $2,000. I worked in the 5th grade department so I could be with Tanner all week - we had so much fun! We started off every morning with a main assembly for 1st-5th graders, where the kids would say all 3 pledges, sing songs, listen to a missions story, pray and then we divided into grade levels and had Bible class, Craft class and Recreation. I just love working with kids this age and teaching them about the Lord, this world has not really gotten a hold of them yet so they listen with open hearts and open minds.

This year the VBS theme was "Outriggers Island". The kids learned how to know, speak and live God's truth-aloha style. Based on Psalm 86:11, Outrigger Island is more than a tropical paradise. It's the place where kids develop the stability they need to face a world of shifting sands and wavering opinions.

The teachers were given lime green shirts to wear all week. On Monday, as I was getting dressed for VBS and pulled my medium shirt over my head, I instantly recalled getting ready last year ........

........... my shirt was a LARGE!!!! I was 4 months pregnant with Tristan and we did not know he had Trisomy 18. I was so excited, so happy, full of laughter and proudly wore my large shirt that covered my big belly. I took my niece and nephew every morning to VBS, as soon as my sister would drop them off my niece would say, "Aunt Yvette is Tristan kicking?". They loved rubbing my belly, feeling him kick and couldn't wait to have another cousin to play with. I miss those days.

This week has brought a lot of memories of being pregnant with Tristan. I miss the days I wore LARGE shirts, my big belly and feeling him kick, but even more so I miss the 56 DAYS we had, just loving and holding my precious little boy!

Oh Tristan, mommy misses you so much!

(VBS verse) Psalm 86:11 says: "Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Deeper Still: A Divine Appointment Indeed

Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on my entry titled "Face-to-Face". I still cannot find the words to express how much the Atlanta trip meant to me. It was just so comforting and healing being with 7 other girls who completely understand everything I am feeling. We share a bond that cannot be broken by time nor distance. The only thing that's different now is that we all really miss each other and can't wait to be together again!

Since posting about our trip I have received numerous emails from people simply saying thank you for sharing our story and our journey. Oh, my hope has always been that other girls who are facing a diagnosis like Trisomy 18 or any other prenatal diagnosis will reach out to others that are going through the same thing or that have already walked this road. This journey has been lightened since I reached out to these sweet girls last Fall and I cannot imagine this journey without them.

After returning from our trip, one of the girls, Emily (Miller Grace's mom), was given an amazing opportunity by LifeWay to share her story of our Atlanta/Deeper Still trip which was posted today on the Deeper Still Blog (Beth Moore).

A very special THANK YOU to Michelle Hicks, LifeWay Rep., for praying for us over these past few months, for praying with us at DS, for giving us the incredible opportunity to meet Beth Moore backstage and for allowing the story of our babies to be shared through the DS blog!

Please click on the link below to read Emily's story:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


On Sunday night I returned from the most incredible trip of my life. I was finally able to meet FACE-TO-FACE with 8 my closest "Internet" friends that have walked this Trisomy 18 road with me.

It's really hard to put into words what this weekend meant but I will try because I want you to understand through my words and pictures, how the Lord blessed me by placing each one of these girls in my life, through the loss of my precious little boy, Tristan. It is such a beautiful picture of how the Lord went before us and prepared every step we would take, while on this journey, so that we could carry each other on the most difficult days of our lives.

In March, Emily emailed several of the girls she has met along her journey and asked if we would like to meet at the Deeper Still Conference. We all love Beth Moore and knowing she would be in Atlanta, which is centrally located for all of us, just seemed to make sense that it would be the backdrop for our first meeting. Eight of us confirmed, we bought our conference tickets, we booked our hotel room and we booked our flights. The excitement has been building for months as we've had so much fun emailing, calling and planning for this long awaited moment.

events deeperstill

On Thursday, I arrived at the Marriott Airport hotel at 12:00 noon and checked everyone in, we had 3 rooms together! The first girl I met was Kenzie (Maddox's mom). As Kenzie, her mother-in-law and Deacon pulled up I ran out the door and gave Kenzie a big hug with tear-filled eyes because this day was finally here! It felt like we were old friends at a reunion, not meeting for the first time - I wasn't scared or nervous, I just knew her so it was real and it was comfortable. We went to our room and relaxed while we talked, laughed and shed a few tears. Around 2:30 pm we boarded the hotel shuttle and headed to the airport to meet the other girls that were flying in.

Kenzie and I anxiously awaited for Kristy, Chrissy, Kim and Angie to fly in. Every time another girl would fly in it got even more exciting, needless to say it was extremely hard for the security guard to keep us "behind" the yellow security tape - we crossed the line every time and ran up with open arms as each girl stepped off the escalator.

First we met Chrissy(Eva's mom) and Kristy(Asher and Issac's mom).

Then Angie(Poppy Joy's mom).

And then Kim(Mary Grace's mom).

The 6 of us left the airport and went to dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. We had a sweet time of sharing as we went around the table explaining how we each met our husbands.

After dinner we went back to our hotel, got in our PJ's and sat in 1 room on 2 beds and talked while we waited for Emily to drive in. Once Emily(Miller Grace's mom) got there we stayed up talking until 3:00 am.

On Friday morning we slept in until 10:00 am. We went downstairs for breakfast at Starbucks and then headed back to the airport because Karen was flying in(Jacob's mom). We ate lunch at the airport, Houlihans, and we were able to meet up with another mommy, Kirsten (Chloe's mom), who just happen to be in the Atlanta area on a business trip so we were able to spend some time talking to her at lunch.

After lunch we hugged Kirsten bye and we were off to the conference. Now, I had Mapquested all of our directions for the trip and the one from our hotel to the arena said 21 minutes, however we assumed Chrissy's GPS system would be better - wrong! But, we made it in record time, even though we literally crossed over 3 lanes of traffic to get off at our exit - there were definitely some serious traffic violations occurring! Once we arrived Downtown we had to park and walk several blocks, we were in a pack of 8 and very visible as we all matched from our t-shirts that Emily made, our necklaces that had our baby's name on it, our matching tote bags that Chrissy made, our matching bracelets that Kenzie gave us, our matching bracelets that Kristy gave us, our capris, our flip-flops and all the way down to our cute little pedicured toes. I cannot even count the number of people that literally stopped us along the way asking what our t-shirts meant. It gave us the opportunity to share about our babies, how we all met, and all that the Lord has done in our lives. We proudly wore them as it represented who we are and how we were brought together!

We only had to wait 15 minutes on the steps outside the arena before the doors opened. Look at the date this photo was taken, it says 06-27-2008, if you've followed my story long enough you realize that the 27th, by far, is the most difficult day for me - Tristan passed away on January 27th at 4:40 pm. Do I look like I am sad in this picture? NO. It was so comforting being surrounded by all of my friends on this 5-month anniversary instead of being at home. This was the first 27th that has been happy, fun, exciting and filled with lots of laughter......... thank you girls.

There were 19,000 women in attendance so imagine that many people attempting to get in the doors, all at once, running in to get the best seats. Thanks to Emily, she ran straight down front to the floor and we all sat on 1 row together, on the 10th row.

On Friday night the conference began at 7:00 pm. The music by Travis and the Praise Team and the Special Guest, Mandisa was wonderful and the message by Prisicilla Shirer was unbelievable. I felt like she was talking directly to the 8 of us as she spoke of being "in the wilderness". In Exodus 19, it talks about how God invited the Israelites into the Wilderness of Sinai, and how He takes us through the wilderness to hear Him. Verse 2 says, "and camped in the wilderness". This was a temporary place, as in we are to pitch our tent NOT dwell there permanently. God took them there so that they could be brought face to face with Him and even though they didn't want to be in the wilderness, they were there to hear Him in a way they never would have heard Him before. Oh this message spoke to my heart, I have never heard God speak like He did while we were in our wilderness with Tristan. His voice was so vividly clear and I honestly don't believe we would have heard it had we not been in the wilderness. Our lives are so different now and we are different now. Trayc and I do not believe we would be who we are right now had we not been in the wilderness because our hearts and minds were open to our God, for what He had to say not what man had to say.

The conference was over about 10:00 pm. We were so hungry, we drove around attempting to find a restaurant open that late but of course all we ended up doing was getting lost so we gave up, found our way back to the hotel and ordered 2 pizzas at midnight! And for a second night in a row, we all sat in 1 room on 2 beds talking, eating pizza and snacks until 2:30 am. Sleep was obviously not a priority to any of us on this trip because we'd waited so long to be together.

Saturday morning came way too fast, in that we had no sleep! We had to get up at 6:00 am because we needed to leave our hotel by 7:15 am. We wore our matching t-shirts again, thanks to a little Febreeze. We were some of the first to get in the doors again and had good intentions of sitting on the floor just like Friday night however as we entered the arena we were stopped by several LifeWay representatives who knew our story, as it was posted on the Deeper Still blog several weeks ago. We were able to meet some precious ladies who hugged us, talked to us, said they had been praying for us and then they cried with us - yes, we were crying before the conference even began. We finally met our main source of contact, LifeWay representative Michelle Hicks. She, too, hugged us and talked to us and said she wanted to pray with us but she said, "I'll let you go get your seats first". Guess what, we didn't have seats because we had been stopped by so many people that wanted to talk to us about our babies we never got them. It may not seem like a big deal that we didn't have our seats, but you have to remember there were 19,000 women rushing in, we needed 8 seats together, and when we looked up it was already filling up to the top. Michelle Hicks said, "We'll get you some seats!". Well, we weren't sure how it would happen but she worked it out and we had 4 and 4, exactly how we wanted them, on the 6th and 7th row. Perfect seats!!!!

Kay Arthur and Beth Moore spoke and it was just as applicable to our lives as Priscilla's message was on Friday night. And the music, well once again the Lord was present in that place. Have you ever had moments that you wished you had a camera taking pictures, although it would not be the "appropriate" time? Oh I wish I could have taken pictures of the 8 of us on Saturday. We were singing praises to our Lord, we were reaching our hands up to Him, we were crying out in worship, we were sitting in our sits with our heads bowed crying sweet tears and we were standing with our arms interlocked singing "My Chains Are Gone" (which we all call Poppy Joy's song), what moments those were! And then my favorite moment was at the end of the conference, we were all standing, singing with our hands raised up in the air and connected. These were the hands of 8 mommies, whose hands are aching to touch their precious babies again and yet we know our Lord has a plan, we know His ways are perfect, we know He will take care of us so we are lifting up our hands to our Lord in praise and worship thanking Him for everything He has done for us. Those are some priceless moments, those are the ones that were captured in my mind and I will never forget them.

After the conference we had the most unique opportunity, we were able to meet Beth Moore. As soon as the conference was over LifeWay representative, Michelle Hicks, took the first person by the hand, and in a single file line, we mingled in and out of thousands of women as we were escorted to the back of the arena. As we approached the security guards, Michelle gave each one of us a backstage pass to put around our neck. As we were walking down the hallway Beth Moore and her daughter, Amanda, were right behind us. Beth walked in the room, shut the door and then went around the room hugging each one of us and then she talked to us as a group. At the end she asked us all to kneel down on the floor (with all of our knees touching) and she, her daughter Amanda and Michelle Hicks walked around us, touching our shoulders and praying and then as Beth got to each one of us she placed her hands on our heads and specifically prayed for us. The emotions were so overwhelming in that room, we were crying out loud. Beth's prayer was so real and said with such power and boldness as she thanked the Lord for us and for our babies, as she asked the Lord to comfort us during this time of grieving, and to guide us in our steps, to heal our broken hearts and to strengthen us as we move forward. There was NOT a dry eye in that room.

After meeting Beth, we went next door to a quaint little Mexican restaurant for dinner and then we were back on the roads of Atlanta heading to Target. We each bought a piece of pottery and lots of snacks! We went back to the hotel and got our bathing suits on went to the pool for an hour. Then we were ready to smash some pottery! There are books on grieving that reference breaking a piece of pottery because of your anger, saddness or brokeness but I am assuming this would not take place when you are hiliariously laughing, however what do you expect with a room full of 8 mommies? We had each bought a different color of pottery so we stepped outside the hotel room door and smashed it on the concrete floor (YES, it was extremely loud and it was 12:00 midnight). We were all laughing so hard because not only was it loud but some of us had to smash our pottery 2 and 3 times to get enough pieces to share! After everyone smashed their pottery, we placed the broken pieces on the bed, took a picture, and then we each kept our main piece of our pottery and took a piece of each others. A few of the girls are going to glue the pieces together, others are framing the pieces and others are placing them on a cross. Whatever we do with them, it will be our symbol that we were broken together and the Lord placed each one of us together along this journey.

And, our second project (which was much quieter) was making a mat. Kristy did a post a few weeks ago and it so touched my heart. I had emailed the girls after reading the post and told them that this is how I felt, that THEY had carried my mat for me during this journey. So I had bought some placemats and markers and we each wrote our baby's name, days they lived and their birthdate in the middle and then at the top we wrote "Carrying your mat Luke 5:17-20". We passed them around and each girl signed the mats. We've all talked about framing the mats. Every time I look at my mat I will remember that these are the names of the girls that carried me to Jesus in prayer, that loved me, supported me and encouraged me.

Sunday morning came far too soon. We went downstairs to Allie's for the breakfast buffet and then the hardest part of the trip came, we had to begin saying goodbye. Angie left right after breakfast and then Kim left an hour later.

We had a few hours left before the last 6 of us had to begin saying goodbye, unfortunately I was the next one to leave. I hugged each girl as I fought back the tears and then the tears started flowing quickly as I said goodbye to the last girl, Kenzie, she was the first girl I hugged on Thursday and the last one on Sunday! Pulling away from the hotel was hard, it's not like we can get together again next weekend. We are already planning on a trip next year but that seems like a long time away. It's so hard to find friends that just completely understand you and yet I found them but they are in different states.

This weekend was more than I ever imagined it would be. We have laughed, cried, shared, hoped, dreamed, worshiped, praised the Lord, prayed and made altar call committments. This was also a weekend of refreshing and renewing of our minds and our hearts as we move forward in our journeys no matter where that might take us.

These are the faces of
8 mommies,
from 8 different cities,
from 8 different backgrounds,
with 9 babies in Heaven,
who met on the Internet,
who love their Lord.....

Kim, Emily, Karen, Yvette,

Kristy, Angie, Kenzie & Chrissy