Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 15th...our journey began 1 yr ago

I am so sorry it's been a while since I've posted, it has been a busy month. Thank you to everyone that has either called or emailed to make sure we were okay. How comforting it is to know that we have sweet friends that remember we are still on this journey.

After Tanner's birthday weekend, we spent the following week shopping for clothes and getting him ready for the upcoming year of home school, piano, soccer and middle school (at church).

On July 28th, we took Tanner to church for his first year of Middle School camp. He was both excited and nervous because he had never been away from home for more than one night, so 5 days/4 nights seemed like a very long time.

As soon as we pulled up to church there were buses, luggage trucks and hundreds of kids running around talking and laughing - you could feel the excitement in the air! He found his cousin, Avery, and quickly forgot about being scared. Avery is in 7th grade so this was his 2nd year at camp, he is really excited Tanner's in Middle School now. They have talked all Summer about the Middle School dept. and how much fun they are going to have together going to camp, church, retreats, mission trips, etc. How blessed Tanner is to have christian cousins.

There were 8 buses - 4 boys and 4 girls, that lined the streets beside the church. That morning brought back so many memories for Trayc and I, we grew up at FBC and attended the same camp every year. But this time it was different, we weren't the ones going to camp, we were the ones standing on the street waving goodbye and that is hard! I did everything possible to fight back the tears, although there were many 6th grade parents crying. My first born is growing up way too fast.

After the buses were completely out of sight we left. I sat quietly in the front wondering how I would go all week without hugging or talking to Tanner. Tayden and Tanner play together most days so Tayden definitely missed his brother. It was an emotionally hard and quiet week. For 10 years all we knew was Tanner and then along came Tayden and we experienced the joy of having 2 children and then on December 3, 2007 we had 3 boys. Not only was it a blessing but a miracle, as we were told we'd never have children. I cannot explain the fulfillment I felt holding Tristan, having Tanner on one side and Tayden on the other. Once you know the feeling of 3 children in your home, if only for Tristan's 56 days, how do you ever go back to 2 children and NOT feel like something is missing?????? I am so thankful for Tanner and Tayden but our family is not complete without Tristan here. He was a part of us, he was a part of our family and I miss the noise and the busyness his sweet little life brought to our home. It seemed as though the loss of Tristan was magnified even more with Tanner not being home because I was back to one child.

Needless to say, we literally counted down the days until Tanner came home on Friday. We were the first car in the parking lot, an hour early! As the buses starting pulling up I was running down the sidewalk. The buses couldn't unload fast enough. I was standing at the door, of the 6th grade bus, as Tanner walked off. With tear-filled eyes, I grabbed him and said, "Hey baby, I missed you!" I probably embarrassed him (because you know, he's a big middle schooler now) but it's okay, he will always be my baby. This is the face of a very, very happy mommy!!!!!

We went out to dinner and Tanner shared about his exciting week at camp. It was packed full of activities: morning devotions, meeting at the flag pole for the pledge, 3 meals, swimming, softball, Bible classes, choir and chapel. Up at 6:00 am and in bed at 10:00 pm. There were 300 middle schoolers and lots of decisions for Christ were made. Tanner made a commitment to live 100% for the Lord and we are so proud of him. We know that Middle School is going to be an exciting time for him and cannot wait to see all that the Lord does in his life this year. We are grateful for a church that loves it's young people and knows the importance of teaching them about Jesus and how to live a godly and pure life.

On August 3rd, Tanner began his first week in the Middle School dept. He couldn't wait to get to Sunday School to receive his "Take The Light" journal - it's a big deal in Middle School, just as it was when Trayc and I were in there, infact I still have my journals from Middle School and High School. There is a section for their morning devotions, a section for prayer requests and a section for taking sermons notes. What a blessing it has been to see Tanner sit on his bed every morning having his quiet time, praying and writing prayer requests. Trayc and I are also really excited about this new school year because we are both working in the Middle School dept. as outreach leaders in the 6th grade Sunday School and helpers in Choir.

On August 7th and 8th, we took a mini-vacation to Orlando. After Tristan passed away a sweet friend had given us free tickets to Wet N' Wild so we decided to use them before we got too busy with the new school year. Trayc and I haven't been since high school and Tanner and Tayden have never been to a water park so we thought it would be fun. Trayc and I took turns going on the big slides with Tanner, I can't remember laughing that hard and that much. And Tayden, well his favorite thing to do was lay back on his tube and go around the lazy river over and over and over! We had a great weekend.

On August 15th, it was a day I would have preferred to stay in bed all day remembering that 1 yr ago our Trisomy 18 journey began. Thankfully, my sweet husband dragged me out of bed at 7:30 am and said that we were going to remember our little boy today and be thankful for all that we had with him. I got ready and we went to breakfast and talked about our precious little boy and all that the Lord had brought us through and what He is doing in our lives now.

Our life forever changed on August 15, 2007. Until that day life was great. We had been married 17 years, we had remained out of debt and cash only for 5 years, we were 8 days from moving into our new home with new furniture, we were prepared to paint blue walls and decorate a sports theme, we had sweet 11 yr old, a silly 1 yr old and we were pregnant with our 3rd little boy!!!!

Little did we realize in a matter of minutes our lives were about to change and that day would quickly became the worst day of our lives. We heard the most devastating and life shattering news that no parent should ever had to hear - our precious little boy, Tristan Asher, would be born with a very rare genetic disorder known as Trisomy 18 which, by medical science, is considered "incompatible with life". We were then told the statistics, 50% of babies do not survive to full-term birth alive and the 50% that do usually only live a few hours or days.

Our doctor's appointment that day was ONLY supposed to be a follow-up sonogram to see Tristan's heart. You see, just 4 weeks prior we were there to find out the most important question of any pregnancy, "Is it a boy or girl????" because we needed to buy paint before we moved into our new house the following week. We found out that it was another boy and just stood at the check out laughing saying, "Great, another boy which means more blue and we have to think of a name". I really thought this was going to be our girl so it was just such a joke that again we were having another boy and figured that we'd have to adopt if we were ever going to have a girl.

When we approached the check-out desk the nurse said the doctor wanted to see us back in 4 weeks for a routine sonogram to see Tristan's heart. The nurse tossed around several dates and then said "How is 8/15 at 8:15, hey that will be easy to remember?" and then laughed. I said, "That's fine" and as she was writing the little reminder card that said "8/15 at 8:15" I looked at Trayc and said, "That will be an easy day to remember!" Not only because of the similar numbers but because August 15th had 2 very special memories attached to that day, 1) Tanner's due date was August 15th and, 2) Tanner started his very first day of kindergarten on August 15th. Oh little did I know, standing at that desk that day, what other memory would now became attached to August 15th. That was the day every hope and every dream we had for our precious little boy was shattered in an instant!

When I read my own words written in my entry that day I feel the hurt, the pain, the sadness and the disappointment. We were so devastated!!!! But now, one year later as I look back, although the sadness of the news is still felt, I so vividly see how the Lord has carried us every step of the way. He was so faithful to our family. We did not know that we would have 56 days with our little boy. We were so scared we wouldn't make it to December. After we got over the initial shock and devastation, we committed to each other and to our Lord that we would not allow Satan to win. We would not allow him to steal the joy of the new life inside of me and that our little boy was our 3rd miracle regardless of his diagnosis. We prayed that the Lord would bless our family with the time He wanted us to have and that we would forever be thankful for that amount, whether it was a day, a month or a year. Tristan's time was 56 days.........that is his little life, his story and what the Lord allowed and we are eternally grateful for that time. You know, sometimes in this life we feel as though we do not make it very far but as I read my words written exactly one year ago I know that we have come through this.

On August 19th (of this year), and the following 4 days we were trapped inside. Yes, we're in Florida and you know what that means......hurricanes! Fay slowly made her way here. It began as a storm and then became a hurricane. The TV News was reporting it to "come right in at St. Augustine", well that's us, and this had not happened since 1964!!!! We began preparing for what we thought would be a very serious hurricane. Fortunately the hurricane became a storm, again, overnight. We had the winds of up to 75 mph and definitely rain and flooding but no serious damage was done. Here are some pictures:

Trayc was in the backyard attempting to take pictures without being blown over:

We had trees down in our subdivision:

We had so much flooding that the yard was full of water and the trees around the lake were IN the lake:

In 4 days of bad weather, we only lost electricity for about an hour on the last day. The boys got out the glow sticks left over from July 4th and we played:

And then tonight, August 27th, as I sit here and type this entry, I am reminded that it has been 7 months since I held my little boy. Oh my heart still aches for Tristan. I am reminded of him in everything we do, whether big or small, the daily routine or the fun planned trips and events. We are changed because of Tristan and we will honor our little boy's life by continuing to move forward, by using his story...56 encourage other moms that receive the same diagnosis, to support others through their loss, to continue living for Jesus, taking one day at a time and above all ---- seeking to do the Lord's will in all that we do.


To everyone we personally know, or only know through the blog: for following our story this past year, for your love, support, encouragement, cards, emails, comments on our blog and Facebook. It means more than you can imagine. This has been a journey filled with many ups and downs but your friendships have carried us through the most difficult days of our lives.

To both of our families: for being there every day to love us, encourage us, support us and for understanding our emotions as we walk this road of grief this first year. We love you!!!

To my sweet internet friends: for your love, prayers and encouraging me on the hard days and for "carrying my mat" every day on this journey. I miss you all so much and cannot wait to be together again. I love you!!!!