Avery Kate

Avery Kate was a healthy ten week old baby girl who went to sleep for a nap and woke up in Heaven. We miss her every second of every day. SIDS became a reality in our family and we will never forget our beautiful baby girl.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We are not alone

As you all know some pretty amazing things have been happening to us lately, and I just can't write them off as coincidences. I KNOW Avery Kate is with us and she has been showing us that more and more lately.
Last week at school my friend told me a story about the little "winks" from Heaven that she had gotten from her parents and she told me something she'd heard about feathers. She said that she heard that feathers are a sign from Heaven, especially when there is just no logical way as to where the feathers came from. Then yesterday she posted this quote on facebook:
I thought it was neat but had never seen any feathers out of the ordinary before. Either that, or I had never taken the time to notice them. Well, I put Hallie to bed last night where we of course prayed that Avery Kate and Paw Paw would watch over us every day, just as we always do. When I left her room, I closed her door and felt like I was being told to look down on the floor. Honestly I thought I would see a spider or a June bug! It was just a feeling though. I was absolutely shocked to find a tiny white feather right there on the floor. It made me smile for a second, then brought tears to my eyes to think that my baby girl has wings. I've pictured her as an angel before, but this made it real. Seeing such a tiny feather had my mind actually picturing the wings she is wearing in Heaven.

So now here is the real kicker! This morning, I'm lying in bed just thinking about the feather. Of course I start to think, maybe I'm just being silly and trying really hard to find things that could be from Avery Kate. Maybe that feather fell out of a pillow and was blown there by the air conditioner, etc. Bottom line: I'm trying to make logical sense of it all because I felt a little crazy believing that all these little "winks" and miracles would be happening to me so much. Well in the middle of all these thoughts I pull out my phone and notice a notification on one of my apps. It's an app that notifies you when apps go on sale and are free. A quote app had been put on sale this morning, so I decided to download it. Who doesn't want a nice quote of the day? Once it was downloaded I opened it up to see what it was about. This was my quote of the day:
Goosebumps? Yea me too! At that very moment I quit trying to make logical sense of everything and chalked it all up to God and my guardian angels. Why did I even think about second guessing this? When things are right here slapping us in the face, we need to embrace the moment. We have to appreciate the messages God sends us and believe in him, and believe in miracles. They are just not coincidences. My sweet girl is with me, and will help me through every step I take in life. No wonder I am so strong. How could I be weak with such a glorious team on my side.
I got out of bed and immediately knew what I was going to do with the feather. My former principal had given me a little wooden quote that I had put in a cabinet in our living room. Another friend who I met through the graveyard (Our babies are buried near each other) had given me a little white angel that I put with the quote in the cabinet. I couldn't think of a better place for my baby's sweet feather! And since it is in a cabinet, it will never blow away.

The feather is on the right of the angel even though it's hard to see in the picture. I will walk past here every day and know that Avery Kate is with me. It just doesn't get much better than this! Thank you God for always helping me to believe and see that YOU are behind everything that happens on this earth.

And finally.....we have a name! Our baby girl will be named Aubrey Kathryn Soileau. Hallie may still call her Siri for a while, but we are very excited about baby Aubrey coming to meet us in October. Brandon and Hallie have been able to feel her kick in my belly and I just love having them be a part of this. A baby growing inside my belly....that itself is a miracle too!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Winks from Heaven

It's now been six months that I've been without my baby and it is still so hard. The one thing that has helped is the huge weight that was lifted from my shoulders when we found out we were having another girl. I felt like I was ready to start going through Avery Kate's things but every time I go into her room to do so, I end up having a breakdown and nothing really gets done. But just the idea of knowing what I will do with her room and what the future will bring (somewhat) has helped me. Hallie found me in Avery Kate's room the other day and was absolutely heartbroken to see me so upset. "You miss Avery Kate, Mom?" she asked. I nodded my head with tears just pouring from my eyes. "She's in Heaven, so you can't cry for her in Heaven OK? She's happy in Heaven, Mom, so you can't cry for her," she said as she wiped the tears from my face. It was in that moment that I knew she was right. She's not even three years old yet, and she is giving me advice! Really good advice at that!! I love that little girl.
Well, Mother's Day was last weekend and it was a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be. I never even considered the fact that it would upset me. I had such a tender heart all day long. I received the sweetest cards from Hallie and Brandon. Brandon included Avery Kate in his card and it just touched my heart. I am still her mother and will always be her mother no matter what. I just wish I could do things for her that I am able to do for Hallie. The only thing I can do for her now is pray to her or clean and decorate her grave. That's just not enough and it was just an all around tough day. I was able to spend the day with my family and of course Hallie brought my spirits up, but I had Avery Kate on my mind all day long.
Avery Kate was given a beautiful silver bracelet for her baptism and I wanted Hallie to wear it to church for Mother's Day. I had been looking for that bracelet for a few months now and could not find it anywhere. It really upset me, because it was really special. On Mother's Day night Brandon and I put Hallie to bed just like we always do. Now she still sleeps in a crib, because she has never tried to climb out and I'd like to keep her in there as long as I can! She has a little table on side of her bed with a lamp, a picture, and her sound machine. She does not sleep with a night light, so it is pitch dark in her room. Well after being asleep for about thirty minutes, she calls for Brandon. He goes in and talks to her for a bit and comes back to tell me about it. She was telling him to get a box out of her room. She didn't want it in there anymore and she asked him to take it out. She told him to look behind her lamp and he would find a box. He brought the box out to me. I was amazed to see a box that said, "There's an angel watching over you." I opened it to find Avery Kate's silver bracelet. Now I turn on her sound machine every night before she goes to bed and I have never seen that box there before. There is no way she could have seen it from her crib, and even if she could have seen it, it was dark! And why now? Why would she suddenly, in the middle of the night, need the box out of her room? I am convinced that Avery Kate told her I was looking for it and showed her the way.
I've always heard that a child is the closest thing to Heaven and I am now one hundred percent sold on that. I have learned so many things from my child these past few months simply because I've opened my eyes, ears, and heart to fully listen to what to she has to say. I know I have said it before, but I believe that God and our loved ones that have passed try to speak to us and communicate with us but we are too caught up with our busy lives to notice. I can hear Hallie in her bed at nighttime talking away. I used to think she was singing herself to sleep, and sometimes she might be. But, I know she talks to Avery Kate at night. I'm a little jealous actually.
On another note, my sickness has let up tremendously. I am now 19 weeks pregnant and only getting sick every now and then. It may just be ironic timing, but I started looking and feeling better on the day we found out this sweet baby in my tummy was a girl. I guess it was just another stress lifted from plate which helped me. Whatever it was....AMEN!! I have also started to feel her moving around in my belly. It brings back a lot of memories of being pregnant with Avery Kate. It also reminds me that this is a live baby and she will have to come out eventually. That scares me! I am terrified that this baby is going to die too and I just don't think my heart can handle that. I just want her to stay in my belly as long as possible! We are going to use Avery Kate's initials to name her in honor of her sister. Hallie is insisting on naming her Siri (like on the iPhone) but that will never happen. The other day I found Avery Kate's shirt that she wore in the hospital. Hallie took it and said, "It's so little. Hey! Maybe baby Siri can wear it, Mom!" She's something else let me tell you. Anytime I come across something of Avery Kate's that I decide to give to Hallie, she always says, "Avery Kate shares! She loves sharing with me." I just love the way that little girl thinks. We haven't decided on a name yet, but I will be sure to share it when we make our final decision.
Hallie has also finally comprehended that this baby in my tummy is not Avery Kate. It took her a while, but now she knows that she has a sister in Heaven and another one in Mommy's tummy. I was really worried about explaining this to her and now she understands. I guess that's just another weight lifted as well.
Last Friday, school was really tough. I started making the slide show for my class to remember their second grade year. Little did I know, it would not be nearly as fun or as easy as it had been every other year. I began to pull pictures from special events at the beginning of the year when I caught a glimpse of myself in the background of a picture holding Avery Kate. I noticed her little toes, and boy I sure do miss those little toesies! I immediately started to cry. And that was only the beginning. Every picture I pulled up reminded me of a school year that I choose to forget. I know it sounds terrible for me to say that, but I want to forget this year. I want to forget that spot in my classroom where I received two different phone calls that changed my life forever. The phone call about Avery Kate and the call about Paw Paw. I just so happened to be standing in the same spot for each call. I know I will remember all the love and support I received from everyone, but I don't ever want to have to relive the year with pictures and sappy songs ever again. As I went into the office to burn copies of the DVD for my students, my co-worker told me that she also found a picture of Avery Kate and me on her camera. She mentioned how my face was just beaming with happiness, then we both started to cry. It was such an emotional day. I looked at the picture once I got home, and she was right, I hadn't seen myself smile like that in a long time now. I miss those days. My life was perfect. I had everything I could have ever dreamed of. And now, no matter what I have, I will always know that something, someone is missing. I'll never again be able to say that I have everything I've ever wanted. Until I am in Heaven once again with that little sweet pea of mine, I will never feel complete. Although I do enjoy those little winks she sends me ;) I'm so thankful for those.
Overall, I am doing better, but it saddens me to know that in just a short time, Avery Kate's room will no longer be her room. That will be the biggest hurdle for me to cross, but I will do it one step at a time. I have separated some things, but haven't taken anything out of there yet. I still have her jammies and bath towel in the her hamper from the night before she died. I know many things have to be done before October, but how will I do it? Like I said baby steps, I'll know when I'm ready. I will just have to keep praying for strength. "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

This is a video of Hallie telling me about Avery Kate. She's so smart!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It is revealed!

May 3, 2012.
I anxiously awaited my doctor's appointment today more than most others. I knew for sure he would tell me the sex of the baby. This to me was not just about finding out boy or girl, it was much more to me than that. Every day I walk into Avery Kate's room just wondering what it would become. Would I reuse the bedding? Would I reuse any of the clothes? What would the future of this room hold? I didn't know if I'd have to change it completely for a baby boy, or keep some things the same for a baby girl. I felt like I was ready to move forward with going through her things, but I just couldn't do that without knowing if I was going to have a boy or a girl. Brandon and I also really wanted to tell Hallie. She came and sat with me in Avery Kate's room just a few days before and said, "Mom, God's going to bring me a baby sister, and I'm going to say, 'Thank you!'" I was in shock. Every single person has told me I would have a boy, so I felt really bad for Hallie for even thinking that God might bring her another sister. I thought there had to be some truth behind everyone telling me I'd have a baby boy, so I quickly explained to Hallie that one day God would give me a baby in my tummy, but it just might be a baby brother. She completely dismissed that theory! Anyways, so here I sit just anxious as could be, causing my blood pressure to go up and all, waiting for the big reveal. Well you will never guess it! It crossed it's legs again! Not only that, but the umbilical cord was passing right through the middle of those little legs. I was completely devastated! I held it together while we were at the doctor, but I fell apart in the car. I just couldn't go any longer not knowing what my future was bringing. I deactivated my facebook because I didn't want to set myself up for any more upsets. I know that with any other circumstance it would be pretty darn funny to try to find out the sex four weeks in a row with no luck. But this was not the case for me. I didn't care if it was a boy or a girl in there, but I just had no know which one it was. I could not go into that baby room one more time without being able to do something. I was at a standstill in my grieving process and I was not OK.
I texted my doctor that night asking if there was any possible way he could get me in with his ultrasound tech the next morning. He texted me back the next morning saying that she was completely booked but I could go to a place called A Moment in Time here in town. I did not even know that place existed! I called at 8:00 that morning only to hear that they were also booked. Then the begging started. I was not taking "No" for an answer. I told her that I was not interested in all the fancy stuff they had to offer, I was not bringing my entire family to see the baby move around, I didn't need to hear the heartbeat, I didn't need a picture of the baby or any cutsie stuff, I needed to know boy or girl and be on my way. Clearly that wouldn't take but 3-5 minutes and I was just sure they could fit me in. And she did! I left school at 12:45 and nervously walked to my car. I looked down and saw three red lines painted on the cement. For Hallie and Avery Kate's ultrasounds that's exactly what we saw, three lines. I knew that was a sign, but I had to ignore it. After all everyone was insisting that I was having a boy.

 I drove up to the place and looked up at the pictures of Avery Kate and Paw Paw that I had clipped to my sun visor in my car. "OK y'all. Hold my hand through this and help me to be accepting no matter what." After all, it truly does not matter, but my heart was going to hurt either way. I took a deep breath and Brandon and I went in together. I got on the table and just watched as the ultrasound tech searched for the perfect view of the baby. She paused the screen and zoomed in. She pointed her little arrow at the baby and began to type. She never said a word. I saw those three lines, but still wasn't positive of what it was. I held my breath! She slowly typed, I....T....'....S.......A......G......I exhaled and grabbed Brandon's hand as the tears began to fall down my cheeks. It was at that exact moment that I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders. I actually felt it! I finally knew. I knew that my heart wanted another baby girl so badly, but I didn't think I'd be so lucky as to have another one. Then I remembered my Paw Paw. He had three daughters and loved it! I knew he had a huge part in this. I am so thankful that God has blessed us with another baby and that Hallie will have another baby sister. She will have a sister to watch over her and a sister to play with every day. What more could I ask for? I guess Hallie knew all along didn't she?
Brandon picked up Hallie and we brought her home to paint my belly. We let her paint pink hand prints on my stomach and Brandon painted "It's a Girl." This would be our special way to tell our family and friends. We told Hallie that I had a baby in my belly, but she was more concerned with the paint to comprehend what we were telling her. She will understand soon, it just may take a little while.
I'm now the mother of three girls. WOW! This big reveal has brought out some other thoughts and feelings though. I will never have a picture with my entire family in it. This baby girl will never meet Avery Kate on this earth. I'll never get to see my three girls playing together in the backyard. It just sort of made everything real for me. I had really never thought of any of those things before now. Avery Kate will always be a part of our lives no matter what, but I just wish that this new baby could know her like we did. It's really hard to swallow. I know everything will be OK, it always is. I just need for all of this to sink in.

And another door closes...

April 24, 2012.
I waited patiently alllll day long for my doctor's appointment at 4:15 that afternoon. I was having an ultrasound and was determined to find out the sex of our baby. I sat down in the waiting room when Brandon walked in and sat next to me. "I got the death certificate," he said. Chills went through my body and I felt numb. I didn't even know what to say, I just knew I wanted to see it. I needed that closure and to see the official cause of death. I also thought that somehow the exact time of her death would be on the certificate. I don't know how I expected them to know the exact moment she took her last breath, but I needed that to be on it. Of course Brandon didn't have the certificate with him in the doctor's office, so that's all I could think of my entire appointment. I went in and saw the doctor and saw our little bean growing and moving around, moving around in a way that of course caused the legs to cross and block our view of the "goods." I wasn't very disappointed though because I felt like we had received a huge piece of information that day, and it just wasn't the right day for our baby's sex to be revealed. When we got home I sat down in our bedroom and opened up the death certificate. I had never even seen one before, and here I sit looking at my own child's name on this piece of paper. Time of death: 11:18. It really upset me. That's when we were sitting in the hospital, not the time she died. Realistically I knew that was the time they knew there was nothing more they could do for her, but I just wanted to know what time she took her last breath. They always figure that stuff out on TV, why couldn't they do it now? I guess I just start to think every day around 10:15 what if it was this moment that she stopped breathing? What was I doing? Was she with me? Did she immediately see me and hold my hand through it all? I think about her every day from about 10:15 until 11:30. I guess I always will. Then there was the worst part of all: Cause of Death. PROBABLE SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME. That one word in there just hurts my heart, probable. So you mean that's probably it? I'm OK with the SIDS thing, but probable? Why did that word have to be added? I looked over every detail of the certificate a few times and then put it away, for good. I honestly don't ever want to see something like that again. I'm glad the wait is over. It's been almost six months of us waiting for a true cause of death, and now we finally have one, kind of. It does ease my mind to know that she did not choke on her spit up, she did not smother in her blanket, she did not have some sort of heart defect, and she did not have anything wrong with her brain. They ran tests for all sorts of things all this time, and nothing was wrong with her. It's comforting to know that nothing we did caused this and that we could have done nothing more to prevent it from happening. On the other hand, that scares me! How do I know it won't happen to our next baby? I know this is just one of those things that I have to give to God. I will trust in him. After all, we are in control of nothing in our lives. He will take care of us, just as he always has.