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, November 28, 2012

Holidays are the Hardest

Thanksgiving morning began with smiles and laughs as I got Hallie and Aubrey all dressed in their turkey outfits. Before we left I took Hallie and Aubrey's picture. They were so adorable! And then it hit me. This is what I was looking forward to last year. I wanted to take Hallie and Avery Kate's picture all dressed up. Avery Kate never got to do that. She never got to spend Thanksgiving with us. It breaks my heart to think that this is what it would have been like last year with Avery Kate and it makes me miss her that much more. We went and got our Christmas tree at the tree farm after lunch, and once again Avery Kate entered my mind. I imagined what our picture together would have looked like last year. Would we have used that for our Christmas card? Would she be running around the tree farm with Hallie this year? I could just imagine the fun they would be having together. I didn't think it would be so hard this year. We have already celebrated our first holidays without her. Why does it still feel so fresh and raw?


Decorating was even harder. We bought a new frame at the tree farm to put our family picture in. When I took it out the box, my heart felt like it was bleeding. I realized that now we are starting to take family pictures with Aubrey. Now, I have to choose which "family" will go in my frames. Will it be the family picture with Avery Kate or the one with Aubrey? I won't ever have them both in the same picture. A friend of mine gave me a very good idea to have the entire family in one picture, so hopefully that picture will come soon ;) Anyways, I pulled out the stockings, the ornaments, and all the other fun Christmas decorations. Then I just sat down, held Aubrey, and cried. What if something happens to her too and she will miss out on Christmas too? My heart was just so heavy to know that Avery Kate should be here helping us decorate. And as I would look down at Aubrey, I kept imagining what it would have been like last year with Avery Kate, what it should have been. I know it's hard to explain, but I know I will always imagine what Avery Kate would look like and what she would be doing if she were still here with us, but now that I have another baby girl, I'm also imagining what my holidays were supposed to be like last year too. It's like double the heartache. But I am so thankful to be able to make this new memories with Aubrey and I will make sure we have a wonderful and happy holiday. I just had to get passed the initial shock of it all. Luckily Brandon's mom came over and helped me to get in the Christmas spirit. I feel like these moments hit me when I least expect them and it's really hard to plan and prepare myself mentally for that.
With all the Christmas decorating, I knew it was time to put Avery Kate's Christmas tree up at her grave. Hallie, Aubrey, Jenny, and I went to the graveyard to decorate. I absolutely hate having Aubrey there because it reminds me of just how small these graves in "Babyland" are and how unfair life can be sometimes. I let Hallie pick out some special ornaments for Avery Kate's little tree and we began to decorate. Meanwhile one of the workers came and asked me to follow him to the back of their work building. He said he had a surprise for me. I followed him to the back of the building to find a big, beautiful statue of an angel "protecting" a little boy and a little girl. He said they dug up the bush next to Avery Kate's grave and they were going to put this statue there. I just thought that was so special! After we finished decorating, we all got back into the car and Hallie began to cry....uncontrollably! She cried, "I just want Avery Kate! I miss her and I want her! Dad can take her car seat down from the closet and she can come back. I want two sisters, not just one... I want two of them!" Well really I feel the exact same way! I calmed her down, but how do you comfort a child who feels the same way you do? She is just so mature when it comes to stuff like this. I feel like I'm talking with an adult when we talk about Heaven and God. She understands so much.
I had Aubrey's name monogrammed underneath Hallie's and Avery Kate's on their First Christmas Stocking. I have decided to keep this one hanging every year as our memory of our little Christmas Angel that we have to watch over us during the holiday season. We have our house decorated inside and out for the holidays and I know we will have a wonderful Christmas with our family and friends surrounding us. I know it won't be easy, but we have some pretty amazing things to be thankful for. God has blessed us with another beautiful baby girl who I fall in love with more and more each day.
Overall I've been getting so much better. I'm sleeping better at night and I don't have as much anxiety as I used to. Although I have to admit, I'm already freaking out about December 10; the day when Aubrey will be as old as Avery Kate was on that last day we saw her. I know that day will be hard and scary. I feel so many prayers and so much love and support from everyone that I know I'll make it through that day as well. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A New Chapter Starts NOW

Lately I have been thinking about what it would be like when I go back to school in January, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I just can't imagine dropping off Aubrey and going back to the same school and standing in the same place where I received that phone call every single day. My stomach just turns thinking about it. I knew there would be no way I would be able to go back there and keep my focus in the right place. I needed a change. I sent out a few messsages to some friends explaining that I needed a new career. Well, a new position in pharmaceutical sales opened up. I applied, interviewed, and got the job. (Even though it sounds like a piece of cake, it was a lot of work and I have my friend Rachel to thank for all the "training" she did with me) I am so excited to start this new chapter in my life. It's hard to believe that I won't be a teacher anymore, but I know that I will be happy it's just something I have to do. I can't wait to start this new job. Change is a good thing!  "You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

One year = 365 Days

On November 9, it made one whole year that Avery Kate has been gone from this earth; 365 days without my sweet baby girl. Sometimes it feels like it was all a horrible nightmare. I'm glad it wasn't a dream though. I'm glad I got to know her, love her, and spend every single day with her. I was blessed to have her in my life.
Last week was pretty tough. I had mentally prepared myself for that week for a good while leading up to it...or so I had thought. Once Wednesday hit, I was a mess. Last year, the 9th was on a Wednesday. We had gone to a friends to watch to the LSU vs Alabama game the Saturday prior to her passing. Well, we did the same thing this year. We watched the LSU vs. Alabama game on Saturday with all of our friends, and as Wednesday approached me, I began to have the worst anxiety. It was too identical to last year and I didn't handle it very well. On Wednesday I sat in the living room and stared at the clock. I went over every single detail in my head of that horrible, awful day. Each minute that passed I remembered what I was doing at that time. My stomach was in knots as those flashbacks entered my head. I held Aubrey tightly and prayed she would not leave me too. As I watched the time hit 11:00 (the time I got the phone call last year) I noticed a beautiful, bright yellow butterfly fluttering outside my window. It only stayed long enough to cause a small grin to come across my face. On Thursday, I did the same thing. I sat in the living room and watched the clock. I don't know why I did that to myself, but I couldn't help it. I imagined what Honey and Pops were going through on that day, performing CPR, calling 911, and I just can't imagine what that must have been like for them. Then, around 11:00 again, another butterfly came to my window and fluttered around. This one was orange, but still beautiful! It stayed a while and I just watched it with tears pouring down my face. Terri happened to have called during this "moment" I was going through and she drove all the way here just to give me a hug. I sure did need that.
I wanted to go to Honey and Pops and visit with them last week, but I just couldn't. I couldn't physically drive up to their house and carry Aubrey into their house. I just wasn't ready yet, I will be, but last week was not the week. When I am ready, it will be one of the toughest things I will have to do, but I know I can do it. I definitely won't be able to bring her anywhere else that's for sure! I trust Honey and Pops, they are now our family. I'm so happy they've agreed to keep Aubrey when I go back to work. But, like I said, just not yet.
On Friday I decided that I was not going to watch the clock. I was getting out of the house! I brought Hallie to her babysitter, and I was doing so well! I hadn't even shed a tear. Hallie had plans to sleep at my mom's in New Iberia that night, so when I dropped her off at Mrs. Kathy's I reminded her that she was going there when I picked her up. She asked if Aubrey could go with her. I told her that Aubrey wasn't big enough yet. She started crying and said, "But Avery Kate came with me last time!" And then came my tears, behind my sunglasses of course. Her memory is absolutely amazing!
My friend Teri invited me to have lunch with her and I was so happy to have something to do and keep my mind busy. As I was getting ready, I told myself that I wouldn't look at any clock until after 11:18 (time of death).Well,  Brandon called me at exactly 11:18 and my heart just sank to see that time on my phone, and on that day. In my mind I just heard, "Time of death, 11:18." I just imagined that happening in the ER with my poor innocent Avery Kate lying there on the table. Teri and I had lunch (with Aubrey of course) and then I made my way to the graveyard. I remembered my poor brothers lowering Avery Kate into the ground. I remembered the looks on their faces. I remembered the pain I felt, a pain that some people never experience in their entire lifetime.
How is it that an entire year has passed and I still remember every single detail of that day?  I can barely remember what I did yesterday. I will always cherish those memories I have of her, but I HATE remembering that day. Every memory I have of November 9, 2011 puts a huge lump in my throat and knots in my stomach.
We all went to New Iberia to drop off Hallie at my mom's and then headed to Youngsville to spend the night at my dad and Terri's house. We had a nice family dinner and just enjoyed each other's company. But we missed Hallie!! It was a nice ending to such an anxiety filled week for me. I was glad it was over.
I wonder if every year will be this way? Will this anxiety feeling ever go away? Will my memories of that day fade? Will I ever be able to rest and know that this will not happen to Aubrey? Will she sleep on side of my bed until she's 18? I already think I'm getting better :) But, I do wish we could skip November 9 every year. That would be nice.