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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas

This week we celebrated our second Christmas without Avery Kate and our first Christmas with Aubrey as well as our first Christmas having two children. It was such a roller coaster of emotions. Every time I would dress the girls in their matching outfits, my heart would immediately start to hurt. Every picture we took, every "baby" gift we bought, every family celebration we went to...My heart felt like it was bleeding. It was so much harder this year than last year. Maybe I was still numb at this time last year? I was so happy to celebrate Aubrey's first Christmas this year, but at the same time, I knew this is exactly the Christmas I had planned out in my head for Avery Kate to have last year. It is just so hard to explain. It was probably one of the hardest weeks so far, and maybe because it just lingered on forever. For those of you who know me well, you know we have lots and lots of families to celebrate with on the holidays, so Christmas isn't just a one day event.
On Christmas morning, I pictured Avery Kate running into the living room with Hallie and opening presents with her. I imagined her playing with Hallie in their new playhouse that Santa brought them. I just imagined how happy she would have been here with us. And then I imagined different things. I started to think of her in Heaven with Paw Paw and Jesus. I pictured them all rejoicing and spending Christmas with the true reason for the season. How lucky she is to be there, but I would just love to have all three of my babies here on Earth laughing and smiling with us on Christmas morning. I do take a few moments during this time to look at Hallie and Aubrey and thank God that I have them in my life. I really am blessed, but it doesn't take away the hurt in my heart or the lump in my throat during this holiday season. I now understand what people mean when they say that the holidays are the hardest once their loved ones pass away.
On another note, I have started my new job. I study all day long and take two tests a day. It's pretty demanding and I have Aubrey home with me while I'm doing this which isn't the most ideal situation. It's working though, and I am learning a lot. Honey and Pops will open back up on Thursday and I am bringing Aubrey there. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. How am I supposed to drop off my baby and leave her there? The last time I did that, I never got to see her again. I know deep down that Aubrey will be OK and I know they will take care of her, but it will be so hard. I have been dreading this day since the day she was born. My stomach is in knots and that lump is in my throat as I type this. I'm so nervous! But the reality is that Aubrey will be just fine and there is no better place for me to bring her. So I've got to calm down and just do it. I can do it. Or at least I keep telling myself that right? Well, I know I can do it with the help of that special guardian angel I have with me all the time. I will put it in God's hands.
Also, I have to leave next Sunday to go to New York for training for three whole weeks. Yes, three weeks straight! Brandon bought me an iPAD for Christmas so I can face time with him and the girls, but I am going to miss them sooooo much! I don't know how I am going to go without seeing them for three whole weeks, but I know it will be worth it in the long run and it's best for my family. After all, compared to my lifetime without Avery Kate, three weeks will be nothing. I'm going to make the best of it and try to enjoy the fact that I will actually be able to sleep all night long with both eyes closed. How wonderful does that sound! Speaking of sleeping....I have been doing a lot better. Aubrey sleeps for eight straight hours and then I wake her up to eat after that. She is definitely my easiest baby, so I am not worried about Brandon being home with them while I'm gone. Our moms will be here to help him, but I know he can do it.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a happy new year. I know I have learned to never take anything or anyone for granted this year. I hug my babies and feel so blessed that God has shared them with me. I've learned a lot about myself this year too and I know now that I can conquer anything. Embrace life and live every moment to the fullest. Happy New Year! Come on 2013...the best is yet to come!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

9 weeks and 6 days

Last Monday, Aubrey was 9 weeks and 6 days old; the same age that Avery Kate was the day we held her in our arms for the last time. I had so much anxiety during the days leading up to that day. Sunday night we were driving on the interstate (sleep apnea monitor all hooked up on her) and Aubrey's machine went off. It showed that her breathing was either weak or non-existent. Really? This is the last thing we need! Luckily I was driving and Brandon jumped back there to check on her. She was fine of course, but again....really? Tonight? Once we were all sleeping Sunday night, guess what happened again? Yep! That darn monitor started going off again! I think it went off two or three times that night, and let me tell you, it takes a while to recover from that kind of wake up call. Aubrey was just fine every time the machine went off, but boy did my heart race! The machine makes a noise like no other. It's loud and high pitched, and frankly one that I will never forget as long as I live. Of all the times for that machine to start going off, it chooses now. My heart had a hard time recovering from that long night. Of course Monday I watched the clock and as it hit 11:19, I thought, "Aubrey is now one minute older than Avery Kate ever was." I just kept looking at her all day, looking deep into her beautiful blue eyes and thinking how I could not imagine losing her. It's something that I don't really have to imagine every day, but something that I remember feeling when I lost Avery Kate. And now somehow, all that pain came back to me on Monday. I was so scared that I would lose Aubrey, so scared that all this happiness would be taken from me, but of course I made it through the day. I have never held a baby so tightly or stared so long as I did on Monday. When I closed my eyes to go to sleep that night, I thanked God for Aubrey. She is truly a miracle and a blessing from above. God sent her to me to help me through hard times, make the good times better, and to know that nothing in life should be taken for granted. I feel so lucky and blessed!
During the past week, I couldn't help but feel like Avery Kate had missed out on so much. I've now had Aubrey for one week longer than I had Avery Kate. One week makes a big difference in the life of a baby. In that one week Aubrey was able to meet her new baby cousin, something that Avery Kate was never able to do. With every day that passes I think about what we would have been doing with Avery Kate. I had such big plans for her, and it makes me nervous to plan for Aubrey. I bought her Christmas dress and immediately imagined Avery Kate's Christmas dress hanging in her closet, a dress she was never able to wear. I just pray every night that God will let Aubrey stay here with us and she will be able to do all the wonderful things that I have planned for her. I guess I will have to let my faith take over, because only God knows what lies ahead for us.
So I didn't make Christmas cards this year. I don't know if it was a time issue or the fact that I really wanted my entire family together in front of the Christmas tree this year. Maybe it's a little of both. I just want all my babies together and it will never happen. I want to put my arms out and have a big girlie group hug with my three daughters. Again, it will never happen. I sometimes dream about what it might be like, and it's the best feeling in the world. But those are just dreams, not reality. I'll get passed this, but these issues are still very fresh.
Hallie has been talking about Avery Kate a lot lately too. While I was feeding Aubrey the other night, Hallie sat next to me and said she needed a bottle too. She said that I could feed Aubrey and she could feed Avery Kate. Before I could respond to her, she said, "Mom, that would be soooo special right?" Of course the only response I could give was, "Of course! That would be so special." Hallie is one special little girl let me tell you. She even made Brandon drive by the graveyard the other day to check on Avery Kate's Christmas tree. She is always thinking about her little sister and still wants to take care of her. I love that about her! When I pierced Aubrey's ears last week, Hallie immediately started to call her "A-Kate." I wonder if the earrings just made her believe that Avery Kate was back? She could have just been being silly too, but it really hurt my heart to hear her calling her that.
I am taking each day at a time now and thanking God for allowing Aubrey to be here with me. I know Avery Kate was sent to our family to be our Guardian Angel, and I think she is doing a pretty good job. I feel her with me when I get to my lowest points and I know she will continue to help me through each and every day.
I dressed Aubrey in Hallie and Avery Kate's little dress this morning. My plan is to frame all three of their pictures in my hallway. My Maw Maw and Paw Paw have their three girls in the same dress framed in their hallway and I have always loved looking at those pictures. I knew the day that I found out Aubrey was a girl that I would do the same thing. Here is a sneak peak at their sweet pictures. They each have a little piece of each other which I think is pretty awesome. Hallie was 4 weeks old, Avery Kate was 8 weeks old, and Aubrey was 11 weeks old in the picture. I love making pictures like this but I know deep down that it's only a matter of time when Aubrey outgrows everything that Avery Kate wore. It makes me so sad! But let's live in the present and enjoy all these little moments right?

I begin my home study for my new job tomorrow so I won't have much time to write. I am so excited to start this new chapter of my life, well I have to admit I'm a little nervous too. But bring on the new career...I'm ready!  Merry Christmas :)