August 29, 2008

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is Christian's Celebration of Life memorial... I've been praying for strength to help me get through the second most difficult day of my life... But, I'll admit, I'm having a tough time... a really tough time.

As I think about what I'd like to share about my son, one thing continues to resonate in my mind...and that is the legacy he's left behind in the hearts of many. Ryan and I are so completely humbled and thankful by the generosity of so many of you who have shared your hearts, your love, and your prayers for healing with our family.

When we learned Christian was diagnosed as having Trisomy 18 in early April, we were devastated. Everything we read and knew about the chromosomal defect was dismal. It wasn't something we would be able to fix through the miracles of medicine and we knew that our son would not have a long life here on Earth. But the thing that struck me hard was the medical phrase, "Incompatible with Life". It's harsh... completely void of any compassion for the families who are impacted by this terrible defect.

One thing Ryan and I were not willing to accept was that Christian's life would be a foregone conclusion... We weren't willing to accept that, just because T18 was considered incompatible with life, our son would not have a full and meaningful life. It's the main reason I started sharing our story with you... I've had little time to share my son with the world...but I wanted his life to have an impact...I wanted him to matter.

My son, my 4lbs., 14 oz. bundle of spirit and joy certainly HAS made an impact on so many people. He's made a difference to people he's never even met. My heart warms when I receive notes from complete strangers telling me they are more tolerant of their own children or they hug their kids more often... just because they've read our story. People have written notes letting us know their plans to volunteer for the Trisomy 18 organization or March of Dimes... people have even donated money in Christian's honor to the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation. All these loving gestures from people my son has touched. I can go on and on with so many amazing stories of how people have been impacted in various ways. My son matters!

I am so proud and honored to be Christian's mom! And I am honored to call you my friends and family.

So, as I wind down this evening and begin thinking about what tomorrow holds... I will pray for strength and courage to get through the day and I pray the Lord provides me with the right words to honor my son.



August 27, 2008

My Perspective on, "True Friends"

I've told Ryan that I think the guys who came over yesterday were an answer to a prayer.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I prayed hard for God to help us get our lives back on track. I told him we needed help... Keep in mind, Ryan and I are not the type of people to ask for help...not that there aren't people who haven't offered. We get calls ALL the time from our friends wanting to help us out.. but Ry and I have just always managed by ourselves.

Anyway, I'd prayed hard yesterday morning... I shared with God that we were in over our heads...and a little help wouldn't be so bad.

At 9:00 a.m., our doorbell rang and 7 guys from the fire department were standing in the driveway waiting to help Ryan put our garage back together after the big move and Tropical Storm Faye.

Little did I know that when I asked for help, God would send it in the form of several handsome and capable men from the North Naples Fire District!

What's even more amazing is that shortly after the first crew arrived, more firefighters showed up in groups of 2, 3, and 4 at a time...about 20 firefighters total... ALL looking to help out in anyway they could.

Answered prayers... God does that often... we just have to ask...

The best part about yesterday wasn't that all the guys accomplished so much in such a short period of time (although we are so grateful!!)... but they stayed and hung out at the house for awhile telling funny stories and being the "brothers" that a firefighter family can rely on in times of trouble.

I heard Ryan's gut busting, belly laughter above everyone else in the group and I smiled... thinking it sounded like music to my ears. We need laughter these days...

When I thanked one of the guys for helping us out, he told me that they were all Christian's "uncles" and they were happy to do it. Christian's "uncles"... what a great sentiment. I hope Christian was looking down from the heavens and marveling how much he was loved.


Bumps in the Road

Today is tough... I ventured out of the house today to run some errands, but I had a hard time focusing on the simplest of tasks. Tears were my constant companion as I drove from place to place trying to accomplish what I'd set out to do. I keep telling myself it's okay to feel this son died only 4 days ago. 4 DAYS... not long ago...but yet, it's an eternity with empty arms. Oh, how I miss my little boy so much.

It's said that, "Time heals all wounds.", but I wonder if that applies to me too. How does one heal from a loss so great? It doesn't seem possible...but then, again, it's only been 4 days.

I woke up in the middle of the night...something I've done every night since coming home from the hospital... the weight of despair bearing down on my unbearable. I kept rocking back and forth crying out for my son. And the silence was deafening.

I thought today would be the day I finally shared stories of Christian's amazing birth...but it will have to wait another day. Perhaps tomorrow I'll find the words...



August 26, 2008

True friends...

True friends are not hard to find...they are there just because...

You see, our boy was scheduled to be born on the 22nd...try telling that to Christian. Our little guy couldn't wait. A storm was coming and it wasn't Faye it was Christian. He was born a week early...the night before Tropical Storm Faye was due to hit Naples...there was no time to prepare for the storm. We had just moved our ornamental metal business back into the garage...what a mess! I had 1hr to throw all the lawn furniture, planters, trash cans, and miscellaneous items in the garage too...more of a mess.

Between spending precious time with my son and now planning his memorial service... There has been no time to get our lives back together...until Christian's many "uncles" from North Naples Fire Rescue came to our rescue. Our lawn was mowed on Friday before we got home...and today, in what would have taken me all week to complete, our garage was boxed, packed, and stowed in 45 minutes...ready to be a functional garage again. God bless true friends.
Thanks so much to my brothers at North Naples Fire Rescue,


Quiet Reflection

Today, I spent some time in Christian's room quietly reflecting on how much my world has changed in such a short period of time. As I looked into his bassinet, I felt loss so heavy that, at times, it was difficult to breathe. I miss my son... my precious, precious boy who gave me so much joy during the few days we were blessed to be with him.

As I looked around his room, I was comforted by all the things that belonged to him... and I whispered softly telling him I love him. I truly feel his presence with me and it's a bittersweet feeling... pain and joy... hardly two emotions that should go hand in hand....but in my world, they will forever be linked.

Fierce pride welled up inside me as I went through his little box of belongings... clothes he wore at the hospital, little stuffed animals that kept vigil in his crib, his "binkie", and yes...even the plastic medical I.D. bracelet he wore...letting the world know that I was his mom.... All these things belonged to Christian... Everything smelled like him... What joy to remember what he smelled like as I snuggled him close to me.

It's hard to describe...but having these precious few belongings of Christian's meant that he truly had weight in this world... He was already accumulating "stuff"... My little boy was HERE... He had a birthday and he overcame monumental odds just by being being born. I am so proud of him! He was a little fighter... so much determination!

Ryan and I say he was so strong for us... he wanted to be with us just as much as we wanted to be with him. I could definitely see it in his eyes on the day he died. There was so much clarity and understanding in the way he stared at us... I can only believe it was God working through him to help us in that dark moment.

My heart is broken and my tears seem never to dry on my cheeks... but I still rejoice because I had an amazing little boy and I am a mom! Regardless of how many tears I shed for the loss of my son, I will always feel gratitude for having been allowed to meet him and spend time with him... I had a miracle!

As I closed the door to his room... I felt a renewed strength to do the things which are most difficult these days... I worked on his memorial... I wrote his obituary... these things are difficult to comprehend... but it's my life these days... and the trade off was so worth it. I had my son.

It's hard.... I'm hurting... but I'll deal with it ... I know. With God's grace and amazing friends... I'll heal...we will all heal.



August 25, 2008

My Dear Angel Christian,

Grandma Mina loves you soooooo!

I wanted to spoil and play with you and tell you stories about your daddy.
I was blessed to be there when you were born and share your mommy and daddy's Joy!! My heart is bleeding for them now they are without you.

I know you are in good 'God' hands and I will take care of your parents but know their faith, courage and love are so strong it makes me proud and humbled.

God blessed us with so much more than we expected.....4 days and 3 hours!!
And such a handsome boy, too.

You have touched so many lives for such a little guy. We will miss you dearly.

Forever with Christ.

Loving you always, Grandma Mina

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words....

We just left the funeral home... We dressed Christian in his little outfit for his memorial service and spent some wonderful time kissing him and telling him that we love him. He looks so he's slumbering away unhindered by the many tubes and bandages that used to cover his tiny little body. I sat there admiring his beautiful features and I thanked God for our many, many blessings. I thanked Him for allowing Ryan and I to spend such great quality time with our son on Thursday and I asked Him for grace to deal with our loss and strength to cope with our broken hearts. I am truly shattered. But I am so joyful for the precious moments I've shared with my son.

If I had this journey to travel all over again, I would gladly make the same decisions...even amidst all the heartache and emptiness I am feeling. I love my son...I've loved every second I got to spend with him...beginning from the first moment I knew he was growing inside my belly.

I want to shout out loud and tell the world my son wasn't "Incompatible with Life"... He was, He is, and He will forever be...."Full of LIFE"... His life mattered.

I am posting several pictures of our boy...because I want to share with you all the little things we love about him. The words will come later....but I want you to know my
These were pictures taken by Heather Donlan of Heather Donlan Photography...our angel who is affiliated with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. God Bless her and her work... I hope they bring you as much joy as they do us.

I love you all,

Love, Leah

August 24, 2008

A Celebration of Christian's Life

Dear Friends,

Thank you all so much for the many prayers and words of comfort we have received these past several days. I have so much to share with you regarding Christian's birthday, the precious few days we were able to share with him, and the final day of his life. We have amazing memories and stories and I am anxious to share with you the life of my beautiful boy.

And, although my heart is broken and my spirit is shattered...for now, I must focus on what we, as parents, must do for our beloved son.

We invite you to celebrate the life of Christian Dale Paige on Saturday, August 30th, at 12:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

A memorial service will be held at the Fuller Funeral Home located at:

Fuller Funeral Home
1625 Pine Ridge Road
Naples, Florida 34109

In lieu of flowers, Ryan and I ask that donations be made to The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation (NILMDTS). As I mentioned in an earlier post, this organization helps families like mine preserve the memories of our beloved children through photography. The entire network of affiliated photographers graciously donate their time and talents to our families and offer their services at no cost.
"The Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation is there for parents and families to help aid them in their Healing, bring Hope to their future, and Honor to their child. It is through rememberance that a family can begin to heal."
You can make donations online at or mail them to:

The Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation
7800 S. Elati Street, #111
Littleton, CO., 80120
Please reference Christian Dale Paige on your check or online donation.
If you would like to send a card or letter , please send it to:
Ryan and Leah Paige
830 93rd Avenue North
Naples, FL 34108
We treasure every note, card, and letter we receive.
Most importantly, please continue to lift up prayers for our family- for strength, comfort, peace and understanding in the difficult days ahead.

August 23, 2008

This is to Christian’s Mom & Dad….

Please first know that as a health care provider I have never done this in my 30 PLUS years of practice NOR have I ever been touched in the way you 3 have touched me today………..YOU all are more of an inspiration then you can EVER imagine………Leah, YOUR smile has burned a whole in my heart……..Ryan your compassion and the way you looked at your son’s MOM will forever be a part of my soul………….Christian, YOU are amazing…….YOUR cry immediately at birth was MUSIC to my ears and your mom yelled out….”that’s my son”………”he’s crying”………………YOU ARE SO LOVED……..

I am Michelle the Respiratory Therapist who had the honor of being a part of your son’s birthday…….HE IS BEAUTIFUL………….
At times our jobs become very routine…………..TODAY YOUR family reminded me once again why we do what we do…………..

Tonight I pray for all of you and your extended families…………Christian is an amazing little boy……….I know God has a BIG plan for him…..and HE Gave Christian an extraordinary set of parents to help him accomplish his job here on earth……………

God Bless you all,

Precious Pictures

Christian is with Jesus

Our son has passed on to be with Jesus. On Friday morning as we were planning on taking him home and he had an episode where his mind couldn't tell his body to breath. He is such a fighter that he had around 8 episodes throughout the day as Leah and I held him. At 8:00 pm our son went to sleep and Jesus came down and carried is soul to heaven. We were so blessed with the time that we had with him. He was a perfect little man.

Our little man has touched so many hearts and has taught us all how powerful love can be and how time is such a precious gift. We will cherish every minute spent with him until we go ourselves to be with the Lord.

Thank you everyone for your prayers, visits, and gifts. We truly couldn't have walked this path without your help. God has given us strength and comfort knowing Christian will be whole again in his arms.

We are going to have a memorial service for Christian and we will post the time and place on our next post.

Thank you all again and God bless,

Ryan and Leah

August 20, 2008

Thank you Lord!!!

Our prayers have be answered...our boy is alive and we have been given more than an hour with a matter of fact it's been three days and it looks like we will be able to take him home.

We can't thank you all enough for the prayers and well wishes. We have before us the miracle of prayer. Thank you Lord for listening to our prayers. We have truly been blessed.

Please excuse our delay in posts...the hospital internet won't let us access our blog editor. We plan on being home on Thrusday or Friday.

God bless, Love Ryan, Leah, and Christian

August 18, 2008

Beautiful Baby Update....

Ryan & Leah would like to announce the birthday of Christian Dale Paige. He was born on August 18, 2008, weighing 4 lbs. 14 oz., and is 18 inches long.

Family and friends are encouraged to stop by The Birthing Center at Naples Community Hospital North.

Please check back for pictures and an update on their progress.

Fey Update...

Just a quick update on Tropical Storm Fay and the Paiges...We are all prepared and safe. The storm is heading for us here in Naples, but doesn't look like anything except a rain maker, and we definitely need the rain. Thanks for the concerns. It's off to the next ultra sound. so wish us luck.


Ryan & Leah

August 15, 2008

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

I forgot to mention...yesterday, when I was at the hospital, I met with a lovely nurse who headed the bereavement services for the hospital where Christian will be born. She told me of a variety of things they do to help ease the pain of parents whose hearts suffer from having a child who is sick, is dying, or has died. One of the organizations she plugged me into was an organization called, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It's an organization dedicated to preserving the memory of our beloved children through photography. All of the services and photographs (including a disk of the pictures) are donated by photographers in communities all over the country.

The reason I wanted to share this information is because there have been many families who have contacted me and have shared heartbreaking stories similar to what Ryan and I are experiencing. The website is: and it has wonderful information for other parents wanting to capture their precious and fleeting moments with their children like Ry and I are planning to do.

Through our journey with Christian, we have learned that we all here to help each other. You have reached out to me and helped my family tremendously through prayer and friendship. I hope to be able to reach out to others too and pay your kindness forward.

Love to all,


A little Scare

Hi Everyone,

I guess it wouldn't be a "normal" day in the Paige household without drama! Yesterday, I went to the hospital for a routine stress test on Christian's heart and we didn't do so well. Apparently, Christian's heart rate showed some deccelaration which at this late stage is not a good sign. After 3.5 hours in the hospital and, yet, another ultrasound we were told to come back this morning and repeat the test.

We were told to also bring a packed bag and prepare to be induced today! You can imagine how scared and unprepared we were when the nurses told us that! I was panicked...there is still much to do here at home before our originally scheduled delivery date of August 22nd! The thought of being induced a full week early was certainly not anything Ryan and I ever considered! Even though our whole pregnancy has been one unplanned event after another!

I woke up this morning absolutely certain that our stress test result would be much better today! I prayed hard for God to give us a little more time to get ready for Christian's birthday.

On the way to the hospital, we stopped and grabbed breakfast of a strawberry banana smoothie, blueberry muffin, AND a cheese danish to make sure my little boy was bouncing off the walls for his stress test! And, sure enough, he did just that! Another reprieve!!

We are still on target to for next Friday! Woo Hoo!

August 13, 2008

Dear Friends,

We met with my OB/GYN yesterday and finally scheduled an induction for August Friday at 7:00 a.m. Due to the fact that Christian's growth has been so slight, our doctor's felt that the inducing labor would give us the best chance to have a birthday with Christian and to spend a little time with him. We're going to be giving birth at The Birth Place here in Naples.

To tell you the truth, I was so nervous when we scheduled the date. This is the day I've been praying for and dreading at the same time. I am so excited to meet my son FINALLY! To be able to hold Christian in my arms with his father beside me is a dream I've been wishing for for so long. We are going to be parents! But how much time will we have with him, I don't know. That's the part I dread. Will I be strong enough to handle what is to come? For now, I shove those fears in the back of my mind and try to focus on the joy we will experience when we meet him on Friday.

There is so much that we are trying to accomplish in this short period of time. I haven't written about it at all these past few months, but Ryan and I have been very busy trying to shut our family business down so that we can devote all our time to Christian when he comes. It's been a struggle for us because the Florida heat hinders my ability to help Ryan as much as I'd like. And he is not the type of person to ask for help. Also, as many of you already know, Ryan is also a full time firefigher. When he's not working 24 hours at the fire station, he is trying to finish projects for our clients and move our business from our warehouse back to our shop at home. I don't know how he does it...He's is truly amazing. I can tell the stress is finally wearing on him though...he looks so tired these days. But he never complains...he just tells me that he can't wait to spend time with our son.

I don't know how we've managed these past several months... we have tried to be strong for each other in the most difficult of situations. And we have done it.

Thank you all for your prayers and the many, many emails we are receiving each day. I read them all before I go to bed and feel so much better about what each new day brings. You are all so amazing. I wish I wasn't so tired each night... I would write you all and tell you how much I love you for caring for me and my family. I hope you will understand if I haven't written to you personally. Believe me when I say that I truly appreciate your letters and I thank God every day for bringing each of you into our lives.



August 10, 2008

It's hard to imagine...

Well it's hard to imagine, but shopping for our son should be easy, baby blue with some kind of fire truck design or football on it and we are golden. It isn't that easy. You see, our boy might not make it home from the hospital. So, will he even have time to wear it, lay in it, or play with it. Do we get a bassinet or a crib? Do we get a car seat or a stroller? Do we get an inexpensive one or one with all the bells and whistles? Do we get it and just keep the receipt? These are the questions we have to ask our selves. It's not fair! I want to spoil my boy. I don't care how much it costs, but then reality hits me.

It's hard to imagine life without Christian...

Love, Ryan

August 6, 2008

Hi Everyone,

I just got back from our latest ultrasound appointment and, it appears, we've had a bit of a reprieve. Our son has grown to 4 lbs, 10 oz and 17 inches long since his last ultrasound! Although, we learned that he now measures 3.5 weeks behind his gestational age, he does continue to show some growth. At this point, we'll take anything we can get that is positive news! The doctor told us that as long as he continue to show progression, then we can still stay the course and assume he will be born alive for his birthday. Ryan and I just can't wait to meet him! Moving forward, we will start monitoring him and his measurements weekly. If, at any point, he has no growth, then the doctors want to deliver him early.

This is the first day in a long, long time that I've actually felt like my old self and started to feel a little more optimistic about our situation.

The roller coaster ride we've been on since the beginning of July has been very difficult to deal with...but, if my son continues to fight, then I will get off my pity party and be better about staying positive too!