September 26, 2008

Garden for our boy

As I are some more pictures of Christian's garden.

Please don't notice that I'm standing on the very top of the ladder!

Don't try this at home...I am a trained professional...ha!

We planted Blooming Jasmine, Italian Cypress, Juniper, and Costa Rican vines...

The teddy bear is actually called a "comfort cub"... Some of Christian's ashes were placed in a heart shaped gold locket which is inside the bear's chest. It's a way for Leah and me to have a part of Christian with us always. We hug him, tell him we love him, and kiss him goodnight every evening. He even watches football with us on Sunday!

The fish...

Christian's garden faces our home... he will forever be a part of our family...

Christian, Roxie, MacCloud, and Me...

God bless

September 22, 2008

1 month ago...

Dear Friends,

Today marks 1 month since Christian passed away. It's a tough day. Ryan and I have been trying to stay busy these past few weeks... mainly focusing on the garden and each other. Each day, I try to stay focused on the joy my son brought me and it truly helps. We really jammed so many good moments into the 4 days he lived on this earth... it's easy to smile when I think of him.

Ryan and I started our day by visiting Heather Donlan's studio and picking up several photographs she had taken while we were at the hospital... I will never get tired of looking at all the images of Christian. Right now, they are my lifeline... I especially love the videos... hearing his noises and watching all the little faces he made makes my day... especially when I feel sad. Moving forward has been the most difficult thing to do... but it is getting easier.

After Christian died, I thought I would die too... it certainly felt like it. Grief brings about the worst kind of pain... everything is hard...very hard! But, the pain does subside. Slowly, I am learning to breathe again and I am finding my way back to a new kind of normal.

I don't think I'll ever be the same person I was before Christian came into my life... and that's okay. I'm still trying to figure things out... still trying to figure out how I move forward in a positive way.. and I'll get there.. I just need more time.

For now, Ryan and I stay busy...we completed the pergola in Christian's garden today! Now that we have the foundation set (fountain, pergola, and stones)...we'll be able to start planting! So far, we've decided on Blooming Jasmine for the pergola but we have yet to decide on all the other plants! Hopefully, we'll be able to make decisions this week and have everything planted by the weekend!

We should have better pictures of the progress in the next few days or so.

Thank you again for walking with us in our journey with Christian. I really can't express how much it means to me and Ryan that you have continued lift our family up in prayer. I have read the most beautiful and uplifting emails and letters from so many of you and they have helped me to deal with the loss of my son. At my lowest moments, you have lifted my spirits and I am so grateful!

I have had a tough time personally writing to many of you who have taken the time to write, send us gifts and even hand made cards... Please know, I'm just having a hard time finding the right words to thank you! I am overwhelmed by your generosity and feel that anything I say is inadequate! Just know that I love you for caring about my family!



September 20, 2008

A work in progess...

Hey everyone,

We have been getting alot of inquiries about the garden. So here are a few pictures on the progress. I picked out the fish...I think Christian would have liked to go fishing with his dad. I would have loved going fishing with him...I miss my boy.

A place to reflect....

Trying to even out the farmers tan...

Got a great deal on the cypress. Thanks Naples Lumber! I cut and sanded it, Leah stained it. She's a great helper.

We plan on growing Jasmin on the pergola for some shade.

We hope to have it done by the end of next week. We'll keep the pictures coming.

God bless,


September 18, 2008

Celebrating Christian's Life...

Christian had many visitors at the hospital....

So many people came throughout the week! Ryan and I were thrilled to show off our little boy to so many friends and family! Christian was held, and kissed and fussed over by everyone! I know our little boy felt so much love during his time here on earth!

Fire Trucks came by...

Aunts and cousins came by...

Ryan's Battalion Chief came by..,,

Our Pastor and family friends came by....

Dear friends came by...

Young friends came by.....

More Aunts and Uncles

His Cousin...

His Uncle....

Handsome Hank....
a firefighter "uncle"

More "uncles" from the fire station....

Chicago friends...

And even more friends....

Christian's fan club...

More friends...

Grandma Mina...

Christian's "uncles" from the fire station....

Happy One Month Birthday, Son...

Christian Dale Paige
"Our Beautiful Boy"
Born Aug. 18, 2008

Only a few minutes old...

Gone too soon...

I miss you, Son....

Love, Mom

September 17, 2008


Dear Friends,

Tomorrow marks what would have been Christian's 1 month birthday. It's hard to believe a month has already passed since I gave birth to my son.

It's hard to put into words how I feel... I suppose I should start by telling you that I am so Thankful that God blessed Ryan and me with our son, Christian! Our little boy really was more than we could have ever hoped for.

After years of trying to have children and even after our attempts to adopt a little girl from China...Ryan and I started thinking perhaps we weren't meant to have kids of our own. My heart hurts as I write these words because I remember how desperately we wanted to fill our home with many children and how hopeless we felt because we had none.

But we didn't give up ... we kept trying ... until finally, with the help of our fertility specialist we conceived Christian. Actually, initially, we were pregnant with twins!

When we lost Christian's twin at 8.5 weeks, all our hopes and dreams for a family rested on the birth of our son... our precious Christian. In April, when we learned Christian had Trisomy 18, an always fatal chromosomal defect, we knew he would never be well here on Earth. There was nothing we could do to help our son and we knew he would die from T18. All our hopes and dreams were shattered and we were devastated. But we loved our son so much...we still couldn't wait to meet him!

It would have been so easy to be angry and turn away from God because of our circumstances. Especially considering that Ryan and I were what I call, "convenient Christians"... we only prayed when we were in trouble... and it went something like, "Lord, if you help get me out of this mess, I promise I'll be a better person." We never had a relationship with God... and we never realized how one sided our meager relationship was... we always asked him for help, but we never gave anything back.

When Ryan and I learned about Christian, we RAN to God... we needed him to help us get through the most difficult time of our lives. This time though, we placed all our trust and faith in Him and we knew He would take care of us. In the midst of the worst news we could possibly receive and after all that we had gone through to conceive Christian, our faith was tested far beyond anything Ryan and I were prepared for.

But we remained faithful... we prayed everyday for God to let us have a birthday with our son. We embraced every day we had Christian in our lives with utter joy and anticipation. Each day I carried him in my womb was a wonderful experience... and I celebrated every ultrasound...kick, hiccup...and even gas pain (although, I don't think Ryan was as thrilled about the gas)... The bottom line is that we truly felt BLESSED by the experience.

God chose us to be Christian's parents and we knew our son would be nothing short of a miracle!

After months of praying for a birthday and remaining faithful to God's plans for our son, we were blessed with a birthday and our son was absolutely beautiful! He had a strong cry the moment he was born and he showed such personality during the 4 days and 3 hours he lived.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that God never turned his back on us. He gave us a fact, he gave us more than we asked for...we got 4 incredible days to be with our son. God has also put people in our lives who have helped us through our grieving process... so many of you have touched our lives with stories of loss and hope... your constant prayers for our family have truly lifted our spirits when they have been at their lowest.

Yes, I am struggling with my grief... I'm sad.. .and I miss my boy so much... But I also want you to know that I am so happy to have had the opportunity to know my son. I loved holding him and telling him that I love him... I kissed him a thousand times before he died and I held him as he took his last breath. I will always treasure this experience for the rest of my life.



September 15, 2008

Christian's Garden

Dear Friends,

Ryan started working on Christian's memorial garden this weekend. His sunburned skin and the blisters on his hands convey how this has truly been a labor of love from father to son.

Christian's garden has a beautiful water fountain and stone bench so that we can have a place to reflect and remember all the precious moments we shared with our little boy.

It's a work in progress as we still have plants to plant and a pergola to build for shade...but it's really coming along. Ry and I have really enjoyed searching for things to put in Christian's little garden. We were deprived of the opportunity to create a special nursery for our baby boy... so, in a way, this is the nursery we never had... One kind nurse made castings of Christian's hands which we are having bronzed for his special place. Already, it feels so peaceful...

I sat there yesterday after church and felt my son close to me as I stared into the fountain. I know I will spend countless hours there daydreaming of my beautiful boy. I'm sure Christian is looking down from heaven...eyes twinkling and approving his daddy's work.



September 11, 2008

The Mail Bag...

Dear Friends,

I feel like I'm teetering on a seesaw... I felt pretty good about my earlier post and had some energy to do a little work around my home... Not bad considering that most days I don't feel good about anything and have little energy to even get dressed...

And then the mail came... we received more cards and letters which have been such a great source of comfort for Ryan and me..., a water bill, the funeral home statement, ...and Christian's birth certificate.

It's IMPOSSIBLE to feel good about anything when it feels like you're getting punched in the face every day. ... I received my son's death certificate before I even received his birth certificate. We received his medical card from our insurance company yesterday, letters addressed to Christian from the hospital...the hospital he DIED at... and I've even received a bill for him. My son was 4 days old and he has a bill in his name!

No grief counselor can offer words that ease the sting of getting on with life after my son's death. How much must I endure before I completely snap? I'm angry and I'm upset.

Is this the way to healing? Every book I've read about dealing with grief talks about the emotional side of loss... but few address the business of getting back to normal... I checked. There are no chapters regarding mail call or what to say when your not-so-observant neighbor asks when he can come visit your new baby (That happened as I was walking back from the mailbox today).

It sure feels like I'm in the "Anger" stage of grief. Not a good place to be.

September 9, 2008

Stumbling along...

Dear Friends,

It's difficult to put into words what I am feeling today. I guess I must start by telling each of you that I love and appreciate you so much for each email and comment I've received over the past few days. I've spent time reading and re-reading each note... taking in everything that you've written and feeling a renewed strength to work through my pain.

Please forgive me for not responding to each of you personally... Just know that you have touched me deeply with your kindness. We are weaving an intricate bond of friendship together...and it has a far reaching and much greater impact than I ever imagined possible. Thank you so much for your words of comfort and your friendship!

It wasn't easy for me to admit that I've been struggling to keep it together since Christian's death... especially in such a public forum like the Internet. But I am glad I did...the support I've gotten in return has been immeasurable. Thank you so much for the many prayers and emails... You are all amazing people and great inspiration to me!

My steps toward healing have faltered, but then again, it's a tough road I am traveling on. My son died 3 weeks ago... and I know it's okay to be sad.

I thought this journey would be over once Christian passed away. But in truth, it's only just begun. The true test of my faith and character really began on the day Christian died. And there is much I still have to learn.

As parents, Ryan and I made the most important decision that we could make for our child...and that was choosing his LIFE over any other option available to us once we learned Christian had Trisomy 18. Some would say we chose the hard path...but, there really was no question in our minds that it was the right thing to do. And we were rewarded greatly by our decision...God blessed us with a beautiful son.

When Christian was born, we didn't see an imperfect little boy... we saw a Miracle. Words can't describe how wonderful the feeling is when Ryan and I look at pictures or videos of our son and we see each other in Christian's features. We created his life together...there is no sweeter feeling or stronger bond than that. Through our tiny little boy, God has taught Ryan and I more about faith, hope, and unconditional love than we ever thought possible.

I have much to be thankful for. And even though I have stumbled along this path toward healing, I am still moving forward.

With Love,


September 8, 2008

Dark Days

Dear Friends,

I'm not doing very well... I am sinking into a black hole and I don't know how to help myself.

I've been beating myself up for days now... thinking there must have been something that I could have done to help my son as he lay dying in my arms... I've been tormented by that day. I remember his last moments so clearly...the little whimpers he made...just before he closed his eyes forever. My son died in my arms...and I've relived the moment each day, a thousand times a day ever since. And, I don't know what to do to help ease my suffering.

I lay awake for hours going over the events of that Friday...struggling to cope with the decisions Ryan and I made. We signed the Do Not Resuscitate on Thursday because we didn't want Christian to be put on a ventilator if he stopped breathing. We only considered his quality of life and I didn't want to interfere with God's plans for my child. But I never realized how difficult our decision would be... I thought Christian would die peacefully in his sleep. Never had I imagined that he would struggle for several hours before it finally happened. I know that Trisomy 18 can't be fixed or healed...I know it's fatal...but I feel so much anguish at my helplessness...

I remember begging the nurses to help him...knowing there was nothing that could be done to save his life. I know without a doubt that any one of the nurses who surrounded me that day would have moved mountains to help us if it were possible to do so. But still, I am Christian's mother...why couldn't I have done something to save him... I will never forgive myself.

I had no idea how difficult this road would be when Ryan and I decided to carry Christian to term. Not that I would do anything differently... Even though I only had a few days with my son, I will cherish those times for the rest of my life... But, I miss him so much. My heart is aching... and there is no relief.

How do I pick up the pieces of my life so that I can function normally again?? How can I move past the events of Friday?

Please tell me something that might help me... I feel so terrible these days.


6 Years Together

Dear Friends,

Ryan and I celebrated 6 years of marriage on Saturday... It wasn't the kind of celebration one would expect for an anniversary or special occasion, but, it was still a special day for us.
There were lots of hugs, spontaneous dancing to various songs playing on the radio, moments of silliness and laughter... and tears as we talked about our son, Christian. We marvel at how our boy really was the best of the both of us... His features were a combination of the Asian in me and Italian in Ryan... He was such a beautiful little boy!
Ryan and I thought our home would be filled with tons of children by now. Certainly, we never expected to be grieving over the loss of our only son... It's been so hard for the both of us.
But, we have tried to be strong for each other. Ryan is never too far away when I have my moments and need comforting. And I've tried my hardest to be there for him. Although he puts on a brave front, I know he's needed me too. I see it in his rimmed from crying privately. I know he misses his little boy. Sometimes, I put my arms around him and I feel his shoulders slump toward me...the weight of his own pain bearing down on me. It is in those moments when I am reminded that I am not alone in this journey...and I can't be selfish in my own despair.
Ryan and I have always had a special relationship... We are the very best of friends... always have been from the moment we first met. I know our closeness will carry us through our grief.
We've talked about getting away and finding the joy in our lives again...but it's still too soon. The flowers from Christian's memorial are still in full bloom in baskets and vases around my home... reminding me that our son was here only a short time ago... I miss my boy. But I know that one day, Ryan and I will see our son again... What a sweet and glorious reunion that will be!
And so it is...that our anniversary was a special day... filled with sweet memories of our son and of each other as we've grown in our marriage throughout the years.


September 5, 2008

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is my 6th year wedding anniversary... It's also the original due date my doctor gave me for Christian's debut into this world. How differently things have turned out.

The reminder popped up on the screen of my blackberry today...not as my wedding anniversary, but as Christian's birthday. Another reminder... another ding on my heart.

I really am trying to get better emotionally, but everything reminds me of what I don't have...and that is my son. I feel terrible today.

September 3, 2008

A Special Prayer Request

A special family needs our prayers right now... An angel in Texas, Kenzie Stanfield, was admitted into the hospital earlier this evening for preterm labor at 26 weeks with her daughter Faith Clare. She has been a prayer WARRIOR for me and my family and has been faithful in our walk with Christian from the moment she first learned of us. She lost her son, Maddox, in January to Trisomy 18...the same condition that took the life of my own son. Please pray for Kenzie and her precious little Faith Clare. I know He listens and He will wrap his loving arms around this beautiful family.

Love in Him,


September 1, 2008

Empty Arms...

Dear Friends,

It's been 4 days since Christian's memorial and I am still trying to come to terms with the loss of my precious boy. Ryan and I have spent countless hours looking at photographs and videos taken of our thankful for preserving what few moments we had with him. Our tears mingle together as we talk about our boy. His life was such a many hopes and dreams shattered, but yet, he was an answer to many prayers...A birthday we never thought we'd have. Again, such pain and joy... two emotions which will forever be linked together.

There are no words of comfort which will help to ease our broken hearts. Not today, anyway. I miss my son so much.

Just before morning, I went into Christian's room and curled up with one of his onesies... I held it close to me taking in the smell of his lingering baby scent and wishing that I was holding him again in my arms. I closed my eyes and rocked back and forth as I remembered how he felt snuggled against my chest...the weight of his body so slight as it lay against me. I remembered the little noises he made and the softness of his skin as it touched mine. I will always cherish these precious moments with my son. Too few memories... but, they are all I have.

At times, the emptiness I feel completely overwhelms me.

I remind myself constantly that I must walk and not run through this journey...that it will take time to heal. But it is a lonely process. I am emotionally and physically tired... drained of every emotion except pain and grief...they are my constant companions.

It's such a contrast to how unbelievably happy Ryan and I were just a short time ago. The birth of our son was an amazing experience...A lifetime of joy felt in the 4 days and 3 hours our son lived on this earth. Ryan and I share our favorite memories of him often... we love how his hair looked after we took off his hat...wild and messy and just plain adorable. We loved how milk used to accumulate in the corner of his mouth after a feeding...and we loved how he used to peak at us with one eye open...seemingly shy and curious at the same time. We loved how he used to point his little index finger... a trademark he adopted early on... even while he was still in my belly. There are so many little things that we will never forget! He had such a large personality for one so tiny! I can only smile as I think of him.

I know that losing my son has permanently left a scar on my heart...but I it's a scar I will gladly bear... I had my son for 4 glorious days... God blessed me and my husband with an amazing little boy... and to feel this pain is a reminder of the best days of my life.

I don't know what God's plans are for my life as I move forward through this journey...but I do know he does have a plan. Already I feel changed by this experience... another paradox... fragile and tender hearted as I think about my son.. and stronger as I absorb how Christian's life has impacted me forever.

To my dear friends who have remained faithful in this journey with me...thank you so much for your continued prayers and support for my family. There are simply no words which can adequately express how grateful we are for each one of you. Ryan and I feel your love and appreciate how you've embraced us...especially my son. Thank you for caring and keeping vigil over our broken hearts. We Love You All.......