Wednesday, February 16, 2011


we got our pictures that the photographer took from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep organization. here are some of them...

holding our rings...

Sophia's foot prints in AJ's bible... (we didn't notice this until after, but it is right beside the verse that says "your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" psalm 119:105)

i can't get enough of her full body pictures. i adore her cute little arms and legs.

getting all washed up by her daddy.

today i pretty much have cried all day. i cried going into work for a meeting (because last time i was going in to work i was pregnant). i cried when we were buying a truck (i'm not quite sure why i cried here). i cried when i got these pictures (because i miss my cute little peanut and because i didn't feel like they took enough pictures- i don't think any mother in this situation would ever say any amount of pictures is enough). and i cried in between (just because). yep. that sums up my day... wonderful. needless to say- not going back to work this week.

i also would like to say- when i say that i am going on a trip and then people say i am lucky to be going to cancun i wanna scream. i am not lucky. i would rather not go on vacation for this reason EVER. i would rather not have to be taking this trip to regroup and get away to heal for some time. i know that no one means anything bad by it. i am just emotional right now and not being very tolerable of anyone's good intentions. if you have said this- please don't feel bad. i just would prefer not to hear it anymore. i am running out of kind responses. thank you for being understanding.

please pray for us this weekend- as we are probably going to pick up Sophia's ashes and go spread them. i am ready for this part of stuff to be over. which sounds horrible, but it's hard to keep having to face this kind of stuff. so i would rather face it and then go on our trip and come back with all of those kind of things behind us.


Saturday, February 12, 2011


Sophia's obituary ran in my home town newspaper...

I'm pasting it here now in case it goes away (and making some changes that we missed)...

Sophia Rose Dinkel

CENTENNIAL, Colo. –– Sophia Rose Dinkel, infant daughter of Aaron and Tristen (Vass) Dinkel of Centennial, Colo., passed away peacefully Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Denver, Colo. She was surrounded and held by family as she was placed in God’s arms.In addition to her parents, she is survived by her maternal grandparents, Steve and Laura Siegrist of Warsaw Ill., and Chris and Tiffany Vass of Hamilton, Ill.; paternal grandparents, Jeff and Dianne Dinkel of Forest Park, Ill.; aunts, Megan Vass of Burlington, Courtney (Jason) Yates of Warsaw, Samantha (Kyle) Brees of Clarksville, Tenn.; uncle, Josh Setter of Littleton, Colo.; and cousins, Kamaira of Clarksville, and Bryer and Ellie, both of Warsaw. She was preceded in death by a maternal grandmother, Rosemary Hauk; maternal grandfather, Lawrence Roy; and paternal grandmothers, Ruby Dinkel and Lois Childers.

Memorials may be made to String of Pearls at The organization handled the private service arrangements

Friday, February 11, 2011

my due date

this week has been a little better than the last- as to be expected, that time will help heal. yet tears continue to make their arrival in the most unexpected times. like today in the card aisle in Wal-Mart. if you know me and my mom- we are card people. we love buying and sending cards to each other for not only holidays but anything in between. today i was there contemplating buying v-day cards and the tears came. the ones that reminded me that i was looking forward to sending cards to sophia's grandma from her. the ones that reminded me i was looking forward to getting aj cards from his daughter. yes i know i could still send them, but it is different now.

i hate when tears sneak up on you and get you when you least expect it- about things you forgot about or don't expect to make you that sad. it has been these little things this week that have got me starting a cryfest. my sweet niece- Kami- who never met sophia but saw all kinds of pictures of her said- "i miss baby sophia. i hope God teaches her to crawl and walk". yep. that got me good. that a sweet little 3 year old even misses my beautiful daughter. really if i sit and think about it at all in depth i cry. or if i find that i haven't thought about her all day- i cry- feeling bad that i haven't thought of her. it is weird when you have never been a parent and you lose your first child. especially one that you only got to spend a short time with, as i never have really felt like a mommy. yes i know i am a mommy now, but when you only get to hold a child for a short time that you are told is yours, it still doesn't feel real. my heart aches for her and tells me i am her mommy, but my empty arms make it hard to feel real. my life has completely changed, yet it hasn't. my house doesn't look any different, although we have pictures around of her. my routine isn't going to be different. i will be going back to work full time and my time is still my time. i was soooo ready for my life to revolve around a little baby's schedule and needs. i was ready for that sacrifice- well as much as anyone can be... so living my life in the day to day that very much resembles the time before i was a mommy makes it hard. i find that i constantly need to either look at her picture or wear one of my pieces of jewelry that says sophia on it every day. it helps me feel closer to her and feel more like a mommy- like this really all did happen and she was actually here.

i think my tears were ready to come today as it was suppose to be my due date. it is the last of the suppose to be happening type dates (like monday was the day i was suppose to be induced), and i am ready to be past those. they are painful reminders of what was suppose to be. today reminds me of the joy i felt back in june when we went to our first dr appt to confirm the pregnancy and got today as our due date. the one where aj was so proud of how quick he got me pregnant when we had just started trying. the time where we felt endless joy and hope about this baby and blessed to have gotten pregnant so quickly. where we were still really excited and had no reason to think otherwise. i was more worried the baby would be born on valentines day and i didn't want he or she to share that holiday with their birth. we joked we would have birthday parties on valentines day and charge the parents to baby sit their kids. oh! how little did i know i would have much bigger worries when we found out our news in September. that no pregnancy ever again would be carefree for us. we will now always be cautious and weary of the fact that babies do not always come home with you. bad things can and do happen to people. i hope that we can at least enjoy future pregnancies a little more than this one... even if that means just the joy of getting to have a baby shower and when people comment on my tummy in public i don't have to fake enthusiasm about the baby coming. the funny part is that lately i find myself worried and anxious for those of my friends that are pregnant right now- which are a lot of them. i find myself praying harder than i ever have for their babies- that they will be healthy and that their pregnancy/birth goes well. i want no one to ever have to go through what we have. when my friend gave birth in december i found myself holding my breath till i knew he had arrived and all was well. i have officially become the pregnancy prayer warrior through all this.

yesterday we boxed up the nursery and most of my maternity clothes. no- i don't quite fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes, but maternity clothes make me sad. it reminds me of the time i still felt my daughter kicking and moving and had a cute little belly to carry around. i was thinking the other day how thankful i am for all the ultrasounds we had to have- as i got to see Sophia do all the cute little baby things- like sucking and playing that i didn't get to see her do when she came out. we got to know her best during those times. she was lively and active when i was carrying her inside me and i am thankful for those memories. anyway- so boxing up the baby stuff wasn't as bad as one would expect. i just put on my game face and did it. i couldn't let myself think about it too much, or it wouldn't get done. i had to just detach and do. i'm glad aj was around, as he hadn't really looked at the baby stuff when i was pregnant so when he helped put it away we got to smile over how cute it all was. as some people got us baby stuff when i was pregnant even though i didn't have baby showers, we have a good little stock for our next baby and although some of it may make us sad when we get it out again- most of it is unisex and we don't have "sophia memories" attached to it. anything that was hers (like knit hats, italian booties, blankets made for her specifically)- we put in her own box of memories. that will stay out on a shelf for us to pull out anytime we want to go through it. we will try again for another baby by the end of the year, as we both are very ready to be parents and it does take a good amount of time to grow them :o) so we know that this stuff is packed away for now, but not forever.

wednesday i started working out again- well so far i am only allowed to walk. so i have been going to the gym with friends to walk and also lift some free weights for my arms. gives me something to do and something to start working on getting my body back. i have lost 20 lbs since giving birth- now i just need to lose about 20 more. i was hoping to breastfeed to help get this weight off- but since i won't be doing that, i have to do it the old-fashioned way- eating right and working out. bummer.

thanks again to everyone who had brought, sent and/or made us meals. they have been great to not have to worry about cooking or more the work of cleaning up after cooking. just wanted to give you all another thank you again as i have someone dropping off stuff here in a bit from our church's care team. thank you Deer Creek Church for supporting us so well at this time. God certainly knew what was in store for us when he lead us straight to you when we moved out here.

lovingly- tristen

Sunday, February 6, 2011

our first real outing

so thursday we went and got to spend some extra time with Sophia and say our final goodbye. this was something we originally had decided we wouldn't do, as we didn't want to see her and ruin any memories we had with her at the hospital (with her looking more discolored). but the more we thought about it- the more i kept thinking- gosh who could turn down holding their child more? my arms were aching to hold her again. and boy are we both so very glad we decided to do this. she actually looked better than she did at the hospital. plus- we weren't sleep deprived from being up for over 24 hours and feeling rushed to spend what little time we had with our daughter. and i hadn't just given birth.

we were able to walk in there clear headed (as much as you can be after you lose a child) and focused. i had spent time in the week since last seeing her thinking how i hadn't looked at all her details because i was just trying to take in the fact she was mine and how pretty she was. so this time i spent time taking in her details- her little finger nails, her eye lashes, her soft red hair, her small little chin, her wrinkly feet, her small arms and legs. we spent time crying over how beautiful she is and how cute of kids we make. how she would have been such a joy to raise- a spunky red head who was small but would have had a big personality. how blessed we were that with all her deformities, she was so perfect looking on the outside. (back when we bathed her after her birth we had used a certain scented lotion- and everything she wore or was wrapped in smells like it still) so i put that lotion on that morning, so that it continues to be a smell that when we smell it- we think of her. (thank you String of Pearls for this idea) when i want to think of her or feel close to her i can wear this lotion and think of Sophia.

another idea that we took away from SOP is to put Sophia's foot prints in our bible when she was born. this i liked, but didn't realize its importance till we went to church this morning. i knew church was going to be hard- as worship music has always been such an important thing to me. and when i was pregnant it could make me cry on a fairly consistent basis after we found out Sophia's risks. so today i knew i would be tearful- and i was. i couldn't sing, but just sat there and let other's lift up their voices for me and let it surround me like a warm comfortable blanket. then as we sat down to listen to Duane's message, all i could think was- wow, last time i was here i was very pregnant and i should be sitting her with a newborn in my arms today. instead i have empty arms and an empty belly. my cup feels very empty as well... i feel like i have nothing to give right now. then i opened my bible- and saw her foot prints and touched them and thought- well at least i have part of her here with me. it helped me regroup and make it through the rest of the service.

aaron and i did have a good day on saturday- we went on our first date since everything happened. a friend had given us seats to the local NHL team- the Avalanche- game. so we went to that game and then went out for sushi afterward. generally it was a good time, i could have an adult drink and some raw fish, neither i could have for the past 9 months. it was nice to laugh and enjoy some time out of the house with my husband. yet- i kept thinking that we shouldn't be here, we should be at home taking care of a newborn baby, i would much rather be sleep deprived and exhausted but blissfully happy to have my daughter at my side. but i tried focusing instead on the fact that i get to spend more time with my husband, strengthening our marriage now. i'm sure everyone experiences these feelings after loss- where you are in public and just want to scream- please be nice to me, don't you know my whole world has crashed? don't you know my daughter just died? it feels weird to be in public where life continues as before for everyone around you. and you feel changed. you feel different and people should notice. but they don't. they can't. and in reality you wouldn't want everyone to know. it's nice to be just another face in the crowd where people don't expect you to be sad.

well this week aaron goes back to work- please pray he doesn't get any calls with patients that are pregnant or sick babies (those were hard when i was pregnant and will be hard for awhile yet). this week i will be going through the nursery- returning stuff that we don't need (preemie sized clothes or diaper cream that will expire before i would use it) and packing up baby stuff to store for our next child. we will turn the nursery back in to a guest room till we are ready to try for a baby again. please pray for our continued pain- we both are really wanting our daughter back right now and missing her so much. we are also going to get a dog this week- something we were going to do before baby but never did. it will be nice to have something to pour this love we had saved up in to, give our attention to and make our quiet house not so quiet. we also booked our vacation- we are going to Cancun in a few weeks- to relax on a beach, drink, eat and generally get away. i'm excited to just get away and regroup before i officially go back to work the beginning of march. anyone have any really good book recommendations? (i like a good fiction)

taking it day by day- t.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

1 week

we are one week out. funny how time will be marked by her arrival from now on. our lives before her and our lives after. oh how long a road we have...

anyway. i wanted to share some news that gave us the ability to take a deep breath and help with our healing process. we had talked with our doctor on monday, as she had said- whenever you need reassurance that what you did was the right thing you call me. well in days since Sophia's arrival we have both had moments where we asked- did we do all we could? should we have intubated her? should we have pushed for them to do more? (medically we can both reason away why we did what we did, and that was what all the doctors recommended) but in our hearts we kept doubting... well on monday she gave us a pep talk and encouraged us that just by choosing to carry through with the pregnancy we gave her more of a chance than most people do. and that if we had chosen to do anything then the little time she did have we might have wasted on having her poked and proded. this gave us some gentle reassurance we did the right thing.

BUT- then on tuesday she went and reviewed the examination that was done on Sophia later that day. (we have her enrolled in research at The Skeletal Dysplasia Center at Cedar Sinai- so they needed some post death x-rays and such). when she talked with the pathologist to examined her- it was revealed that Sophia had multiple things wrong with her. not only was her chest small, but her tongue was attached to the bottom of her jaw and her trachea (the tube you breath through) was completely blocked off (it was malformed). so even if we had wanted to intubate her (give her a breathing tube) they wouldn't have been able to. this also explains why i kept building up the amniotic fluid- due to her not being able to swallow it. God made that decision for us when he made her, and took the responsibility of deciding what should be done away from us. such a relief of the burden to have to live with what kind of decision you made to save your child. knowing we made the best decision possible- not doing anything to her and just spending time holding her.

today may be the one week mark from when i got to meet and hold my daughter, but i give thanks.
-thanks that God is all knowing and in control. that he not only made my daughter perfect in her own way, but he has her and is loving on her so much better than i ever could.
-i am thankful i got to carry her as long as i did and get to know her that way.
-i am thankful for our family- that they could meet her and be there to support us then and they continue now.
-i am thankful they continue to show her pictures and are so proud of who she was.
-i am thankful for all the cards/packages we have received from people we know well and people we don't know well.
-i am thankful for people saying they will never forget my beautiful daughter.... because i know i never will.

today i am choosing to be thankful. it may not be an easy choice, as it is easier to sit on my couch in my tears and i may not make this choice many days, but i do today. i want to be thankful for where i am today, even in my pain.

in His grace-t