My son died…but I smile.Every day.

Asher died 5 years ago. It’s been 5 years since I saw him blink his eyes at me. It’s been that long since I memorized the lines in his hands as he wrapped his fingers around my index finger. He was ticklish. He would arch his back a bit if I hit a certain spot on his rib cage so I know that must have been the sweet spot. And it has been 5 years since I had to learn the art of saying ” My first son died”. Because boys and girls, my art ….well, I color outside the lines so there is no right way to say it to make YOU feel better.


Listen, let’s have an honest conversation shall we? Because sometimes you have to make it uncomfortable and obvious in order to learn from an experience. That’s a lot of the reason I started this blog many years ago. A lot of it was for my healing. But a lot was to help others understand . I have to admit, I say the words “my first son died ” probably once every 2 weeks. Maybe it was because in my fitness class I said I have had 2 babies or 2 csections. Or , it could be I am telling a pregnant women ” during my first pregnancy”…yada yada. That automatically leads to “Oh , how old is your son” or ” how do your boys get along?”. Any woman in my shoes has their own way of answering that. I have chosen to always tell them the truth …that Asher died the day after he was born, As you can imagine, the looks I get are of  -#1 sheer panic as they want to retract what they asked and #2- complete sadness. “I am so sorry” is the next thing I hear. I know they say this because it’s the only thing that makes sense. But in the back of their mind, they are thinking how have I survived this? HOW can she smile and be as positive and energetic after having to watch their child being wheeled away from them in a white bonnet and know they will never see them again? Is she in denial? Is she that detached with reality and what ACTUALLY happened? Here is the truth  my friends, I am a robot. No, no . I am the tin man, with no heart. Wrong again. It’s because HE makes me smile. My Asher Knox  Martindale is why I smile.

Some curious souls have wondered why I bring him up to strangers. Recently a guy I started dating this summer said me bringing Asher up during the first meeting of his Dad may have been a little much. That it seemed to make him uncomfortable. Well duh, of course it did. It’s an uncomfortable and really an unchartered territory for most. But when he said this, tears formed in my eyes because for a second, it made me feel bad because I NEVER want to make anyone feel uneasy. But in my true Lindsey fashion, I explained why I would not take back make mentioning him so early. I went on to share that when you lose a child, the one thing you never want to happen is to feel that they didn’t exist..that they matter any less than any other child you have. And in my life, if I DIDN’T bring Asher up, that’s what I would be doing…not acknowledging his life and legacy . And damnit, do you know what this WHOLE journey has done? It has completely changed my life and made me who I am right now. A fighter. A strong person of Faith. A person who doesn’t tolerate unkindness and doesn’t waste energy on those that don’t have you in their corner and vice versa. And because of him, I am a much happier person. So you see, how can you get to know me …when HE has made me , ME?


There is a large chance you may find someone in your life that has lost a child. I have dozens that have and most of of us…on MOST days, still smile. Because their death didn’t rob us of that. Nope. Sure sure, our middle fingers may have gone up shortly after losing our child because people seemed to be moving with life’s chaotic pace while we barely managed to change our underwear after a week because we were numb. But because they CAME and they CONQUERED this life…just a lot sooner than we had hoped…THAT is why we smile.

Here’s the skinny of 2017

It is official. I survived my first full year being on my own , after 12 years of having someone to wake up to, to do the yard work, to scratch my back , and share crappy frozen pizza with. In ways it has flown by. In certain moments, I wish they flew faster . But then again that is how a bird runs straight into a glass door….wasn’t concerned with living in the moment and what they were currently doing, they were more focused on where they wanted to be. And we all know how that bird turns out 🙂 .

So I have learned a few things this year living alone and having to be the man and the woman of the house. And how to juggle a full time job, a part time job, 2 dogs , being an owner of a townhome, all while being a full time mom and professional driver of the city of Atlanta. Here goes:

1- Invest in an unlimited data plan for your cell – yes I have to watch my money and I always skimped here. People it’s worth the $20 not to have to worry about if you have a wireless connection and Waze is at your fingertips for as long as you need it. And I mean, who doesn’t need to swipe right or left when they are stuck in traffic.

2- Cable is a waste- I mean really, does anyone watch series other than on Netflix? Plus you probably pass out each night before your show even starts if you are on Eastern Standard Time.

3- Always have quarters in your car for air- And LEARN HOW to use a tire pressure gauge. Yes, I had to learn the hard way as I was actually deflating my tire when I was attempting to put air in them for the first time. Thank you YouTube for showing me that I have to squeeze the trigger 🙂

4- Prep or die- if you don’t want to eat Uncrustables each night( dang they are delicious though) or your kid to live off Wendy’s, gotta food prep. Yes, I look like an octopus in the kitchen on Sunday night prepping dinners, omelets for snack and veggies for lunches…but it takes the stress out of worrying about it at 6:15 each night when your child becomes Lucifer because he is ready to eat.

5- Yard work is for the birds- if you have the money to pay someone to cut your grass, DO IT. But if you don’t as I don’t, place your kid in a wagon with his dinner and have him cheer you on if you actually mow in a straight line( as I do not). Just get it done- you don’t live on a golf course.

6- Never underestimate the strength of a toddler- yes, I have had to literally sit on my child with his arms pinned under my legs and my forearm under his chin to wipe his face. I have also been sucker punched straight in the mouth and almost had to get stitches. Luckily I just got a jacked up inner lip instead. No one can see it so who cares.

7- Dating today is about as painful as a splinter on your ass- guys , MOST guys today, forget women are human beings and have feelings. If they don’t show their teeth in their photos, there is a reason. A single mom who is a Christian eliminates about 98% of the pool out there . Everyone is “spiritual but not religious”( what does that even mean?)

8- Drive defensively ALWAYS in Atlanta- I have been saved by God’s angels probably fifteen times this year. Let’s all repeat please ” If the light is blinking yellow, it means use caution, if it’s blinking red that means STOP and if the traffic light is not working its a 4 way stop”. Oh and using your blinker here is an automatic guarantee you are not merging by way of someone letting you in. Don’t ask permission people, ask forgiveness and wave afterwards.

9- Women can do everything a man can do- as long as you have a step ladder , a power drill, a self propelled lawn mower, and fix a flat for your car. And if you don’t have these things, beg your friends to borrow their husband for the day.

10- Loneliness can be crippling – being single this year, I have learned how to be alone. I have learned to put myself out there and to have hard, uncomfortable conversations. I have found out the hard way that it’s better to be alone than be with someone and feel even lonelier. I have learned that my friends are amazing but I don’t like to bother them and take them from their less lonely life. And holidays can be the loneliest time of year for someone like me.

Most of all, I have learned through this year that God is like a very good personal trainer. He is going to push you past your norm. He is going to challenge you in ways that you aren’t ready for. He is going to make you go past your level of comfort because he knows you can handle more , even if you doubt you can . You are going to say you can’t do it and he’s going to say oh yes you can. You won’t die from what he makes you endure. It may knock you down and you may be out of commission sometimes while your body and mind get used to the challenges he has placed upon you. But you WILL come out stronger, and ready for the next uphill battle . Just next time you can sprint up them rather than army crawl.

Rock a bye bye

Tonight I found myself in my rainbow baby Rowan’s room after bedtime. I had watched him toss and turn and cry out for me for quite a while as I had laid him down to sleep. Usually I let him cry it out but tonight my heartstrings were being tugged in a different direction. I scooped him up, blankie in arms, and started rocking him and drawing circles on his back. I can’t tell you why this moment hit me when it did, but tonight as I rocked sweet Rowan back to sleep, I instantly remembered when I had my one and only chance to rock my sweet Asher. When babies pass away, they give the family an opportunity to spend as much time with them as they desire. I remember my first sweet baby boy being wheeled in after being taken off life support and being in the hands of the creator. He had a white hat with a red rim which indictated the baby was no longer alive. At that moment, I could sleep, knowing he was right next to me. The next morning, I looked over and there he was, perfect as I ever imagined him. I scooped him up , waddled my Csectioned, cut opened, engorged breast, backless gown wearing self into the very uncomfortable rocking chair in my hospital room. It didn’t matter. I had my baby and although he wasn’t breathing anymore, I felt him. I could smell him. I could twirl his hair. So I started rocking him back and forth, looking at the beautiful sunrise God had painted in the sky. Here was this baby I had prayed for. Here he was, perfect in my eyes, outside the womb I had kept him so safely in for nine months. But my love couldn’t save him. If love could have saved my sweet Asher, trust me, he would be causing chaos and havoc here on earth like his brother is right now.

I have learned alot in these four years of losing Asher. I have learned God doesn’t always make sense to those here on Earth. I have learned that no matter how much you love something, sometimes it is not enough. I have also learned that if you fight for something, if you truly put your heart and soul into another being, you can hold your head up high knowing that that person has been changed because of your love. I am currently living through that in my personal life and although it’s hard, I know I have given it all I could. I know that love always wins if it’s an honest, all encompassing love. My love for my Asher was just that. I went through years of infertility before Asher. Then my dreams came true when that positive sign popped up on that test. Some of you are wondering how love won if Asher died? Love did win. Anything worth fighting for takes dedication and sacrifice and facing things you didn’t think you would come out on the other side of. But I was reminded as I rocked my sweet Rowan to sleep tonight, love does win. Dedication and determination win. Not letting the hard rocky roads defeat you. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have a sleeping giant upstairs in his crib right now. Sometimes you don’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel but it’s there. If it’s worth it, it’s there. But you have to fight against the odds. You have to crawl through the muck, and grime and shards of glass sometimes to get there. But there is no greater victory than when you come out the other side. Because you made it. Because you are a child of God. Because he made me a mother and a fighter and a lover of people. And I am so thankful for that . If I left this earth tomorrow, if the worst thing people could say about me was she loved too much and fought too long, I am okay with that. Because I have spit in the face of doubt . I have spit in the face of you can’t and you won’t. My swet friend Melinda reminded me this week as she looked at Rowan that he was never supposed to happen. He was a 1 in 4 chance of dying like Asher. But my faith carried me through that doubt and here he is. And man oh man, is he the perfet child for me. If you are reading this and ever wonder if you can survive heart ache, you can. And it makes the rainbows that come after those storms so much brighter. Love always wins.

Ten and Two

When I first think 10 and 2, my mind goes straight to driving. Hands at 10 and 2, eyes on the road, FOCUS. But it has a different meaning today. Ten years ago today I was getting my hair done, butterflies in my stomach, counting the hours til I became Mrs. Martindale. Ten years ago I began a new chapter in my life, my life as a wife. Two is the number of homes I have bought and sold with Justin. Two is also the number of children I have carried, brought into this world, and have spent every second loving ever since. Two is the number of dogs I adopted in 10 years. Two is the number of grandparents I have lost. And, I have been blessed to have been employed by two major companies in those ten years, one of which brought me to Atlanta. Ten years seems so short sometimes, but I feel like I have experienced so many of life’s biggest stressors in that span of time.

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?” is a common interview question. It’s one I was asked many times when meeting potential employers. I def can say that I didn’t picture myself in the place I am today. I knew I would have a good job, which I do..check. I knew I would have kids…check check. Did I imagine I would lose a child? Nope, that wasn’t on the list. What about having to figure out life all by yourself, starting all over at 33? Yeah, I checked…that wasn’t on the answer list. Never did I think that 10 years after leaving my reception amongst an aisle of sparklers, I would be spending the anniversary at my maid of honor’s house, crying and just wanting to be distracted.. I was imagining more of a dream vacation with the hubs and diamond upgrade. Guess I am no fortune teller, ha.It’s true; life isn’t exactly how I imagined it in those interviews. Guess it’s not a really fair question though. I mean, in ten years, LIFE happens. Death happens. Loss happens. Responsibilities and priorities change. Job stressors happen.Bills are created. Kids are born. Friends grow apart, spouses and families grow apart. When you sit back and reflect on that interview question, and what 10 years REALLY holds, I think the most appropriate answer would be, “I hope to be alive and breathing”.

Today is one of those “milestones”, one of the “firsts” people talk about when going through a divorce…same as a death. It’s these moments that can bring you to your knees and you just pray for it to hurry up and end and get to tomorrow. I felt like that every single milestone the first year after losing Asher. Christmas? Yeah, I didn’t even want a tree. The first friend that had a healthy baby? Yeah, I just wanted to unfriend them forever. Then you get through ALL of those firsts, and each year they sting but they are not crippling. It’s the moments you don’t expect rather than the milestones that get to me. Take for instance last weekend. I attended a friend’s little boy’s birthday party-(side note- this is the first year I have been able to bring myself to a child’s bday due to Asher) and there were LOTS of kiddos. But, I had my beautiful Rowan so I was good. Well, as I sat down eating with friends, someone started yelling “Asher! Asher!”, as she was calling to her little boy. Of course immediately my ears perked up. I let it roll off my back. But she KEPT DOING IT. And then it happened, tears just started flowing down my cheeks. Thankfully, I felt my friend put his hand on my back, letting me know he was there, that I wasn’t alone. I can’t tell you how close I was to screaming at her “Shut up! Quit saying that name!” Guess Jesus took the wheel, thankfully, and I was able to compose myself. 3 ½ years after losing Asher, and those moments, damn them. It’s those moments that have hit me this week and especially today. The smell of burning wood reminds me of camping on our 2nd year anniversary. I haven’t gotten on a plane in 10 years and not had someone text me saying “Did you make it?”….until today. This is the first time in 10 years that I won’t watch my wedding video or trade corny traditional anniversary gifts. Today is the first time on Oct 14th that I have felt like I just wanted to get the day over with.

But losing Asher taught me a lot. It has taught me that I will survive these moments, these “firsts”. I didn’t die of a broken heart then, and I know I won’t die from it now. It’s very true…tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. I have lost 2 special people guys, but I will always love. It’s who I am.

Ten years. 10 and 2. I have lived and loved for these 10 years, felt like 2 lifetimes worth. Here’s to having a better answer to that interview question 10 years from now.

To be bitter or to be better

To be or not to be: that is the question….And yes, that IS the question I ask myself daily. But, there are so many forms I adapt this saying to. For instance, a very wise woman, whom I call Mom, recently told me I can choose to be bitter or I can choose to be better. When she said that, I realized not only how profound that was, but how I have been living this mantra for years, especially after the death of Asher. It was a choice-will I let his death make me bitter or better? I would be lying if I said I didn’t go through my phases of bitterness. Bitter towards God, bitter towards people who said ignorant things like “ You can have more children” or “ He’s in a better place”. I was even bitter towards those who complained about their pregnancy or who didn’t enjoy parenting 110% of the time. But, I do think bitterness and anger are necessary emotions that someone needs to sit in, uncomfortably sometimes, in order to become better. I believe bitterness is meant to be a fleeting feeling .It will come but then after a while, if you hang onto it, that is when it can control you so you have to let it go. Choosing to be better is a lifestyle, I personally believe. Sometimes it may take counseling, or new friends, or a new city or church to help let go of those bitter feelings. I chose to let my journey with Asher be one that grew me as a person. I was and still am bound and determined for the death of my sweet little boy to be one that shows others that I have every reason to be mad, pissed, bitter, hateful, and angry at the world…but I choose not to.

I am going through a new season of life, one that has ripped open old grieving wounds from losing Asher. All sadness and difficult moments tend to do that. I guess you could say it definitely is not good timing, as we just celebrated Asher’s 3rd birthday and angelversary. I can now officially say the month of May can suck it. This is a chapter never ever did I want. There are days I am bitter that I find myself where I am today. I am not perfect. I don’t always feel like being the bigger or better person or a beacon of light and inspiration. So yes, I face my anger head on and sit uncomfortably in it. It’s a death. It’s the loss of a dream I once had. It’s the realization that I am not in control, no matter how hard I work or try. God is. God is in control. And then it all comes rushing back just as it arrived 3 years. The questions of “Why me?” Or “What is next?” or “Will I ever be the same?” The image popped into my head recently of me on the bathroom floor, screaming to God to give Asher back to me, right after I came home with empty arms from the hospital. I could so easily crumble to the ground with all that is on my shoulders at this moment. Maybe that would be easier. But, you see, there is another little boy who has my heart and is the perfect reminder of why choosing to be better and not bitter pays off. I could have written off my faith, my friends and family after Asher. But, with my journey, I found the light in the dark tunnel again. And now I have Rowan. I couldn’t imagine not having him in my life. This is no different. I know there is something great for me, I just have to wait and listen and be faithful. Another dark tunnel, which means, another light at the end.

Music says it all…I have mentioned this before, that it has a way of creeping in when you need it- or don’t need it (nostalgia can be your enemy sometimes  ). It crept into my afternoon on the way home 2 weeks ago and I have remembered this line ever since. It said “When you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move, I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you”. 100% FACT right there. It can be so disheartening to not have your questions answered, or what you feel are prayers being ignored. I get that. A LOT. But, maybe that mountain isn’t moving now because it isn’t supposed to. You don’t see that light at the end of the tunnel because it isn’t there yet. But it will. It will show up when you need it the most. It shows up when I see a butterfly, because I like to think of it as Asher coming to say hello. It shows up in a 27 pound red headed boy who is climbing in your refrigerator, laughing hysterically. It’s those reminders that keep me on track, that keep me choosing to be better, not bitter.

Stockings for four, not 3 please

This one is a hard one to write. This week has been a tough week. I have broken down probably 4 times since Monday, solely due to it being Christmas time. The emotions lately have been extreme and hitting the letters on this keyboard now are creating tears. But I have to write…it’s therapeutic. It’s a release. It is part of my journey.

Here we are, a little over 2 weeks out from Christmas…Rowan’s FIRST Christmas. That is just one of those milestones that is so amazing to hit. I have DREAMED, PRAYED, WISHED, you name it, I’ve done it…for this moment. I had to stop buying him things for Christmas as I could easily go overboard. But you know, part of me said screw it, do what makes you feel good right now. Spoil him, even though he doesn’t care about the fancy toys. Seriously, he doesn’t. He finds more entertainment in shaking a medicine bottle or playing with an empty Kroger sack than his $28 Sophie. But you see, I didn’t get to do that with Asher. I never got to buy him things and put “To Asher, From Santa “on the box. And I never will. Uh, damn it, it never gets easy.

I went to my grief group at Delta on Monday, and wow, it’s awesome. You sit down, and instantly you know they get it. For some, this will be their first holiday without their child/children and they haven’t put up a tree, nor plan on it. They shared their stories of how family forget to mention their children anymore. Others talked about how last Christmas their bald headed cancer stricken child put up his last tree and they laughed because of the crooked star or that right before the 18 wheeler crashed into their car, they were talking about what they wanted Santa to bring them. They want to sleep through it all. I’d be lying if I didn’t feel like that sometimes right now. Many of us have other children and we have to grit and bear it for the other kids, as they deserve a great one. And again, I can’t wait to wake up Christmas morning and have a baby to smile at me and cuddle with me. He definitely softens the blow of the holidays. But, there are as many tears lately as there are smiles, thinking about this time of year. And I am dreading it…dreading going back to Memphis. I will pack our car up, with Rowan in tow, only to look back in the car to see one car seat when I KNOW there should be two. See, that’s what a lot of outsiders don’t see or realize. You never forget. Never. People are afraid of asking us how we are doing because they think it will upset us or remind us that we lost our child. Are you listening? Remember this-we NEVER forget. Yes, I am not thinking about Asher every moment of every day. I am not thinking of him when I make my egg white omelets or cleaning toilets. But, going back to Memphis for Christmas? Yes. Buying Christmas presents? Yes. Making our Christmas card with just one child instead of two? You betcha my mind is with Asher then. I would say the hardest thing lately has been seeing kids Asher’s age. Uh, if words could express the burning it causes in my stomach. It’s almost too painful to even associate with any little boy who is 2 ½ years old. We saw a neighbor outside the other night and her little one was outside in his jammies, putting up Christmas lights with his Dad. I fought back tears after his Mom answered my question of how old he was now…”He’s 2/12! Can you believe it? “she remarked. Of course, he couldn’t be 3, or 2, or 4…nope, he had to be exactly 2 ½…JUST like Asher would be. Thank God he didn’t have red hair or had dwarfism. That would have done me in and I would have probably put up a Bahumbug sign in my yard. And cancelled Christmas, like I did the first year.

I want to write this down and hope whoever reads it takes it in. Maybe you are one of our family members, neighbors, or friends that will see us at Christmas, whether here in Atlanta or back in Memphis. But, please know, it is extremely important to both of us to know Asher has not been forgotten by others. We need to know from those who say they love and support us and are here for us that he is loved and that Rowan has NOT replaced him. I am trying to mentally prepare myself for the fuss over everyone seeing the cutest little boy alive, and Rowan 110% deserves to be gushed over. But realize, we are very aware that that is something Asher never got and never will. It’s almost like you are jealous for the child that died….because their sibling is getting all the attention. That hurts. That really really is painful to watch. All my angel mommy friends know exactly what I am talking about. So, on behalf of Justin and I and all the grieving parents that you may know who have lost a child, tell them you remember. Hang a stocking for that child or an ornament. That way, every year, we as the parents know your child is loved, is missed and is thought of, just like your living child/children. Create a tradition, whether it be to release a Christmas balloon or sing a special song to the angel that has gone on ahead. Trust me, we won’t think it’s weird. It will mean the world to us. It may make you uncomfortable but it’s the greatest gift you can give us , not only this time of year but all year round.

P.S.A. And, don’t buy a personalized ornament with everyone’s name on it , leaving off the baby in Heaven. It’ll end up in the trash. That one was brought to my attention by a fellow angel Mommy. Her heart broke after receiving that and so did mine because I knew exactly how she felt in that moment. We know the person who bought that meant well. But, again, consider yourself warned. The Martindale’s…we are a family of 4, not 3.

Up, Up and Away

I recently was asked to speak at the 11th Annual Walk to Remember here in Atlanta, which I was honored. Anytime I get to talk about our baby boy Asher and the journey he took and still has us on, well, I welcome it. It is a wonderful event where you don’t see grim faces and lost souls, but you see loved ones wearing tshirts sporting their baby or babies name who have passed away. There are older brothers and younger sisters getting their face painted or drawing pictures in chalk with messages to their sibling(s) in Heaven. You feel a sense of community and overwhelming love . I don’t know where I would be without that community . I remember thinking shortly after Asher died, that no one would understand how I feel…that I was the minority. Yes, we still are the minority, we are the 25% of women who lose their baby. But, then again, that is TWENTY-FIVE percent. That proves that I am not alone.

The most moving part to me each year is not the singing, not the dove release, not the speakers…it’s the balloon release. At the end of the walk, everyone releases a purple balloon, representing the child they lost. When you see over 300 balloons in the air, floating up to Heaven together, it takes your breath away. Or, atleast it does mine. In that moment, you realize just how many children have left too soon, how many grieving parents have sat in empty nurseries just like you did. But, I try not to focus on the grief of losing a child but I CHOOSE to take that balloon release in. I let it sit there so I can process it and only feel the wind on my face as it takes them up, up and away. I like to imagine each one of those babies grabbing that balloon that has their name on it, the one covered with their Momma and Daddy’s kisses. It’s the closest thing we will have to touching them, until God calls us home.

I had so many people come up to me and not only say “Great Job” on my speech but “Thank You”. I wrote it from the heart and my goal was to leave everyone feeling like they are not alone and things get better with time. So, whoever reads this blog…all 3 of you :)…. I wanted to share my words from that day with the hopes that one day, if you feel like it can’t get better or you are not strong enough, I promise, you are.



Atlanta Walk to Remember 2015

I want to start off by saying how amazing it is to see each of you here today. Every year I am overwhelmed to see the number of loved ones that gather to celebrate the babies that have gone on ahead of us. And it’s not just the Mom’s and Dad’s that created those little lives. It’s the Mimi’s and the Pop Pops, the favorite Aunts and crazy Uncles, the older sister’s and the rainbow baby brothers that sit here today. They say it takes a Village to raise a child, but I firmly believe it takes a Village to survive the loss of a child. It was OUR village that walked alongside us during our pregnancy, our village that stood behind the curtain in the NICU as we held our sweet Asher. It was that same Village, who cried with us, celebrated with us and gave us the courage and strength to try again.
Our journey started as many of yours did. My husband Justin and I had tried for years to get pregnant and when we finally did, we felt like the weight of the world was removed. We went in for our 15 week ultrasound, where we knew we would learn the sex of the baby! As we hugged over the great news, our doctor said the legs looked a little short but this wasn’t his realm of expertise so he sent me to a specialist. We weren’t too concerned as we thought “Hey, of course the legs are short, he is the size of an apple right now”. So off I went to the specialist the next day. I told Justin to stay behind as I was sure everything was fine and there was no sense in taking a half day off. In hindsight, that was a decision I regret. I was the woman on the table who watched an ultrasound tech take too long and take too many pictures. I sat there and had to hear that our baby had a lethal form of Skeletal Dysplasia. I didn’t even know what that was. I didn’t even know how to spell it in order to google it. We soon learned that our baby had Short Rib Polydactyl Syndrome – a lethal form of Skeletal Dysplasia, more commonly known as dwarfism. The doctor said the baby would not survive outside the womb and that he would suggest terminating the pregnancy. Some of you may have found yourself in that same position, a grim diagnosis and having to decide what is best for you and your family. Justin and I felt that God doesn’t make mistakes. Our baby had fingers and toes, and a beating heart. So, we chose the road less traveled. They say God picks his strongest soldiers to fight his toughest battles. Well, we may have been drafted but we decided to FIGHT. We felt that if our baby was going to fight, well, so were we. We were keeping our baby for as long as God allowed us to and we would spend that time celebrating that life, our baby BOY’s life. And we would pray, pray harder than ever, for a miracle to be done.

I will never forget the day Asher was born. There were so many questions and what ifs that had gone unanswered during those 9 months I carried Asher—will he breathe when he’s born, how many fingers and toes will he have, will he cry, will he have red hair? Asher was born on May 26, 2013, 4 weeks early and weighing a whopping 6 lbs. 10 ounces. When I finally saw him, wow, he was beautiful. He was shaped like a little teddy bear, small arms and legs with 14 fingers and 12 toes. They were the cutest 12 toes I have ever seen. It’s amazing how much you don’t care about any deformities or handicaps when you have a child. God blessed us with 23 hours and 45 minutes with our sweet Asher Knox Martindale. So many people have said they couldn’t have done what we did as it would be too hard, to get attached to him for 9 months and then having to say goodbye. We felt that it would be harder to never have seen him or held him or been able to show him love. A quote from one of my favorites movies, Steel Magnolias, said it best, “I’d rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special”. Those 23 hours of wonderful that we spent with Asher were a miracle, as he had a less than 1% chance of living. God put Dr. Kenneth Kupke in our lives and used him to do his miraculous work. Dr. Kupke made the impossible possible by giving our boy time, time to grab our fingers and look back at us and blink his beautiful eyes. There is no mistake…God puts the right people in your life at the right time. Dr. Kupke was one of those people. He allowed us to have that moment of wonderful rather than a lifetime of nothing special.

Asher’s life renewed the faith in so many of those who surrounded us during that time. Asher allowed us to feel a kind of love that cannot be measured or described, as so many of you have learned first-hand. When we said goodbye to Asher, we told him to pick out a very special brother or sister for us one day. Justin and I were told we had a 1 of 4 chance of having another baby just like Asher in any subsequent pregnancy, so the decision to have another baby was not taken lightly. After deciding to try again followed by a year of no success, we felt it was the right time to adopt. It was after we had raised over half of the necessary funds and had completed the adoption home study process that we found out we were pregnant. It was then that our emotions switched from “Will we be picked by a birth mother” to “Will we have another baby like Asher?”.

I worried the entire 9 ½ months I carried Rowan. I still worry every day. For those of you that have had rainbow babies like we have, I am sure you know the feeling. You are paranoid about everything, more so than most new parents. There have been many times I have felt like I was just waiting for something bad to happen, for him to be taken too early like Asher was. And that will never change. After losing a child, I think the convenience of being able to let your guard down doesn’t exist. And I am okay with that. I think we have earned the right to be overprotective. I’ll wear that helicopter Mom badge proudly.

I want to close today with what I feel is one of the most important lessons through this whole journey. And that is, we have learned that those bitter moments after losing a child become bittersweet if you are blessed with a rainbow baby. That new baby will cushion the blow that holidays and the birthday song brings to us. That baby will dry your tears during those should have been, could have been moments you don’t have with the child you lost. But, that baby who has gone on ahead of you matters. They are loved. And their brother or sister that fills your arms today is not a replacement of that child. They are their legacy.