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After Tate passed away Travis and I decided that we were not going to have anymore kids. We just thought that it would be too hard emotionally and we could never go there. Lucky for us, Heavenly Father had other plans!

We only had Tate here on earth for about 18 months and I was dreading the thought of him being gone longer then he was here. Ali Jean was born with perfect timing almost exactly 18 months after we lost Tate. She is our little Sunshine! I have always felt like my children were gifts sent to us from heaven, but with Ali I feet like heaven sent someone to rescue our family from drowning.

Being pregnant with Ali was tough, I was sick as usual and emotionally I was a mess. Every doctor’s appointment sent me into a huge anxiety attack. I would put on my happy face and recite to the nurses our family’s health history. When you lose someone you learn how to do this, when you tell strangers that your 18 month old baby passed away unexpectedly it creates a very awkward situation. So, over time you learn how to control your emotions, put your mask on and somehow keep the tears from falling out of your eyes. I was usually able to keep my cool at doctor’s appointments, but I could never hide my fear and anxiety from the blood pressure machines.

I was scheduled to be induced with Ali on a Monday morning. Sunday night I had everything ready. My bag was packed and Lexi and Hunter were having a sleepover with their cousins so we could leave early Monday morning for the hospital. Trav and I went to bed about midnight, so naturally I woke up at 12:30 to use the bathroom. I stood up to walk to the bathroom and my water broke. Initially I was a little unsure of what had just happened, so after pacing back and forth in the bathroom for a minute I decided to go tell Trav. His response was, “Are you serious?” This was new territory for us!

We arrived at the hospital and I am pretty sure the nurse was questioning if my water had really broke or if I was just looking to beat all the other pregnant ladies that were scheduled to be induced that morning. After checking me she quickly changed her tune! I got my lovely epidural and labored through the night. Ali was born about 8:30 in the morning, 7 pounds 13 ounces -20 inches. She had tons of hair and started sucking her thumb immediately. When Tate was born the nurse noticed he wouldn’t suck her finger and that was the red flag that led us to his diagnosis of Moebius Syndrome. It was like Ali wanted to reassure us from the very beginning that she was okay.

The moments after Ali arrived will forever be some of the most special and treasured ones of our life. I will never forget the things that I felt in that little hospital room as Trav and I held our sweet baby girl.

Ten days after Ali was born our life went crazy again as I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. This was a huge challenge physically and emotionally. All my surgeries meant a lot of down time for me. I was so lucky to have a sweet little baby to cuddle with and bring me comfort through those horrible weeks. She came at the perfect time, someone was looking out for us and knew that we needed some sunshine to help us through some very dark days.

There is no doubt in my mind that Ali knows her big brother Tate, she does little things every day that remind us of him. I knew there would be challenges taking care of a new baby after losing one. Laying her in her crib will always be one of those hard ones for me, but the challenges are so worth the reward of having her in our family.

Ali loves Mickey Mouse, music and most of all FOOD! I think Tate must have told her how awesome eating is and so she really enjoys it. She loves to tease and has such a sweet little giggle. She says: Da-da, Hunter, Tate, Yes (as she nods her head up and down), and my favorie Love You! Two days ago she took her first steps. She is tiny, but she is fierce with a little red-head attitude. Lexi and Hunter are her heroes and she loves them so much, except when they are stealing her Daddy’s time then she screams at them. Ali is my little sidekick and is always content to be on my hip (just like Tate), which I am completely content with too!

We are so grateful to have our little sunshine! She has done amazing things to our hearts. Happy Birthday Ali, we love you so much!

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