The year 2015 began very dark and gloomy; our firstborn son had just passed away a month before. I had not worked in months. I cared for Thomas 24/7 from the time we brought him home from the NICU until he passed away six-and-a-half months later. As I sat in our den at the beginning of the year, I felt lost, alone, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. The year was supposed to be a year of “firsts” with our precious son. We were supposed to make Valentines for daddy, wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, dress up in our best on Easter, have our picture made with Big Al at the A-Day game, celebrate my first Mother’s Day, go swimming, and eat smash cake. Instead, I found myself calling Buddy at work multiple times a week in tears seeking his Godly wisdom and comfort. We also joined two support groups that include couples who have lost babies up to two years of age. In the midst of unexplainable grief and depression, I had no idea what God had in store for the remainder of the year.
February through June
I went back to work in February. I have the most amazing job where I get to witness students come to know Christ for the first time each week of the school year. I work with a staff like none other. They cry with me during the hard times and rejoice with me during the good times...they're family. Also in February, we found out we were pregnant with Thomas’ baby sister, just two months after he passed away. We had a flood of emotions that ranged from shock to gratefulness. In April, we announced that we were pregnant, and our families and friends celebrated with us. May was a big month. It is Ichthyosis Awareness Month and I spent a great deal of time trying to educate people about Thomas’ rare skin condition. Buddy and I traveled out of town for my first Mother’s Day. It was extremely emotional and Buddy did everything he could to make it very special for me. He surprised me with a beautiful necklace that included a picture charm of our sweet baby. We presented our first Thomas Alexander Lambert V Memorial Scholarship to a First Priority student who exemplified those qualities of Thomas. On May 22, we celebrated Thomas’ first birthday as if he were still here with us. It wasn’t the celebration I ever imagined because my sweet baby wasn’t physically in my arms, or swimming in the pool with daddy or eating yummy smash cake. However, I took comfort in knowing he was having a birthday celebration in Heaven that was much more beautiful and fun than I could ever even think about giving him. Also in May, we launched this blog in hopes that it would help, inspire and positively impact others. In June, we announced Thomas’ baby sister’s name: Alexandria Hope Lambert. Her name has a special meaning… Thomas’ middle name is Alexander, so we thought using the name Alexandria would be a perfect way to remember his precious life. My middle name was Hope and Buddy always thought that would be a beautiful middle name for our daughter. Now we love the name even more because of the hope we have that we’ll see Thomas again.
July through December
In July, Buddy and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. We also went on our youth’s beach trip and went camping with the Life Groups we help teach. We have had such a fun time with each of our students and getting to know them. God has used them to help us with healing. In August, we organized Team Thomas. About 50 of our friends and family members joined Team Thomas to remember our precious son along with many other babies that have gone on to be with Jesus by participating in the Baby Steps Memorial 5K and One Mile Fun Run. At the end of the month, my close friends gave me a sweet baby shower to celebrate and prepare for the arrival of Alexandria. I also started experiencing preterm labor so my doctor placed me on bedrest at 33 weeks pregnant. In September, at 36 weeks, Buddy and I spent the night in the hospital for monitoring, but thankfully all was well. In mid-September, I experienced new grief, a different kind of hurt than what I have with Thomas. I found out that one of my closest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is one of the most Godly, wise, loving, caring and supportive sister in Christ you will ever meet. At a time when I was supposed to encourage her, my sadness over her sickness took heed and she ended up encouraging and inspiring me. I will never understand why she got cancer, but she is a true fighter just like Thomas, and she is determined to win this battle. On October 3, our precious rainbow baby was born, one of the happiest days of my life. When I first laid eyes on her, I thought she looked just like Thomas. Wow, God is good! He knows exactly what we need and in His timing. Alexandria brings unexplainable joy to our lives. Words could truly never describe how much we love her. At the end of October, I had to be readmitted to the hospital for almost a week (this will be a blog post at a later date). We celebrated Alexandria’s first Halloween in the hospital. In November, Buddy’s grandfather, Thomas Alexander Lambert, Jr. was reunited with his great-grandson Thomas V, and his wife Mary in Heaven. He was a very special soul to so many people and is greatly missed. We are thankful he’s healed and praising our Lord and Savior. Also in November, we celebrated Alexandria’s first Thanksgiving. December 5 was the anniversary of Thomas’ passing. While it was very emotional, we praised God for Thomas’ healing. To help us get through that day, Buddy and I attended our first Alabama football game of the season, the SEC Championship game, in Atlanta. On December 25, we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, as well as Alexandria’s first Christmas. Throughout the year, several of our friends and family members were blessed with babies. We are thrilled that Alexandria will grow up with them.