Our "LT"

Our "LT"

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

“The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.” ― Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Fall of Atlantis

It's been a really great month. I've made some changes in my life and I am going to continue the trend of living a healthier, happier life.(shhhh, I am snacking on caramel popcorn) It has been 11 years since Chris was wounded. I have met some really amazing people along the way. I have tried to freely give to others that came behind me in hopes they would see that although life can change in an instant, it can still be full of love, forgiveness, hope and more. I have decided that I can no longer keep up with all the negative forces in the caregiver world. We do not want to be identified by what the war took from us, but by the way we held on tight and overcame every single thing that was thrown in our face or said we could/would never overcome.
I can stand before you and say I am deeply grateful that I married a man that never quit. I have heard people say he wasn't wounded enough. I heard people say he is too motivated. I have heard some pretty absurd things...Chris has stood tall and taken it and I am SO proud that he is my partner in life. After 20 years I am still madly in love with that man. 
We will hold on to those that have become our family and also choose to move forward in life. We all know that there will be bumps and you know we will always be here for you. 
I am changing my blog to focus on my family and being positive. 
I have started back to work and joined a GREAT team. I am looking forward to the future. I wish you all the very best in life. You deserve it. 

“The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.”
― Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Fall of Atlantis

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Day 8
As you can imagine our house is very busy with three girls. Chris and I have worked from the beginning to treat them as equals. As my younger daughters grow they have started to understand and see the differences with Lauren.
Lauren is a very typical teenage girl in many ways. Last night at the table she was being very sassy and saying some things that were rude. Faith and Sarah were hurt but it turned into me witnessing the love and understanding of our situation. Faith began to speak to her by saying that we are "Team Ayres" and she was in that team. Sarah told her that she was not to say anything else unless it was nice because that is how it should be. My girls are all kind, compassionate and loving and last night I was so proud of each of them. In the end Lauren decided to remain in "Team Ayres" and life was once again great, that is until this morning. But hey a mom can celebrate the small milestones in life, Right? Ha!
Faith shared this with me this morning. She wrote it and read it to Lauren.
Lauren is sweet and she is special to us. She is always there for our family and she is always brave and smart. She loves to love on people and she loves friends to hang out with. She loves to have fun with us a lot and that is why we love her to the moon and back. She sometimes thinks of things that she doesn't mean but we still love her.
Love Faith
Love, indeed does not count chromosomes. Lauren is just their sister and we are all Team Ayres.
Until tomorrow....be blessed.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Heart Conditions

21 days after Lauren was born we were able to bring her home. She was very sick although at the time we had no idea how truly sick she was. I remember having to show our neighbors through our window because the threat of infection could have taken her life. We made the choice to leave the Marine Corps when Lauren was 4 months old, as Chris' 1st enlistment was ending. We returned to Texas and at 4.5 months old we walked into Texas Children's Hospital where she had open heart surgery. She weighed only 8 pounds. I had no idea how I would be changed after May 12 1999. It was that day I witnessed a miracle.
The doctors had been working on her for 9 hours. We would get reports and then the nurse would disappear until it was time for the latest news. I was getting anxious as I didn't think it was going to take as long as it did. The nurse finally appeared and walked over to a private waiting room to unlock and open it. I felt my heart drop. I thought we were okay but the baby in the other operating room maybe wasn't doing so well. I watched her check in with them and then turn to me...I was NOT going in that room. You see I worked for many years in hospital ICU's and ER's and I knew what that room was for. It was there to bring you news that could only be shared in an intimate setting. I told her I was not going in there and she insisted that only Chris and I go and we needed to go now. I only remember her saying "we have done all we can" before my knees buckled and I began to weep. It was one of those pains you feel deep in your soul. I was screaming and then it hit me...I needed to pray.
She told us they were going to close her up and rush her to ICU so we could hold her as she passed on. When she left the room I ran out and yelled that everyone must come in now. I had everyone hold hands in a circle and I asked my father God to allow me more time with my precious angel. I remember telling God that he says in scripture:
"Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men."
It was only moments later the nurse returned knocking on the door. She said I don't know how but her heart is beating 12 beats a min. She said we must hurry and we rushed to her bedside. I held her foot for what felt like an eternity. I kept my faith that God would not take her. She had so much to offer this world and so much to teach me.
12 days...yes, 12... and she was home. She fought infection, she fought pain and she overcame. Today she is 15 years old and only goes every 18 months for cardiac check ups. She takes NO cardiac medication even though she has a mistrial and tricuspid leak. SHE IS MY MIRACLE!
To make things even more interesting our middle daughter, Faith, was born May 12th, 2004.
Abnormalities of the cardiovascular system are common in Down syndrome. Approximately half of all infants born with Down syndrome have a heart defect. Many of these defects have serious implications and it is important to understand them and how they may affect the child so that appropriate medical treatment may be provided.
Lauren had one of the worst defects, AV Cushing Defect with a common valve. It should be mentioned that CAVSD is found in approximately one-third of babies who have Down syndrome, but it also occurs as an isolated abnormality.


October is here!
Many things happening this month but I can't let my chance to give extra love to my oldest daughter, Lauren.
October is
DOWN SYNDROME AWARENESS MONTH!! I will be sharing facts and pictures of my girl.
I found out I was pregnant in 1998. Chris and I were so excited because we were told that we could not have children without help. Long story short, we were expecting our first child after 2 years of marriage.
I quickly became sick and was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum.
That ended up being a blessing as I was released from the base doctors and sent to a local specialist.
I was 21 weeks pregnant and during our visit an ultrasound was done. Strangely, Chris noticed something unusual on the picture and the tech rushed out of the room to get the doctor. The next few months were nothing short of crazy as I was rushed to have an amniocentesis, genetic counseling, and bed rest. Five days after the amnio was done our phone rang. I watched Chris answer and in a matter of moments knew something was going on. He turned to me and said our baby is going to have Down Syndrome. Do you want to know the sex? I don't remember much after that because I couldn't catch my breath. I ran into the nursery and collapsed on the floor. I must have cried for a good hour. I remember thinking of all the possibilities of our baby. Now, I thought, those were all gone. I thought that there was no way I could be strong enough to care for a child that would be handicapped. What would she look like? What would our family say? Would my friends stick by my side?
(One thing I want you to know is the doctor had to offer us the option to terminate my pregnancy. In California is was the law. I had to make that decision in 2 days because 22 weeks was the cut off for termination. He did NOT want us to terminate)
I remember Chris walking in and kneeling down. He held me and then took my face in his hands. I remember exactly what he said to me because I knew at that moment I had chosen the right man to marry and that God had put us together for a reason. He said "Renee, that is our baby you have there and your crying is stressing her out. We are going to do this together. We have no idea what this will look like but she will be loved and I love you"
I got off the floor and we called our family and shared with our friends. I can tell you now that all those things I worried about never came true. Our family was there for us. My beautiful Marine Corps family supported us like they always had and we went head first into all the information there was about Down Syndrome.
Remember how I said I had no idea what she would look like? Well, a few weeks before she was born God showed me. I had a dream. Lauren was a perfect blonde haired, blued girl. I dreamed she would have pig tails in her hair one day and I also was shown that our journey was going to be tough but we were going to be okay.
On January 8th, 1999 our baby girl Lauren was born. Chris and my friend Angela Orrico were there with me. It was a very long night but Lauren Taylor Ayres came into the world screaming. We didn't get to bring her home right away because she was born with a heart defect but 21 days later she was home.
I am so darn blessed, lucky or whatever you want to call it that God chose ME to be her momma. She has profoundly changed me in ways I never knew were possible.
This is the way I remember her in my dream

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I am sad.
Why? I just read some things that I think are NOT OK.
Listen here all of you Marines and Soldiers out there...It is NOT OK for you to abuse your wife, children or girlfriends. EVER. Do you hear me? EVER!!
Your time in combat and PTSD is not a free ticket of some sort for you to sling whatever you want verbally or physically.
Yes, the VA is failing you. However, you can get help and there are NO EXCUSES. There are non profits out there wiling to help. The Pathway Home...The Semper Fi Fund, Give an Hour, Impact A Hero, Hope for The Warriors, the list is long of people who will give you the support and help you need. Americans are sending money in for this very reason.

I am speaking to you from experience. Your loved ones want to help you. They want to love you. They want to hear about your experiences. Please stop and think about what you are doing. I don't advocate divorce and many of your loved ones are crying out for advice from women like me. They do not deserve to live like this.

The Captains Wife

***Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation etc. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as repeated disapproval or even the refusal to ever be pleased.

Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim's self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of "guidance," "teaching", or "advice," the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting that physical ones.***

Monday, July 7, 2014

An thought for today...

"The road that is built on hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination"
-Marion Bradley

Which will you choose today?


I had a weird exchange yesterday at Walgreens. I was checking out and this guy comes in and stands behind me. He starts to talk and I'm assuming he is talking to the cashier. They exchange pleasantries and then he starts talking about how the weekend is coming to an end and people will have to go back to work. He then follows that by saying "well excluding me, I'm retarded..I mean retired"
I want to turn around and say yes mister, you are. I feel bad because I didn't say anything or have a clever comeback. 
I just don't get why adults think this is not offensive.

If you are thinking to yourself "well, I don't think it is an offensive word. I use it all the time." 
Thats because you don't have a child with Down Syndrome that has been called Retard, retarded etc. I am not easily offended. I just think that if you know I have a child with a mental disability and you continue to see nothing wrong maybe we have nothing in common. Take a moment and look at posts where they make fun of people with Down Syndrome. 
The point is if I say nothing it is taken as consent of that word or behavior. We don't say shut up in this family and we also don't use the 'N' word, and many other words that evoke pain in others. 

The man shopping had no idea that I had a child with DS so I quietly paid and moved on. He didn't mean to offend me. I was a little taken back. I don't understand adults using the word. 

That's just me and you are entitled to your opinions.

The Captains Wife