After the tragic death of her husband in September 2015, Kristen Tripson of Vero Beach, Florida, decided she wanted to fulfill the couple’s dream of welcoming another child to their family.
Six months later, Kristen, 34, announced she was pregnant through in vitro fertilization. And on Sunday, she welcomed the couple’s baby girl.
“Hello world! Meet Lillie Belle,” she wrote on Instagram. “Lillian Belle Tripson was born on Sunday October 23rd at 3:03am. 8lbs 5oz. 21 inches long. Jack and Alice Ann are so excited about their new sister. Everyone is doing well and happy to be settling in back at home.”
Kristen and her husband, Sam Tripson, had gone through IVF before and decided to freeze four embryos in 2012 before he began treatment for stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“Sam’s decline was so fierce and so rapid that I didn’t even see it happening,” Kristen wrote on the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death. “Lord, I miss him. So very much. That goes without saying. But you can’t watch someone you love so deeply suffer so much without feeling a little relief when their pain is gone.”
In April, Kristen took to Instagram to share the happy news of her pregnancy.
Most of you already know how I feel about my mom (middle), but this year, I'd like to chat about my mother-in-law (left). It took Hildie and me over a decade to find our stride. We're two strong women who fiercely loved Sam. But it's amazing how illness can bring things into perspective. We became an awesome team, working together using both of our strengths to care for him. And I'll never forget her on his last day. Her pain was overwhelming and raw, and yet she was somehow worried about me. She fretted and cared for me, just as Sam would want her to, amidst her own unbearable pain. That is a mom. This is the most recent picture I have of us, right before my embryo transfer in February. Such a beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful day. Much like our journey together. I am so thankful for this woman. Happy Mother's Day weekend to all of you incredible, self-sacrificing moms ❤️ #MothersDay #ivf #lifeafterloss
“Well. I’m pregnant. And, yes. It’s Sam’s,” she wrote. “Though we never talked much about ‘the end,’ we did talk about our embryos. It was always our plan regardless of what happened, that they would have a chance at life.
As many of you have heard, Sam's lymphoma is back. He was diagnosed 4 years ago with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, right before Jack was born. He underwent chemo, radiation and a stem cell transplant at #MSKCC that finally put him into remission. To learn that it's back was devastating. I'm smiling here, but don't be fooled. There were many tears. I'm so thankful we had some "down" time in the hospital all week to let the news sink in, wrap our heads around our new normal and formulate a plan. Sam starts chemo this week. I've stocked up on green tea, wild salmon, bok choy, kale and assorted mushrooms. Also. Pinot Noir and Golden Oreos. So here we go.
“Over the past 6 months, there has never been a doubt as to what I was going to do. Even in the ICU during his final hours, I knew what I was going to do.
“After he was gone, I laid next to him for a long time. I prayed for the strength I would need to get up and leave the hospital and eventually, when I was ready, to move forward with our plans.
“Of course, it’s bittersweet. And yes, a bit unconventional. But it was our decision and what I consider to be one of life’s most beautiful blessings.”