The Miracle Baby

HaPpY BiRtHDaY to my darling angel, Trinity. She turns nine years old today! As many of you know, it is an unbelievable miracle that she’s even here with us. Today’s article is dedicated to her, and other miracle babies like her.

Why do I call her the miracle baby? hmmm… We need to travel back a bit and go over a few hurdles we (and especially she) have had to endure in less than a decade. Let’s list some of the things that lead me to call her a miracle:

I’m HIV Positive
I realize that this post is about Trinity, and not me… However, this is a very important fact. Being HIV+ has me facing many facts. Until medical science caught up, one of those facts was that I would never have a child. At least not without the possibility of transferring HIV to my wife and/or child. Hence, until about a dozen years ago, Kristine and I assumed we would not have children. That changed when a form of in vitro fertilization (IVF), called ICSI, was approved for serodiscordant couples (where one partner is HIV-positive and one partner is HIV-negative).

You can read more about IVF here:

Another potential miracle part is that Kristine and I made attempt-after-attempt before the fourth one finally took. Kristine actually got pregnant on our first attempt and then lost the baby at ten weeks. This was devastating. We nearly gave up after the next two attempts didn’t take at all. We decided to take one more crack (no pun intended) at this, and Kristine got pregnant. We were very close to giving up entirely…

Breech Baby
From before she was born, Trinity was a stubborn baby. Right around her due date, we found out that Trinity was sitting breech in the womb. The doctor made some simple attempts at turning her, but such a headstrong child was not moving for a mere doctor. Kristine was admitted for a cesarean section.

During the C section, the doctors exclaimed that something was wrong with Kristine and she was losing too much blood. Her whole body went deathly white and they wrapped her in heated blankets to keep her warm

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. I’m certain that they covered up a serious problem by telling me that there were complications, but that she would be fine. Again, this doesn’t have a direct correlation with Trinity, but she might very well have lost her mother from day one!

Esophageal Atresia
When Trinity was born, she didn’t cry immediately. And, her breathing sounded a tad raspy to me. I turned to the nurse and said, “Something is wrong.” The nurse disagreed and said everything was fine. Within minutes they were scurrying around looking flustered like a barn full of clucking hens. I knew something was serious, but didn’t know what. Asked to leave, I went to get something to eat from the cafeteria. In a matter of minutes, I thought we were close to losing Kristine, and now, something was wrong with Trinity. My head was swirling.

Returning from eating a meal, I found Kristine crying. She explained to me that Trinity had esophageal atresia and needed an immediate surgery to live. Essentially, Trinity’s esophagus had not fully developed and it wasn’t connected to her stomach. To top it off, she would need to be transported to Children’s Hospital for this emergency.

About 1 in 2,500 babies is born with some form of esophageal atresia. The scary (and another miracle) part is that all babies with this disorder born prior to the operation invention (approximately fifty years ago) died from starvation! Can you say, miracle?

While couped-up at Children’s, the first communication that Trinity had was grabbing my finger. She reached out, grabbed it tightly, and peered into my eyes as if to say, Don’t worry Daddy, I’m strong and will be fine. I knew that she was special, and dare I say it… A miracle.

The doctors told us that she was strong when she pulled out her feeding tube. Actually, they couldn’t keep it in… She refused to give in! Strong heart this one…

Another situation occurred while Trinity was still in Children’s Hospital. She caught Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a staph infection and bacterium that’s responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections. It is especially dangerous in young children. Considering that approximately 10% of people with MRSA die from it, I would say that warrants another Miracle Baby check-mark.

Oxygen Deprivation
When Trinity was a wee-little-one she had oxygen related issues. Kristine brought her in to see the doctor and the doctor immediately called an ambulance. She was taken to the hospital on a few occasions to tackle this problem, and she spent a few nights in an oxygen tent. Even as a little baby, she was still dealing with life threatening illness and troubles. And, perhaps more importantly, she was surmounting these deadly issues as soon as they came.

At a young age, Trinity was diagnosed with asthma. Nothing like some of the things she dealt with at birth, this is still a tough challenge and something she will deal with for her entire life. I’m confident that her headstrong attitude and downright stubbornness will get her by this speed bump without a hitch.

Most women born to hemophiliac fathers do not get the disease. Rather, they become carriers, but lead normal “clotting” lives. Never one to miss an opportunity, Trinity was tested and revealed the fact she, in-fact, is a type A mild hemophiliac.

I feel like I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but you get my point. Obviously there are things she’s only been able to tackle with the advent of modern medical miracles. However, I feel that above those things, my darling daughter, Trinity, is a miracle baby.

Like her Mom and Dad, she is a loving and caring person. Talented and smart, she was born to be a leader and survivor!

Everyone is rightfully proud of their kids. Today I salute a wonderful human being, a miracle…

HaPpY BiRtHDaY, Trinity Viola Ripley!

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Happy Birthday to My Soul Mate

More than nineteen years ago I was married to my soul mate, Kristine Marie Gubas. We actually started dating about twenty-six years ago. She was born on July 31, 1971 and the world has been a better place since that moment.

This blog post may be a slight diversion from my normal articles, but I hope you allow it based on one simple thing…


That’s right, this post comes from my heart.

Remember this blog is about Healthy and Wealthy. And, it is designed to be a daily dose of inspiration. Well, this post has all three: healthy, wealthy, and inspiration. Allow me to explain:

Obviously this is more than fitness. A healthy body comes from multiple angles. Not the least of which is relationships. Having a love interest in your life has been proven to strengthen your immune system. On top of that, a spouse offers a live-in training partner. Did you know that married men and women live longer than single folks? Even more mind blowing is the fact that single men are twice as likely to die in middle age than married ones!

Again I fall back on the fact that when I say “wealthy” I am not only talking about money

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. That said, there’s more money to be found in a marriage. Think about it… Obvious benefits come if you’re both working and only have one house payment. The other side of wealth is simply abundance of something good in life. Well, Kristine fills me with immeasurable amounts of wealth in all of these areas.

What’s not to be inspired by? I’m an HIV+ hemophiliac that was supposed to have died ~25 years ago (according to my family doctor). Instead, I’m thriving and surviving as a successful businessman, writer, dad, and adrenaline enthusiast! I sincerely feel that ALL of my successes are owed in some form or fashion to Kristine for her loving support and knowledge.

See! There you have it! I was able to wish my lover a happy birthday and you guys all got healthy and wealthy and inspirational sagely advice to boot!

Before I go, I’d like to say one more thing…

Dear bert,

I love you with all my heart. My love is stronger and greater than it's ever been before. With each day, my love grows immensely and I can foresee it continuing to grow throughout our lives. Having you there as a supportive wife, best friend, and soul mate has been and always will be incredible.

You are my soul mate. And, I am the most fortunate man in the world in many ways. Without you, my dreams would be stagnant and boring.

Happy birthday, my darling!!!

This message was typed with all of my love,
Mr. V

p.s. LAK, ZAP, and OX