Seven years after his then wife drowned their five children in a bathtub, Rusty Yates is celebrating life with a new baby and wife, but still stays in touch with ex-wife Andrea Yates.
The new father has even shared pictures through e-mail of son Mark, who was born March 20, with Andrea, who now resides in a San Antonio psychiatric hospital after she was found not guilty by reason of insanity in her children's deaths.
"She's like, 'He's so cute.' She was pretty excited," Rusty Yates told ABC's "Good Morning America."
"We probably trade an e-mail once a week or so and maybe talk on the phone once a month," said Rusty, who said he doesn't blame his wife for what happened.
"Even though it was horribly wrong, it was horribly hurtful to me, my family, everybody, it's really the illness, you know, that caused this, not her. So I can't blame her," he said.
From the beginning, Rusty Yates had always been supportive of Andrea, who suffered from postpartum psychosis. In June 2001, she drowned each one of her children: 7-year-old Noah, 5-year-old John, 3-year-old Paul, 2-year-old Luke and 6-month-old Mary. She believed that drowning them was the only way to save them from the devil.
So today, as Mark grows and hits milestones, Rusty is reminded of his previous children.
"Little Mark has brought back a lot of memories for me because, you know, I'll say, 'Oh he does this like Paul used to,'" Rusty said. "'I remember when John went through this stage, did X, Y and Z, so that's a lot of the grieving process, just going through memories."
Those are memories that he and Andrea share with one another.
"[We talk about] kind of how things are going and we talk about the kids. I mean we talk. It's like she and I knew our children better than anyone, so we'll reminisce a lot about our children," Rusty said.
He said it's difficult for Andrea.
"She's pretty hard on herself. I mean she feels a lot of guilt over what happened," Rusty said.
A New Life
It was Rusty's compassion toward his ex-wife that attracted his second spouse, Laura.
"That's one of the things I really admired about him, that he is supporting her," Laura said. "My heart breaks for her and what happened and, you know, what she lives with every day."
The two have gotten to the point where they can joke about the fact that Laura never really needed to pry into Rusty's past, and that after his years of therapy, Rusty is good at emoting.
"He just shares a lot," Laura said.
Today, Rusty's life is remarkably normal. He's become a father once more, which he never dreamed he'd experience again.
Though he still thinks about the children he lost, Rusty's memories aren't nearly as frequent as they once were.
"Initially, it was constant, I mean just constant," he said. "Over time, that's lessened.
"It's every day for sure, but not all the time," he explained. "I think that, that having Mark though has been amazing because it's, it's provided a lot of restoration for me."