Thursday March 18th was the first day that I started to see a little pink on my home pregnancy tests. It was so faint I thought that maybe it was just an evaporation line from letting the test sit out for to long before looking at the results. Friday March 19th the line was slightly more apparent, I took the test to work and pulled aside one of my co-workers Kristina and asked her if she saw it. She did but was sceptical it was there but almost not at the same time, it was pink but also gray. Insisting that the line was there and real on my lunch I ran to the store and bought another test and peed right then and there. The test was a different brand, and maybe not as sensitive as the other test I had used but I swore I could still see the faintest of lines. Kristina saw nothing on that test, she suggested that I wait a day and take another. Saturday March 20th I didn't wake up and pee on a stick (POAS for those of you who are addicts like me) like I had every other morning and was now accustomed. I was trying to hold out to take Kristina's advice. Shawn was taking measurements on the bathroom so he could buy supplies to finish the remodel and I was bored. I held out till about 1pm when I couldn't take it anymore I had to POAS just to see. There it was!!! no question it was pink and it was there! I screamed I couldn't help myself I ran to the other bathroom and told Shawn he needed to look at this! Everything I had planned about not telling him til I had gone to the doctor to confirm it was going to last, the letter I had drafted it was all out the window the second I saw that pink line. Shawn took one look at the test and asked "Does that mean your pregnant?!?!?" I squeaked yes! His exact words were "Crap I gotta go finish the bathroom so I can start a nursery!" and just like that he was gone, into the bathroom working like a mad man.
At first we weren't going to tell anyone until we had seen the doctor to confirm that the baby was going to make it this time. Honestly I think Shawn was still in complete disbelief, how could that little pink line mean we were having a baby? We had a friends birthday party to go to that night, at a bar of all places. All of my friends noticed that I wasn't drinking, I just tried to play it off that I just had a stomach ache. My brother called about half way through the night to ask me how everything was, I could tell something was up because he was prying trying to get at something. He right out asked "Are you pregnant", I responded "I can't comment on that subject at this time" and tried to get off the subject, but he kept pushing finally I gave in and told him yes. Excited he said "good because we think my girl friend might be!" That was the most exciting night, I was pregnant and going to be a mom in November and then I would be an auntie shortly after. My brother asked me not to say anything since she hadn't taken a test yet because it was to soon, but that in a week when she did he would let me know.
Sunday March 21st. I woke up with such joy, hope, and excitement! I felt more alive then I had in a long time, alive but exhausted! Shawn still had doubts he kept saying not to get so excited because of what had happened before. I couldn't help it I POAS again and the line was darker, he was still hesitant. After church we went to target and I bought a digital pregnancy test. After peeing on it I thrust it at him and said " See I'm Pregnant!" He took the test and sure enough the little screen said PREGNANT. He called his boss and said that he wasn't going to be in tomorrow, he had a doctors appointment he needed to go with me to. After reading the results of the digital test Shawn decided that maybe we should tell his mom so she could be privy to our little secret. We brought her outside to talk about the motor home or so she thought. We gave her the news and shortly after Shawn's youngest sister came outside and asked what we were talking about. Shawn was holding the air filter to the motor home so all at once we said the air filter! She gave us a look like we were insane and walked back inside.
Monday March 22nd I started looking online for an OB's office close to our house. I wanted to get in ASAP to make sure that if something was wrong we could possibly prevent me losing this baby. We found Columbine Women's Care completely by chance, they were the second office I called off of our insurance website. They got us in that morning, they did an in office pregnancy test and took blood to confirm HCG and Progesterone levels. They told us that I was approximately 3 weeks pregnant based on when my last period was. They told us that they would have me back on Wednesday to have another blood test to make sure that the HGC levels and Progesterone levels were rising. After the appointment we decided to go out to lunch to celebrate we invited Shawn's mom and we had a secret lunch to discuss the "Air filter". At lunch the waiter came around and offered us house wine Shawn's mom ordered a glass, Shawn ordered a glass, and I got to say no thank you I'm Pregnant! The waiter congratulated us and asked when we were expecting. This became my favorite question in the world, because my answer was "We're expecting out first little one on November 28th!"
Later that day the test results came back my numbers looked great, on Wednesday my numbers had more than doubled. The next step was an ultrasound at about 7-8 weeks.
A week later my brother sent me a text, a picture of the test. His girlfriend Michelle is Pregnant!!!!! We were all so excited we were all going to be mommy's and daddy's and the same time as becoming aunties and uncles!
Easter Sunday we decided to tell our friends and family, we were so excited we couldn't keep it to ourselves any longer!
Tuesday April 16th was our first ultrasound the first thing was saw was his little heart beating. It was amazing it was right there flashing, he didn't look like a baby yet but there was his little heart beating away. The ultrasound technician tried to tell us that maybe our dates for when he was conceived were wrong because he was measuring slightly behind. Worried we told her that there was no way we wouldn't have gotten the positive test when we did and wouldn't have been seen in the office when we were. We were already upset, the ultrasound technician hadn't turned up the volume on the ultrasound machine so while we got to see his heart beating, we never got to hear it. The nurse practitioner came in and told us that we shouldn't be alarmed, but our dates were right but that sometimes at this stage they grow a little different. She told us that she would have me back in two weeks to do another ultrasound just to show me that he had grown.
Monday April 26th I went to the ultrasound by myself, the second the ultrasound hit my belly I could hear this little freight train of a heart beat. It was the best sound I've ever heard in my entire life. Sure enough he had grown now he measured right on track with were he should be. The nurse practitioner informed me that most likely at my next appointment the doctor would only listen to the babies heart beat and check to make sure that my uterus was growing. I was so excited my little one was there and alive! Kate asked if Shawn and I had discussed if we were going to have the optional 16 week ulrascreen to check for possible chromosomal defects. I let her know that we hadn't really discussed it, she said they needed to know soon because those appointments took a little longer with the ultrasound technician and those times go fast since she was only in office one day a week. Kate said she would call on Wednesday to follow up and see what we decided.
When I got home Shawn talked it over and decided we didn't want to know. If there was something wrong with our child we would love them just the same. We didn't (and still don't) think that abortion is an option. God doesn't make mistakes every life has a purpose and only God should be able to chose when someone lives and when they die. It's not for man to decide. We informed Kate of our decision and she was very supportive.
Monday May 24th I finally met Dr. Franco! Unfortunately Shawn wasn't able to attend the appointment because of his work schedule so I asked my best friend Lisa to come with me. Dr. Franco is quite possibly the nicest doctor I've ever met, after this appointment I knew that God had sent me to his office for a reason. He listened to the little ones heart beat, at first he couldn't find it (Little one was sitting low) I had a minute to panic, then there it was, my little freight train. Lisa was amazed she agreed it was the best sound she had ever heard. He measured my uterus growth and answered all of my questions (I swear you have a million questions at those appointments, having Lisa there was my saving grace because after hearing the little ones heart beat I couldn't think of anything else).Then he asked why Shawn and I had chosen not to have the ultra screen done. Quite defensively I informed him that it wasn't right for us because we did not believe in abortion, it wouldn't change anything we would do with our little one and only taint the rest of the pregnancy. We wanted this to be a happy time, not a sad one. Dr. Franco informed me and Lisa that I had misunderstood, he was a Christian man he did not do abortions in his office he did not believe in them either, if his patients made that choice they would have to see someone else. I knew right then that this was the doctor that I should have been going to all my life. I had wasted so many years seeing doctors who only saw the clinical medical side of things, and here was this perfect doctor who saw God's purpose in life. Dr. Franco told me that my pregnancy was considered low risk, I could go to the mountains or fly on planes if I wanted. I was so excited low risk meant normal my little one was normal!
The first weekend in June my brother Patrick and his girlfriend Michelle came out to visit. It was a great weekend, we went to the zoo, a wedding, we had an amazing weekend! We talked about how we were going to raise our children and how exciting it was that we were both expecting. We looked at Babies 'R Us and talked about which stroller we wanted, which pack'N play. It was an amazing weekend, I wish they never had to leave.
Friday June 11th I felt the strangest thing, it kinda felt like popcorn in my tummy. I googled what quickening was supposed to feel like and that was the best description. Excited I told Shawn and his mom that I had felt the little one move for the first time!
Monday June 14th Shawn and I had decided that he wouldn't take time off of work for my appointments unless it was an ultrasound, so I went to my appointment by myself. Things in the OB office had kinda gotten into a rhythm, you go in pee in a cup so they can test for protein in your urine/make sure your getting enough water, they get your weight, take your blood pressure, then you wait for the doctor or nurse practitioner (each visit you would alternate). When Kate came in she looked for little ones heart beat, I informed her that at my last appointment he had been sitting kinda lower then Dr. Franco had expected. After about 15 mins searching for his heart beat Kate said calmly we're going to go over to the ultrasound room, my heart sank I thought he was gone. As soon as the wand touched my belly there it was the little freight train, you know what he was doing, he was moving like crazy! He gave me a heart attack! I told Kate that he was grounded for the first time in his life, so ice cream today! She laughed and said he was doing just fine.
Friday June 25th after eating dinner at Shawn's grandparents house, we got up and Shawn's grandma was showing us her garden. Little one started moving harder then he ever had, I grabbed Shawn's hand and held it be my belly. He asked if that was the baby, I said yes! I might also mention that I grabbed his mom's and youngest sisters hands right after that. I wanted everyone to feel the miracle that is my little one.
Sunday July 4th as a family we had decided to go to Idaho Springs for the fireworks, the day was not going well just about everyone had had a moment of bad attitude and we were struggling to get along and agree on things. We went to Safeway to...well now I don't remember why we went there, we were walking down the baking isle, I was wearing flip flops and didn't notice a small puddle of water. I slipped and started to fall forward straight onto my belly. Thankfully I caught myself no damage was done, the only thing that hit the ground was my hand and possibly my butt, but things did not feel right. I had pain on the right side. Trying to stay calm I got up as quickly as possible. Shawn's dad asked if I was ok and needed to go to the hospital because he knew that it's never good when a pregnant woman falls it can jawsel things. I insisted that I was fine we were going to stay there and watch fireworks as a family. The pain didn't go away, I sat in the car for a few hours not moving, I tried laying down. I would have done anything for it to go away. Finally I called my OB's office to ask what they recommended I do, of coarse I got their answering service who informed me that the on call doctor should call me within 30 mins. After an hour of waiting for a call back from the on call doctor I called them again to ask what was going on. They informed me that they would page again. A minute later a got the call that said that I should go to the emergency room, that most likely everything was fine, but just to be sure I should be checked out. By this time it had begun to poor rain outside so we were all huddled in Shawn's mom's mini van waiting for the rain to stop. I guess before that moment I had never considered how far away emergency rooms were from where I was, it never occurred to me that the closet one was 30 mins away in good highway traffic. After looking for hospitals near by Shawn and I decided we would wait keep hoping the pain would go away (Please understand, I felt that something was wrong but not anything that could be fixed by ruining our family time and spending the night in traffic on the highway only to get to a hospital to be told it's only a pulled muscle). The night continued on my mom and step dad got there and I told them what happened, tearfully I told them that I didn't think I needed to go to the emergency room I just needed to stay warm and eat something. My mom understood and comforted me she said it was ok for me to be scared most mom's are always scared for their children. We continued on, we made burgers over a charcoal grill my parents brought, Shawn's mom brought soda's for everyone, and we waited for the rain to stop. Right before firework time the rain cleared up, the show began and the whole time I sat with Shawn's hand on my belly feeling our little one squirm every time there was a loud bang. After fireworks we were all going to head back to our camp site (Just a side note, camping while pregnant may not be the best idea), by that time it had gotten pretty cold outside and the pain seemed worse. Shawn and I decided it would be best if we headed home for the night, the rest of the family could stay and they would pack up our tent and thing and bring them to us tomorrow. That was the worse nights sleep I think I have ever gotten.
Monday July 5th My stomach still hurt, it almost seemed like the pain wasn't getting any better, and that feeling that something was not right wasn't going away. At 10:30 I decided that I was going to go to the new Swedish littleton branch they had built just down the street. I told Shawn he could wait for me that I was sure it was just a pulled muscle and I'd be home soon, I just needed to see that our little one was ok. When I got to the emergency room it turned into a hurry up and wait situation. They got me back quickly, but then I waited for an hour for the ultrasound technician. They discussed that most likely everything was fine but that they were concerned about where the pain was and that Tylenol wasn't making it any better. Once the ultrasound technician got there they rushed me in and she did the scan, little one was just fine, heart beating at a great pace, and wiggling around. After the ultrasound the doctor mentioned that during the ultrasound they noticed that the little one was measuring 3 weeks behind but since I was seeing my OB tomorrow we could speak with them about that, they also noticed that my uterus was contracting which can be normal at that stage of pregnancy but maybe playing a part in the pain. They called my doctor to update them on what had been done already. They as well had an hour and a half wait for the on call doctor to call them back. During that time I was finally aloud to call Shawn who was at home and getting worried since he hadn't heard from me in hours and I was still there. I let him know that they had just gotten a hold of the on call doctor and that they were now concerned that the pain didn't have anything to do with the little one and was coming from my appendix. They were trying to send me to the main hospital for an MRI to make sure it didn't need to be removed. Shawn got to the hospital at about 2 in the afternoon. Neither of us had eaten all day and we asked the nurse if we could have something to eat. The nurse informed us that I wasn't allowed to eat anything until after the MRI in case they needed to operate, but that Shawn was welcome to go get food and come back. My mother arrived about a half hour after Shawn and brought him a protein bar, he was insistent that when this was over we would eat together. After an hour the nurse came back in to let us know that we would not be going to the main hospital because their MRI machine was down. They were in the process of calling other hospitals and as soon as they found one for us to go to they would let us know. An hour later they came back and sent us on our way to Sky Ridge Hospital, they had called in their MRI technician just for me and would be waiting for us. Once we got to Sky Ridge we got to start the whole rigmarole over again, testing me pee taking blood yada yada yada, thankfully the other hospital had sent the information from the ultrasound with us so they didn't insist on doing that over as well. When the doctor came in they assured me that as soon as the MRI technician got there they would get things rolling, they gave me a sedative/pain killer to help with the pain since it had never stopped hurting. The MRI itself was quick and the technician was really nice, he gave us a copy of the MRI because there were some really neat pictures of the little one. Once it had been read the doctors determined that my appendix didn't show signs of needing to be removed immediately and that the pain was most likely from a pulled muscle that was being agitated by contractions. By this time it was 7:30 at night, I hadn't eaten anything all day I was sedated, starving and my feeling of something not being right was still there.
Tuesday July 6th 19 week ultrasound the one everyone waits for. We were so excited and had planned with all of our friends and family that the way we would let them know was that if our cupcakes had pink frosting it was a girl, if it was blue it was a boy. Waiting for that ultrasound I was so nervous my heat could have beat outta my chest. When we got into that dimly lit warm room I tried to relax. The scan was going well, we found out it was most definitely a little boy and he was beautiful. The ultrasound technician started taking measurements and informed us that our dates must be wrong because he was measuring only 17-16weeks. After a very heated and emotional debate the ultrasound technician called in Kate my nurse practitioner who looked at the scan and asked to speak with the ultrasound technician outside. Then she brought us back out to the waiting room without a word, we waited for a few minutes then were brought back into a room to meet with Kate. She told us that in fact our dates were not wrong, that that would be impossible because of when we got our first positive pregnancy test. She informed us that she was sending us to a high risk pregnancy center to evaluate why the little boy would be growing behind. Nothing had been said to make us think he wasn't going to make it, yet I couldn't stop sobbing. My heart was shattered I knew that nothing good was going to come of any of this. Unfortunately we were not able to get in to see the specialist that day like I wanted to. I had to wait till Thursday and Shawn couldn't get off of work which meant I was going by myself. Shawn and I decided to focus on the good part of the appointment, we're having a little boy. I called Lisa immediately and told her what was going on, and asked that she please go with me I couldn't go by myself.
Thursday July 8th Lisa and I arrived at the office and were introduced to the nurse practitioner who would be doing the scan. It started out great, his head was perfect things were forming just the way they were supposed to, then we got to his heart. She let us know that it almost looked like his aorta was overriding his ventricles but that it could just be the angle. The doctor came in and scanned him and said that he was 99% sure that he was completely normal that most likely it was a placental defect that was causing him to grow behind. That after he had changed position his heart looked normal, but that in order to move on to treating a placental issue, he needed to do an amniocentesis to rule out a chromosomal defect. I made the decision to have the test because the doctor made it sound as though I had no other option, it had to be done. After the test was done he informed me that he was 99% sure that the results would be negative and would call the next afternoon.
Friday July 9th at 2:35pm I got the call that changed everything. Most of the call was a blur, but from what I can remember he said that he was wrong, he had never been more wrong then ever. That the test results came back positive for Trisomy 18. That my son was not compatible with life, that he wouldn't live past a month if he was not still born. After stumbling through a few non-coherent sentences I finally asked what the next step was. The line was quite for a minute then he said that the next step was termination, that he could get us in next week, or if I spoke with my husband right now they could get us in tonight. I don't remember saying anything after he said that word, I'm not sure I even said good bye I think I just hung up. By that point I was sobbing uncontrollably I didn't care if everyone in the world could hear me, my son wasn't going to live. The only words I could manage was "I can't do this" I must have called Shawn about a million times, it was going to the answering machine every time. I called Lisa 5-6 times going straight to voice mail. I finally got a hold of Shawn I could barely get the words out of my mouth, I just sat against the wall and cried. My bosses came into the break room I couldn't say anything, they saw it written on a piece of paper sat down next to me and cried. We sat that way for about 10 mins before they asked if I needed them to call Shawn to have him come and pick me up. Shawn and I cried harder that day then I think either of us have ever cried in our lives. Our perfect little boy the light in our world was going to die and there is nothing that either of us could do.
We asked Shawn's mom to come over we just needed her that minute, we told her what was going on that our perfect little boy was not going to live. It took us all of a few minutes of rational thinking to realize that termination or abortion was not an option it never was! We had said from the start that God doesn't make mistakes, this isn't a mistake he gave us our little boy for a reason. We just didn't know why he had to be so sick. We decided right that minute our little boys name was Aiden James, no one from that point on would call him anything else.
That weekend was possibly the hardest I've ever had to face. How do you tell all of your friends and family who are so excited about this perfect little boy that he isn't going to live? How do you let go of all of those dreams you have for your child, how do you accept that your going to be burying your child, something no parent should have to do.
The coming weeks got easier, it's funny, the first 4 weeks were so easy I honestly only focused on the stories of children that lived. I thought that maybe Aiden could be the exemption to the rule that maybe he would prove all the doctors wrong. That someday I could take him in to see that perinatologist when he was in his late 20's and say here's that little boy that you told me wasn't compatible with life here he is, now he's starting his own family.
Monday July 19th I met with Dr. Franco he just wanted to let us know that he completely supported our decision to continue. He let us know that he was on our side and would be there every step of the way. That he would talk to other doctors and make them aware of our wishes to preserve our sons life.
Monday August 2nd I dreaded that appointment more then anything in the world. I never wanted to see the perinatologist ever again, why would I want to see a doctor that was so avidly against me continuing my pregnancy? The ultrasound was terrifying, at first they thought that possibly he had a brain defect, but it could be something that would go away as the pregnancy went on but that it may not. Then they said that they didn't see a stomach bubble, but that could be just the angle or even because he was swallowing. Then they got to his heart and said that he most definitely had a defect. When Shawn got the nerve to ask if his heart was operable the doctor looked at him and said that on a normal baby it was but because of his diagnosis they would do nothing. She kept saying that this was no surprise we knew there would be defects, except in my mind this was a surprise. I had rationalised this theory that he would be fine and grown up like any other kid.
It was the most crushing appointment of yet, it seemed that any hope that I had for Aiden was riped out of my hands. I was forced to accept that the same day that we said Hello to Aiden, we would most likely be saying goodbye. I've cried so much in the last few days trying to accept all of this, I'm not sure if I will ever be able to accept it. But I'm hoping to keep moving forward, to be strong for Aiden.
This is Aidens story so far, when I first started writing I honestly didn't know if I could write all of this down, but then I felt like I needed to. I want Aiden to have a legacy here, I don't want him to ever be forgotten, or to ever think that we moved on. We will never move on, Aiden will always be a part of our family there will never be a day that we don't think about him.
I think whats been the hardest for me is that everything has felt normal, how can someone sit there and tell me that my little boy isn't going to live when I can feel him all the time. I struggle with how to tell people without falling to pieces, sometimes I want to just say it "Yes I'm pregnant yes I'm excited for my son, no I don't have a room prepared for him because he wont be coming home. He will most likely die the same day he's born!" My latest metaphor for what we're going through is that our hearts are mosaics waiting to be made. Right now they've been dropped and smashed into pieces, some large, some to small to ever be fixed, but someday some one will get some mortar and put them back together, and when their put back together they'll have Aiden in the center holding everything together.
I know that I've probably left out huge chunks and will probably think of them later and have to write again, but for now this is everything. I feels so much better to have written it down, it's immortalized, his legacy is immortalized.
The strength that we've had through all of this is strictly from God, I honestly can't imagine how anyone who says that they don't believe in God could ever face life in this world, it must feel so empty, sad, and meaningless. I hope that through Aiden we are able to show the non-believers in our life that God is real, he is good and he is ever watching. God loves his children and has a purpose for everything that he does. God doesn't make mistakes, Aiden wasn't a mistake no child with any deformity is a mistake their even more special that's why God takes them home sooner.
I write this with more love than ever expressible, and hope to have better news next time I write.