The middle of February 2006. I was late. I'm NEVER late!!! I called my best friend, Jason, and told him first. His reaction, "What are you going to do?" Uhhhhhhh...... I was very stressed at the time and wanted to blame it on stress. That weekend, Jason and I went out dancing at our favourite night club. As usual, I bought a Corona right off the bat. For some odd reason, it tasted NASTY!! It was rotten or the lime was bad. I could not take any more than three small sips out of it and threw it away.
I hesitated taking the test. I bought three EPTs. I figured if one came up positive, I had two more to rely on to be negative. All three came back positive... I called and made the appointment with my gyn, Teressa. The earliest she could get me in was the beginning of April. I went in for the appointment and into a cold, dark room with a computer in it. Teressa came in and squirted cold gel on my stomach. I wasn't supposed to be in this room. This room held bad memories for me; I had three previous miscarriages. I'm laying there on the table and she is doing the sonogram. She turns the volume up, and for the first time ever, I heard a heartbeat. My baby's heartbeat. I was in tears. She asked, "Are you ok?" and smiled. She sent me to the lab and then I returned to the exam room.
I am now entering unknown territory. Me? A mom? UNBELIEVABLE!!!! What was everyone going to say? My family was hesitant at first, due to the previous miscarries. My friends were shocked!! The father, well, let's just say he isn't in the picture...
I went for another check up in May. More bloodtests. Why do doctors insist on sticking me with a needle everytime I go in?
In June, I went in for another sonogram. This time to determine the gender of the baby. I really didn't want to know, but insurance says boys cost more than girls. I already had names for each picked out. Kaitlyn Ann-Marie for a girl and Aiden Wyatt for a boy. Right off the bat, the baby wasn't shy. When I went in to the exam room, Teressa said that she does what is known as a Quad screen for abnormalities and with my past history, she wanted me to have one. I trust her and so I agreed. After all, three previous miscarriages puts me in a high-risk category.
A week later, Teressa's nurse calls with the results. The tests came back positive for an increased risk of a neural tube defect. Teressa wanted to see me in the office, so I went a few days later. I am going to go see a perinatalogist for a level 2 ultrasound.
On July 19th, I went for the level 2. Well, good news there. No club foot and no neural tube defect. However (oh yeah!!! GREAT!) he did see a significant heart defect and a calcified placenta. I am being sent to a pediatric cardiologist for a in-utero echo cardiograph. A WHAT?? I didn't know that could be done. My crash course in medical school was about to begin.
Teressa calls me on July 21st. She wants me to come to the office that day for an amniocentesis. I get to the office at 3pm. I sat in the waiting room until 5pm. Teressa comes out herself to get me. We walked to the exam room. She apologized for keeping me waiting so long, but she wanted to have the office cleared out before she did the procedure. That way she could take her time. In the room, is an ultrasound machine and a table laid out with a bunch of things. I laid on the table and two nurses came in. One to hold the wand and the other to hold my hand. Teressa said that she wanted to rule out a few things. The results were going to be FISHed so that they would be back before my visit to the cardiologist.
I met the cardiologist, Dr. Kliewer, a week later. The fetal echo cardiograph (or EKG) showed that Aiden had an atrial ventricular canal defect - AVSD, transposition of the greater arteries, and hypo plastic right heart syndrome. My baby would need immediate heart surgery moments after he was born.
Teressa called me at 8:30am on the morning of July 29th. She asked if I knew what Trisomy 21 is. I tried to think back to my pregnancy book, I remembered seeing the term, but could not remember what it said. She said, "It's Down syndrome. Aiden has it." I sat there for a moment and finally said, "OK." Teressa reiterated what I said. I told her that I had an explanation for Aiden's heart condition. I wasn't worried about Down syndrome, it wasn't going to kill my baby. The heart conditions were life threatening. I had experience working with children who have Down syndrome. I have a "Downie".
I went in to Teressa's office two days later. She handed me a bunch of booklets. Information on Down syndrome, information on a school in town for special needs children, a calender of children in our area who have Down syndrome, and told me about DSAT (the local Down syndrome support group). She told me that she was a member of DSAT. Her daughter Cyenna also has Down syndrome. We discussed the surgery that Aiden would need following his birth. She said that the surgeon here had only done the surgery a few times. I asked her what she would do. As much as it hurt her that she would not be delivering my baby, it would be best for Aiden to be born at the high risk hospital in Oklahoma City. She would set the appointment with the perinatalogist there.
I had bi-weekly appointments with Teressa for non-stress tests and on the other weeks, I drove the 2 hours to the perinatologists office. On August 30, 2006, I went to OKC for a visit. The tech did another ultrasound and said that Dr. Mirabile would see me in just a few moments. He looked at the ultrasound.
He asked if I had anything to drink or eat that morning. I had not had anything since 8 that morning. He said, "Don't eat or drink anything else. You are having the baby today. There is no fluid. And the baby would not survive another 48 hours." WHAT!!?? I'm only 34 weeks! Would the baby survive? He said yes, the baby will survive birth. I was to go immediately to the OU Children's hospital, they were already expecting me. I was given a map to get there.
I don't remember driving to the hospital. But I remember calling my mom, my work, a few friends to pass on the information, Teressa, and Chris (my ex-boyfriend). Chris and I were talking when I found the hospital and a place to park.
The anesthesiology team came in to talk to me. Dr. Mirabile got to the hospital and started getting the OR ready. Aiden was going to be born by emergency c-section. My family showed up to the hospital also. I was taken to a big room where 30 doctors and nurses were waiting. I was given a spinal block so that I would not feel anything as I would be awake.
Aiden was born in the breech position at 8:51pm. He weighed 2 lbs, 13 oz and measured 15 inches long. He had apgars of 8/9. Someone held him up for me to see for a brief second. Then he was rushed into the room next to where I was. That is where the cardiac team was waiting.
I was back to my recovery room. 45 minutes later, a doctor comes into the room and introduces herself as Dr. Baker, the cardiologist. Tears are now in my eyes. She said that Aiden does indeed have AVSD and a small right ventricle, but he would not need emergency surgery that night. Later down the road, he would need surgery to correct the AVSD. About 15 minutes later, Aiden was brought to me in an incubator on his way to the NICU. I got to hold my baby for the first time 12 hours later. He was so small!! His head fit in the palm of my hand.
We spent 30 days in the NICU before Aiden was big enough and strong enough to come home.