Monday, May 10, 2010

Our Story...Ethan's story

I’ve told this story plenty of times. I love to share my, our, story. How something that seemed so sad and horrible has turned out to be so delightful and rewarding.

Late 2008, we decided that we would take the plunge and try for our 3rd and final child. I thought that we were done. Two little girls, seemed perfect for me. Santiago always wanted a lot of kids. After much persuasion and thought I caved. We tried in October, but I was off a day from ovulation. Still I hoped somehow it worked. I waiting anxiously for Nov to be able to test. I felt tired and hungry all the time. I was for sure it somehow worked… but it didn’t! We would now have to wait for early December to try. And boy did we try when the time came!

I tested early the week of that m period was due, nothing. I tested again 2 days later, just hoping I would be pregnant. It was the day before Christmas Eve, and yes, there was a faint line! Christmas Eve, I took another test! This time the line was not so faint!!! I tried to keep the excitement in and really wanted to wait till Christmas to tell Santiago. But I could not hold it in! I just had to tell him. We were both delighted and thrilled, yet we decided to not tell the family yet.

At our 1st appt, at approximately 8/9 weeks we learned there was some internal bleeding. We didn’t really know why. I was told to take it easy, no caffeine, no sex, no harsh exercising to hopefully prevent the placenta from breaking away from the uterus.
I prayed and prayed, “Dear Lord, please let me have this baby”.

After 12 weeks, we were told everything was ok. And we were then free to tell the family!

At about 17 weeks we went in for an ultrasound and the maternal blood screening. I don’t know why I checked to have been tested, not like I thought I was at any risk for having a child “deformed” (talk about being ignorant back then), heck I was 27 and I was healthy. Nor like I would ever opt for an abortion either. Funny though, how I felt this uneasiness as I checked the box to be screened, it was sign, now that I think about it.

That same day we were told, it was a boy. And I cried. I never cried with any of my other children but there was always an instant connection with this baby for some reason.

Doctor said, I wont call you unless something comes up, but look at you, you are young and healthy.. and for some nagging reason, I said “ ok, but I read there are many false positives anyways”
I was already researching this stuff for whatever reason. IT was as if something kept telling me to prepare myself.

The following week when I missed a call from the doctor, my heart stopped. Why on earth did she call, I wondered. Of course she called at 4:20, and I didn’t see her message until 4:30, when their offices were closed!
I was forced to wait till the next day! To make things worse, she was out all morning delivering a baby. I didn’t get to hear from her until late that afternoon.

I was at my desk, at work.. when she finally was able to contact me. She said, “do you have time to talk, or can you call me back when you can sit down and talk” …”yeah, sure, I can talk right now”

The next minutes, where heartbreaking. My heart had never felt so heavy before, I’ve lost my grandfathers, my grandmother, I’ve lost uncles.. I’ve lost my own brother. But my heart never hurt the way it did that moment.

She said there was an echogenic bowel in the baby’s intestines. Most of the time that meant the baby had down syndrome.

But it could just be nothing, right! I cried to the doctor. She said yes. She gave me the # to a specialist to set up an appointment with.
Hot tears streamed down my eyes. I tried to compose myself enough to make it to the restroom, where I leaned against the wall and slowly slipped onto the floor. Holding my stomach, holding my son.

NO, no, no… that is all I thought. NOoooooo. This is not suppose to happen. But of course it is happening, everything BAD HAPPENS TO ME!!! I didn’t really curse God, nor did I question God, why me. I just thought NO, but of course me!

I called later that week to see if the blood work results where in. I figured, this blood work was probably a better indicator than this silly ultrasound. Well there went a call I shortly regretted.

1 out of 39 (if I remember correctly) chances that my son could have Ds. Wonderful.

Still, I thought, it is all wrong. We went in for a more detailed ultrasound.
Everything looks fine, said the technician and the doctor. Yes, there is an echogenic bowel, but that could be because the baby swallowed blood since I did have some bleeding in the beginning. I gave myself reasons to make myself feel better.

Looking back, I believe the doctors knew all along. I know remember the tech walking out talking to the doctor before she came in to examine me herself. The doctor looking at the ultrasound with a look, yet not saying anything negative.
I also remember at about 36 weeks, my stomach was measuring about a week or so smaller so I went in for another ultrasound. I remember paying attention to the measurements as she measured the baby.. the baby stomach came in about 37 weeks.. his head and arms seemed to come in at about the same week as well.. but his femurs… they seemed to be behind.. I said to myself, well this baby must have a big belly and head!
It was there the whole time!!!

I even dreamt my son had Ds.

Fast forward to the hospital at my scheduled c-section.
I was incredibly nervous. .Not for the procedure itself, but I was scared about the what if’s… what if he does have Ds. What on earth will I do.
Ethan was pulled out. Immediately I knew something was wrong. It was his beautiful kitten like cry.. but the way his arms seemed. Then again, he just came out of me, after being squished in there for 9 moths! But he wasn’t throwing punches and fighting the world off! He just held them close to his sides. He wasn’t floppy per say. Of course I couldn’t see my Santiago’s expression with that silly surgical masks on his face! All I could see was his eyes. I kept asking him, “is there something wrong, what is wrong with him..” he would shake no, but I couldn’t see his expression. He had no idea! But something in me sensed something. But after seeing that beautiful little face, I knew he was perfect. I kissed him as they took him away. I was then wheeled into a recovery room. I was told that the baby would be brought to me within 20-30 minutes..but 20-30 minutes passed! Where is my baby boy, I want to hold this beautiful being.

Hr or so went by, in came in this cold female doctor (pediatrician on duty, we still had not chosen one)… “Did you have a normal pregnancy?… it appears that the baby has Ds…”

I was so calm, maybe it was all the meds. I said yes, I was told that the baby might have Ds, so am not completely shocked. But boy, was I shocked.

Santiago was in denial.. no, he doesn’t have anything. He is perfect.

We didn’t have many visitors that day. Which was fine. I don’t think we were fine. Grandma and Grandpa came to see Ethan… Grandpa said a few things about his eyes, how they looked like “Chinese” eyes… We weren’t ready to tell the word about the speculation.

It was a rough night emotionally and mentally. There were a lot of uncertainties at the moment. A lot of fear. I remember holding my son and crying. This just couldnt be, but as I examined him myself, I knew it was true. He did have Ds.

Once we were home, I cried a lot those 1st few days, Santiago was pretty strong. At least I thought, I had no idea what he was going through inside. I did most of my crying when I was by myself, I didn’t want him to feed of my weakness. And I didn’t want him to not love his son.

I had many horrible (and I mean HORRIBLE) thoughts. I loved my son immensely, but horrid thoughts would over take me sometimes. Yet I knew that I had to do something and that I had to get through this somehow. I prayed.
Finally, after almost a week, I posted my experience with other parents of children with Ds. They welcomed me into this beautiful journey, they welcomed me into this ever so loving family.
That day, I knew everything would be ok. That day I knew that I COULD DO THIS.

Ever since, slowly those feelings of fear went away. I learned that I couldn’t dwell on the future and what could or will happen. I guess the future would have to wait till I got there, I learned that I had to take it one day at time. Besides who can predict the future anyways. Even if I planned out my children’s life in my head, I almost certain that things would and will turn out differently.
So here we are,,, taking it one day at a time. I healed one day at a time, and now I become stronger one day at a time. I become a more powerful mother, a more powerful advocate and a more compassionate and understanding human being.

I am beyond in love with this little boy. He posses the most beautiful brown almond shaped eyes and the most heart warming smile. Through him, I see God. Through him, I see the good in people, through him, I can see the universe.

I am ready for the future.. I say to the future…”bring it on”.
I am so definitely sure I can take it. I will never back down, I will never stop fighting, not for my children, not for Ethan.

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