Aimee's background

As I retell this story I am using my pregnancy journal, which was given too me by my doctor and, as I soon found out, was a gift from God; a sign that He was in control of this entire pregnancy.  I used it to write down the specifics of what was happening and a lot of my thoughts and feelings at the time things were being found out.

The big Announcement
The News
December 17, 2010 - I decided to secretly do a pregnancy test so that I could be sure we were pregnant and surprise Matt with the news!  I thought I could maybe wait until Christmas to tell him... ya right!  I told him that day.  Oh boy, another August baby!

Over Christmas we decided to "announce" our news to everyone by having Lucy, our 15 month old, wear a bright 'big sister' shirt!  It was so fun to see the looks on the family faces and then to get the questions, "really?",  "does that mean what I think it means?"

January 4, 2011 - Our first ultrasound.  Hurray, there's a baby!  Dr. Cook, kindly pointed out which part of the little 'blob' to start getting attached to.  We got to leave that day with our new one's first picture.

Learning to trust
February 3, 2011 - Time for our 10 week ultrasound.  I remember being a bit nervous going into this ultrasound.  I had no idea why but told Matt that I was pretty shaky and anxious for some reason.  We found out soon enough.

When he took a look at our little one we saw that she had what is called a nuchal lucency.  It is a cache of fluid between the back of the neck and the baby's skin.  We found out that this can often be a sign of a chromosomal disorder such as Down's and the like, but is often nothing to worry about.  Our doctor was measuring the fluid at around 8mm and decided we should go down to Swedish for a better look.

Photo credit: Fetal Diagnostic Centers
We were in shock to say the least.  Really?  How could this be happening to us?  To our baby?  With all of the possibilities of what it could be we were scared.

So, they got us an appointment at Swedish the very next day.  Unfortunately, the nuchal lucency was confirmed however, it was a bit smaller than previously thought.  We spoke with a genetic counselor who encouraged us to get a CVS but with there being a 1% chance of miscarrying after that procedure we decided that we didn't want to risk it.  We would just wait until the 20 week exam to see if we really had anything to worry about and if so would possibly get an amniocentesis.  We were told again that, although the nuchal lucency will definitely go away during the pregnancy, it can be a sign of any number of chromosomal disorders and that there is a high chance of having a late term miscarriage.

I got home and started looking things up on the Internet.  Dangerous.  Finding people's stories of how their baby had a nuchal lucency in early ultrasounds but were just fine.  No problems whatsoever.  Etc. Etc.  I started being optimistic, thinking our little one does have a chance and it will all go away.  Sure, it was in the back of my mind that there could still be a huge problem but I didn't want to think about it.  God was going to heal our little Greene Bean and we will all see it at our 20 week appointment.

March 17, 2011 - Another ultrasound.  At first sight, things were looking good.  The nuchal lucency was lessening and to my untrained eye I was not seeing any problems at all.  Our doctor didn't not mention seeing anything in particular but scheduled for us to go down to Swedish again for another, better look.  We had already planned on doing this since we knew they had better machines.  I went home very hopeful that day!

April 13, 2011 - 20 WEEKS!!  The appointment most parents look forward to.  Especially since so many people want to find out the sex of their child.  We happen to really enjoy the surprise at the end so we opt to not find out if possible, however, the 20 week appointment is still exciting seeing the little one look more and more like an infant.  We had a little more to be looking for and thinking about during this 20 week check-up.

It was scheduled to be at Swedish again since we knew they had the better machines and can see more detail.  The first ultrasound appointment started at 11AM.  After some time checking on fingers and toes and arms and legs etc. the technician focused in on our little one's heart and brain.  I had told her that we knew that there might be some problems so to please be open with us about it.  She was kind enough to tell us that she was seeing some issues and needed to get the doctor in to take a look with her.

Sure enough, the doctor was seeing the same things.  My heart sank.  I had come into this appointment thinking that everything was going to be just fine, but it wasn't.

So, after a heart echo we sat down with an infant cardiologist who explained to us all of our little one's problems.  Sure, her brain was not forming quite right but in our case it was her heart that was the fatal problem.  Our baby had 6 different heart defects, one of which was that the aorta was completely closed off and actually getting back flow into it.  She told us up front and honestly that there is nothing that can be done.  Even if we were able to get a heart donated her body would not accept it because her blood pressure was so poor.

She was almost positive our little one had Trisomy 18 and encouraged us to get an amniocentesis to be sure.  If the baby didn't have that then she wanted to do some more testing and observing.  At 4:30PM after the amnio and more discussions with doctors we left Swedish with heavy hearts and the expectations that we will most likely miscarry late term.  Only 2 people during the whole pregnancy even hinted at terminating.  I am very thankful that most of the professionals somehow knew that we were going to keep our baby as long as we possibly could.  Just because our baby has some problems does not mean I am willing to take its life.  We love our baby and want it.  Even if our time together will be short.

April 14, 2011 - With all the news yesterday, we decided to find out if we were having a boy or girl so we could name our baby and bond with it more since we will be having such a short time together.  It's a GIRL!!

God give us strength
Mother's Day
In June we got a letter from our doctor saying that he would be retiring early.  He was scheduled to retire in November but due to some health issues of his own was not going to be able stay on that long.  This was the first time during this entire pregnancy that I felt scared.  Dr. Cook delivered our oldest daughter and has been through all of this with us, the thought of having to go to a brand new OB was terrifying.  Plus, not only would it be a brand new OB it would be any one of the four OBs at the clinic, and being this far in the pregnancy we would not have the opportunity to get to know each of them like most families do.