Aspen was my original Baby C. She came out as Baby B but I think that is because Ryan missed his turn in line. Drew and I did not know about her until 9 1/2 weeks. I sometimes don't even believe my own pregnancy story, it is so unreal. But that is for another time.
So after being on bedrest with the twins, we went for a follow up appointment with my RE Dr. Fisch. Holding my breath waiting to hear the 2 heartbeats that were there before, my loving husband started to laugh hysterically. Almost serial killer worthy. It was that weird. Dr. Fisch was shaking his head, and I looked up at the monitor, where I saw 3 heartbeats. To this day I still don't remember anything after that point. This was December 21, 2005. My mom had arrived that morning for Christmas and when the initial shock wore off, we sat down and had a long talk about NICU life and preemies, and the fact that selective reduction could possibly be advised by the doctor. I remember telling her that I would rather have 1 hour with them then to reduce just because there was 3. Little did I know how those words were about to hit hard.
Dr. Fisch released me to a Perinatologist, who followed me for the duration of my pregnancy. At 12 weeks I went in for a follow up appointment. Nothing could prepare me for this appointment. When the ultrasound tech left the room to get the doctor, I still had no idea what I was about to hear. The look on his face said everything. There was a problem.
Aspen had lost all her amniotic fluid. She still had a heartbeat, but without the fluid, she would not develop. I was told that day that 1 of many things could have happened. My water could have broke, it could be a chronic abruption, or Potter's Syndrome. He felt that the heartbeat would probably stop and that I would continue as a twin pregnancy. Or, if the sac ruptured, I could go into preterm labor and lose the entire pregnancy. Either way, Baby C was not going to make it. I don't remember walking out of his office, driving home, or telling Drew the news. We went back to the doctor the next day so he could talk to us, because I had no idea what to even say to Drew. He advised us that IF the baby made it to delivery, life expectancy was 1-4 hours max, due to the fact that no lung tissue had developed.
We went every week for ultrasounds, wondering if this would be the day that my triplet pregnancy officially became a twin pregnancy. What most women find joyous, I approached with fear every time the ultrasound machine was turned on. At week 18, I remember being told that since the heart was still beating, that the baby would make it to delivery, and I had to decide what to do.
Instead of picking out nursery colors, I was deciding between a funeral or cremation.
How do you enjoy being pregnant when you know you are carrying a life that would cease to exist? How in the hell was I going to make it through the delivery and celebrate the birth of the surviving 2 babies and grieve at the same time? How could this happen? After all we went through to get pregnant, I felt like I was being robbed of the whole experience.
I remember asking my friend Kelli what to put on the birth announcements. She deserved to be on those announcements, but she was going to have to have 2 dates listed, instead on one. It was not fair.
What about baptizing the baby?
I tried to find peace in the whole thing by deciding to donate anything I could from the baby, if it would help another baby. I was told I couldn't , due to the circumstances. That was my last attempt at keeping my sanity during the whole thing. I was done.
When someone asked me what I was having, I said twins. I had a baby shower for twin boys. I bought twin clothes, and doubles of everything. I actually got to the point where instead of dealing with the roller coaster, I convinced myself I was having twins just to get through the rest of my pregnancy.
On April 18th, we went for an ultrasound. I just realized typing this that I found this out on my birthday. I never put it together until now. The tech left the room to get the doctor and I thought that this was it. The doctor came in, looked at the monitor and told us - "Baby C has fluid"
On that day we found out that Baby C had gained some, not much fluid. Enough to cause him to get a pediatric cardiologist to evaluate the heart chamber. On April 25th, we found out that Baby C had a 50/50 chance, instead of 0%.
4 days later my water broke at 28 weeks, exactly 15 hours after my mom got on a plane back to Baltimore.
The next 11 days were a blur of fetal monitoring, hospital food nightmares and Drew snoring on the cot in my room. At 6am on the morning of May 8,2006, Drew and I picked a name for our daughter. At 7:34am, 2 minutes after Dominic and 2 minutes before Ryan, she was born, a 2lb, 3 oz miracle.
Then the NICU experience began, which I am not emotionally at the point where I can even began to talk about it.
75 days later, on July 21, 2006 (the due date) Aspen Kinleigh Grace came home.
Aspen has an energy around her that I will never understand. Perhaps my father is watching over her. I look forward to the day when I can sit down and tell her all about her story, and how she defied the odds. But deep down inside, I think she already knows.