May 1, 2017. The day we had anxiously been waiting for had finally arrived. Today was the day we got to have the fetal echocardiogram performed on our baby’s heart, followed by an appointment with Dr. Krabill to know the findings immediately. We had a long day ahead of us given we had to meet with Cherise, our genetic counselor, in the afternoon following the cardiology appointment and our day began with a two hour drive to Renton.
It was a rather silent car ride, which is unusual for Aaron and me as we both usually love to turn up our music, sing along and have fun on our car rides together. Today though - our hearts were heavy, our spirits were nervous and our minds in a million different directions. Oddly enough, we drove two hours with NO music - we certainly were somewhere else mentally on this drive.
While our drive was fairly silent, allowing one another to prepare for what lay ahead for our day, we did manage one meaningful conversation.
“Aaron, I know we had decided to not find out our baby’s gender until delivery. I still would want to do that as I love the excitement of learning upon delivery, but given all we are going through, all the unknown, the uncertainty, would you want to find out? I mean, find out so that we have something positive? Something concrete that we can focus on and ideally celebrate? Or if we have negative news, prepare for with a name and planning?”
“I think that’s a great idea.”
“Perfect. When we meet with Cherise, we will let her know we would like the results from the amnio of the baby’s gender.”
We finished that conversation, feeling good we had made a decision, and in the midst of a very unknown day, we knew we would receive some positive news - the gender of our baby.
We arrived at Dr. Krabill’s office both a ball of nerves. We checked in, and then sat on the comfortable black sofa in the waiting room. Aaron and I had asked my dad to meet us at this appointment. We felt that we needed an extra set of ears in case we heard bad news; we needed someone who could remain slightly neutral and be able to ask questions if or when our minds shut off due to what we heard. Dad and Aaron sat on the couch talking; I think this was dad’s way of helping Aaron to relax not worry. I on the other hand, couldn’t relax while I waited to be called back. My palms were sweaty, my stomach in knots. I was excited to see my baby on the ultrasound screen, but scared of what I would hear today. How would I respond if I heard my baby had a heart condition that could end up fatal? How would I support Aaron through that diagnosis when I don’t even know how I would support myself? And then, the kids. How would I support them? Would I be able to be their strength when I don’t even know how I would manage? I took deep breaths. I reminded myself, one step at a time, and to remember who is ultimately in control; I reminded myself this is where my faith comes in. This is where I have to trust, no matter what the outcome, no matter how hard it is to see or understand the why, but I have to trust. I continued sitting in the waiting room praying - praying for God to just guide Aaron and me through this, to provide a miracle in the life of my baby and to bring comfort no matter what we hear.
“Tiani. You can come back now.”
Finally the waiting had come to an end. I followed the ultrasound tech to the ultrasound room. I climbed up on the exam table, laid back and lifted my shirt for the tech to place the ultrasound goo on my stomach and begin the scan. I watched the entire fetal echocardiogram on the screen. I knew nothing of what I was looking at given it was all close up images of the heart, blood flow etc. But none the less, I watched as if I understood each image. I watched thinking - that’s my baby’s heart; please Lord allow this heart to be okay; but if this baby isn’t okay give me strength and courage to move forward, to support my family and heal my hurt.
The fetal echocardiogram was completed in about forty five minutes. I cleaned the ultrasound goo off my stomach, pulled my shirt back down, sat up and took a deep breath. Next was our meeting with Dr. Krabill to learn about the results. The tech helped me off the exam table, then lead the three of us to the exam room. We didn’t wait long, although it did feel like a lifetime. Dad kept Aaron and I entertained by playing various songs on his iPad for us; but even that distraction didn’t make the fifteen minutes that we waited seem like less than an eternity.
Dr. Krabill entered the room. We all became quiet while we anxiously awaited her news. She sat down, introduced herself to each one of us, went over why I was there and then calmly began providing us the results. She let us know, structurally the heart looked good. It is true the left side of the heart is smaller than the right. She continued to explain that if one was to look at the size of each side of the heart on a growth chart, one would see the right and left side are growing in proportion to one another, although the left side is smaller; she further explained this needs to be watched because the heart should continue to grow in the same proportion ratio and if we don’t see that then we have reason for concern. Dr. Krabill went on to explain that given what we can see on the images at this point, the issue is more than likely related to the aorta (she provided a name for this, but there was so much information, the name didn’t stick with me). She explained the aorta could have a narrowing it in that would need to be repaired following birth. Depending on where and exactly what aorta surgery would be needed would determine how the surgery was performed - either access through the side in which case baby would not need to be on heart/lung bypass and would only be 3-5 days in the hospital. If the access had to be through the chest, then baby would have to be on heart/lung bypass and possible 7-10 days in the hospital. She suggested we scan baby’s heart again in eight weeks to measure the growth of both the right and left sides.
We all took deep breaths as so far this news was sounding better than we anticipated. While the news wasn’t great as we may still be facing surgery, it was better than expected. Dr. Krabill finished the appointment by telling us “The baby does not have HLHS. If baby did there would not have been any surgery options as healthy babies have difficulty surviving and many doctors will not perform the required surgeries on a baby with Down Syndrome due to additional health factors they usually have.”
We left the appointment feeling relieved. Our baby did NOT have HLHS! Yes our baby has a heart issue. Yes our baby may still require surgery, but our baby would survive! I walked to our car thanking God for answered prayers; feeling so thankful that we were given relatively good news, and that I had the flame of hope reignited. Now I was eager to meet with Cherise, notify her Aaron and I will be moving forward with carrying baby to term and yes, raising our child who has Down Syndrome. I was more eager though to meet with Cherise to find out the gender of our baby - to be able to give baby a name since we already had names for a boy or girl picked out.
Our meeting with Cherise was quick. While we left our first meeting with Cherise feeling as if she was for us terminating our pregnancy, that feeling quickly changed as we watched her face fill with joy upon telling her we were carrying baby to term and raising our child. She proceeded to tell us how happy she was with our echocardiogram results today, that they had been worried with what was said after the first ultrasound and she is happy to hear the prognosis. Cherise’s face filled with excitement as we asked her to please share with us the gender of our baby.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes we are” Aaron and I replied in unison.
“You are having a baby girl!”
I looked over at Aaron after the sentence was finished. I saw him with tears in his eyes with an ear to ear smile. I was elated. I couldn’t wait to tell the kids as they all were wanting a sister. I sat on the couch in Cherise’s office, looking at Aaron to my left with a smile and tears, then looking at my dad to my right, with a huge smile, and all I felt in that moment was hope and thankfulness. I was being given another daughter; a daughter I would have the chance to hold and time to love. As I sat there with my mind swimming with the good news of the day, Aaron was eager to share our daughter’s name with Cherise…
“Our daughter’s name is Arrow Jaye Matai.”
(**Jaye was selected by her sister Aysa - it means Victorious. Matai is Hebrew for God’s gift**)
The day following learning our baby was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Cherise called. She was following up with me to ensure that I had spoken with Aaron about the news, and letting me know the next step would be to schedule with a fetal cardiologist for the fetal echocardiogram. She continued this conversation letting me know we needed to get this appointment within the next week as we need to know the severity in order to make a decision. I paused as she said “make your decision.” What did she mean by that?
“When you say ‘make your decision’ are meaning whether or not we plan to carry the baby to term?’
“Yes. Many people opt to not carry to term simply on the diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Given the results of the heart, that could mean you decide not to carry to term also.”
“Oh I see.”
“There are two ways we can terminate if that is your decision. First way is called a D & E. This is where your cervix is dilated and the provider will use suction to evacuate the contents of your uterus. The second is where medication is injected into the baby’s heart to cause the heart to stop; then labor is induced and you deliver a stillborn. This would allow you and Aaron to hold the baby if you desire before you say good bye. Talk with Aaron and I will schedule your cardiology appointment and call you back.”
I hung up that call even more numb than I was prior. The words “evacuate the contents of your uterus” kept playing through my head, followed by “medication to stop your baby’s heartbeat.” It shocked me the difference in terminology given the option we chose if we chose to terminate. I sat at my desk at work, staring at my computer when I realized I have to approach this conversation with Aaron. I knew my thoughts on the options, I assumed his but didn’t want us to look back and say “Wish we would have had that uncomfortable conversation.”
Within sixty minutes of my morning call with Cherise, she called back. She notified me that I was scheduled for May 1st in Renton to meet with the fetal cardiologist for the fetal echocardiogram and then to meet with her again following the cardiologist appointment. 5 days - that’s how long we had to wait to know more; in the meantime, I would talk with Aaron about our options and I would research what I could about left sided hearts that are smaller than the right side of the heart.
Later that night as Aaron and I laid in bed, I shared with him details of my call with Cherise. I explained our options and that we needed to discuss this; that we needed to ensure we were both on the same page for how we move forward. This conversation was difficult. It was emotional and a conversation we never expected to have to have. Candidly, I found it ironic that we were discussing stopping the baby’s heart when it’s the baby’s heart that’s the medical issue. Thankfully Aaron and I were on the same page - either termination option was not an option for us. After all, we had just watched our baby on the ultrasound screen, we had just seen baby’s heart, legs, arms, body, and side profile. We had just watched our baby hide behind their hands to keep us from seeing their face. We agreed we would face this journey and let the outcome be what the outcome was going to be, but we would not terminate, we would carry as long as we were able.
The next five days until we could meet with our cardiologist were the LONGEST five days ever! I filled my time with work and research - sometimes google can be helpful, and other times it’s the enemy. In this situation it was a bit of both. When I searched “left sided heart smaller than right side of heart” one heart condition appeared. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). I read all I could about this, I searched to see if maybe I could find another heart condition that wasn’t as difficult as HLHS, but with what little information I had, I could find nothing. I shared anything I read with Aaron and we both sat in fear of this being the diagnosis. I am far from well versed in this diagnosis, but what I read was this - HLHS means three surgeries over a course of time to correct the heart; it means surgery immediately after birth, and many times has a very low survival rate. Sometimes families are offered the option to not put the baby through any surgery and baby is put on palliative care until they pass. This was hard to read; a hard pill to swallow.
One evening following dinner, I decided to talk with Zion, Aysa and Riah about what I had read and what Aaron and I had been speaking about. Aaron had put Tucker to bed, and decided to join the conversation to listen to the kids thoughts. I shared with the kids how we were given options to terminate the pregnancy with the facts we know now, and that when I searched information on what little information I knew about the heart, I came up with HLHS. I further explained what that meant. I inquired how they felt. All instantly said, no to termination, agreeing we take what time we have regardless of the diagnosis on the heart. I shared with them that Aaron and I also agreed and had already made that same decision. It was the next statement made by my daughter that spoke to me, that still resonates in a deep place within me.
“Mom, you fight. You have always fought for each of us and that doesn’t stop now. Palliative care and letting baby pass with no surgery is not an option. You say yes to the surgery. You do anything you can. It’s okay if you have to be at Children’s. We would have Aaron here and he and us can take care of things at home as long as we can come see you and baby on weekends. I know mom that it could be exhausting on you, especially if you have to drive back and forth for work, but again you fight for us, so please fight for the baby too. We are a team and we get through it all together.”
Aaron and I didn’t have too many more conversations after that night. We just let the subject be the elephant in the room. Aysa’s words sat with me; they spoke right to my heart. She was right I have always fought for my kids; maybe not the same way I would be fighting for this baby, but my kids have always known I am right there, always there, and no matter what comes, I will always be right there; and they expected the same from me now, for their unborn sibling. While these words by my daughter spoke to my heart I still managed to feel unsettled.
I didn’t know if I was strong enough for this fight. If I was strong enough to love and lose a child. I didn’t know if it was fair of me to bring a baby into this world to immediately have to fight for their life but at that same time was it fair of me to bring a baby into this world and not give them the option to fight?
The next night I laid in bed, Aaron next to me playing on his phone while I searched online some more about HLHS. This particular night I decided to search Facebook for support pages and it was here that I found exactly what I needed to speak straight to my heart in conjunction with the words my daughter gave me. On an HLHS page, I came across a post from a mom whose daughter was born with HLHS, it was a song by Matt Hammitt called “All of Me”. I then googled this song; I not only found the song but the story behind the song. Before I listened to the song I watched the video sharing the story behind the song - Matt Hammitt had a son born six years ago with HLHS; this song was written as part of Matt’s healing with the diagnosis. I then listened to the song… The entire song spoke right to my heart… but the following words resonated deeper than I can say, these words were God telling me “Tiani this baby needs all of you; and you have all of Me to get you through.”
“I can’t give you half my heart and pray He makes you whole..
You’re gonna have all of me
You’re gonna have all of me
‘Cause you’re worth every falling tear
You’re worth facing any fear
You’re gonna know all my love
Even if it’s not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I’ll start”
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened. I looked over my left shoulder to Aaron laying next to me and said “Aaron listen to this song.” I replayed the song for him to hear… tears welled in his eyes as well as he listened to the song. We finished the song, held hands and I began to pray. I prayed for God to lead us, to guide us in how to proceed, to give us strength and courage, to put His arms around us during this time and show us every step to take.
The next morning I awoke with a sense of peace. I didn’t know what was ahead. I didn’t know the heart condition, I didn’t know the severity or lack thereof. I didn’t know much but I knew what I was being called to do as a mom… I was being called to fight. I was being called to give my baby all of me, to face every fear, to allow every tear to fall, to give this baby all my love and walk in faith not by sight… and beautifully Aaron agreed, he too was called to to fight, to give all of him to his baby, to face every fear, to allow every tear to fall and to give this baby all of him. Together, him and I, with the kids, would walk this journey… and that is where we sat as we waited to see the fetal echocardiologist in two days.
January 2, 2017…. The beginning.
I found out I was pregnant! Baby 4 would bless the kids and me… baby 5 for our family given I entered the relationship with Aaron with 3 kids and Aaron with 1… that’s a full house for us. Amidst the fear of the impending change, there was excitement and decision were quickly made. At 8 weeks, Aaron and I announced the news to kids and other family members. We shared our plans for him and his son, Tucker, to move in with the kids and me on March 1st.
While this should have been an exciting time - it was more of a stressful time as I was incredibly sick with “morning sickness” only in my case, it was all day sickness. I managed to work each day, but arrived home to lay down, and proceed with constant vomiting. My kids were champions, they made dinner for themselves, laid with me on the couch to either have me help with homework or just to care for me. With being sick, the adjustment to Aaron and Tucker moving in was not as easy for me as I had hoped; I hadn’t been able to clean my house in two months, and now I had two extra bodies, two more people to care for, pick up after and to settle into the house. Aaron helped - he cleaned, he rallied kids to clean, he made dinners, he took kids to grocery shop - he filled the gaps as best he could as I was continually vomiting. It was hard for me as I have always cared for the kids, I have always been the one to clean, do laundry, grocery shop, make dinner etc. and now I was having to let go, allow someone else to help care for them and at the same time care for me. Aaron remained graceful during the times when I was less than graceful, when my emotions would take over and the tears and anger would flood that I couldn’t control the situation and care for my family.
During this time, Aaron and I also began discussing if we were going to have any type of genetic testing done during the pregnancy. We were on the fence. Did we want to know if there was any “issues” with our baby prior to delivery? Or would we rather just move the pregnancy ignorant, and adjust post delivery should we need to? We could argue both sides; so we decided to talk with Zion, Aysa and Riah, seek their opinions; after all, they are old enough to have thoughts about this, to have an opinion that we should consider as it impacts them as well. After a few conversations with the kids, hearing their thoughts, concerns and desires, we decided to move forward with genetic testing.
14 weeks… Beginning part of March… I had my first blood test and on March 12th I had the ultrasound to measure baby’s nuchal tube. The following week I received the call from the nurse at the doctor’s office letting me know “Labs all look good. No concerns. Next set of tests will be at 18 weeks.” Deep sigh of relief. I has passed phase one.
18 weeks … Beginning of April… I had my next set of blood tests. Days later, while sitting at work, my cell phone rings, I recognize the number as my doctor’s office and immediately answers, eager to hear the same news as four weeks prior “Labs all look good. No concerns.” Only this time, as I answered it wasn’t the voice of my nurse, but of my doctor.
“Tiani, this is Dr. Hein. How are you?”
“I was good until I heard your voice. It’s never good when a provider call.” I said under a nervous laugh.
“I understand. It’s not bad, but I wanted to speak to you myself. I got your lab results late last night. Your numbers are a bit high for Down Syndrome. You are negative for Trisomy 13 and 18. You are a 1 in 5 for Down Syndrome; that’s a 20% chance. Given this, we need to proceed with further testing to be safe. I will be referring you to a Maternal Fetal Medicine provider for further testing. I will enter your referral as soon as we hang up and they will call you within 24 to 48 hours to schedule.”
I remained composed through the call. Dr. Hein said all the right words reminding me to not worry, to be calm and to know that it is precautionary and the right step to refer to another specialist.
As I hung up the phone, I took a deep breath, excused myself quickly from my desk before the tears could begin to fall. I left my desk, finding the closest, vacant provider office, where I entered, shut the door and let the tears fall. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear. What does this mean? Why? What next? How do I walk this? I cried for a bit, then composed myself enough to call Aaron and share the news with him. I knew he would worry to see my name on his phone in the middle of a work day. I asked him if he was outside, as I knew the news would hit him as hard as me. I shared with him exactly what the doctor told me and that as soon as I have the appointment scheduled I would tell him. We told each other it would be okay; that we would get through this; that we will hold onto the 80% chance baby was not Down Syndrome.
I don’t recall much about the days in between that phone call and my appointment at Swedish Maternal Fetal Medicine. It’s a blur. All I know for certain was that I shared the information with the kids, I asked them to pray and not share until we knew more. I reached out to some friends requesting prayer but otherwise, we didn’t tell family. We didn’t want to worry others for no reason.
20 weeks … April 25th… we awoke early to arrive at our appointment early. Our day was full. We were scheduled for our anatomy ultrasound, followed by a meeting with a genetic counselor and a possible amniocentisis.
The ultrasound.. Bittersweet for us. Our tech was lovely. She was kind, compassionate, thoughtful and fully aware of our situation. She shared with us everything she was looking at, respected our wishes to not know the gender, and even inquired if we wanted pictures for keepsakes. Aaron and I sat, watching our baby on the screen, seeing the profile, legs, hands and laughing that baby didn’t want to move their hands from their face. I kept my tears back… that was my baby, my sweet baby that I was beginning to feel move… I just prayed baby was healthy and that we would get the news every parent wants to hear “your baby is healthy and your test was a false positive.” Only the moment, the tech returned from having the radiologist review the images needing to scan more on the baby’s heart, I knew. I knew something wasn’t as it should be; I knew our journey was about to be different than we expected on January 2nd when we learned we were having a baby.
The radiologist then met with Aaron and me in another room. He sat us down, calmly stated he reviewed the images and there are a few concerns.
We walked to our appointment with the genetic counselor talking about what the radiologist said and agreeing that we should move forward with the amniocentisis to obtain a definitive answer.
The meeting with the genetic counselor was the strangest experience of my life… it was surreal. Cherise, that’s her name, sat us down, reiterated the results of the ultrasound. Only it didn’t end there… that I could handle. She proceeded to tell us that with my lab numbers and the findings on the ultrasound, we now could not rule out other chromosomal abnomalities; that there is a possibility baby would not make it to term, or if baby did we may have a baby that will only survive days and we would simply put baby on pallative care after birth, love on baby and know it’s only days we have. She said with small size and the heart, doctors may decide to take baby early if they felt baby could grow better outside of my body. I don’t recall much more… i remember Aaron sitting next me, his hand on my right knee, him asking questions and remaining calm as he could. I on the other hand, had tears streaming down my face and answered her questions through sobs. I told Cherise we wanted to proceed with the amnio given we had 4 kids at home that we would need to prepare for what was ahead of us and we needed to know to prepare ourselves. She agreed. She said more, but truly I heard nothing… I saw her lips moving but heard no sounds. I was in another world. What mom (or dad) wants to hear this news about their baby? My heart was being ripped in two as she continued speaking. I wanted to get up and run out of the room, run away to where this wasn’t real, this wasn’t my story, this wasn’t me on that couch, but instead I was being told my baby was healthy and Aaron and I would have the experience we had dreamed about.
The amnio… Aaron stayed with me. He conquered his fear of needle enough to be in the room, to not leave me and to be with me every step of the way. Sounds like a little step, but it brought me comfort and peace. The gesture of not wanting to leave my side, of overcoming his fear to be with me, gave me a sense of calm. He sat to my left while I laid on the exam table, while the doctor scanned to know where baby was, while the doctor placed the needle in my abdomen into my uterus to extract amniotic fluid. Aaron stared at the screen watching our baby during the procedure while I stared at the ceiling focusing on my breathing. During this time, the Casting Crowns’ song “Held” ran through my head. As I laid there calmly, the doctor telling me how much longer was left in the procedure, the following words played over in my head “Just be held. When it feels like your world is falling apart, it’s falling into place. Just be held.”
The procedure was soon completed and now we just waited. We walked to the car in silience. As we approached the car I broke. I fell into Aaron’s arms in tears. Through the tears all I could say to him was “I’m sorry. I am so sorry. I am so sorry I couldn’t give you the healthy baby you so desired.” He just held me tight, telling me not to say I was sorry; that it wasn’t my fault and that he was with me every step of the way. The drive home was silent as we both were processing what we had just heard. I just stared out the window, questioning why my body failed me. Why was this our journey? The remainder of the evening is a blur. I was numb. I tried to remain calm as I returned home and told the kids about the day. Those kids… what strength they possess and provide. They shed some tears, they told me they would pray and that we would get through every step of this.
I crawled into bed that night… numb. Only in the numbness the tears fell. I tried to pray but was at a loss of words. I didn’t even know what to pray, I couldn’t really think or put coherent thoughts together. The day seemed like a dream. It wasn’t real and I really thought at any point I would wake up from this nightmare. I laid in bed, tears falling, until my eyes were heavy enough to close and I finally fell asleep. I didn’t sleep long or well, but enough, enough to awake to tackle the next day, realizing it wasn’t a dream and I needed to find strength and move forward with the day ahead of me.
I arrived at work the following morning hoping to lose myself to the routine of work, to ignore the worry and the numbness. Sadly that wasn’t what occurred; only because I work with amazingly caring and compassionate co-workers; co-workers chose to walk the journey with my because they are genuine, loving people. (Truly I am blessed by their compassion, their love, their support.) As soon as I arrived my co-workers inquired about the day prior, hoping for good new. I shared with them the news, and as I shared, I couldn’t hold back the tears, they streamed down my cheeks, I choked out some of the news as the tears grew more. They listened, they hugged and offered support. They were all there in the most beautiful of ways.
I tried to work through the morning, but all I could focus on was that I wanted my mom while I waited for the news. I texted my mom then, asking if she was home and if I could stop by. She responded quickly that she was and yes… so I left work instantly heading straight to her house. I barely entered her door when I broke. I sobbed and incoherently shared with her the news from the day before. She just opened her arms and held me. She let me cry and just held me; just what I needed. I may be 37 but sometimes there is nothing like the arms of your parent and sometimes nothing like the arms of your mom. Another woman, who carried babies, who knows every hope a woman has for their child and every feeling that could occur when hearing what Aaron and I heard the day before.
I sat on my mom’s couch sharing all the information. I told her I was standing in faith. I was holding onto whatever percentage we had that baby was okay; that I just had to hope for a miracle. While sitting with my mom, my phone rang… it was the number for Swedish. I instantly answered the phone. On other end was Cherise. She started with the good news…
I couldn’t breath. I fell into my mom’s arms, sobbing uncontrollably. I know Down Syndrome is not a death sentence, but my heart was heavy. What does it mean with the heart issue, the size issue? What does it mean for my family as a whole? How will Aaron take the news? I sat next to my mom, on her couch and called Aaron. I fought back tears as I told him the news. I asked if he could take the day off and come home. I said he had to work, but would call me later. I could hear the emotion in his voice, but he had to be strong… I was breaking and he was at work.
I didn’t go back to work that day. I left my mom’s house, drove home, walked through the front door, down the hall, into my bedroom, pulled back the blankets and crawled into bed. This is where Zion found me when he got home from school. He took one look at me, crawled up next to me, grabbed my hand and inquired if I was okay. Through tears I shared with him the news I had just heard. He listened and then just hugged me, he told me it would be okay. He reminded me God is in control even though it may not feel that way right now; he reminded me we are a family and we get through everything together and that includes this. He allowed me to cry and listened to my feelings. I shared that I was scared, what if the baby was ugly? How would this impact our family? What does this mean with the heart condition? He just listened and was there. What a lovely blessing in the midst of such an emotionally hard time. Zion sitting with me, listening, loving me was such a gift; a gift I will cherish more than he will ever know, more than I have words to express. As a mom, in grief, to experience my gentleness and kindness of my son’s heart, of this boy that has grown into a young man, of a boy that I raised, there are no words; it was the gift given to me on a day when I felt my world crumbling.
As Zion and I sat in my bed, playing on social medial to laugh, Aaron arrived home. He decided to take the afternoon off, to come home and sit with me, to also hold me, console me and to process his own grief about the news. As kids arrived home from school, we shared the news, and together as a family processed what that means and next steps. Aysa and Riah took the news like champs, much like Zion. The diagnosis didn’t phase them; they were having a sibling and their focus was on baby being healthy and knowing facts about the heart concern. Now we wait for the next appointment - the fetal echocardiogram to know more about baby’s heart.
I'm a single mom of four radiant kids who believes in relationship with Jesus over religion. I'm trying not to battle with fear anymore - instead I am choosing to follow what God has called me to do. With that you'll find me here, trying to be brave, with the goal of being authentic and honest about God, single parenting and the beauty in the mess of my joyful chaos. It's sure to be a journey... and I am blessed to share it with you!