Letter to Liam

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My dearest son,

Nine months ago, I never would have imagined that I would be writing this letter to you. I imagined swollen limbs, barely fitting into large sweatshirts and making sure my hospital bag was perfectly packed. Although, you gifted me with swollen hands and feet pretty early on, the other things didn’t exactly go as planned, but I write this in honor of you and with all of the love I could possible give you.

Since the day I realized that I was pregnant with you, I cried tears of joy. The anticipation of becoming your mum was the most exciting thing in the world. Seeing you for the first time on our first ultrasound appointment, I was just completely full of intense joy and love for you. I knew you got my dancing gene, watching you wriggling around in my womb while the sonographer tried to take your measurements. Your dad couldn’t come with me to the appointment because of Covid-19, but I made sure to FaceTime him so he could see you. He was amazed and all he could say was, “whoa!!!”.

A month later was your nuchal scan and you passed with flying colors. We then met with a genetic counselor to discuss genetic testing and the various trisomy issues that are looked for. Assuming you would be perfectly healthy and confident you would pass with flying colors so to speak your dad and I just happily nodded our heads and agreed to have my blood drawn for your cell free DNA test. One week later, after having a happy morning and I left for work, I got one of the worst calls of my life. We found out that you had a 48% chance of having Trisomy 18, meaning that you may not make it to term, if you did the chances of making it past your first birthday were not very good. Your dad and I cried and held each other, but then did our research as we’re ones to do and decided to stand on the side of that 52% chance that you were okay and going to make it. I had an amniocentesis, which allowed me another chance to see you in an ultrasound. You looked great and healthy. I was nervous, but tried to stay faithful that God would make sure you were okay.

Turns out that the amnio results confirmed that you did in fact have Trisomy 18. While devastated, I wanted to remain faithful that you would make it through okay and your dad and I were going to do everything in our power to be the best parents to you no matter what. The positive side of this bad news was getting to see you on the extra ultrasounds and echocardiograms throughout the pregnancy. With all of these extra appointments it was discovered that you had two major heart defects, dilated kidneys and a missing corpus callosum in your brain. I still continued enjoying you growing and loving you every minute of everyday.

Your dad would smile and laugh at me when I told him that I kept rubbing my belly so you knew that I loved you. Your grandma would smile every time we visited each other and saw me with my hand on my belly. If I possibly did not have the chance to hold you in my arms, I wanted to enjoy every moment I’d have holding you in my belly. I enjoyed feeling you begin to move and kick everyday, even when I was not so comfortable. I began to feel more at ease that you would be okay and your dad and I would at the very least be able to meet you alive for however long that may be before we had to say goodbye.

The day we reached 28 weeks, I felt that something was wrong. I began crying and rushed home to find your heartbeat on our fetal doppler. I couldn’t find it, but knew that it isn’t the same as the fetal doppler at the doctor’s office. Thankfully I had a doctor’s appointment the next day and I tried not to panic and prayed over you per usual. I tried to keep calm and enjoy the fact that we had made it to 7 months. You and me, kiddo, we made it this far together.

On my walk to our favorite doctor, Dr. McGee’s office that day, I was a ball of nerves. I even warned your dad that I was a pretty nervous about this appointment, but would keep him updated and prayed I was wrong. I started tearing up while the nurse took my vitals. I received my TDAP shot and then sat on edge in the exam room waiting for Dr. McGee to arrive. I told her about my concerns between sobs and we checked for your heartbeat on the fetal doppler. She then grabbed my wrist to check my pulse, because she couldn’t tell if she was picking up yours or mine. Then, she said we should try the ultrasound machine. This is where things go into slow motion; my biggest nightmare and my fears were coming to life. As the sonogram screen came on and Dr. McGee looked for you, she told me the worse statement, “I cannot find his heart.”. I saw you laying there as if you were sleeping and slowly as those words processed through my brain, I broke down into tears and in spite of COVID-19 still being so real and trying to distance being important, she hugged me and let me cry on her shoulder. She also cried.

Your dad was already on his way to pick me up from the appointment since he wasn’t allowed to come with. I had to call him and ask him to park so that I could tell him that we lost you. I have never felt so numb, crushed and heartbroken in my entire life. Losing you, Liam has been like losing a limb or a massive piece of my heart. We had to make the decision of planning when to go into the hospital for me to be induced so I could give birth. Waiting for you to come took almost 48 hours, 11 attempts of having my IV placed, several fevers, two painful cribs and an epidural for you arrive. I would do it allover again for you, my Lil Biscuit. Again, slow motion, as I knew you were already gone, but I still held my breath praying for a miracle that I might just maybe hear your cry out and you would be alive.

There was just silence as your dad held my hand and continued to kiss my face and love on me. I finally got to hold you in my arms. You were perfect to me; my angel baby. Your dad was a natural holding you and loving on you, but I also wanted to just hog you to myself. Because of the fevers the pitocin and misoprostal caused me, the attending doctor had me stay an extra day in hospital to be pumped with antibiotics to avoid any infection. This was a blessing in disguise, because we got to keep you with us in a cooling cot for an extra night. I wanted to never let you go.

Leaving the hospital was really tough, because it meant having to leave you behind. Not getting to bring you home with us was the major challenge. November 9th will always be celebrated as your birthday in our family for the rest of our lives. Today is your expected due date. Today has been a really hard day for me. At this point in the pregnancy, I should be complaining to your dad about my sore, swollen hands and feet, fending off acid reflux, praying I don’t pee myself and anxiously awaiting your arrival. We didn’t get that, but today we light a candle in your memory, because we love you so much and we will continue to think about you, talk about you and hopefully dream about you until we meet you again one day in Heaven. I know you’re being taken care of up there and will patiently await the day when I can hold you in my arms again. I just hope you know that your dad and I have loved you from the very moment we found out we would be having you and we will never ever stop loving you.

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