LIFE

Aston’s Story – Kyle

Yesterday Sam shared her version of Aston’s Story, today is Aston’s Story through my, Kyle’s, eyes.

There are two things I hate about clocks. Clocks that make a loud, audible ‘tick-tock’ sound and clocks where the second hand doesn’t hit the minute hashes exactly. This clock did both and added to the frustration of our current situation. 

We were sitting in Surrey Memorial Hospital in a room that was basically a family doctor’s office but based on the devices on the floor it was quite obviously used for women’s stuff. We were there waiting for a definitive answer to if our baby in Sam’s belly was alive or not. Basically, this was going to be a day of incredible relief and joy or the worst day ever.

Let’s back up though. How did we end up there?

The below was written in real-time as we wanted a documented account of what we went through and what we were feeling in the moment.

Wednesday

On January 8th at our regular checkup, the midwife couldn’t find the heartbeat. She requested an emergency ultrasound for the next day, which we found out later can take up to a week sometimes, doesn’t seem to be much urgency for that emergency eh?

I got the text at work in between patients and I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t because I had another patient who needed me. I got through the day. Sam picked me up from work and cried when she saw me. I rubbed her leg from the passenger seat trying to not cry myself. We drove home; the boys were super happy as they always are to see me after work. A contrast of emotions that was not lost on me. We spent the night hoping, praying, and trying to stay positive. I struggled to stay positive. I was extremely cautiously optimistic, in fact I was probably more pessimistic than anything at this point. We put the kids to bed, watched a couple episodes of Scandal, and then went to bed, but not before praying once more. Praying for news that would bring great relief to our current stress.

Thursday

We woke up and couldn’t do anything but wait and pray. Wait for the ultrasound appointment and pray for good news. I kissed my pregnant wife and walked out the door to head to work. I had a knot in my stomach. It felt awful. It hurt. Physically and emotionally. My first patient canceled on me so I had an hour to do nothing before my next two patients. 

Finally, at noon, Sam got a call from the midwife clinic; they hadn’t gotten an ultrasound time yet but wanted to do a bedside scan at the clinic. Sam went in and I prayed. I had an hour lunch break and it was just past noon. I hoped for some news before I had to see my next patient. 

My next patient was Joe. Joe is a beauty, a big guy and always a joy to treat. 12:53pm Sam called and said they couldn’t find the heartbeat on the bedside scan either. The placenta was anterior (in front) which was making access to the baby’s heart difficult. Two separate midwives tried to hear it. The first one thought she had it but couldn’t get it again. The second one could see the baby but no heartbeat. That gave me hope. I kept telling myself “yeah, baby is fine, the placenta is just in the way, that’s all”. I was optimistic. Cautiously optimistic, but optimistic. We were told to go to the hospital later that day to get a real ultrasound to confirm either way.

Joe was in the waiting room so I called him and told him the news. He says, “go, why are you still here? Get out of here!” So I did.

I walked home to meet Sam before heading to the hospital. It was a long walk. I turned on my favourite podcast but I honestly couldn’t tell you what the episode was about. I don’t remember anything because all I could think about was Sam and the baby. 

This baby was going to be okay, the placenta was just in the way.

I got home, hugged the boys, again happy as clams to see me, that contrast of emotions rearing its head again, and off we went. The silence was deafening. Neither of us saying much on the way there. Honestly though, what do you say?

We arrived at the hospital and waited for our turn. The porter came to take us to the ultrasound room. I wasn’t allowed in but the tech said they wouldn’t be long. He wheeled Sam out a few minutes later. Sam said “he said he can’t tell me anything either way”. Understandable, but that just added to our angst. I asked if she could see the screen, she couldn’t.

Back upstairs we were taken to triage and put into a room. Literally what you’d expect to be in for a doctor’s visit. The bed with stirrups, except this one had a microscopic and a used speculum on the floor under the sink in a bin. According to the sign on the wall, that’s where it was supposed to be. Gross.

The midwife came in and Sam started crying. The midwife gave her a huge hug and told us she was going to go wait for the results. Minutes later she walked back.

At 3:40pm to be exact, without hesitating the midwife says the four worst words I’ve ever heard in my life, “there’s no fetal heartbeat”. Devastating. Bursts of tears from both us. More hugs from the midwife. 

This wasn’t actually happening to us, right? No, it was. Our baby had gone home before we even had a chance to say goodbye. To hear its cries. To hold its hand. To name it. To see its older brothers love on it.

Now what? What happens next? The midwife said she would give us a minute before we talked about what we wanted to do next. Sam cried some more. I couldn’t cry again. I felt numb now. I felt like something was wrong with me. I just got the worst news of my life and I can’t even cry anymore.

When she returned she presented us with two options, deliver or operate. Delivering the baby involves a pill that induces labour and then the baby is delivered as a normal delivery would be. Surgery involves general anaesthesia. Then they go in and remove the baby and the placenta. I told Sam the choice was hers. Whatever she was most comfortable with. If she could handle the emotions of delivering the baby then do it. If not, opt for the surgery. She had my support either way.

At 4:24pm the midwife comes back in with the OB to further explain things and hear our decision. We had decided to take the pill. It was the one that could get done the soonest and didn’t involve going to a different hospital. The OB agreed it was the best choice. She explained the procedure a bit more and explained that it’s like labour but it can go from 0-100 really fast and usually within 24 hours of taking the pill.

She also talked about why this might have happened. While we will never know, and frankly we don’t want to know. The OB explained this late in pregnancy it’s mostly like a chromosomal abnormality that caused it. They said they could do an autopsy on baby and examine the placenta for more answers if we wished. They’ll examine the placenta regardless but we’re not sure about the autopsy. If they do it, we can’t take our baby home, have a burial, or anything like that. At that point, it’s no longer ours. We think we want our baby but who knows what the emotions will be like tomorrow. I know I want to see my baby. Touch my baby. At least be able to say goodbye to my baby. That much I know for sure. There’s no way I’m leaving without saying goodbye.

We asked the midwife if we could have the ultrasound photos from today’s ultrasound. She said of course and brought them back in a few minutes.

They took Sam’s blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and some blood. To make sure she’s healthy and that she doesn’t have an infection or anything.

After that, we were free to go, free to leave the hospital without our baby knowing that tomorrow if we kept the baby, it would be coming home in a box instead of a car seat.

It’s the second time we’ve left the Family Birthing Unit without a baby but still pregnant. When Zaden was born we got sent home, but that time we knew we’d be returning to deliver a healthy baby. Tomorrow we go to deliver a fetus.

Zaden’s turns 1 in two days. Every January from now on we will be reminded of the lowest point in our life on January 10th followed by one of the highest on January 11th. We’re celebrating his birthday on the 12th this year. We want to bring some normalcy back to our lives and he still deserves to be celebrated, but it’s gonna be hard with the present reminder that we’re no longer going to be a family of 4 for now. Maybe ever, who knows, that’s a conversation for a later date.

We got back to the car and started the long list of phone calls we had to make. My mom was first. Dad was at our house and we would just tell him when we got there. I called and said, “our baby has gone to Heaven”. I’m not sure she even understood me as I lost it before I even started talking. I guess I remembered how to cry again. I was no longer numb. It hit me. Hard. My baby had gone to Heaven. Thank God, but selfishly I wasn’t happy about it, obviously. My mom said, “I prayed so hard that this wasn’t the outcome.” Me too mom. Me too.

Next, Sam called her mom. Mom’s just know. It’s crazy. As soon as her mom picked up and before Sam said a word mom says:

“Sam, what’s wrong? Is everything okay?” 

“No” Sam says. “We lost the baby” 

I can hear mom start to cry with Sam. Me too again. The numbness was gone, that’s for sure. We will save the other phones calls for a later date. There’s only so many times in a row you can make that phone call. We had friends, grandparents, and other loved ones to tell still. Not looking forward to that.

The car ride home was filled with music. The first song Sam put in was Highlands by Hillsong United. We saw them live and heard the song for the first time; it has been a favourite of hers ever since. The course is so good and fits our exact situation at that moment:

So I will praise You on the mountain

And I will praise You when the mountain’s in my way

You’re the summit where my feet are

So I will praise You in the valleys all the same

No less God within the shadows

No less faithful when the night leads me astray

You’re the heaven where my heart is

In the highlands and the heartache all the same

We’re in the valley right now. Never been deeper in it than we are right now. And there’s a whole lot of heartache, that’s for sure. But at the same time, God is no less God because of our situation. Perfect song choice babe.

I chose the next one, my favourite song on that album. The first line says “I’ve been strong and I’ve been shattered within a moment.” Yup. But the song finishes with the line “Your love’s too good to me leave me here”. Damn right. I won’t be in this valley forever, my God is too good for that. He loves us too much.

We got home and once again the boys were so excited to see us, Nixon excited as ever to tell us that Grandpa was here. That damn contrast again, there it was. I love those kids, nothing phases them. Their innocence is so sweet.

My parents took the boys for the night so that we could have a night to ourselves and not have to worry about finding last minute care for them tomorrow. It was nice to see them though. Family makes you feel better no matter what. And talking with them, even if for just a moment, we’d forgotten why they were here. It was nice to forget for a moment. Our kids left for grandma’s house in such joy as we were left to ourselves to prepare in despair.

What are we supposed to do now? What do you do? Nothing feels sufficient and doing nothing feels insulting. I went to change into my pajamas and then found Sam in the boys room crying into the newborn onesie she had bought for baby. It was a 3 pack. One of them had llamas on it and the only reason Sam bought it was because Nixon said:

“Mommy we need to buy that for baby. Baby likes llamas.” 

Sam said “no we don’t need it”. 

Nixon replied, “I buy it for baby”. 

Love you buddy. But baby won’t ever get to wear it. There is no more baby buddy. Every Sunday at church Nixon looks forward to seeing the llamas at the farm next door. That’s where the love of llamas comes from.

Sam called her mentor to talk. Straight to voicemail. She was away but called us back after we texted her the news. Sam couldn’t even talk. No words were able to make it through her sobs. We explained what happened then she prayed for us.

Sam’s sister popped by with some snacks. Her first memory of me was downing an entire bag of Lay’s Salt & Vinegar chips so that’s what she brought. We ended up talking about beer for a while. That was nice. Again, we go to forget about the valley we were stuck in for a moment.

Now? Now Netflix goes on until we fall asleep. I hope we can sleep because that’s what our eyes, hearts, and minds need right now, rest.

Friday

I slept well. I got about 10 hours. Perks of not having kids at home to wake you. Sam didn’t sleep well. 

Sam needs to sleep with the window open every night and thus our room is freezing. I went to shut the window and I noticed that the ground was white. It had snowed all night long and our backyard was blanketed in it. I love the snow. Everything was white and so peaceful. God knew.

The worst part of today is the waiting. We’re just another name on a list at this point. We might get called in a few minutes or a few hours. I just want this to be over, mostly for Sam because it’s infinitely harder on her than it is me. She has to do all the work, I just sit there and support however I can.

We carried on with our day as we would any Friday, except we had no kids today. The day was uneventful. I had a dentist appointment and we ran some errands for the party while we waited for the phone call we both dreaded and wanted at the same time. Dreaded because it meant it to time to deliver our baby that we wouldn’t get to bring home but wanted because we wanted this over with.

It was 1:30pm when the phone call came. They wanted us there at 2:30pm. 

We’re currently sitting in the waiting room for our time to go in. A nurse Sam knew came by to say hi and give her a hug.

It was about 3:00pm when we were finally called in to our room. The charge nurse came to get us because she didn’t want us waiting out in the waiting room. She gave a brief overview of what was going to happen. She referred to the baby as “the product”. That bugged me. Sam too. That’s my baby ma’am, not my product. 

Other than that, everyone was so nice and respectful of what we were going through. Our nurse was Grace. She was a real sweetheart. No task was too much for her and she made every effort to make sure we were comforted as much as possible. 

Another OB came in to explain the procedure to us and asked if we were ready to start. We were. No point prolonging the inevitable. We just wanted to get it over with and go home.

Nothing moves quickly in this hospital. We’re waiting for the first set of pills and have been for 20+ minutes even though the orders were made before we even got here.

We had to decide what we wanted to do about an IV in case Sam wanted pain meds at any point during the delivery process. We decided to get in put in now just in case rather than having to get it inserted while she’s in pain.

At 5:00pm the nurse came in and inserted the medication. Two tablets. Now we wait. It could be quick or it could take a while. They’ll insert 2 tablets every 4 hours until the baby comes. This baby better come today because I don’t want this baby and Zaden to share a birthday.

Grace was amazing. Always getting us whatever we needed. Warm blankets were constantly being brought in. She said the hospital food had improved but wasn’t great and Sam couldn’t have a full meal after the pills were inserted anyways. So she went and brought us crackers. Lots of them. Snacks were allowed but they just didn’t want her to have a full stomach because as any mother knows, it has a tendency of coming back up during labour.

5:18pm dinner is here. Hospital food, eh? Yeah it’s not great. It always looks like it belongs in an old folks home. It would be fine if they seasoned the food. It always lacks so much salt. That’s the problem. It would be fine otherwise. Our mind was preoccupied but we usually bring our own. FYI for those having babies soon. Bring salt.

5:56pm Grace came back. She came back with nipple cream to use as lip chap since hospital rooms are so dry, some hand lotion, and towels in case we wanted to shower at all. Before she left she said, “are you guys at all interested in popsicles?” Grace, come on, that’s a yes no matter how old I get. Sam didn’t want one but Grace said she would bring one anyways because Sam might want one later. If you’re delivering at Surrey Memorial, you want Grace as your nurse.

I haven’t cried yet today. I feel numb again. I feel bad. I feel normal and I feel bad about it. I’m sure it’s coming because this baby is coming eventually but I feel bad that I haven’t cried yet.

Popsicle ‘cheers’

7:00pm Grace returns, with popsicles. Sam picked orange, I got pink. It tasted like medicine, maybe it was, but I didn’t care. Something other than Salt & Vinegar chips was good enough for me. Every baby we’ve had we’ve gone across the street and gotten tacos. It’s the best taco place in the city that tastes as close to Mexico as I’ve had around here.

Grace keeps reminding of us the pain options. It seems like they really care that this is as painless as possible. They also offered lorazepam, anti-anxiety medication. All of this is available “on demand” as the OB has literally ordered everything so if she’s not there the nurse is able to give it to us right away. The care has always been good here but this has been a special kind of care for a special situation and we appreciated it very much.

8:02pm my eyes are filled with tears finally. 7:35pm Sam has to go to the bathroom. When she went to wipe there was a bulge, she yelled “Kyle it’s coming, get me something to catch it. A container, something.” I rushed over to find something to catch it. First I hit the call button and yelled “she’s having it” the nurse replied that she was coming. The water cup would be too small so I grabbed the water jug. I ripped the lid off and dumped it in the sink on my way to the bathroom and stuck it between Sam’s legs. Yup, there was something. 

Grace’s shift had just finished and this was our first interaction with Courtney. Me holding a water jug between Sam’s legs as she stood at the toilet. Nice to meet you too, Courtney. 

Courtney said we needed to get to the bed. It was happening. I rushed over to the bed and threw all the blankets that Grace had brought us off the bed.

A whole gamut of nurses followed and introduced themselves. I don’t remember any of their names besides Courtney even though they introduced themselves to me just 15 minutes ago. Sorry but my mind was elsewhere. One nurse called the OB. Another nurse got an IV pole. Courtney monitored the action between Sam’s legs.

Sam was crying and had been since the bathroom stuff started. I started crying too. I was gonna, hopefully, see my baby.

The OB arrived. A large Eastern European lady, she was mildly friendly. She came and punctured whatever it was. She called it “the membranes”. I won’t get too detailed here, but yeah, there was fluid.

I turned the music up and put Highlands on repeat. I held Sam’s hand and we cried together. I sang the song in my head as to not distract or annoy Sam. We cried and cried. I don’t know how the nurses do it; there’s a couple delivering their stillborn baby bawling their eyes out and they just push on doing their jobs. This is not a knock on them but the strength they have to control their emotions and remain focused enough to do their job well was impressive. Scary, but impressive.

Sam was told to push whenever she felt the cramping start. She must have been offered pain medication at least a dozen times and refused each time. She’s a trooper. She took the gas though, laughing gas. More for the distraction than for the actual pain relief. That happened with Vanek and Zaden too.

After the membranes were ruptured there was no more action. The OB did a check and her cervix was only 2cm dilated. We need to get to 10cm. The OB said we would get another dose on the induction medication at 9:00pm; until then, just monitor the cramping. She again reminded us of the pharmacy’s worth of drugs that were available whenever Sam wanted.

I just heard a newborn cry next door. Man, I would do anything to hear that sound from my baby. Anything. It’s going to be weird to have a baby come out dead silent. I wonder what that’ll be like. I’ll find out soon, hopefully before midnight.

9:00pm Sam got another dose of pills inserted. 

At exactly 10:25pm it happened. Our baby was born peacefully and quietly. It was painful. Really painful. I think it was worse to see how much pain Sam was in. Physically and emotionally. That hurt. I didn’t cry though. Why couldn’t I cry? Sam was wailing and I couldn’t even shed a tear. The placenta still has to come. I sat back down in my chair and it hit me. I started bawling. I was mad. Angry. I wanted to punch something. This was not okay. No baby is supposed to be born looking like that. My baby is supposed to be crying and I’m supposed to be crying tears of joy. Not these tears of anger. A nurse started rubbing my back. Physical touch is my love language and even though this was this nurse’s first time in the room and I didn’t know her name, I felt comforted by that. Thank you nurse.

We’re gonna be okay. We will get through this. That’s what we keep telling ourselves as Highlands is back on repeat in the background.

A different nurse offered to bring the baby over and show Sam. Sam wanted to wait and the nurse just said to let her know whenever she was ready. I don’t think Sam will want to see until the placenta is out. When there is some sort of finality to all of this.

I saw the baby when it was delivered. The nurse put her hand over it and “said sorry, you don’t have to see it. I replied and told her I wanted to and she removed her hand. I don’t know what I expected but that was exactly what I expected. I won’t describe it to save you the details but it’s what you’ve seen in your science textbook. I felt a peace in seeing it. That’s when I didn’t cry. I can’t explain it but I smiled when I saw it. That’s my baby and even though I don’t get to bring it home to be a part of our family this baby will always be a part of our family just not the way the other three have been.

Sam is funny during labour. She’s loud. Lots of “mmm mmm” mumbling noises. At this point, she had accepted several doses of morphine as the pain levels ramped up. When Sam is on drugs it’s comical and in this time of extreme sadness, unintentionally she brought comedic relief to me. These are some of my favourite quotes:

“I know I’m annoying but If I’m going to sit here in this much pain you’re going to fricking listen to me”

“You should’ve brought your noise canceling headphones so you didn’t have to listen to me but then I would’ve killed you”

“This is shitty. I know I’m not supposed to say that but I’ll ask for forgiveness later”

“Oh golly miss molly”

“That OB didn’t need to dig around in me like she was searching for treasure in a sand box”

**Another contraction** “Here we go again, because why not? This is fun”

“Placenta why are you still here? You need to leave”

**Nurse checks Sam**

Sam: Still nothing?

Nurse: No

Sam: Rude

You might think I’m mean by recording this but this little bit of humour was much needed at this point and we will both laugh about those quotes one day. I smile reading them even now but one day we will laugh.

12:25am The placenta finally came. The OB confirmed that all was good and the nurses could start cleaning up. The miscarriage was officially completed.

Courtney asked if we wanted to see the baby. We were ready. The baby was laid on a pad in a little tub and the tub was placed on Sam’s lap. She started crying.

The baby was a grayish purple. You could clearly see the spine and the ribs. You could count the ten little fingers and ten little toes. Baby’s mouth was open. Sam said it was a girl. Courtney said it was too hard to officially tell. Looking at our baby was surprisingly peaceful. After the initial round of tears there was just silence. A calming silence full of stillness and peace. It felt nice.

Sam was done looking but I was curious if I could tell the gender. I opened baby’s legs. It was a boy. Apparently we can’t make girls. We had only decided on a boy’s name hours earlier. Aston Gabriel Enns was born on January 10, 2020 at 10:25pm. Gabriel means “God is my strength”, it seemed fitting.

I grabbed the tub and held baby on my own for a few minutes. So peaceful. Peacefully still and peacefully whole. Aston has gone home but one day we will meet him again. His brothers will meet him. We will hear him laugh, see him smile, and see him play with his brothers. Our family will all be together one day. But for now he’s right where he needs to be. The best place he can possibly be. God has him now and that’s better than anything we could do for him.

We both felt that an incredible weight had been lifted off of us. Relieved that it was over and that we could start to move on. Whatever that looks like.

The blue butterfly is taped to the door of our room to represent loss so that those entering the room can be senitive towards the situation

After everything had settled the nurse wanted to get Sam to pee. It apparently it was important that her bladder was empty. The nurse asked if she was okay to go to the bathroom. The nurse and I helped Sam to the bathroom and about halfway there Sam asked us to stop. She was dizzy and light headed and needed a break.

And then just like that she went limp. I caught her. Thankfully. She started to seize. It was suttle but I knew exactly what was happening. The nurse supported her on the other side. Sam’s eyes rolled back into her head. I patted her face. I called her name. No response. Nothing. Then her eyes opened. Wide. Really wide. They were staring right at me but I knew there was nothing there. She wasn’t looking at me but her eyes stared daggers at me. Except I knew there was no life behind that stare. Courtney looked at me and asked if I had her so she could call forheelp. She pulled the call bell out of the wall which rings differently than just pushing it because the sound we usually hear in the hallway when we press the button didn’t happen; it was a constant noise and immediately 4 more nurses came into the room. I was scared now. I prayed. God I can’t lose my baby and my wife. Not today. Not like this. That wasn’t an option. I needed her back and it needed to happen now. I heard her body take a breath. I was expecting her eyes to open or for her to respond to me calling her name. Still nothing. A nurse grabbed a pillow and laid it on the floor so we could lay Sam down. Once on the floor a nurse called her name, “Samantha”. She opened her eyes and answered, “yeah”. Thank God. Sam was really dizzy and hot. The nurses reassured me everything was okay. This was normal after delivery. Not in my experience, but they’ve done this more than I have so I’ll take their word for it.

I had my wife back, that’s all I carednabout. The nurses came up with a plan to get her back into the bed. They lifted her up and laid her down. She was safe in the bed and that’s what mattered. I got a cold washcloth and laid it on her head.

Now we could get some rest. Some much needed rest.

Since I’m writing this “live” it looks like I’m a jerk husband who is always on my phone and I think Courtney is disappointed in me for not being there to support my wife but I’m really doing what Sam wants in documenting this experience.

Sam just fell asleep. I’m going to do the same. It’s 1:37am which is about 3 hours past my bedtime. Goodnight.

Saturday

At 5:27am Sam woke me to tell me she was going to try to go to the bathroom again with Courtney’s help. I was nervous as I watched from my bed this time. She made it. She feels way better after sleeping a bit. Courtney is gonna help her shower and wash up.

I’m tired. 4 hours of sleep isn’t enough for me. I’m really excited to go home today just so I can have my own bed again. I miss my bed right now. I know Sam does too.

I can hear newborn cries next door again. I hope that family is doing well. Genuinely. I hope they treasure that baby every single day. What a gift.

At 12:10pm it was finally time to go home. The morning was uneventful. Just lots of waiting until we could go. Sam had a mild fever and some elevated white blood cells so the doctors were worried about infection. After one last vitals check with no fever, we were good to go.

We stopped to pick up a box to bury Aston in. We found one and went to the one spot that means something to us. A spot down by the river where we used to go on dates, where I proposed, and where we took our wedding photos. It seemed fitting.

At 1:15pm we arrived at the river. We took turns holding him. He was cold from the ice. I rubbed his forehead and told him I loved him through my sobs and tears. I promised we’d meet again one day under better circumstances than these. Whole times, peaceful time, and joyous times. I passed him to Sam and she held him and cried. She said her goodbye and we placed him in the box in the onesie we had picked out for him to come home in. His body barely filled the neck of the onesie. He was too little for that onesie. Much too little. But it was his and he got to wear it. We closed up the box and went over the dyke to the river. I had dug a spot for him and we laid him in. 

I covered it up, laid my hands on it and prayed to God, “He’s yours now. Take good care of him. You’ll take better care of him than we ever could. We love him and we love you.” 

We sat and cried for a minute together. It was windy. Very windy. The water was being blown right up against my jacket. God was showing us his might, He is so strong. He was there with us. He always is.

We sat in the car before driving home. More tears. Questions. Why? Anger. Sadness. All of it. We didn’t want to leave him. There was supposed to be a car seat in the back seat with him sleeping peacefully, not an empty container where his body laid just minutes earlier.

It’s okay. Or at least it will be. God knew. God ordained each of those days and decided it was time for Aston to go home. Go home buddy, your Father is waiting for you.

Through all of this we’ve felt nothing but love. Everyone at the hospital, minus the first charge nurse who referred to Aston as “product”, was so kind and loving. We came home to Skip the Dishes gift cards, freshly baked muffins, and a meal in our fridge. Someone had cleaned our house for us, too. Thank you so much to everyone who sent a message, said a prayer, helped out with food, watched our kids, helped plan Zaden’s party while we were in the hospital, or even just gave us a thought. We love all of you. And you, you that’s reading this. Thanks for reading. Thanks for allowing us to share our story with you.

And Aston, I love you and I miss you. I’m so happy that you are in the best hands you can be in. I’ll see you again one day I promise. I can’t wait to see you again when we’re both more whole and perfect than we’ve ever been. I can’t wait to see you with your brothers; you’re going to love them, they’re great. When they’re ready I’ll tell them all about you, they’ll know you too. We won’t forget you. I won’t forget you. Ever. I’ll always remember the short time we had together and think of you often. You’ll never be forgotten. I love you. Love, Dad.