When we were expecting Aspen, our seventh child, we often said that 7 was heaven! We did not realize at that time just how true those words would be. For in Aspen's short life she truly brought Heaven to our home and blessings to our family. Our family, through Aspen's life, learned of true love, true sacrifice, true service, the power of prayer, and of miracles, and the power of faith. Faith to still believe even when prayers are not answered and miracles do not always happen. It was easy to have faith while Aspen was alive. The true test of our faith came after she died.
The faith to keep believing, even though our hearts were broken, and to continue living........
This blog has been set up so that we can share her story.
So that our children who were young at the time and their memories have faded will be able to know her.
It is a chance to share the events of her life and ours. The good and bad, happy and at times very sad.
This is her story so that she may never be forgotten......

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Aspen May Newborn Pictures

This is Aspen's video of her first 6 weeks!
Please read the post below to hear all of the details of her birth and her time in the NICU at Primary Childrens Hospital, as well as how wonderful it was when we got to bring her home!
Sorry it is such a long post, but it is 6 weeks worth!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

9 Years Ago............

This is Aspens Newborn Picture that was taken when she was 18 days old
and leaving Primary Children's Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
It isn't really a newborn picture then, and it doesn't look anything like Aspen did when she was born. At birth she was 9lbs. 10 oz. When we took her home she was 7lbs. 3 0z.
Hardly the same baby..............................

9 years ago on March 6th, 2001,
my life changed forever with the birth of our 7th child Aspen!
About a week before Aspens birth, I had started to worry that she wasn't moving
as much as she should. Her movements did not seem strong to me.
I went to my Doctor appointment, but all seemed well. Her heart beat seemed strong,
nothing to cause any red flags that we should worry.
I thought I was just being paranoid, but I still could not shake the feelings that all was not right.
I think I have an extra mom sense. I seem to know when something is going to happen or isn't right. I get weird feelings and have anxiety. I start feeling depressed, sad, weepy, you name it.
But all seemed o.k. other than the decreased fetal movement,
and I could get her to move if I poked my stomach enough.
I tried not to worry, but still couldn't shake the feeling.
March 6th was a Tuesday.
I had been up late the night before picking up Summer from the airport, she had been Dancing in Florida. A trip that I had wanted to take with her but decided at the last minute not to go on. I was tired and just laid around most of the day. I let Daniel who was 5 and Hunter who was 2
just play in the bath while I laid on my bed. They made a big mess, but I didn't care, I was really starting to be concerned about how little the baby moved. I couldn't handle it any longer and called the Doctors and talked to the nurse. She said that if I was really worried that I should come to the Hospital and they would do a stress test and see how the baby was doing. Sounded good to me. I would feel a lot better knowing everything was fine. I packed the boys up and took them over to my friend Pam's. I told her I would be back soon to get them! After arriving to the Hospital, getting all of the paper work done, I finally got hooked up to the machine that would measure the babies stress level. I laid there and watched the machine and the line going across the screen was just straight, nothing happening. Because I had never had a stress test before, I thought that meant that the baby was not under stress. I thought that if the baby was stressed that line would be moving all over the place. The nurse had left the room and I laid there feeling stupid for worrying so much. Soon the Nurse came back in and explained the complete opposite of what I thought, that a healthy baby would have the line jumping all over the place, and a baby who was under stress, the line would barely move. It was obvious then that the baby was under a great deal of stress. James was called to come to the hospital. I started crying as soon as I heard his voice, which I am sure caused him a lot of worry. All 4 of my doctors showed up, usually you get to see 1 maybe 2 of them. Dr. Lind, (who is also a family friend) decided that even though my due date was still 3 weeks away, we would be having the baby today. He seemed convinced that whatever was causing the baby stress would be taken care of with its birth. I felt so much better knowing I would be having her. At the same time I kept thinking about how my house at home was a mess, and I hadn't shaved my legs in like forever, because I could hardly see my legs or bend over to shave them. I apologized several times for my hairy legs. I am not a spontaneous person and like everything planned out well in advance, so this was kind of throwing me for a loop, but as long as the baby was going to be o.k. then I would just try to forget about my hairy legs and messy house. I had to make phone calls so that the kids would all get picked up from the bus and make sure Pam was o.k. watching the little boys. I was set and already to be induced when Dr. Lind came in and said he changed his mind and wanted to do a c section instead. He wasn't sure if he wanted to put the baby through labor and a delivery. He thought it would be better to just get her out quickly. My stress level was quickly rising, but I trusted him. ( I am so thankful for a good, wise doctor, because she would not have made it through labor and delivery) They quickly prepped me, did the spinal, and delivered Aspen. The first thing he said was, "this is a big baby". I couldn't see her because they have everything draped off. Their were so many nurses and Doctors around her, and she didn't cry. I kept asking the Dr. why she wasn't crying and he said they didn't want her to cry. I could tell by the way everyone was acting that something was wrong. I just started to cry, lying there, cut open with my hands strapped out to the sides. James was holding my hand not saying anything, just watching them work on her. After what seemed like forever a nurse brought her over to me and told me to give her a kiss, they were taking her to the nursery to work on her. The only thing I really remember her saying is that she was in heart failure. I told James to go with her, I wanted him to be with her. I would be o.k. I didn't want her to be alone. After they left I continued to cry even harder. I didn't even care that I was bawling my eyes out in front of people. I told the anetheseoligist that my chest hurt. I seriously thought I was having a heart attack. He kept checking things on me, and said that I was fine. I remember asking him if he thought there was such a thing as a broken heart, because mine was breaking and it hurt. He just looked at me with sad eyes and kept patting my shoulder. Everything seemed like such a blurr from that point on, I do know that up to that point I had never prayed so much in my whole life. I knew that Heavenly Father could save her and make her alright. I had faith and believed that he would. I somehow made it through recovery and then moved to a room on the floor. All the time not knowing what was going on with Aspen. The pediatrition then came and told me that they would be moving her to Utah Valley Hospital in Provo where they were more equipped to deal with her heart problems. At this point we knew that her heart was enlarged, her liver and spleen were both enlarged as well. She was swollen with a lot of extra fluid, and her blood work had come back pretty messed up. High white count, low red count, she would be needing a blood transfusion. They had no idea what was causing all of these problems. All they could tell me is that I had a very sick baby. Before they took her to the ambulance they brought her into my room so I could see her one more time. All I could do is look at her because they had her all hooked up to a million things, and in an incubator. I could hardly see her. By this time Pam and Ross had arrived. I told James to follow the ambulance to the other hospital. I didn't want her to go alone, and I obviously wouldn't be going. Ross went with James so they would be able to give her a blessing at some time, hopefully. Before they left, James promised me that she would be o.k. I believed him with all of my heart, because I knew he would never tell me that if he didn't believe in his heart that it was true.

(Aspen at American Fork Hospital shortly after birth)

Pam stayed with me for awhile, and then my friend Nancy came and sat with me so I wouldn't be alone. The Nurses kept coming in and taking blood from me. They did it 3 different times and then Nancy said that that was enough. No more blood. It was nice to have her there watching out for me. James was making phone calls to home to let the kids know what was going on. Nancy had prayed with them at our house before coming to the hospital. Summer said that she knew things were not good, because when she talked to James it was the first time she had heard him cry, and it had scared her. I don't know exactly what happened at Utah Valley. I do know that James and Ross were able to give her a blessing. James called me to ask what we had decided to name her. I was having a hard time deciding between Aspen and Hailey before she was born, but I was sure at that moment that she was Aspen May. He also told me that they would be moving her, actually Life Flighting her up to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake. They have a very good Newborn ICU and they felt her condition required her to be treated there. I told James to go there and be with her. Nancy was going to stay with me. I know James was torn. He was worried about me, but knew he needed to be with Aspen and I wanted him to be with her. I later got a call from a Dr. at Utah Valley talking to me about all of the things that she found wrong with Aspen. I honestly don't remember what she said. I just wanted to know one thing, "Was she going to be o.k.?" Her answer was "Your baby is very critical." I didn't think I could cry any more, but I could........I spent the night on the phone with the kids and my family in Oregon, but I didn't know what to tell any one. Nancy ended up spending the night in my hospital room, sleeping in a chair that I know was not comfortable, but she wouldn't leave me. Just as I did not want Aspen to be alone, she did not want me to be alone. James told me later that at all 3 hospitals he was told that they didn't think that she was going to make it. He told them they had to tell him something better than that because he couldn't give that news to his wife.
Most of Wednesday went by with occasional updates from James, but really no answers. I had many visitors, and so many flowers delivered to my room. I didn't realize how many people cared about us. I was so overcome by the kindness of so many people. Pam brought the boys by for a visit. They love Pam, so they were having the time of their lives at her house. It was nice to not have to worry about them. I was concerned about the older kids though because I knew they would be worried. Summer was 16, she came to the hospital and stayed with me for awhile. Bobby was 14, Autumn 12 and McKenzie was 9. I tried to reassure them best I could, but I didn't even know what was going on. The Doctors were so nice they came in several times to get the latest up date on Aspen. They had reviewed my sonograms to see if anything seemed unusual and they couldn't really see anything. I really have great Doctors. They all seemed to take it so personal. Dr. Lind told me that if I had waited one more day they would have delivered a still birth baby because she would not have lived much longer. How grateful I was that I followed my instincts.
I also got a call from my dad telling me that my step dad was in the Hospital because he had had a heart attack that morning. But not to worry because he would be fine!
Mean while up at Primary Childrens, the news that James was getting was not good.
They were talking about Down Syndrome, Infant Leukemia because of the blasts in her blood and her high white count. And the possibility of it just being an infection or virus, but they kept going back to Down Syndrome because of her features and the blood issues she was having were common in Down Syndrome. They were running some genetic testing, but told James it was most likely that that was the case. She looked down syndrome to them, but at the same time it was hard to tell because she was so swollen. At the time they basically had her on life support. James didn't know how he was going to call me and tell me all of that. The Drs. kept bringing up to James that I was an OLDER mother having a baby! Up until then I never considered myself an older mother. I was 37, but I had never considered that too old. I have friends having babies in their 40's! I actually felt offended, but at the same time they were right. What was I thinking having a baby at 37. I started blaming myself for all of her problems. I couldn't help it.
James came back to American Fork to talk to me and tell me what the Doctors were thinking.
I was pretty convinced that she didn't have Down Syndrome. For some reason, I thought I would have known. I would have had a feeling or something. James wasn't so sure either, but it was what the Doctors were telling us and we needed to prepare ourselves for that. He told me not to tell anyone until the tests came back. I did talk to Summer about it though because I wanted her to be prepared, and she was 16 so I thought she could handle it. And I just needed someone to talk to about it. It wasn't that I couldn't handle having a daughter with Down Syndrome. I could, I would love her all the same. I just worried about my kids and how they would handle it. It would certainly be different than what we had planned. But I could accept it if that is what it was. I quite simply just wanted her to live. After a lot of talking and a lot of tears James left me to go back up to Primary's to be with Aspen. Now I was alone, for the first time since Aspen was born. Which was bad and good. I was able to cry and plead with my Heavenly Father on behalf of my daughter in private!
Up at the hospital James talked with a Nurse who had been there for many years. She told James that she thought the Doctors were wrong about her having Down Syndrome. She said she actually did not have a lot of the characteristics that are associated with Down Syndrome. She pointed out how her hands had all of the creases they were suppose to have, and her small finger wasn't turned in. Her hair had some curl to it and down Syndrome kids have very straight hair. The only thing that made her look like she was, were her ears, they were small and seemed lower on the side of her head. But that could just be due to the fact that she was so swollen. They were giving her medicine to help take the swelling down, but that would take several days.
She told James not to lose hope just yet. Which made James feel a lot better.
Sometime in the night James said he had a feeling come over him and he just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she did not have down Syndrome. The interesting thing about that was that I too was up in the night, (connected to a breast pump) and I too got that same feeling where I knew that she wasn't Down Syndrome. When we talked in the morning we were both crying as we told of our experiences of knowing. But, if that wasn't her problem, then what were her problems. Was it infant Leukemia? Was it just an infection or virus? What was it? It seemed to be a mystery that know one not even the Doctors could answer.
I left the Hospital Thursday afternoon. Normally they keep you longer after you have a c section but they made an exception for me because they knew I needed to be with my baby.
It was the saddest thing, leaving the hospital without a baby. Going home with out a baby.
When I arrived home Linda Barney from the neighborhood was at our house and she was all smiles and said "your home!!" And I just sat down and started to cry, because I was home, but I was home without my baby and I didn't know when or if she would ever be home with me.
Summer had cleaned the house, (what a relief) and someone had brought in dinner for the family, but I just wanted to get up to the hospital. I did get a chance to talk to Bobby, he had been keeping his distance and I hadn't talked to him. I asked him why he hadn't called or come to the hospital, and he just broke down crying saying he was to afraid to ask about what was going on, it was easier not to know. It was hard to see this 14 year old boy sobbing like he was. I lied and assured him that everything was going to be o.k. and that Aspen was going to be just fine. It was the only thing I could do. It is what mothers do and say to their children to comfort them. We lie sometimes!
As James and I were driving to the hospital, I was really quite nervous. Aspen was 2 days old. I hadn't seen her but briefly, and I worried that I had not had the time to bond with her. How would I feel when I saw her? Would I be able to connect with her? Would I know her? All kinds of weird questions and feelings racing through my brain. I was really nervous to see her.
Well, I worried for no reason. As soon as I saw her, my heart swelled with so much love for her. She was mine!
For several years, even before Hunter was born, I had dreamed about a baby girl with dark hair. This wasn't just a one time dream, I had had this dream on several occasions, and I always knew I was going to have this baby girl. I was a little surprised when Hunter was a boy because I hadn't really wanted to have any more children after him. I kept thinking, what about the girl? When I became pregnant with Aspen it was kind of a surprise. I didn't really think much about the dreams again, until that night in the Newborn ICU seeing Aspen for the very first time,
and I realized it was her. The baby girl of my dreams.
I knew her. I had dreamt of her. She was that baby.
Accept in my dreams she didn't have all of the many tubes and wires coming from her. It was heart breaking to see. I just wanted to scoop her up in my arms and hug her and love her and make everything all better,
(because that is what moms do)
but all I could do is reach out and touch her and hold her little hand.
She grabbed on tight to my finger as if she knew I was finally there! I prayed that she would know how much I loved her, and that my love for her would be enough to keep her fighting to live.

I wasn't really prepared for all of the tubes and wires coming from her. The worst was the I.V.
that they had in her head. I hated that the most. She had several I.V.'s in various places. All with little tags on them so the nurses would not get them mixed up. She also had several wires coming from her belly button. She was on a resperator so when she would cry, her face would get all red and scrunch up, her body would shake and she would make fists, but no sound would come out. None at all. I still had never heard her cry. Not once. Not when she was born, and not now. It was hard to watch. The nurse was really nice and took the time to explain what every tube and line was for, and why she had them. We didn't get a chance to talk to any Doctors that night because they had all gone home. She was still critical but stable.
We went home sometime in the middle of the night. But I felt so much better and felt some comfort in having saw her. I hated leaving her, but in the ICU their is no place for parents to sleep. The next day we went to the hospital after getting the kids off to school and the little boys over to Pam's. (I don't know what I would have done with out Pam during this time.)
We did get to meet with Doctors on this day, and they were still undecided about what Aspen's problems were. Two of the Doctors even kind of argued in front of us, neither agreeing on what it was, each having their own ideas. I decided that I did not like either one of them! It didn't help that I did not like what they were saying. It scared me, in fact after a while I just stopped listening. I figured what I did not know could not hurt me. I let James worry about the medical part of it. I was happy to just sit and stare at Aspen. She was now 4 days old, and had this really weird rash all over her that seemed to move. Just one more thing that they could not explain.

(ugly rash all over her stomach)
I spent a good part of the day with a lactation specialist learning how to use the fancy breast pumps that they had in their special pumping room for the mothers! These were like the Cadilacs of breast pumps. I had to pump every few hours and then store it in a special freezer so they could give it to Aspen once she started eating. I wasn't thrilled, but I did want to be able to nurse her if and when she came home.
In the NICU at 7:00 they do a shift change for the nurses and during that time no parents are allowed in there so we would take this time to go get something to eat. While we were out, we got a phone call from my brother in law Mark. My mom's husband had, had a massive heart attack and passed away earlier in the evening. I had talked to my mom earlier in the day and she had said he would be leaving the hospital in the afternoon. Apparently he had taken a turn for the worst. I could not believe that he had died. I felt so bad for my mom. Especially because of our situation with Aspen, I would not be able to go out to Oregon to be with her.
We later decided to send Summer to Oregon to represent our family at the funeral.

James measures her improvement by how many wires and tubes she has connected to her. She started out with 18, and now has 15. Both Doctors said that she was making improvements. The preliminary genetis tests came back and were negative for down syndrome. She still had blast cells in her blood but they were coming down. (a blast is an immature white blood cell. Blasts that remain immature, multiply continuously, provide no defense against infection, and may be present in large numbers in the blood stream.) These blasts are associated with Leukemia, but because they were getting less in stead of more, that was not consistent with Leukemia. Something that baffled the Doctors. The hope was that it was some viral infection and this was just her bodies response. They did a brain ultra sound and saw no problems with clotting or brain damage. All of this was a relief to hear.
Our days became fairly routine. Getting the kids off to school. James would go to work for a few hours. I would spend some time at home with the little boys and then we would head back up to the hospital where we stay until midnight or so and then head back home to start all over again. It was exhausting to say the least, but everyday seemed to find improvements. Also, Aspens looks seemed to change every day as she was losing so much of the fluid that she was born with as well as her liver and spleen getting smaller so her tummy wasn't so extended. I think we were the only parents in the NICU who celebrated weight loss in our baby!
When Aspen was one week old we met a new Doctor that would be working with Aspen. He was a Hematoligist. (Dr. who studies blood) His name was Dr. Slayton. He was actually the first Doctor that we had met so far that treated Aspen like someones child and not just some weird medical case. I remember as he was examining her he kept saying how beautiful she was, and he seemed to care very much about how James and I and our family were doing and handling things. I immediatly liked him. That was saying a lot, because I didn't really like any of the other Doctors that we had so far. He explained that they had gotten the final genetics tests back, and although they did not show Down Syndrome, she did have a genetic defect. It involved her X chromosone and her 6 chromosone. They had broken apart and attached to each other. This is called a translocation. As with everything else with Aspen. This was a mystery. They had not seen this before and could not find it documented any where. They had seen translocations before, just not any that involved these two chromosones. It was only like this in about 60% of her cells. They were going to do a skin biopsy to see if it was in all of her cells or just her blood cells. He told us that there are people walking around that likely have translocations but because they have never had a genetic test that don't know about it nor does it affect them. Because of this they didn't know what to think of Aspens. Whether to be concerned or whether this was the cause of all of her problems. It was obvious that Dr. Slayton was disappointed with these results. He even seemed a little nervous, and was choosing his words carefully. I just stopped listening. It is how I protected myself. Aspen was taken off of the respirator and had a little oxygon bubble over her head. Again another improvement. They had told James they would be taking her off of the respirator, but he failed to mention it to me, so when I walked into the NICU and saw her in this bubble thing I nearly had a heart attack, until I realized it was a good thing.

On March 15th, Aspen no longer had blast cells in her blood. They were completely gone!
The Doctors felt this was a miracle. They did a bone marrow aspiration on her and checked her bone marrow for the blasts. Dr. Slayton explained that if she had leukemia, her bone moarrow would be full of blasts, and it was not. This was such a relief to hear.
Because Aspen no longer needed the bubble,
I was able to hold her briefly while they changed her bedding.
It was the first time! I had to be very careful and hardly move her because of all of the tubes.
It was hard because she was crying.
With out the respirator we got to hear her cry for the first time. It was the best sound ever!
I actually loved hearing her cry. You don't appreciate crying until you have gone 9 days never hearing any sound from your baby! It was like music to my ears!

On April 16 th, James got a call from the Stake Presidency at Church and they wanted to meet with James and I that night. We explained that we would be at the hospital and wouldn't be coming home until late. They said whenever we could stop by would be fine. It seemed a little strange that they would want to see us, but I figured it was a church calling for James, probably to the high council or something. I didn't think a lot about it. James and I neither one were prepared for what the asked. After chatting for a minute about Aspen and everything that was going on, the Stake President looked at me and said, "Sister Patterson we would like to call your husband to be the Bishop of the Alpine Cove Ward" James and I were both completely silent staring at them in disbelief. I think at the same time we both said "wow" and I am pretty sure we were both crying. For different reasons. James was honored to be asked to take on such a calling, and I know he felt that he could not say no to serving the lord when we had been so blessed with Aspen's seemingly miraculous recovery. I on the other hand almost felt like I could not handle one more change in my life. I was so overwhelmed, but I too also knew that we had much to be grateful for and if James serving as Bishop would repay our debt to Heavenly Father, then that is what we would do. They told us they would be announcing it Sunday at Church. It was Thursday. James stayed at the church to talk to the Stake President and I went home to be with the kids. We couldn't tell anyone until Sunday. Not even our kids until right before. Wow! This would change so much. It was a calling James would have for about 5 years and it would consume most of his time. I wasn't sure if I was ready for that, but it would be happening!

On Sunday, March 19th, the same Sunday that James was set apart as Bishop, Aspen had a bath and had her hair combed and was put in clothes and was in a real crib. She was starting to look like a normal baby. She was drinking from a bottle as well as nursing. I was able to hold her all of the time when I was with her. Everyday going to the hospital was exciting to see all of the changes. I personally thought she was the most beautiful baby ever!
The kids had yet to see her, because they did not allow children under 18 in the NICU during RSV season. The picture above is one that I took home to show them. I was reluctant to show them some of the earlier ones just because she looked kind of scary.
We still were not sure when she would be well enough to come home.
Dr. Slayton felt that Aspen was making a great recovery. Her platelettes still continued to drop and she needed platelette transfusions every few days, but he felt this too would work itself out.
Platelettes are what cause your blood to clot. When they get too low you bleed. One day when I was not at the hospital yet they called to tell me that they had accidently given her the wrong blood type of platelettes. She is O negative and they gave her O positive. They gave her a Rogam shot to counter act it and assured me that she was fine. Just how do you make a mistake like that? I wasn't too happy about it!
We were still waiting to here back on Aspens skin biopsy. Dr Slayton said that the hope was that it was just in her blood and that it would just go away by itself like everything else had. He said that would be the best thing to hope for. It would be another week before the results would be back.
During all of this, life was still going on at home with our kids. We still had to get them to dance and to all of their other activities. I spent one day at a dance competition with the girls, and Summer had her Spring Drill team recital. Daniel and Hunter were both still so little and needed there mom. I tried to spend quality time with them everyday. We were lucky to have so many friends and neighbors helping us. When James and I would come home late from the hospital there was always a warm meal waiting for us that somebody had dropped by, and so many cards and notes of concern and encouragement, always letting us know that they were praying for Aspen. It was comforting knowing how many people truly cared. I was often brought to tears by the kindness of others.
At the start of Aspen's 3rd week in the hospital Summer wanted to head to St. George with a friends family, but she did not want to go if there was any chance that Aspen would be coming home. I told her there would be no chance of that, that it would be a couple more weeks. So she went. When we went to the hospital, they started preparing us for when the time came for her to go home. We had to both take a baby CPR class, and bring in her car seat so it could be approved.
During this time, test came back that the translocation was only in Aspen's blood and not in her skin, which is what Doctor Slayton had hoped for. I could tell he was still concerned, but he didn't say anything about his concerns. All I knew is that Aspen was miraculously getting better. That was enough for me. I could feel the blessings of a loving Heavenly Father and we were so grateful that Aspen was doing so well. These were happy times as we prepared for her to come home. It was just a matter of when. Driving to and from the hospital was really getting old!
On Friday March 23rd, just two days after Summer left to go to St. George with the promise from mom that Aspen would not come home while she was gone, James got the call that we could come get her and take her home! They did not feel there was any reason to keep her anymore!
Oh Happy Day! I had never been so excited in my whole life! Aspen was 17 days old! It had been the longest 17 days of my life!

When we got to the hospital this is what we found! Our beautiful baby girl with no tubes or wires. Nothing! Of course I cried!
These were happy tears!
Our prayers were answered and Aspen was coming home!
We had to schedule weekly appointments with Dr. Slayton.
He wanted to do a weekly blood test for the first month and then we would go from there.
I could handle weekly visits to the clinic.
I made the comment that once we got her out, I was never bringing her back to the hospital!
I hated the hospital, and was never coming back!
(Funny that I made that comment, little did I know I would be eating those words)

As you walk into the NICU there are pictures on the wall of all the babies when they get to go home. Everyday I would look at those pictures and wonder if Aspens picture would ever be up there! Well, the picture above is the picture that went up on that wall. It was taken as we were leaving the hospital NICU with Aspen! It was a happy day!
Aspen left the hospital looking nothing like the very sick baby that had been life flighted in 17 days earlier!
When we got home it was a celebration! Our front gate was decorated with balloons and there was a sign that said "Welcome Home Baby Aspen" and balloons on our front porch. Pam had helped the kids decorate. It was a nice welcome home for Aspen although she slept through it.
I am sure she had no idea what a big fuss was being made over her.
The kids were so happy! They had been waiting for what seemed like forever for this day!
Of course Summer was in St. George and missed the whole thing, but she was excited when we called her and she would be home on Sunday!
To have Aspen home sleeping in her bed, I can't even describe in words how wonderful it was!
I found a poem that pretty much says it all......

"O precious one....
we wanted you, we dreamed of you,
we prepared for you, we spoke of you,
we waited for you, we loved you.

And on the day we brought you home,
as awesome wonder filled our hearts...

for you were the most beautiful gift
we had ever been given,

the most perfect dream
that had ever come true."

Our whole family had never felt so blessed!
It was a miracle that she was home and that she was doing so well!

Summer was so thrilled with Aspen! Summer had this thing about babies, especially baby girls.
They had to be cute with lots of hair and she was not crazy about fat babies!
Aspen was all of those things and more!!

I spent most of my days watching her sleep. I was in awe of her.
Because of what we had been through with her,
my love for her was almost over whelming for me.
I would just look at her and cry tears of gratitude!
I know it sounds like all I ever did was cry, but that is what I did!
Only these were happy tears!
We tried to get back into a routine with our family.
James was pretty busy with his new calling as Bishop.
Because it was a new ward, he had a lot of positions to feel,
and it was difficult for him because he didn't feel like he knew a lot of people in the ward.
I was very lucky to have the help of all of our kids! Nobody could get enough of Aspen.
Summer would rush home from school everyday (which was very unusual for her)
just so she could sit and hold her.
Autumn loved changing her diapers and her clothes.
Everyone just wanted to be with her! She was smothered with attention.
Everybody from the neighborhood and ward as well as friends
were always stopping by to see the "Miracle" baby!
We had our weekly visits with Dr. Slayton in the Clinic.
I noticed as we would sit there that all of the patients were little children with cancer.
It was so sad! James explained to me that Dr. Slayton was a hemotologist/oncologist.
I had never caught that before, but that explained all of the little bald headed children.
I just hugged Aspen a little tighter and thought how grateful I was that that wasn't us!
Every appointment her blood tests went well,
and Dr. Slayton always commented on how well she was doing!
Again we felt so blessed!
I thanked my Heavenly Father everyday, several times in fact!
We set up an appointment for April 16th. After that appointment he said he would just see us monthly for a few months and then go from there! I was so excited, because I was really getting tired of Doctors and of Apsen having to get poked all of the time for blood draws!
As the days went by leading up to that appointment, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. I didn't know if it was Aspen, or if all the events of the last several weeks had finally caught up with me and I was exhausted, maybe experiencing a little depression, something!
All I knew is that I started having "the Feeling".
I talked to James about it and he just kept telling me that I had so much to be grateful for, that everything was fine, I needed to just get out of the little funk I was feeling.
I was sad and weepy for no reason,
and just felt a heaviness in my heart that I did not understand,
and I was mad at myself for feeling this way, but I just couldn't shake "the Feeling".
April 15th was Easter. We had a great day with our kids, doing Easter egg hunts and hiding their Easter baskets. Aspen even got a basket with things in it like binkies, hair bows, little socks and I got her a cute little swim suit for her to wear during the summer.
We really enjoyed the day, and it was a good thing, because the next day
our lives would change forever........................................