My name is Ashton Fox and I have been married to my husband Jason for about a year and a half now. Jason and I have known each other for roughly 16 years, been together for 4 years and happily married since April 13, 2013. In those 3 years of dating we spent a lot of time talking about our future, as most couples do. One thing that we both without a doubt knew we wanted was a big family. I knew from day one that Jason was going to be a great dad. He is funny, caring, protective, encouraging and has an unconditional love for all of those close to him. This was one of the many things that I love about Jason. As for myself, my whole life I have drawn heart shapes around the image of me being a mother in my head. After we got married we waited 6 months before beginning working on a little clan of Fox's. We couldn't wait to have a baby!
Before going any further, I have to mention the dark cloud that hung over me. For no reason in particular I have always had a strong feeling that I was not going to be able to have children easily. I can remember being very young and telling my mom this and now looking back it makes even less sense now! When I was in middle school and high school I would have periods a couple times a year. All of my friends thought this sounded excellent, which it was most of the time! I think this was when the thought of infertility began to linger. Now, being the age that I was, I didn't put a whole lot of thought into it- I had no reason to. I continued to go to my regular OB-GYN appointments and the doctor told me the same thing each time "As time goes on these things usually fix themselves and become more regular, just wait". So I did.
Years passed and not much changed. But when I was 23 years old I decided to get a second opinion. My sister had just had my nephew and during her delivery I met her doctor, Dr.Amanda Pearson. So I decided to make an appointment with her and just see what she has to say. When I went for my initial appointment I explained to her my long, boring and drawn out story and she mentioned that a possible cause could be PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). At the time I was a new nurse so I had all those disease processes fresh in my mind and I had an idea of what to look for on the ultrasound. I had just recently rocked the socks off that NCLEX ;). Nevertheless, as soon as I saw the ultrasound I knew Dr. Pearson had guessed right. She confirmed that I did in fact have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and she thoroughly explained all that goes along with it and how to treat it. She started me on birth control as a form of treatment and sent me to a metabolic nurse practitioner. To spare all the boring details about what PCOS involves, the most important part to me was that I was not ovulating, probably never really had, and at that moment my life long hunch that I would have trouble having babies was confirmed.
As a couple we talked about all of the possibilities and how we felt about this obstacle. Jason constantly reminded me that whatever the outcome was, we were going to be okay. We decided to jump headfirst after our dreams of having children. Jason and I were so excited to start trying for a baby regardless of what that might require. We tried the "old fashion" way and had no luck. This was a little upsetting but we didn't really expect to have much success. The next step was beginning to take Clomid to help stimulate ovulation, which was prescribed by my OB-GYN, Dr. Pearson. For those of you who have not heard of the drug Clomid here is a link that explains exactly what it does. We did two rounds of Clomid and had two more months of heartbreak when there was no baby. At this point we were beginning to feel a little beat down. We were trying to be positive and hopeful but that positivity was accompanied by a hint of hopelessness as well.
We had decided that we needed to see a fertility specialist. I knew two separate couples who had their own separate battles with fertility, each with completely different outcomes. The one thing they did have in common was the doctor they used for fertility treatments and had nothing but great things to say about him. So we decided that was the direction we needed to go next. We were excited and anxious to see what he had to say about our situation. Making our appointment with Dr. Bobby Webster was the first time in this whole situation that I began to feel like I was doing exactly what God had planned for us. I was warned that it would take a couple weeks, even months maybe to get an appointment. When I called the office the lady who answered the phone said "This never happens but we had a cancellation next week, can you be here?" Umm, DUH!
After meeting with Dr. Webster we decided to try IUI (Intrauterine-Insemination). On March 31, 2014, I found out that I was PREGNANT! There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe what that sentence meant to me. I was head over heals, over the moon, whole-hearted in love with this tiny little baby.
One of the best parts about seeing a fertility specialist is that you have weekly ultrasounds and see your baby every week for 5 whole weeks. Every time we went for an ultrasound I felt like my heart was going to burst. Everything I had ever dreamed of was coming true right before my eyes. Jason and I spent almost every waking second talking about what we would name her or him, things we were going to teach them, putting the baby room together and even picking out all the clothes we were going to buy. Finally, all of the stress and heartache was worth it.
After finishing the 5 weeks of ultrasounds Jason, myself and the baby "Graduated" from Dr. Webster's office. As much as I was going to miss my weekly play dates with our little peanut and all the wonderful nurses at his office, we were ready for some normalcy. The next Monday, May 12th, Jason had to work and I had my first OB appointment. I was 11 weeks pregnant. I wasn't worried about going alone because we had gone together to all our past appointments. I went for yet another ultrasound before heading upstairs for my appointment. I had written down a long list of questions to ask about pregnancy, child birth and babies in general. Dr. Pearson sat and listened and answered all my new mommy questions before pulling out the picture of my baby from the earlier ultrasound. She said "Ashton I am a little concerned about the pictures". In that moment I instantly felt a huge lump in my throat. I have never in my life felt fear like I did that day. There was fluid on the back of my baby's head that reached all the way down to the tailbone. She proceeded to tell me that she had already called down to Maternal-Fetal Medicine and they were going to see me immediately. To use the phrase "knock the wind out of your sail" is an understatement. I left her office and got in the elevator and felt myself completely collapse on the inside. I was hysterical. I did not call Jason. I knew that calling him and not being able to tell him any details would have him in a complete panic. I wanted to wait and hear what the Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctor had to say first. I stood in the bathroom sobbing and trying to pull myself together. I closed my eyes and prayed saying "Please God, just give me the strength to get through the next 30 minutes". I had to ask him that about every 30 minutes, if not less. I called my mom because I figured if something really bad happens in the next hour I am going to need someone to help me until Jason could get there.
After the second exam that day by MFM, my mom and I sat in the doctor's consultation room. I was doing my best to be strong but my best was pretty weak. The doctor explained that what this usually means is that the baby has some form of a chromosomal disorder, he mentioned Down Syndrome. There was also a possibility that it could be a heart defect or even nothing at all. The heart defect and nothing at all being slim to none possibilities, but it was still a possibility. At this moment in time, this was the absolute worst day of my life. The plan of action was this: have a Maternit21 test done to determine if it is a chromosomal disorder and if so which one and begin weekly ultrasounds to monitor the progression of the fluid. He told me that the test would take 2 weeks to come back so now I was to just wait. The phone call to Jason when I left the hospital did not go as planned. I gave myself a little pep talk before calling. I was going to be strong for him, not completely loose it. Wrong. I could barely get all the words out. When we both got home that night we laid in bed and just cried.
The next week was the longest week imaginable. Over the past few years I had heard different peoples stories about a nun named Sister Dulce. She was the healing nun and the stories I had heard about here were absolutely amazing. My cousin, Brittany Boyd, called me the night that all this had happened and suggested that I go see Sister. That next day I called Sister's office and with the help of a sweet friend, Danielle, we made an appointment to see her on Thursday. In all honesty I really just wanted Sister Dulce to pray for us. Thursday came and we went for our appointment with her. In the exact second that I walked through her doors I knew that she was something special. I felt like I was sitting across from God and talking directly to him. Jason and I both felt it, she is definitely one of God's instruments. We explained to her what had happened on Monday and she placed her hands on my belly over the baby and prayed for healing and for God to give any illness to her if that was his will. We continued to pray around the clock. Jason and I prayed together constantly, something we had never done before. I will say one thing for sure, my faith was tested the most that it has ever been tested that week and in the same week my faith was the strongest it had ever been. As scared as I was, for some reason I truly believed deep down in my heart that no matter what everything was going to be okay.
May 19, 2014 took the place as the absolute worst day of my life. Jason and I went back to the hospital for another ultrasound and our baby had passed away. There is no pain like that one. "Why? Why would this happen to us? It makes no sense." At that time we still did not have an answer to what was wrong with our baby. One thing we did know was that we needed to find the courage to trust God in that moment. I had no idea why this would happen to me but for the first time in my life I completely put all of my faith in God and his plan. Don't get me wrong, it didn't make the pain any less. The days passed and we tried to live as normal as possible while we waited for an answer. Finally the results from the Maternit21 test came back. Our sweet and perfect baby GIRL had something called Turner's Syndrome. As the doctor explained, usually only about 1% of babies who have Turner's are born alive. So there it was, we had an answer.
We planted a tree in our front yard for our baby angel dragonfly
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about my baby girl. She has taught me so much, including probably one of the most important lessons in my life. We all have dreams and our own ideas for how we want our lives to go. Unfortunately, that's all it is. Our ideas and merely suggestions. God's plan is the ultimate plan and we have to trust that he is going to do what s best for us, especially when we can not see the light. There was a preacher at church that said "God's plan is not always convenient, but God's plan is always right". He has no idea how much this simple sentence impacted me. I can not come up with one good reason that this baby girl was given to us then taken away, but I do know that there is one. God will show it to Jason and I when the time is right. Until then I will continue to thank God for the short time that we were able to have our baby girl and know that she is safe in heaven.