In light of the new year, I have been looking back and reflecting on all of the things that happened in 2011. All in all, it was a good year. It is hard to believe how different life is from this point one year ago until now, but I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.
Your dad and I celebrated our first anniversary in May of 2011. He had to go to New York for a business trip the week of our anniversary, so I met him up there to celebrate that weekend. It was the first time that I had ever gone to NYC and we had a ton of fun together. We saw Jersey Boys, ate delicious foods, toured beautiful buildings, and really just enjoyed time with each other. I brought the top tier of our wedding cake as my carry on and we ate a good chunk of it in the hotel. The last day that we were there we got the brilliant idea to make a sign that read "It's our first anniversary, want some cake?" and take the rest of our cake to the Today Show at about 5:00am. We stood out in the rain all morning and ended up getting interviewed on TV. That is something special that your dad and I will always remember. This was also about the time that we started dreaming about adding you to our family.
A couple of weeks later, we welcomed your Uncle Cone to the family. He and your Aunt Laura had a beautiful wedding in June and your dad and I were lucky enough to be part of it. It was the first time, other than our wedding of course, that your dad and I walked down the isle in a wedding together. I like to think that we had the best entrance into the reception with the leap frog/bouquet toss combo. We had so much fun that night and enjoyed celebrating with Aunt Laura and Uncle Chris.
In early July, we went to Florida and your cousins Wyatt and Jackson met each other for the first time. We had a lot of fun in the sun and enjoyed seeing all of your Brunson family and your extended Ogburn family. It was Jackson's first trip to the beach and he had a blast!
In late July, the most important thing of all happened-I found out that I was pregnant with you! I had bought a bunch of early detection pregnancy tests and couldn't wait to see that double pink line. I tested on a Thursday and it was negative. I tested again on Friday morning and it was negative again, so your dad and I just figured that this was not our month and went about our lives. Daddy left for Chicago that day for Zinser's bachelor party and wouldn't be back until Sunday. I went out for dinner with some girls and enjoyed myself. The next morning (Saturday), I saw that I still had two pregnancy tests left so I decided to take one just in case. I took it, laid it on the bathroom counter and left the room to talk on the phone. I was debating driving to Atlanta to visit Mallory and Kai at the hospital, but I was scared to drive there by myself. I finally got up the courage to drive there so I called Mallory and told her I would be on my way. I happened to walk back into the bathroom and saw the test laying on the counter. I nonchalantly picked it up-expecting to see a negative result- and couldn't believe my eyes when it read positive. I have never been more happy in my life than I was in that very moment. I called Mal back and told her the news and that I needed to stay here so I could tell your dad in person when he came home the next day. Your Aunt Laura came over with Otis that night to watch movies, and of course I spilled the beans to her--I was just too excited to hold it in! I made a sign with neon letters that said "Surprise! You're going to be a daddy!" and had Lindsay Spies drive me to the airport to get Ben and your dad. When your daddy walked up, he saw the sign and couldn't believe it. We were both ecstatic to be your parents. We told Yay-yay and G-daddy that night be dressing Jackson in a homemade shirt that said "My Aunt Bear is Preggo" and we told Mimi and Papa the next morning by having Garden Grams decorate their yard with a sign that said "Smile! Wyatt's gonna have a new cousin." Needless to say, everyone loved you from the very first day that we knew you existed.
I relished in all of the pregnancy milestones. I would proudly forward all of my weekly update emails to your grandmas and daddy with messages like "baby is the size of an olive/orange/banana/insert fruit here." I so enjoyed finding your fruit of the week in the grocery story and imagining what you would be like swimming in my tummy. I always drew a line with a ruler to see just how long your were supposed to be each week. Sometimes I would even turn the line in to a little baby picture, cut it out, and bring it home to show your daddy. He thought I was silly sometimes, but I know he liked to see your size too.
We went for your NT scan in September and got to see you for the first time. You were tiny, and kind of looked like an alien, but you were beautiful! We got to see you wiggle your little arms and rub your little eye. It was magical. I never knew how it was possible to love something so much until I saw you--you were perfect. All of our scans came back perfect and Dr. Link assured me that with my age, health, family history, and the results of this test, that this would be an easy pregnancy with a healthy baby at the end. There is no way for us to know at that point what the future would hold.
I had a couple of weeks of nausea, but it never really got too bad. I honestly kind of enjoyed it in a roundabout sort of way because it reminded me that you were in there. I ordered a doppler and was able to find your heartbeat relatively early. It was the most beautiful sound in the world. I listened to it constantly to reassure myself that you were still in there thriving.
I started to show a little bit around 15 or 16 weeks and I had a pretty good sized bump by the time I went for my anatomy scan at 18 weeks. I loved the fact that my belly was starting to show because it meant that you were getting bigger. I loved when people would ask me about my pregnancy or acknowledge the fact that you were in there at all.
On November 16th, we went in for our anatomy scan ultrasound. I was soooo excited because this was the day that we would find out whether you were a boy or a girl. We had already settled on Avery if you were a girl, but were still having trouble committing to a boy name. The tech scanned you and took all of your measurements, but didn't talk much. She told us that you were a little girl and we were both ecstatic. We dreamed about your future and joked with her asking if you were the prettiest baby she had ever seen. She left the room for a really long time because she said that the doctor needed to come in to review everything. It never crossed my mind that this was not standard protocol. We had about 10 minutes of pure joy and happiness in the fact that we were going to have a baby girl and I called you Mimi and Papa and Uncle Chris and Aunt Lindsay to let them know the good news.
We were still waiting for the doctor to come in and review everything, so I told your dad that he could go on back to work if he would like. The tech very sternly said, "NO! You need to stay because the doctor still needs to go over everything with you." I still didn't suspect anything. I went to the bathroom on our way to Dr. Link's office to talk and when I came out the nurse started rambling on about when I check into the hospital and all of the different things that I need to do. I started to get uneasy and this point and rushed into the office to tell your dad that something was not right. She clearly thought that Dr. Link had already talked with us about your results, but he had not.
When we were in Dr. Link's office, he told us that there were some discrepancies in your bone growth so he wanted us to go to the hospital to get another ultrasound from a specialist. He assured us that her organs looked good, but the bones didn't seem to be growing the right way. I broke down. Your daddy held me and told me that everything was going to be alright. He kept saying "her heart is fine, bones don't matter--she is going to be alright." I tried to believe him, but I just felt really numb all over. We went to the MFM doctor for the first time and they said that they thought you had achondroplasia. I was shocked but relieved to know that it was something where you could still live a healthy and happy life. They wanted us to come back two days later for another ultrasound with Dr. Weeks. That is the day that they discovered your bell shaped chest and told us that this could be fatal. They politely mentioned the possibility of "terminating the pregnancy", but your dad and I were both very adamant that this was not an option that we were willing to take. We were lucky to have compassionate doctors who did not try and push the subject. They simply let us know that it was and option and moved on with your care. I was crushed. I couldn't imagine life without you and it all felt like a dream.
We have been going to the doctor every couple of weeks to get to where we are with your diagnosis today. Although each appointment is tough, I have enjoyed every second that I get to see your beautiful face up on the screen. I feel like I get to know you more with every scan and I love to watch you wiggle. You have been kicking up a storm constantly letting me know that you are in there and I just recently saw my belly move for the first time. I just want you to know that even though I grieve for the future, I have no regrets at all. I would not change a thing and I am just as happy to be pregnant with you today as I was the day that I found out you existed. Even though my happiness sometimes comes out as tears, I love every moment that I have with you. You are a precious gift from God and I hope and pray that he will let me hold on to you for many years to come. Even if that is not his will, you are still worth it. Every bit of grief and sadness is worth having you in my life even if it is only for a fleeting moment.
I love you more than words can express,