Kip, Angie, Noah and Lily

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

how 20 minutes can change your life...

I have copied, pasted and edited this from "our story" on our probably should have been my first blog because this was the start of our journey...

I don't know why I am putting down some of my thoughts and experiences through this journey with Hogan on this blog but like I put in my first post, if this blog can help me, or my wife and kids. If this blog can somehow help somebody that has dealt with Trisomy or something different or if this changes one person's life then it was worth it.

It was the 18th of November, this day would be the day we would find out if we were having a boy or a girl! This was our third time going through this procedure and each time there is a nervous anticipation of finding out the sex of your child. We had been blessed with a little boy Noah, born on August 12th of 2006. We had also been blessed with a little girl two years later Lily was born on August 16th of 2008. This third child was unexpected and unplanned but we knew that God was at work and the thoughts of 3 stair steps in height and three children growing up close in age would be a great thing. We had originally scheduled the doctors appointment on November 16th but because of a meeting that I couldn't miss in Atlanta, Angie changed the appointment to the 18th. As I look back now, I am so thankful that my wife didn't go to that appointment without me.

It was just like our first two visits, the waiting room was full of pregnant women waiting to go back and see their future addition on a screen or maybe to find out the sex of their child like us! I remember Angie's nurse call out"Angela", it was that time! It wouldn't be long before we found out what we were going to have! The nurse walked us back to the last room on the right side of the hall. This room will be stuck in my mind forever. The nurse came in and did her normal checks of our baby with ultrasound. After a few minutes, she asked us if we wanted to find out what the sex of our child would be and of course, we told her YES!!! She asked us how many children we had and realized that this baby would determine who ruled our house, guys or girls! It was only a few seconds until the nurse said "it's a boy!". Angie and I both smiled at each other and said "Hogan" as the nurse quickly typed "it's a boy" on the ultrasound images and printed them off for us to keep. She told us that doctor Rosemond would be in shortly. Hogan was the name we had already chosen if we were going to have a boy, while Kaytie would have been the girl's name. We had chosen these first names and the middle name "Sayer" to honor both of our mothers. Hogan was my mother's maiden name while Sayer was Angie's mother's maiden name.

We were both excited about having another boy and I started thinking about Hogan and Noah hanging out, I was daydreaming about how neat it would be for just "us guys" to take in some games together and do "guy stuff together". I would have been just as happy to have a girl, trust me, but having another boy had just been declared so my mind took off in that direction! I even sent a message to a friend of mine while waiting on the doctor that we had another "draft pick" coming. We were both so excited to have another little boy that would introduce himself to us in April of 2010. Dr. Rosemond walked in and said his normal hello's to us and quickly got to work on his measurements and analysis of Hogan. After a few minutes, I started thinking it was taking longer than normal but sat quietly letting the doctor do his thing. Dr. Rosemond did make the statement that he was concentrating and that was why he wasn't talking to us. I thought that was strange but just assumed it was a good thing and it was just normal for him, I was supposed to play tennis later that afternoon and was looking at my watch thinking about how I would have to hurry to get ready before my match. It was also about the time that I later found out Angie knew something might be wrong, with her medical background she knew that the doctor was focusing on Hogan's heart and his brain. It was about 20 minutes into the ultrasound that Dr. Rosemond stood up and said "there are some things that I need to tell you". I will never, ever forget that feeling, the moment or the visual. My heart dropped to my ankles and a cold sweat hit me. I looked at Angie and tears were streaming down her face. It was strange, but at that moment I didn't see my wife at her current age, I saw her as a little girl that was hurting, I remember sitting there looking at her laying on that table and thinking that Angie didn't deserve this. I jumped up to hold her arm to hear what the doctor had to say next. Dr. Rosemond went on to say that our baby had shown many things that concerned him. He went through the different characteristics of cysts on the brain, a hole in his heart to other abnormalities that he was able to see on the ultrasound. We were both in shock. He requested that Angie have an amniocentesis done on her to see if Hogan had downs syndrome and he also mentioned a couple of other things but I only heard downs because that is what he focused our conversation around. I asked him what was the percentage chance that he thought we had of having a son with downs with what he was able to see on the ultrasound and he said "60%". Dr. Rosemond told us that he wished he would get the results sooner but that since it was a Thursday afternoon, that it would be Monday before he got the results. He told us that it would probably be the longest weekend of our lives.

It was a long weekend but we prayed and tried to get our minds around the fact that our baby had a good chance of having downs syndrome. Of course, we knew downs syndrome wasn't the worst thing by far that our child could have but as all parents do when they become pregnant, we wanted a healthy baby. I think we both did our own independent studies on downs all weekend and by Monday morning we were almost ready to get the news. We both knew that God wasn't going to give us more than we could handle and that Noah and Lily would be the most incredible big brother and big sister to Hogan if Dr. Rosemond's assumption was correct.

Monday morning finally came and we both tried to keep everything normal so Angie took Noah to school while I waited in case the doctor called with the results. Angie got back and was able to get Lily to sleep for her nap just in time before the phone started to ring. It was 9:50 and I saw "Athens Maternal" on our phone. My heart started racing and we both looked at each other to see who would answer. Angie told me to get it and she came and sat beside me on the sofa in the living room. He paused for a moment and said "we did get the results back from the amnio and I was surprised to find out that the test showed your baby has a condition called Trisomy 18". I honestly had no idea what this was and wasn't familiar at all with it but knew that the 2 "other things" that the amnio tested, were not good. Angie had read a little about it but stopped reading over the previous weekend because she didn't want to think about it. The doctor told me that this meant our baby would have major health issues that were incompatible with life and that the life expectancy with Trisomy 18 was one year at best and that most lives were much shorter and that if the baby survived birth he would have issues that would keep him in and out of the hospital. Needless to say, we had somewhat prepared for downs syndrome in our minds but this was totally a shock again. I asked Dr. Rosemond what our options were and if there was anything we could do. He told me that we basically had two choices. One would be to abort and the other would be to continue down that road as a normal birth and see what happens. He also told us that there was a chance that the baby would have "Mosaic" Trisomy 18 which would might have given us a better chance to be with Hogan longer. We found out a week later that it was not Mosaic but that it was full blown Trisomy 18. Hogan was one of the "1's" in those statistics.

Angie and I both were thankful that Noah had a Thanksgiving lunch at his preschool so that we could get out and take our minds off of the news we had just received. It was a long day and a longer night as we drove down to Dublin. It was on that drive that we both cried and talked and tried to make some kind of sense out of things. We both had some of the same thoughts though. Why? Why God? Why me? Why us? Why not some crackhead downtown? Why didn't this happen to someone that would abuse the child? Why not to someone that didn't take care of themselves during pregnancy? Why God, Why!? Why out of all of the people that come through his office did we have to be the ones? Why did you do this to my wife? The real question is.. Why not me? Why not us? We are no more important than anyone and no less important. It was a long week of reflecting, crying and praying. We are so thankful that these doctors took the time to talk to us, but they all had one similar message for us; it isn't good and that they were sorry.

I remember having breakfast with a friend of mine that Wednesday morning and after hearing what we learned on Monday, he told me I needed to find a point and focus on it to get me through this situation, I told Angie about it later. Those words stuck with me all day. It was later that night that it hit me! The point I needed to focus on was GOD! That seems so simple but is so hard to do sometimes! If we were going to get through the next few months we had to focus on him and trust in him, he is our point. It wasn't long before something else became clear, this wasn't something that happened randomly. The test results that had knocked us to our knees wasn't a fluke thing. It wasn't a fluke that we were were a "1", this journey is ours because God chose us. We were chosen for this, Hogan is the 1 in 8000 the doctor told us. We believe that Hogan is truly special just like the other "1's" in statistics, he is special just like the other 7999 babies. We are honored to be parents of Hogan, just like Noah and Lily. Hogan is with us forever and will forever be part of our family.

We pray that God will perform a miracle and that our next ultrasound will show miraculously that Hogan's heart would be better and that the other problems would be no longer there. We pray that if God chooses not to perform a miracle that God would for sure use Hogan to touch the lives of others. He has already touched the lives of at least 4 people, our family!


  1. Kip-
    Thanks so much for sharing y'alls story...We love you sweet baby Hogan!!
    BP, Lara, and Ella

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! It is evident that God has chosen you all to share HIS story through your precious boy.
    I wanted to share a blog with you that has touched me. I still keep up with it.
    We are praying for all of you...your babies are beautiful.
    Praying for HIS PEACE that passes all of OUR understanding!!
    dana walker

  3. Kip,
    I had no idea your family was dealing with this until today. It breaks my heart and warms it all at the same time as I read your precious words. Thank you so much for sharing this. I will continue to pray for little Hogan. You know, you and your family have always been precious to me. I am so proud of you.
    Tracy Pollock (beck):)

  4. I saw this on Tracy Beck's facebook page. My son and I were in class at School Street with Noah and Angie when the boys were babies. We haven't had any contact since then. I wanted you to know you are in my prayers and I am amazed at the strength God is giving you to be so positive and strong.

    Jennifer Duncan

  5. Kip,
    Thank you for sharing your story and baring your soul. We are so proud of the Christian father and husband you have become. Your family is so blessed. Hogan is fortunate to have chosen you and Angie for his parents. We have been following your blog and praying for you and that sweet baby.
    Much love and many prayers,
    Debbie and Sam

  6. I just realized I hadn't really thanked everyone for your comments and prayers. We are so blessed to have so many great friends praying for Hogan's fight for life. We are so blessed to have your support and love during this journey. I appreciate you more than you can imagine. Love, Kip

  7. Hey, I don't know you, but my husband, Scott and I saw you a few weeks ago outside Little Tokyo in Dublin. He told me about your story. My heart goes out to your family. I prayed for you guys that night and just kept asking Scott why do you think this happened. I am amazed at your outlook and feel like Hogan is already blessed to have parents that are seeking God to help you through this situation.
    This verse came to mind for you guys:
    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
    Prayer is very powerful. I will comment to continue to pray for your family.

  8. What a blessing your story is for those facing as adverse diagnosis. i commend you for your choice for life, no matter how long or short it may be. You and your family have done much for the kingdom of God and He is well pleased with your faithfulness. My prayer is that He will reward you with more joy unspeakable and full of glory.

  9. Im sorry to hear about your sweet baby boy. We also just found out that our son (due in june) has a hole in his heart, cysts on his brain, and clenched hands. I go for an amnio next month. Im very nervous about it all, and I fear the worst. I pray everyday that God will heal him. Im very scared and worried I wont be able to handle the death of a child. I have to kids. about the same age of yours. Kevin, 4 and Allie Faith almost 2. I found your blog while researching Tri-18. Thank you for sharing your story. It has moved me and has helped more than you know. All the feelings you had about your son are the same ones I feel out our son. I thought I was a bad person for asking God why all the time. I know now Im not alone in feeling this way. Again thank you for sharing!

  10. Hey Cricket,

    Thank you for your kind words. Please keep me updated on your son. I will be praying for you and your family during your journey.

    Thanks again for your words and I pray that you continue to find strength in Christ through your next few weeks and months.

    In His Love,