Mason's Story

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
Before you were born I set you apart."
Jeremiah 1:5a

It's A Boy!
On April 12th we found out that sometime around September 12th we were going to be welcoming a baby boy into our family. Our two oldest daughters Madisen and Miriam were thrilled that they had proved daddy wrong. Chris was of the opinion that it had to be another girl and that there was no way it could be a boy. The girls were right and they were so excited at the prospect of having a brother.

As my pregnancy progressed I noticed how different it was from my other pregnancies. I was so much more tired, I had a lot of swelling, and my contractions started very early. I have always had a lot of early contractions but they usually started during the third trimester, not the second. I tried my best not to think about these differences too much but to enjoy the pregnancy.

On the morning of June 16th my contractions started and were definitely different then normal braxton hicks. These were a lot more crampy. I laid down most of the morning and the contractions stayed about 20 minutes apart. Every time I got up they increased. By early afternoon they were getting more uncomfortable and closer together and I knew that I was going to need to go in to the hospital. I had gone to the hospital with my other pregnancies with pre-term labor and so, in my mind, I thought that this meant that bed rest was in my near future.

Trip to the Hospital
My husband and I arrived at the hospital and I was checked into triage and hooked up to monitors and sure enough I was having contractions. Then the nurse checked me to see if I was dilated. As she checked me she did not say anything until she was done and then told us that she was not sure what she was feeling and wanted to get another nurse who had a little bit more experience to check me. Within a couple of minutes another nurse was checking me and said that she needed to get the doctor. I knew then that something was wrong and this could not be good. I started to pray silently.

A few minutes later the doctor was in the room with a bedside ultra sound machine. She first did an ultra sound to check on the baby. She found plenty of fluid around the baby and said that she did not think that the nurses could be feeling what they thought they were feeling. The doctor then told me that the nurses thought that I was fully dilated with the membranes bulging. The doctor proceeded to check me and found that I was fully dilated and the membranes were bulging.

A Baby Today
It was then that we realized that we were going to be welcoming our son into our family that day, 13 weeks early! The hospital we were at did not have a NICU, so they started the process of having me transferred to St. Vincent Woman's Hospital.

While all of this was going on, Chris and I started to talk about names. We had not fully decided on a name yet, but we had thought about Mason Christopher. So because Mason Christopher was the only name we had thought about and discussed, that was going to be our little boy's name.

The doctor came back into the room to tell me that instead of transferring me before I delivered, I would deliver here at this hospital and a transport team would be sent from St. Vincent's to care for Mason. The doctors were concerned that I would not make it to St. Vincent Woman's Hospital in time and that I would end up delivering in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. So a transport team for Mason was on their way.

I was then moved to a delivery room where I was prepped for delivery. We then waited and waited for the transport team to arrive. My labor continued to intensify as we waited. I knew that I just had to wait, not push, and keep little Mason from being born until the transport team arrived. What was going to be a 45 minute wait turned into an hour and a half wait.

Finally my doctor saw the transport team coming down the hall and gave me the OK to push. With one push my water broke, and boy did it break! I had never seen so much water before. No, wonder the doctor saw so much water on the ultrasound. With the next push, Mason was out.

Welcome Mason!
Mason was quickly taken to the transport team on the other side of the room. Mason Christopher weighed 2 pounds 4 ounces and seemed to be doing well! They worked on him and prepped him for transport. After about 45 minutes the NICU doctor came over to talk to Chris and I. He told us that Mason was doing well. There were however a few things that he saw that he wanted us to be aware of. Mason had a couple of fingers on both hands, and few toes on each foot, that were fused together. He said that it was probably nothing to be concerned about but that they would be doing tests in the morning to get him all checked out. Before leaving, the doctor told us that a normal/healthy baby born 13 weeks early had a 90% to 95% chance of survival.

They wheeled Mason's little transport box, that he would ride to the hospital in, over to me and I was able to touch his foot and say goodbye. And then he was off to the NICU at St. Vincent Women's Hospital.

I stayed at the hospital for a few hours and then was discharged. We drove over to St. Vincent Women's Hospital to see Mason and check on him. We stayed for about half an hour and then headed home. We arrived home at about 11:30pm and got ready for bed. What a world wind of a day it had been and little did we know of what the next day would bring.

Not What We Had Expected
The next morning we got up and spent some time with our girls, headed to my OB's so that I could get checked out, and then headed over to the hospital to see Mason. It was then that the bad news started to roll in. The doctor began informing us about all the problems they had detected within every one of Mason's organs. In addition to that, his brain was underdeveloped and there appeared to be fluid on his brain. This news hit us hard and we were stunned by what we heard. The doctor said that we wouldn't have definite answers until the results from the genetic testing came back. Unfortunately, genetic testing takes time and it would be a few days before we knew what exactly was going on, but based upon the symptoms, the doctors suspected that Mason had a severe genetic disorder.

The next few days, as Mason's health deteriorated, were filled with many tears, blessings and prayers. We spent as much time at the NICU as possible. Our three beautiful girls, Madisen, Miriam & Macaylee, were able to come and visit their brother and see him. They were surprised by how small he was and didn't know what to think of all the tubes and machines that he was hooked up too. We are so thankful for this one opportunity our girls had to see their little brother before he went to heaven.

Also during these days we were blessed to have family and church family come by the NICU to visit us, pray with us and see Mason. We were truly overwhelmed by the love, help and support that we received!

Mason Goes Home to Heaven
Sunday June 20th was Father's Day, the day we received the results from Mason's genetic testing and the day that Mason went home to heaven. The doctor was finally able to explain to us why Mason's organs were failing and why his health continued to deteriorate. He had a genetic disorder called "triploidy". Instead of having chromosomes in pairs, he had chromosomes in triplets. He had an entire extra set of chromosomes. This disorder, in the doctor's words, is incompatible with life. We later found out that this is why Mason was born so early. My body could not support his little life any longer. Most babies with this disorder do not survive past the fist trimester and end in miscarriage.

By the time we found out the genetic test results, just four days after being born, Mason's health had deteriorated to such an extent that there was nothing more the doctors and nurses could do for him. Before Mason died, we were finally able to hold him, look at him and be with him without all the tubes, iv's and machines connected. He died in our arms that Sunday afternoon and immediately went home to be with Jesus Christ in Heaven.

Many Thanks
We are so thankful for...
     ...the four days God allowed us to have with Mason.
     ...our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who took Mason home to heaven.
     ...the wonderful nurses and doctors at Riverview Hospital where Mason was born.
     ...the exceptional, kind and patient nurses and doctors at St. Vincent Women's Hospital who did everything they could to care for Mason and keep us informed as to what was going on.
     ...our loving family who prayed with us and for us, and who cared for our three girls so we could spend time at the NICU with Mason.
     ...our wonderful church family (especially those in our ABF "The Village Fellowship") who prayed for us, visited us and brought us meals and gift cards.