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Aurora's Story through the eyes of her parents

February 12, 2021 (morning)

When Crystal and I found out we were having twins, you can just imagine the joy we were overcome with. We were soon to be brand new parents and have two beautiful babies! As time passed on, complications with our baby girl, Aurora, began. From the start, she was measuring smaller than her twin brother. It was on December 3 when we found out the devastating news about Aurora.

The OB said that she appears to have a chromosome defect, possibly trisomy 13 or 18. He suggested that Aurora and mommy go see a cardiologist. At this time, he told us the heartbreaking news that Aurora may not have a heartbeat in 4 weeks for the appointment. There was no intervention we could do and we were going to let nature take its course

The four weeks that led up to December 29 were agonizing. We were going to see a cardiologist not knowing if our baby girl had a heartbeat. As they were working on the ultrasound, we were so fortunate to hear not only a heartbeat but a very strong heartbeat! The cardiologist gave us an optimistic outlook and said the problem he sees with her heart is fixable. But then came the news from the OB. Aurora's brain was not forming properly and she had fluid in her head. Again, the prognosis wasn’t very positive. We were looking at a possibility of a stillbirth.

With all the problems Aurora faced, we just didn’t want her to be in pain. We didn’t want to save her or do anything that would not give a quality of life. We decided that our approach would be comfort care. We would let Aurora stay by our side if we are lucky enough to have any time with her.

Crystal and I took this time and we hoped for just one opportunity to hold our baby girl. As the days, weeks, and appointments came and went, Aurora kept on fighting. The fluid in her brain increased and she was diagnosed with a very rare heart condition called truncus. A condition that affected only 250 babies in 2019 but had an 82% success rate. Despite this, as appointments passed, she managed to keep her strong heartbeat.

On Tuesday, February 9 we had an ultrasound, which not knowing at the time, would be our final one before Aurora and Oliver arrived. Again, Aurora’s heartbeat was strong. Our little princess was proving to be a fighter! The fluid in the brain did not improve and the doctor said, if she is born breathing, we are looking at a few minutes maybe a few hours with her.

On Thursday, February 11, Crystal felt “weird” so we decided to go to the hospital just to be safe. At this time her blood pressure was elevated and they decided it was time to bring Oliver and Aurora into this world at 35 weeks 1 day. Every emotion ran through our bodies as we anticipated the birth of our children!

Oliver arrived first weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces at 1:13 pm and was crying as expected. The two minutes between his birth and Aurora’s felt like an eternity. But when she came out crying and breathing on her own, Crystal and I both lost it. Again so many emotions. We got the opportunity to hold our baby girl, we got pictures of Oliver and Aurora together. These memories will forever be embedded in my head.

Next came the waiting game. Aurora was breathing on her own, making sucking noises, and crying I never thought I would be so happy to hear a baby cry. Minutes passed and Aurora proved to be a fighter. Hours have now passed and Aurora is still fighting. She is breathing on her own but still has fluid in her head and a heart condition.

We are not sure what’s next but would love for our family and friends to join us on this journey as we celebrate whatever time we have with our beautiful baby girl, Aurora!

February 12, 2021 (afternoon)

Quick update from the hospital. We are going on almost 24 hours with Aurora, a lot more than expected. She is still breathing on her own and she has a strong heartbeat. While our original plan of comfort care for Aurora is still the plan, we asked for an ultrasound of her brain which has been completed. We are now just waiting for the doctor to come in to tell us the next steps. Crystal and I never thought we would do any intervention but due to Aurora being such a fighter, we owe it to her to at least start the conversation.

February 12, 2021 (evening)

Evening update: We met with the amazing team at Sunrise Hospital to discuss Aurora’s brain ultrasound. The entire team has been wonderful throughout this journey!

Princess Aurora is a fighter. We were told she might not have a heartbeat at 27 weeks. We were told she might not make it through birth. We were told if she makes it through birth we are looking at minutes or hours. 30 hours later she is still breathing, crying, and has a strong heartbeat.

Despite the progress, we finally got some answers to put our minds at ease, there’s nothing we can do. Her brain hasn’t developed and has too much fluid. We are going to spend these last precious moments with our baby girl by our side, holding her and loving her with all our hearts.

February 13, 2021 (morning)

Oh, what a night! Our little princess keeps fighting and surprising us every step of the way. While speaking with the doctors yesterday afternoon regarding her holoprosencephaly, they told us Aurora wouldn’t feel hunger or sense pain. They weren’t sure how aware of things she actually was.

However, all the baby girl wants to do is be held. When we put her down, she cries. When we hold her, she stops. Little things I know, but a big thing to us. She’s aware of her surroundings.

Crystal and I were surprised last night when Aurora wouldn’t stop crying, even while we were holding. So of course, I pulled out the daddy trick and said, maybe we need to change her diaper. Sure enough, that black tar crap and some urine! Aurora stopped crying.

A little later in the evening, she did it again. She started crying even while being held. We decided to feed her and see what happens. She hasn’t taken to the bottle yet so we are using a syringe. She took one and a half syringes sucked them out, and swallowed for the first time! She stopped crying again!

Crystal and I were flabbergasted by both of these things. But we were functioning on very little sleep. The nurses came in and they watched Aurora for a little bit so we could try to get some sleep. They all took turns holding her! They have been absolutely amazing to us and her. Our nurse Jenny brought her back to us after nearly 5 hours of sleep. She said, “Aurora’s a very strong girl.”

After spending all this time with Aurora, and continuing to watch her defy the odds, we did speak with the doctor this morning to discuss some of the things we saw last night. Throughout this entire journey, all Crystal and I wanted was for our baby girl to be comfortable and not suffer. If she’s hungry, is she comfortable? Was her eating last night just us looking for hope or was it truly another sign?

As of this morning, we are staying with our plan of comfort care. I say, “as of this morning” because plans can change. She hasn’t shown signs of being hungry since last night. Maybe she will again at some point today which will make us think really hard about the next steps. We are also hoping that she can spend some much-needed time with Oliver today!!

Crystal and I really appreciate everyone’s kind words, thoughts, and prayers. Please keep them coming!

February 13, 2021 (afternoon)

Afternoon update:

Once again, the team at Sunrise continues to be absolutely amazing to my new family! The NICU doctor and nurse have agreed to allow Crystal and I both to bring Aurora down to meet “big” brother! All four of us will be together in about 45 minutes! Be on the lookout for a Facebook live or videos so you can enjoy some of this precious time with our family!!

February 13, 2021 (afternoon)

I’ve never been so happy to hear two babies cry at the same time Watching Oliver and Aurora together has been the comfort care that they needed and Crystal and I needed!!

February 13, 2021 (evening)

Words cannot express how grateful Crystal and I are for the amazing team at Sunrise Hospital. I know it’s their job to help patients and families but these people have done more than that. In just a few short days, they have become, and will always remain, part of our family. The care and compassion they have shown for us have been unbelievable and we can never repay them.

Dr. Jensen is the NICU doctor that has spent a lot of time with Oliver and continues to check in Aurora, while technically not his patient. He was part of the team that allowed us to have our family together for the first time today. His knowledge, guidance, and thoughtfulness throughout have been comforting to Crystal and me as we make these tough decisions for our princess. I will never be able to repay him for what he has done.

Debra is the NICU nurse that has taken care of Oliver throughout our journey.  As you can imagine, we haven’t spent as much time with Oliver as we have with Aurora. Knowing that he is there with Debra makes it even easier to not always be there because she takes such great care of him. Kelsey has been Crystal's day nurse. She goes above and beyond throughout the day not only checking on Crystal but also on Aurora. She is there as we talk through things as a family. Her care for Crystal has been top-notch since we arrived.

Kristen is the social worker we have been working with. She worked with Dr. Jensen to have our family together today. She has comforted us during all the tough times while her reassurance and positivity have made Crystal and I feel like great parents already.

This is the 2nd night our night nurse Jenny has offered to watch Aurora for us. I’m sure the nurses love this. Once Aurora is put in her crib, she begins to cry. She only responds to being held. And that is what the night nurses do. They pass her from nurse to nurse and give her the love that she needs while Crystal and I try to get some rest so we can think straight about all of our tough decisions.

As you can imagine, with all the odds that Aurora has beaten already, she has become a little bit of a celebrity around here. Kristen said that she will be one that they will always talk about and remember. We will forever be in debt to these heroes. Thank you will never be enough.

February 14, 2021 

What another fun-filled exhausting day! The nurse in the NICU asked if we were bringing Aurora down today. We thought it was a one-time thing, but no! Again, we can’t express our gratitude for everything they have done. We were able to spend the day of love with our entire family!

Aurora ate today. A lot! We were surprised when our night nurse Jenny told us she went through 1 1/2 syringes. That was the most she ate in three days. It only got better from there as I was able to feed another 2 syringes later in the morning. All in all, she went through about 12 syringes today. We tried the bottle and she wasn’t successful with that, although she was trying. She even had a few drops of mommy milk!! She’s definitely a strong one with a mind of her own!

We had an opportunity to talk with our amazing NICU doctor, Dr. Jensen. We filled him in on her progress. She cries when she is hungry and when she is wet. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She also let out a brief normal cry rather than her normal squeak. Her lungs are getting stronger and her heartbeat remains strong. We are hoping to meet with the neurosurgeon tomorrow. We aren’t expecting any good news with this. Crystal and I want additional reassurance that we are doing the right thing for Aurora by proving her with comfortable care. We believe and feel this is the right course of action with the lack of brain development Aurora has.

We asked Dr. Jensen how long she can sustain this. She wasn’t supposed to make it more than a few hours and here we are on a few days. We were in shock when he told us, that as strong as she is, she could maintain this for a few months. If this is the case, we fear her heart condition will eventually start coming into play. Baby girl has a lot going on but she’s definitely a fighter.

Tomorrow is going to be a rough day. Crystal will be discharged from the hospital. This means Aurora will be discharged as well. As long as she keeps on fighting, she will be home with us in our house in less than 24 hours, something we thought would never happen. While she will be coming home, Oliver will not, unfortunately. He is still having a hard time eating as much as he should. They put a feeding tube in today to assist him. The tube will provide him with the nutrients that he is not getting from his bottle. He is also developing a slight case of jaundice so he may have to go under the lights to help with this. I guess he was tired of all the attention his sister was getting!

We never thought we would be leaving the hospital with Aurora and not Oliver. All our plans were for everything to be the other way around. We are hoping this is a short-term stay for our little Chunkster and that he can be home by the end of the week. We can not wait until we get our whole family, in our house together. We just need these damn kids to cooperate!!

February 15, 2021 (morning)

It’s a beautiful morning when you hear your miracle baby drank 5 cc’s over night through a bottle and finally got sleep underneath the warmer. My heart has never been so happy. Every minute with our princess is priceless! Keep on fighting baby girl!

February 15, 2021 (evening)

The word of this journey has been fortunate. Fortunate to have two beautiful babies. Fortunate to have more time than we could have ever imagined with our strong princess. Fortunate to have so many amazing doctors and nurses that have been there for our new family. Fortunate to have so many friends and families showing us support, and sending positive energy, and prayers during this struggle. And today, we were fortunate to meet with a neurosurgeon!

The words for the meeting with Dr. Kessler, the neurosurgeon, are relief and reassurance. We are relieved that all of our questions have been answered. We have been reassured that we are making the right choice with our princess.

Dr. Kessler confirmed everything that we have been told all along about Aurora. She has a brain stem and very little lower brain development. Most of her reactions such as eating, swallowing, and crying are coming from the brain stem, which is common with newborns. With very little brain development, the long-term diagnosis is not good. But that all depends on what you consider long-term. We feel our time with Aurora has already been long-term, much longer than we could have ever asked for or thought we would have. Dr. Kessler confirmed what the NICU doctor told us, it is possible she will be with us for weeks and possibly even months!

Today, we will be doing something we couldn’t have ever imagined, we will be taking our baby girl, our princess, our hero, HOME! Yes home, to our house!!! A place we thought she would never see. Never in our wildest dreams did we picture a scenario in which Aurora would be coming home but Oliver wouldn’t? Oliver will be fine. He’s getting all the love and attention from the NICU doctors. He’s so jealous of Aurora! We are hoping to have him home by the end of the week if he would just stop being a baby! The most difficult part of leaving him is that Crystal can’t drive for at least a week because of the C-Section. We are working on figuring out a way to get her back and forth to Sunrise while I’m at home with Aurora. We have managed this long, so this will probably be easy, once we get a plan in place.

For everyone who has sent us positive vibes and prayers, we will forever be grateful! Your positive energy and your prayers have worked! Princess Aurora is coming HOME!!

This is not the end of our journey, it’s only the beginning! We will continue to keep everyone updated with our babies, that’s the least we can do for the love and support you have shown us.

What can you do for us? Share Aurora’s story. Talk about her to your friends, talk about her to your neighbors. There are others dealing with what our family is dealing with. If our baby girl can give hope to others, then her legacy will be fulfilled!

February 15, 2021 (late evening)

The princess has arrived home to her castle! Another milestone and moment we never could have imagined!! Mommy and daddy love you more than you will ever know!

February 16, 2021 

Best birthday ever!!! My babies have given me the greatest gift I have ever and will ever receive. Princess Aurora has given me the gift of time! When she joined us last week, spending my birthday with her was a pipe dream, but here we are Once again, Oliver is jealous of all the attention Aurora is receiving! Everyone made a big deal about her coming home so now it’s his time to shine. He is off the billy lights so apparently, his tanning session is over! He also ate 30 and 50 cc’s so far, and kept it all down! Our little chunkster is getting stronger. It’s just a matter of time before we are all together again!!

February 17, 2021 

Princess Aurora would like to say good morning!! She made it nearly 45 minutes in the bassinet which allowed mommy and daddy to get some sleep, at the same time, for the first time since coming home! But then she wanted to watch Marvels with mommy and Sleeping Beauty with daddy!

February 18, 2021 

Late night post: Princess slept today. A lot...without Crystal and I holding her. While most parents would be relieved by being able to get some sleep (and we were) it’s also scary. We find ourselves looking in her bassinet and checking on her quite a bit. When she lets out her little “squeak” we have the reassurance that she is still fighting. And fighting is what she has done. We couldn’t ask for any more from the most beautiful soul I have ever met. If only I could be half as strong as her.

My favorite feeling in the world is having either of my babies lay against my chest, which I was able to do with Oliver today. Every time I hold him, I tell him stories about his sister, and everything she has done during the day and I reassure him that she is still fighting, not only for mommy and daddy but for him! I’ve always heard people talk about the love that they have for their children, never in a million years could I have imagined it would feel so wonderful!

Today was the second day our Hospice nurse Ania came by the house. The plan is for her or someone to come by every day. The main purpose of this, in my opinion, is to check vitals. Every day Aurora’s vitals remain strong, is one more day we get to hold her. We know the princess isn’t going to get better. This isn’t a disease that has a magical cure. As long as she isn’t regressing, that’s all we can ask. They continue to reassure us that they believe she is in no pain. We do have some “happy” juice or some “chill” juice in case she needs it. They have also talked about possible seizures, which Crystal and I believe we saw the first night in the hospital.

I have posted a few pictures below from today which I adore. I think on average I take about 100 pictures a day, and that may be a low estimate. Oliver will have so many things to look back on and brag about. My boss’ son Bryce sent me a picture today. It has become one of the favorites that I have. The look in his eyes and his facial expression, while looking at Oliver, absolutely warms my heart. My babies are touching people in ways I could have never imagined.

My brother AJ Rosenblatt has been my rock the past week. Those that know him, know he’s not one to let his guard down or he feels out very often. Aurora has that effect on people though. I don’t think a day has passed this week in which haven’t cried together and cried a lot together. We are now at the tears of joy stage because my daughter, his niece continues to amaze me. He’s the first person I FaceTime in the morning so he can see her beautiful face. The picture of him and Aurora is absolutely priceless. I love the look in her eyes as she stares at Uncle Al and the look of love that is in his eyes. And of course, not to be outdone, Oliver had to do the same thing! He’s staring right at Uncle Al. I will never be able to thank my brother for being there for me through the darkest days of my life, which ironically enough, are also the happiest days of my life

February 19, 2021 

2 am feedings and diaper changes with REAL poo, not tar! How can life get any better??#girldad

February 19, 2021 (afternoon)

Yesterday Aurora asked me, “Daddy, what did you do all day before brother and I joined you?” Instead of trying to explain it to her, I got to show her! During our morning routine, the four hours while Crystal is with Oliver and we lay on the couch together, I had the aMAYzing opportunity to join virtual classrooms with my princess. Those who know me well know, work has ALWAYS been number one in my life, that is of course until Crystal, Oliver, and Aurora became part of it. Being able to show off my princess to not only the teachers, but the students at May felt so good. She put so many smiles on the faces of the teachers and students. A couple of classes were “blowing up” the chat box with “awww; adorable; and cuteness overload.” This once again shows the impact my beautiful baby girl is having on everyone.

I also received a random text message from my Sunrise Acres crew. Some of the teachers I haven’t spoken to in over a year. I thought I was past that point I then decided to hack into their meeting and filled everybody in on Aurora’s story. These days I smile and am so proud when I talk about her. So I told her story from the beginning and watched as they laughed, cried, and joined in the proud feeling that mommy and I have.

Over the past week (I can’t believe I’m talking about a week with Aurora) our friends, family, and support system have truly shown that it does “take a village, to raise a child.” We will forever be grateful for the phone calls, facetime, text messages, and well wishes we have received. This is what gives Crystal and me the strength to get through this journey. Knowing our princess has impacted so many, even people we don’t even know, truly means the world to us! Please continue the prayers, well wishes, positive energy, and whatever else you are doing. It’s working. Minutes to hours have now turned into day 8!

On another note, I know my grandma Spinner and her twin sister Aunty Joyce are taking a break from the Blazing 7 machines and smiling down on us. They were always involved with the National twin organization and visited Twinsburg, Ohio every year for the twin convention. I would say they loved everything about twins, but that would be an understatement. The fact Crystal and I were able to continue their legacy and have twins ourselves is beyond imaginable. If I could only see their faces right now as they look down and see what our princess is doing! They were the first ones that showed me the power of “twin magic” and now watching Aurora and Oliver, only adds to the magic!

February 19, 2021 (evening)

Another great day down! Aurora’s vitals remained great. Her heartbeat is strong and her temperature was at 98.2. She’s doing a much better job at regulating her temp so mommy was able to play dress up with her! She’s so beautiful. We love her more and more each day. Wasn’t sure that was possible!!

Crystal and I had to switch our schedules today which meant she spent the morning with our princess and I spent the afternoon. I attended a walkthrough of our new house today. Yup, I haven’t mentioned much but we are in the process of closing. We should have our keys on Wednesday. If haven’t two babies weren’t enough, we will have to finish packing and moving with them!! While it may be stressful, I wouldn’t change it for a second. We have a chance to move our princess into our new house. Again, another milestone that we could have never even imagined!!

While visiting Chunkster today, I chose to let him sleep. It was difficult to let him just lay there but I needed him to rest so that he would have all the energy to eat. And eat he did!! He finished the whole bottle with me again. We actually opened a second one. I was trying to convince him it was dessert but he wasn’t having it. I’m so proud of the little guy. The nurse had him start his car seat test, which of course, my boy passed with flying colors. During Crystal's shift with Oliver, she had to watch the CPR video. Again, he finished his entire bottle. These events show that we are getting closer to bringing him home and having our family complete. We know the doctor has the final say, but according to our nurse Debbie, the plan is tomorrow

Aurora just had a sponge bath from mommy. She had one on Wednesday and had her best night of sleep. We are hoping this is the key to getting her some rest.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. My amazing cousin Cindy from Arizona will be here tomorrow. We are so grateful that she is going to be here to help us watch the babies! We have so much to do but with her help, we definitely feel less pressure! Please continue to send your good wishes and prayers. I will remind you every day, that it’s working. Our princess remains strong because of our amazing support system. Thank you again for everything!!

February 20, 2021 (morning)

Late night/early morning update: Crystal called the NICU to check on Oliver. He’s had some great feedings with mommy and daddy lately. I swear if that kid wasn’t eating, I would drive to Sunrise, sleep in my car, and wake up to feed him. Well, no need to sleep in the car. He is on track with his eating thus far and gained weight over night; the two things he needed to do in order to come home. It’s a matter of hours now before brother is home with our princess

February 20, 2021 (evening)

Miracle: a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.

During Christmas time, Crystal had me watching all the Christmas movies...lifetime, Netflix, hallmark; you name it, I feel we watched it. Those movies always have happy endings. They always talk about the “Christmas Miracle.” That led me to ask my wife, “what if our baby girl is our Christmas Miracle.” With all the bad news we continued to get about Aurora, we didn’t want to get our hopes up. The pain we dealt with once we found out about her condition was unbearable. We didn’t want to get excited about something, and then be let down and feel that pain again.

We continued to move on with life, unfortunately planning for the worst for our baby girl. The doctors continued to give us bad news every time we went. It got to the point where we felt, maybe they shouldn’t even tell us anything about her. Because of the news we kept receiving, we had to make plans for life without our beautiful princess. We held a baby shower. Not for our twins, but for Oliver only. After our initial meeting with Sunrise NICU and meeting with the team there, including our favorite doctor who we will forever be in debt to, Dr. Jensen, we even began to plan for life without Aurora. We had plans for her final resting place. Let me tell you, those were the hardest phone calls I ever had to make.

I know I say this a lot, and I continue to be a broken record, but we could have never imagined doing what we did today. We were able to spend time with our whole family. Crystal, me, Aurora, Oliver, and even Ani. How did this happen? How could so many people misjudge our baby girl? How could so many doctors have been wrong? We do know something is wrong with her. We do know that she will not have a “normal” life. We do know that her time with us is not eternal. We know Aurora is not going to get better. As great as today was, it was also difficult. She cried nearly all day. We were told she wouldn’t feel pain, and we don’t think she does, but she was very irritable. Her breathing wasn’t normal. Crystal and I chose to give her some “happy” juice to help her. All we ask on this journey is for our princess not to suffer. She has brought joy to so many people. Nobody deserves what she is dealing with. It breaks my heart every time I hear her famous squeak. When she falls asleep, I always have the fear that I will never hear that squeak again.

Everyday is a blessing. Every second is a gift. Today we had our family together. We will cherish this day forever. I can not wait to tell Oliver about his beautiful sister, our princess, the strongest person I know. My Daughter. My Daughter! Words I never thought I would utter. I love you princess! Thank you for bringing so much joy to this world. Thank you for continuing to be our miracle baby! Keep fighting princess. No matter what happens, this miracle story WILL have a happy ending!

February 21, 2021 (morning)

10 days ago, I couldn’t imagine being able to hold my princess. Today I can’t imagine a world in which I can’t. I know time is working against her, especially when I reach down and touch her cold face. My princess is my hero and what father can ask for anything more.

February 21, 2021 (afternoon)

Today has definitely been a roller coaster for our beautiful princess. Her breathing has been labored and her color keeps changing. We assume it’s a circulation issue. Twice today we thought we were ready to lose her but she continues to shine, even in this darkest hour. We have been in sync with Aurora since the start. As much as I can hope it’s not, we feel it’s closer to the end than the beginning. Please continue to give her and us strength. She has made us so proud, yet this is the most painful thing that Crystal and I have ever experienced.

February 22, 2021 (2am)

It’s 2 am on Monday morning (I think)! This girl continues to amaze us and mess with our emotions Life can’t get any better than this!

February 22, 2021 (9am)

February 22, 2021 (1pm)

February 22, 2021 (8pm)

I know my posts are usually very long. That may happen tomorrow. Tonight I have very few words. Rest easy my beautiful Sleeping Beauty!

 

Mommy, Daddy, and Oliver will love you forever.

 

All hail Princess Aurora

February 23, 2021 

I know we have stayed somewhat quiet today. I’ve been trying to find the right words to honor our beautiful princess. I finally decided, there are no “right” words. What this baby girl has done in her 11 days is more than any parent could ask for. Crystal and I are new at this parenting thing but after reading the comments from all of our family and friends, I don’t think anybody could ever be more proud of a child.

She gave hope to so many. She made people realize that tomorrow is not promised. She showed what it means to be loved. She gave people strength. She showed why you should never give up.

As I reflect on this journey, I have so many thoughts. The first one that comes to mind is “twin magic.” In her first few days of life, Aurora slept very little. She expressed herself with her now famous “squeak.” Crystal and I thought we would never sleep again (I know, life of having twins). On her first Saturday, the amazing team at Sunrise allowed us to bring Aurora down to the NICU to see Oliver. It was the first time they were together since birth. Many of you witnessed this through Facebook live, but once we laid the two of them together, Aurora stopped crying. She laid next to her brother so peacefully.

Last Monday, Crystal was discharged from the hospital which meant we could bring our baby girl home. It was difficult leaving Oliver. Again, when we reflect on this, I think Oliver’s difficult time learning how to eat was just his way of telling mommy and daddy to spend time with Sissy. He allowed us to come home and spend time with her. Time which he will have but our princess would not. This past Saturday, Oliver came home. Again, upon reflection, Aurora kept on fighting until we could have time with the two of them, together! Our two beautiful babies were not only looking out for each other’s best interest and not being selfish, but they were looking out for mommy and daddy.

One thing about this entire journey that puts Crystal and I at ease is how in sync we were with our princess. We feel we responded to her every need and desire. We knew how she was feeling, what she needed, and what she wanted. I guess that’s the parental instinct. On Sunday, we felt Aurora was slipping away. She stopped eating. Her breathing became weaker. Her squeak became less prevalent. Crystal and I went as far to call our families because we felt it was just a matter of time. We felt she was closer to the end than the beginning. Even after that, she continued to fight. Crystal said it best, baby girl was just preparing us for what was to happen on Monday evening.

Monday was a whirlwind of emotions, and that’s an understatement. It started off with a visit from our nurse and the amazing Dr. Gates from Sunrise. She is in charge of the hospice and palliative care. We expressed to her our concerns and what we thought was happening. Dr. Gates confirmed our greatest fear, we were indeed correct. Her condition was going downhill. We had hours left with our princess. This was also the same day as Oliver’s first doctors appointment. I took him to see Dr. Lepore. The emotions were already running high. As I walked into his office, what would happen to be over all the walls?? Why Disney princesses of course!! And what does Dr. Lepore have tattoos of on his arms, again, Disney of course. I can’t make this stuff up!!

Crystal did a lot while I was out with Oliver. She managed to set up an arts and crafts visit from CareOusel as well as a photographer visit. She also made an appointment with the traveling notary to come over so we can sign our closing documents for our brand new house (more on that shortly). The CareOusel people were absolutely amazing. We managed to get a canvas of mine and Crystals hand prints and Oliver and Aurora’s footprints. They also created plaster foot prints of Aurora with her name and birthdate. In addition, they did the same thing with Oliver’s hands. One of the most precious things they did for my family was to record Aurora’s heartbeat through a Doppler. They will be placing the recording into a stuffed animal so Oliver can hear his sisters heart whenever he wants. The photographer was amazing. I can’t wait to share all the pictures. We did a few costume changes and did numerous poses. These are memories that will last forever.

At around 6:15pm the notary showed up. Crystal wanted us to sit together at the dining room table as a family to sign the closing documents. She held Aurora and I held Oliver. This would be the last thing we would do together, as a family of four. Aurora held on long enough to watch mommy and daddy get in a crap load of debt. I feel so bad for the notary as she witnessed what happened next. Crystal held Aurora. She looked down at her and stopped. Crystal then put her eyes on me. She looked me in the eyes, smiled, and nodded her head. I knew what that meant. Our baby girl, our princess, our hero was gone. She was tired of fighting. We called our nurse who came to the house to do her part. At 7:40pm, she officially called it.

Our baby girl went peacefully, in mommy’s arms. How ironic is it that mommy carried her for 35 weeks and then carried her at the end. Crystal and I took turns holding her, kissing her, telling her how much we loved her, how thankful we were, and most importantly how proud we were of her. How proud of everything she gave us. How proud of all the lives she impacted. We dressed her in her beautiful pink dress and draped the wrestling belt from our pregnancy announcement, around her wrist. I carried her downstairs, kissed her on her cheek, told her I loved her, and thanked her for changing my world!

We know things will be difficult as we plan her final resting place. As soon as we know the plans, we will pass them along. We owe it to our princess to have all the people she impacted be apart of that day.

Crystal and I take turns holding Oliver, we can’t seem to put him down. Of course they are twins, but we see so much of Aurora in him. When we hold him and he lays across our chest, he gives us the reassurance that everything will be okay.

As I stated earlier today, the journey is not over. The story of our princess is just beginning. She will continue to provide strength, hope, and love to so many. She will always be with us. Her legacy will live on forever.

All hail Princess Aurora

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