The Beginning

Where do I start….. Well, let’s start from the beginning. It was about 8 years ago, when I met my husband. We played volleyball with the same group of friends and soon started dating ourselves. We like most people, went back and forth, he had an on again, off again relationship and so did I. But somehow we always ended up back together. I became pregnant on an Oh My Gosh, what do I do. I ended up being the bad person here and I pushed him away, afraid of losing control, wondering who would be around my child, etc if for some reason we did not work out. FEAR, it can make you do silly things.

He was absent for about 4 years, then we randomly connected again on Facebook. It was like nothing ever happened. It was awesome, he was always someone who I felt I could be myself around and never had to try to be anyone else. It was so easy with him. He was living in Washington at the time we reconnected and we decided to make this family thing happen and he transferred out to Phoenix for work and it has been awesome ever since!

Then the BEST thing happened, I become pregnant again just this March. We were excited, we get to do this right and he gets to be a part of everything. I could not be happier.


Since, I am of advanced maternal age (I am only 36 mind you), I had to have some extra ultrasounds for early detection of genetic disorders. We had our first ultrasound done in May and everything looked great! There were no signs of any genetic disorders and the baby was growing perfectly. Our next ultrasound was scheduled for July, and at that time we would find out boy or girl. I was hoping for a boy, as everyone else wanted a girl.

So here we are at our ultrasound on July 17, 2017. The good news, IT’S A BOY!!!!, Then comes the doctor after having had the ultrasound for over an hour now, since this lil guy likes to move around. The comes in and informs me that they are having difficulty seeing the heart perfectly and that the left side of the heart is looking smaller than the right.

WHAT!!!! NO!!!! These were the thoughts that went immediately through my head. I happen to have a friend who’s son has Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome and I know that he has had open heart surgeries since he was born. I am secretly FREAKING OUT, right now. They inform me that they want to get confirmation from a specialist, a Pediatric Cardiologist. Oh, no.

I do not get an appointment for a couple of weeks. So, now it is sit and wait….. and wait….. and wait……

and wait……..



AIDAN, you are going to forever be the LITTLE FIRE in our Hearts!

I am truly blessed with the people in my life. I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for. One of my dearest friends Monica, created a Youcaring fundraiser for some of our medical expenses and travel expenses. I do not have enough words to express how much she means to me or how much this simple selfless act means to me and my family. Thank you so much Monica!

Here is the post and link to donate. Thank you all to have donated already and those who will.  https://www.youcaring.com/babyaidancatonandfamily-1004586

“Almost 10 years ago, I met this awesome redheaded girl who made me laugh out loud at everything, so we immediately became great friends. Today, she is still one of my best friends, so I’m sharing this story for her and her family, who will soon have a new PERFECT baby boy.

On April 18, 2017, Alexis and Steve were ecstatic to announce their pregnancy. 3 months later, on July 17, during their gender reveal ultrasound, they were made aware that their little one would be a bouncing baby boy, however, the news that followed, has forever changed their world. Baby Boy Caton was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) – a congenital heart disease that affects the growth of the left side of the heart. (https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/heartdefects/hlhs.html)

As they tirelessly searched the best possible options for their little heart warrior, Alexis and Steve have chosen to deliver at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP – http://www.chop.edu/), where baby will have his first open heart surgery at 1 week old. Can you imagine? 1 week old, and this little bundle of joy will go through something most of us could never fathom. After that, he will have 2 more surgeries to correct the left side of his heart, at 3 months and 3 years old. However, I know in my heart and because I’ve witnessed it first hand, this little boy and mommy will have the best care by the best heart surgeons, doctors, and medical staff while they are there.

For me, this news was a heartbreak when she first told me, as I have watched another dear friend go through this disease with her now 5 year old son (who is doing extremely well), but the treatment and healing process for this disease is traumatic, to say the least, for the patient and the family. This little boy is the same age as Ryan, Alexis and Steve’s oldest son, and Alexis was always there following my friend’s story. She even graciously donated to his fund in need when she heard about his heart warrior journey.

Now, it is our turn to give back to this amazing little family that we all love so much. A family that has always been there for me, and I know so many others, as well. Alexis and family have been traveling back and forth to Philadelphia for the last few months, getting ready for delivery. You can imagine, with all of that travel, how bills may be stacking up for them. This doesn’t even start to include any medical bills, or future travel, that they will incur, once baby is here. This time for baby will take away from mom and dad’s time to work, as they will be in the hospital for up to a month after his first surgery, and they will travel back to Philadelphia several more times for evaluations, treatments, and additional surgeries in the near future.

I have seen first hand the stress, heartache, and insurmountable stack of bills this journey provides a family, and this is why I have chosen to set up this YouCaring fundraiser for them. I hope with my whole heart, that as they embark on this journey, we as friends, family, and even strangers, can help ease a little bit of stress for them. Entering the holiday season, I know pockets become tight for everyone, but please remember that every little amount helps. If unable to donate, I know the family and all of their friends will appreciate all of your positive thoughts, energy and prayers for baby and mom.

The family has chosen a name for this little heart warrior, and it is very well chosen!
Aidan: Gaelic meaning – Little Fire

, you are going to forever be the LITTLE FIRE in our Hearts! We cannot wait to meet you!

All my love for the Ashley & Caton Families,
Monie Sanchez”

CHOP! Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia!

Oh my Gosh, this hospital is absolutely amazing!!! They were so efficient I could not believe it. Steve and I flew out last week for our full day of appointments. We had to check in at 7:30am and fill out some paperwork, of course. By 8am we were seeing were having our Fetal Echo done, which last about an hour. From there we were taken back to the waiting room where we literally waited no more than 2 minutes before we saw our next doctors. They are amazing—- We never waited longer than 2 minutes before we saw our next set of doctors, genetic counselors, OB/Gyn. I am so impressed.

I am set to go back to Philadelphia this Sunday to be a part of a research study on the development of the brain on children with Congenital Heart Disease. I will be having a Fetal MRI done on the baby’s brain and be given my medication (Progesterone). The hospital is paying for my flight and hotel stay, so that I can be apart of this study. It is pretty impressive.

I will then again travel back in October for another follow up appointment. I will take Ryan back with me so he can see the hospital and meet some of the staff. We will then go to the Aquarium on Friday, super excited.

I do not have to actually start living in Philadelphia until the second week of November. I am blessed to be able to stay with a friend from work who lives in Delaware. It is simple amazing how certain people enter your life at the right time to help you in situations like these. I truly feel blessed with the people by mine, Steve and Aidan’s side offering support, hope and everything else. I do not know where I would be without these amazing people. Thank you everyone. We truly appreciate everything you have done and are doing.


Oh my gosh, I do not know what to say, but I HONESTLY have the BEST doctors in the world! I just saw my baby’s Cardiologist, Dr.Stock, on Thursday the 24th, and had another echo-cardiogram done, and GOOD NEWS, no changes. The heart is still showing that there is no restriction, so that is good. At this visit, we not ONLY looked at me, but we also looked at my 5 year old son and Great News, his heart is perfect!

I informed him that we have decided to go to CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) and he was excited and said that I would be in great hands. That he would contact the hospital tomorrow and get the ball rolling on getting me setup. And that I would hear probably hear from someone on Friday, but defiantly on Monday.

Well Dr. Stock, himself, called me at home on Friday and informed me that he talked with the scheduling department and that someone would be in contact with me. I hung up with him, and literally, 60 seconds later my cell phone rang again and it was the hospital. They were so nice and gave me a weeks range of dates since I am traveling from Phoenix to Philadelphia. They gathered some information, gave me a breakdown of what my day would like, seeing a my surgery team and new doctors. Then she informed me that she would be there for another couple of hours, so I could call back Friday or Monday with what date I wanted.

I immediately started looking at flights and was so so lucky to find a roundtrip non-stop flight for ONLY $387! I know crazy huh! So, I book the flights, call her back and get my date set up for September 14th! Then I call my OB/GYN fill them in and they are faxing all my information to them, and just keep reassuring me that everything is going to be good and if I have any questions to never hesitate to call.

Well, it does not stop there. Dr. Stock had sent my son’s echo report to his pediatrician Dr. Seitter and he called me today! He wanted to personally check up on me, since he was wondering why my 5 year old had an echo that he did not refer out and saw Dr. Stock report about my unborn baby. Well Dr. Seitter, listened to what I said, and confirmed with me that he actually study cardiology in Philadelphia at that hospital and went over how weekly weight monitoring would be going with his office once I returned from Philadelphia and that I am in great hands with CHOP and Dr. Stock.

I have NEVER, I repeat NEVER, had so many amazing doctors and staff. They have all been simply REMARKABLE! Everyone keeps asking me how I am holding up, if I am stressed out, but honestly, NO. I have such great people on my team, that they are literally taking the stress away from me. I know that once it gets closer, all of that will change and I will start to stress, but right now, I have the BEST DOCTORS! They have really made this news and helped me figure out what is best for me and the baby and help me get a plan going. It has all been really impressive. Well that is all for now, more to come once we travel to Philadelphia!

Thank you.


So here we are July 26, 2017, meeting our new Pediatric Cardiologist for the first time. Today, is the day. Do find out, yes we for sure have Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome, or do we find out that everything is ok.

The office of Dr. Stock, in Tempe Arizona is AMAZING!!!! The staff is nice, helpful and understanding. The doctor, is AMAZING! He was great at making my husband and myself feel relaxed, well as relaxed that we can possible be. So, now it is time for the news…..

YES, that baby has Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome.

Ok, here we go…. The process of correcting or reconstructing the heart happens in three surgeries, 1) the Norwood, happens within one week after birth, 2) the Glenn, happens approximately 4-6 months after birth and finally, the Fontan, which happens at about 3-4 years of age. Worst case, if these surgeries do not work, heart transplant.

Now, the decision, where to have these surgeries. The top three hospitals for these procedures, based on volume, research, survival and staff are the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Children’s Hospital of Boston and Stanford (California).

Decision made… we are going to the best CHOP!

Now, is the time for planning travel, housing, costs, leaving my son in Arizona. So, much is going on…. Lucky for me I do have my parents here in Arizona to help with the care of my son and to try to maintain some normalcy with his school, and sports. I am also lucky in that I am able to plan this and pick the best place for my family and unborn son to have this surgery completed. There are so many families out there, that do not get this and are surprised with the shocking disorder right after birth.

There is a lot to be positive about, and honestly, positivity is the ONLY way to handle situations like these. You can either let the FEAR and depression take over or you can take charge and handle what God gives you. I honestly believe that God, will never Give you More than You can Handle!!!!

Our next appointment is on August 24, and that is when we will inform Dr. Stock that we made a final decision CHOP is where we want to be.