In August of 2009, our lives changed forever. Our son, Tristan, was two months of age. He had begun smiling and cooing, becoming a very social little boy. On the 13th, Tristan had his two month check up. He received his two month immunizations that day. Tristan was sleepy that day and the next, as we were told he would be due to the shots. On the 15th of August, Tristan awoke early morning for a feeding. He customarily ate every three hours. After his feeding that morning, I burped him and he vomited in a projectile manner. Tristan continued to projectile vomit that day, and being concerned and seeing no resolution to his vomiting, I took him in to the emergency room the following afternoon. He was assessed to be mildly dehydrated, was given IV fluids, and sent home without any explanation as to his vomiting. He had not been running a fever, and had no signs of any underlying illness. Tristan continued his vomiting. He still ate every three hours at this point, but would vomit with every feeding. I tried everything I could to help him keep down his formula, even feeding him with a medicine syringe hoping smaller amounts would be better tolerated by him. On August 18th, I again took him into the emergency room. He was evaluated for pyloric stenosis. It was determined that wasn't the cause of his vomiting. The doctor again had no idea why he was vomiting, but suggested we switch his formula, that perhaps he was becoming intolerant to the formula. He had been eating 4 ounces every three hours since a week of age, and I didn't believe that was the problem, but nonetheless, we tried a different formula. Tristan had become sleepier. He began sleeping longer stretches, there were times I had to wake him up to feed him. It was concerning because of his eating habits, he was a chubby little babe who liked to eat. He would cry more often when he was awake, seeming to be in pain. We were stumped as to what was ailing him. One more appointment was made with his pediatrician on the 21st. He examined him and said he looked healthy. He had no reason why he would be vomiting, other than perhaps he was constipated and that was what was ailing him. On August 24th, in the early morning, Tristan awoke his daddy with a high-pitched scream. I work 3rd shift and was at work. His father was later holding him when he had a seizure in his arms. 911 was called, and his father attempted mouth-to-mouth breathing while waiting for the ambulance.
Tristan was in grave condition. He was intubated when he made it to the hospital. He was not breathing well on his own, and his heart was not functioning properly. Due to the seizure activity, a CT scan was performed. Subdural bleeding was found in his head, both acute and chronic. Tristan was transferred to another hospital by helicopter. He was suffering multiple seizures and was worsening by the minute. Subdural taps were performed to remove fluid that was accumulating in his head. He was in a coma. Before we were allowed to see him, we were questioned by the police and the Department of Human Services. We had no idea what was going on with our son, yet we were questioned as to whether we had shaken him. Tristan was not expected to make it through the night. We were told that he was harmed intentionally, that nothing else could have caused the bleeding in his head. The words "Shaken Baby Syndrome" were thrown at us. Tristan had not one bruise anywhere on his body, no neck injury, no internal bleeding other than in his head and eyes, no injuries to his skull or scalp, yet we have been accused of violently shaking him. Tristan spent over a month in the hospital. We were told he would not be able to breathe on his own when the ventilator was removed. He came off of the ventilator without incident. He had suffered a stroke at some point and his brain began to die. He has suffered loss of about 80% of his brain.
Because the hospital determined that Tristan's condition was caused intentionally by malicious actions, my children were all removed from our care while he was in the hospital. Tristan has an older brother, Gabriel, and an older sister, Natalie, who were placed in the care of their biological father. Tristan was discharged to foster care. We had visitation with Tristan for almost 9 months without any progression with our case. No charges had been filed. We were told that we were doing everything we were supposed to be doing.
In May of 2010, criminal charges were filed against Tristan's father, Patrick. It was then revealed by the state that they were going to press to terminate our parental rights. Patrick was then not allowed to have visitation with Tristan, though he had been allowed to see him for the entire 9 months previous to charges being filed. In July of this year we had our terminaton trial. Patiently we waited for a verdict for two months. We had been expecting a baby girl, due to arrive the beginning of October. 6 hours after her birth, the police came to the hospital with DHS and made Patrick leave. We were served with a removal order for our daughter. We were also so cruelly told that the verdict had come back in regards to our rights to Tristan, and that they were terminated. We were not told this by our counsel, but rather by the DHS worker.
Patrick's criminal trial is set for the end of November. Our parental rights have been terminated before Patrick has been given a chance to defend himself against his charges. He has been blamed as the perpetrator because he was home with Tristan at the time of his collapse. We are now in the process of filing an appeal for our parental rights. We have also been informed that since our parental rights were terminated for Tristan, the state can file a waiver of reasonable efforts to return our daughter.