Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Babies!

A whole year has gone by. 

I'm still in shock at this realization.

One year ago today saw the beginning and the end of a lot of things.  One year ago brought us some harsh realities, packaged up into two bundles of joy.

Last year, my twins were born six weeks early.  Wyatt first, then his sister Zoe a few minutes later.  Wyatt weighed in at 4 lbs, 13oz, while Zoe was much smaller at 4lbs, 1oz.  Both had oodles of dark hair and the gossamer skin of prematurity.  Both had bright blue eyes.  You could tell right away that Zoe was going to be the spitting image of me.  To the medical staff at least, you could tell right away that Wyatt had Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome

I was certain of his diagnosis as I looked over at his warmer a few moments after he was born.  Each baby had a team at his or her bedside, including a physician and several nurses.  Zoe's team was joyful;  there were jokes and occasional pauses in their work as they reflected on some nuance of my beautiful, yet feisty daughter.  Wyatt's team were a stark contrast.  They spoke in hushed, respectful tones as they worked on my son with efficient, businesslike hands. My husband jokes that my writing is often a string of homilies.  He's right.  This is the moment that began as I looked back and forth across the surgical suite, comparing and contrasting Team A and Team B as they saw to the needs of my newborn children.

Wyatt's cry at birth was different than Zoe's.  When he let forth the first breath of air that he had sucked into his tiny lungs, he sounded all the world like the newborns you hear on TV... only in short bursts. Zoe's pitiful wail would change shortly to the commanding screech she has now, but I did not hear her until after she had been totally suctioned out.  "She is the one that sounds abnormal", I remember thinking to myself.  "He sounds just fine to me."  I would later understand that she sounded like any other premature baby, but at the time, it gave me something to rationalize.  After the Neonatologist gave his awkward pronouncement,  they eventually brought Wyatt over, sleepily bundled up for me to see.  I gave him a quick peck before he was taken away by his procession of gowned attendants to the NICU.  "He doesn't look like he has it..."

Zoe was brought to me, mummified and scowling.  She was so tiny... so much smaller than her twin.  Even bundled up, she was still smaller than a football.  Zoe was too far away for me to kiss and I was about to ask for her to be brought closer when she was handed off to my husband and they too were whisked off to parts unknown.

"So small... So small.  Please be okay...  Please..."

I did not get to hold my children until the next day when I dragged myself and my IV pole almost the length of the hospital to the NICU.  After a night of lying half awake and in constant pain, I needed them and they needed me. Anyone that ever refers to a Caesarian section as "the easy way out" need only talk to me and hear the particulars about that walk.  My nurse was very concerned as I forced myself along... after all, we were supposed to be just dangling my legs over the end of the bed and here I was, on a mission, with my ass hanging out of a johnny gown.  She knew better than to stop me however, for at that moment, I would have crawled there over her broken body if that is what it took.

The babies were in separate isolettes and I visited each one in turn.  I was there for over three hours as my nurse came and went with a wheelchair, hoping to coax me back to my bed where I needed to rest.  The sad part was that I was resting;  the NICU, despite housing very sick babies, is the quietest place in the hospital.  The frequent spine-jarring announcements are hushed, the lights are muted and everyone talks in dulcet tones.  I spent a good while with each of them and examined Wyatt myself.  His ears were smaller and lower on his head and had a telltale fold.  His eyes were almond shaped with epicanthal folds.  His nose had barely a bridge and his face was flatter than hers.  His skull was shaped differently, being wider at the back and smaller at the front, giving the appearance of "points" on either side.  The back of his head was flattened and you could feel that his soft spot was open in a V to his eyebrows.  His hands, much to my delight, did not have a singer palmar crease and his toes did not appear to be parted with a sandal gap. Other than his heart, no other "abnormalities" were discussed.  "Maybe he's Mosaic... "  My husband came and finally convinced me to return and if not rest, eat.  Which I did, ravenously.

Flash forward a year and here we are.  My husband is in the kitchen putting stew in the crock pot and the kids are having great time playing together on the floor behind me.  Those fragile little humans are now thriving babies, who astound and delight us daily.  The only thing that has developed more in the last year is us.  Our thinking, our way of doing things.  There was a time where Wyatt's diagnosis would have meant something terrible.  (It isn't.)  There was a time where I would not have thought that I would have so much interest in genetic disorders and have time to make a difference.  (I do).  There was a time where it seemed that nothing was going to be right again.  (It didn't turn out like that at all).  There was a lot more born a year ago on this day than just these two babies:  Team Logan,  our network and support systems, our awareness, our desire to educate and advocate.  Two parents of a special needs child came into existence too.  We have all come so far.  It has been very difficult at times, of that I will not lie.  We've made therapy a casual everyday thing, something we can do while we play.  We make mealtimes fun.  We explore our world through the kids eyes, whether they be blue, brown or have Brushfield spots.  We love our son and embrace his differences just as much as we do his "sameness".

Today we celebrate many things along with the birth of our children.  Today will celebrate life and love.  We celebrate inclusion, we celebrate acceptance.  We celebrate strength and endurance.  Knowledge, education, awareness, advocacy... the list goes on and on. 

We celebrate new beginnings today. 

Happy Birthday, Wyatt and Zoe.  You are both perfect in every way.

You Rock, Babies!
You guys ROCK!

12 comments :

  1. Yes, they are!
    Happy Birthday Wyatt and Zoe!

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  2. They are the cutest lil minions!!! Anyone who says any different LIES! And ya'll are AWESOME parents for taking such good care of such precious parcels!!!!

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  3. Happy birthday to two BEAUTIFUL very much loved babies!!! I enjoy watching you grow through your mommies blog!!! <3

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  4. Happy Birthday Beautiful Babies!!! And Thanks to their beautiful mommy for sharing her stories with us!

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  5. Happy birthday beauties!! :) xxx

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