Friday, November 20, 2009

Teeth


As I sat in the dentist (dental?) chair this morning getting my old fillings drilled out of my head, I couldn't help but think about, well, teeth.

And thinking about teeth made me think about how Dylan is in the process of cutting his very first tooth!

And thinking about Dylan's first tooth made me think about a post that I wrote over a year ago called, "The Dark Side".

I remember writing that post...remember it very well, actually. I remember the real sadness I felt in discovering the likelihood of my baby eventually growing particularly pointy teeth. Seems silly, I know, but back then, just a couple of months into our new journey of Down syndrome, it felt like one more thing that I did not want to deal with. One more thing that I was completely and utterly unprepared to deal with. I remember thinking, heck, this is one more thing that I shouldn't have to deal with, because, after all, I did not sign up for this.

At the time, my baby was 2 months old and had already seen what felt like every single doctor and specialist in Boston. Boston Childrens? Mass General? Tufts? Yep, we had appointments at all of them. My baby had been transferred to the NICU down there, had issues with red blood cells, oxygen levels and had failed multiple hearing tests on top of that. Two months after giving birth, we were on the lookout for signs of heart failure in our baby. Heart failure! Seriously? Open heart surgery was a mere two months away and I was up to my ears in medical bills, MassHealth forms, Early Intervention people, Down syndrome clinic information, "Welcome to Holland" poems that had been to sent to us from friends and family who were trying to help, pamphlets on Down syndrome, AV canal defect information...

And on top of everything else, I now had to concern myself with pointy teeth?!

It felt like yet another reminder that life wasn't going to be easy. It wasn't going to be what I had thought, what I had planned for. It was as if I had received another swift punch to the gut...a harsh reality check.

*

We have been on this journey now for almost 17 months. Dylan's first tooth has popped through and sure enough, it's as pointy as can be. Actually, it has 2 points to it. And every single time I see it, I smile, for it is a reminder of just how far I have come. Yes, in 17 months my life has changed. It hasn't been easy and it hasn't been what I had thought or planned for, and thank goodness for that. Both my eyes and my heart have been opened to a new life. A better life. The best life.

I am not denying that it was hard for us in the beginning. Digesting an unexpected diagnosis was certainly a challenge. And everything that came along with that at first was quite overwhelming - absolutely! But, we held on. I held on very tightly in the beginning and as the days went on, my grip loosend. Each day, I let a little bit go. The fear, the sadness...it was slipping away. Love was taking over and before I knew it, I had begun to open myself up fully to the experience...of Down syndrome. Of life.

Because as far as experiences go, this one is pretty awesome.

12 comments:

heidi marie said...

love this post. so true. the beginning is so hard and seems about looking at a checklist...my child has this, this, this, etc...but at some point in time you get past all the crud and see all the positive!!

DownTownDan said...

The pointy teeth thing is a weird one. I had never heard of it, and Ozzie's teeth started coming in and they were just so ragged and pointy. And I kept looking at them and just thinking that I didn't remember my daughter's teeth looking like that, but maybe I had forgotten in the past 4 years what hers looked like when they broke through. And then finally I heard that this was a Ds thing.

Ozzie has done a great job grinding them down so that they are nice and smooth. We have to catch him because he crawls over to the hearth and grinds his teeth the granite. His front teeth have completely lost the jagged points. His molars are still fairly sharp, but I suspect they will gradually smooth out, too.

In the grand scheme of things, I think only vampires should obsess about pointy teeth. Maybe werewolves, too.

sara p said...

i felt the same way, like please just give our children a break!! i work in the dental field so i see teeth every day, i didn't know that maxs would be any different but sure enough he just got his first tooth and it is one pointy skinny sharp little tooth and 11 months ago i would have thought i would be worried or in a strange way embarrassed for him, but im not... i love that little tooth:) oh and i wanted to let you know those points should wear down with time most baby teeth have them but our little ones are just a little sharper than the "typical" child:)

Cathy said...

Yay for teeth! And yay for mom...isn't it crazy how at the beginning we let every little thing bother us!?!

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

you do a great job of putting your feelings into words (and often times your words and feelings are much the same is mine!) glad dylan's teeth are finally coming in --- whitney has two teeth and has had them for quite some time, but recently she has been teething again and nothing seems to be coming... i guess this is another one of those things that comes slowly??? :) hope you had a good visit to the dentist!

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

I think Joaquin's teeth are the poster child for pointy teeth! They are CRAZY pointy and his brothers call him little sharky. I know some people look at his teeth and freak out a bit but when I look at them I just smile. They are adorable to me...and he's had them now for about year or more and they aren't getting any smoother...I think they are here to stay...or at least until his adult teeth come in. I'm curious now if the adult teeth are mishapen as well??? Hmmmm :)!

tracy said...

And what about the crooked teeth?!? My little guy, who is seven now, has the crookedest upper row of teeth - when he smiles it's hilarious!

heather said...

Another great post!! Morgan's permanent teeth haven't been pointy, just crooked. She has no room in her little mouth for these big teeth so I can only imagine how her teeth are gonna look when they all come in. Hopefully she'll cooperate with braces. Yeah...dream on. I know!

Sasha said...

Great post. Wow the beginning sounds pretty busy and chaotic for you. Glad things are settle down now and that you are loving the life. Wysdom doesn't have any teeth yet so I am just waiting to see this little teeth that everyone is talking about.

Christi Harrison said...

oh my goodness, I didn't realize Dylan and Jimmy were very close in age. Jimmy is 17 months and just got his first tooth. I don't know if it's pointy quite yet as it just popped through a few days ago. We are so excited since he really wants to eat our food.
Christi

Sharon said...

I remember that post so clearly after having just read the same posts on BBC. It is amazing how things that seemed important or like a bug deal then turn out to not be a big deal at all. Life is good!

Kelly said...

Great post Laurie! Landon is 9 months and I too am learning to loosen the grip a little every day! He is happy and healthy so what's all the fuss?! He doesn't have any teeth yet either, but I look forward to the day he does........pointy and all!! Thanks for the heads up:)