Friday, November 20, 2009
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.