Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Ramblings About The Beginning...
Every so often, for whatever reason, I think about the beginning. Not the very beginning, but the second beginning. The transfer, the NICU. The time after we knew about the Down syndrome and heart defect. It makes my head hurt, but I think about it anyway...
Dylan was discharged from the NICU after a 5 day stay. Really, he still shouldn't have even been born yet. His due date was weeks away, but there he was, in his car seat, dressed in his going home outfit. I held on to the handle of the car seat carrier and walked with him out of the NICU. Dave was ahead of us, our thoughts filled with Down syndrome and heart surgery, low muscle tone and Early Intervention, failed hearing tests and our daughter who waited back home.
We filed into the elevator and I looked down at Dylan. His head was completely flopped over. I sighed and tried to straighten it, but it flopped again. There was a nurse in the elevator. Actually I think there were many people in there, but it was the nurse who looked at Dylan and said, "Oh! He is SO cute!! Congratulations!". More "ooohs" and "awwws" chorused. Tears stung my eyes and I'm sure my face probably reddened. I was so... Sad. Confused. Ashamed. Hurt. Congratulations!? Really?!! I forced a smile and looked at the floor. Dave didn't say anything. We were being rude and I didn't care. I thought the nurse was lying and figured that they were all just trying to be nice. Congratulations for having a baby with Down syndrome? With a heart defect? I wanted to tell them all to just be quiet. Just let us be.
Later, when we got home, I walked over the the countdown ticker that had been sitting on our table since I had found out I was pregnant with Dylan. It read, "Your baby is due in: 14 days...". I cried.
I kept the ticker there on the table. I let it tick all the way down to Dylan's due date. I remember looking at it often, as it counted down, and wishing that somehow it was true - that it didn't already happen and that Dylan - the Dylan who I had been planning for throughout my pregnancy, was still in my belly and would be born soon and everything would be...normal.
Finally, the countdown got to 0 days and still the ticker sat on the table. It gathered a little bit of dust as it stayed on 0 days for weeks until finally, one day, my mom casually picked it up and put it away.
I think I will always remember that...but in so many ways I wish that I could forget it. Or maybe it's more that I wish it never happened that way. It makes me feel shallow and horrible and uncaring. I wish so many things had happened differently. How I wish that back then, I could have been the person that I am now.
Looking back at the second beginning, after "we knew", I feel very much as if I was unable to see Dylan anymore beneath all of the layers that had begun to cover him up. Little by little, in those beginning days, layers of Down syndrome, heart defects, low tone, Early Intervention, failed hearing tests...they covered up that little baby who had just been born. I lost sight of that little boy in there and because of those many layers, I began to close myself off to the possibility of love. Fear took over. Fear of what I did not know, fear of what I thought I knew...
I regret that, oh how I regret that.
But I did peel them back. Eventually, layer by layer, I began to peel them back and underneath was that same sweet little boy, the one who was exactly who he is suppose to be, waiting for us...
I am thankful for the nurse who congratulated us that day in the elevator, because we should have been congratulated. A new life, a life that is worth living, a beautiful life, is truly a blessing...and of course is something to celebrate.