There is a Celine Dion song called Miracle that speaks to this momma’s heart. The part that always makes me cry is this:
The nearest thing to heaven
You’re my angel from above
Only God creates such perfect love…
In 2009, on a cold December morning, my twin boys were born. They arrived in a hurry via emergency cesarean section. My water had broken a few days prior but when we tested the fluid I was leaking it did not appear to be amniotic fluid and I was sent home. 2 days later, I went for my 36 week ultrasound and we discovered that the boys were surrounded by very little fluid and that they weren’t moving as much as they should have been. I was sent to Labor and Delivery to have my babies.
At 11:58 AM and 12:01 PM my tiny little miracles entered the world. They had full heads of dark hair. I wouldn’t meet them for a few hours after. My husband snapped a few quick pictures of them and I had those images to hold me over until they were in my arms. I knew everything was perfect.
And then it wasn’t.
A few hours after the boys were born I was in recovery surrounded by my husband and his parents when a kind faced doctor walked in to introduce herself to us. She told us she was the neonatologist and she had been caring for the boys in the NICU. She told us our boys were handsome, they had lots of hair and they were doing well.
Then she changed my entire life.
“We think the boys both have Down Syndrome.”
Heart stopped. Breathing felt impossible. Agony. Crushing agony.
“But it will be ok.”
Relief. Hope. Everything might be ok.
Maybe they were wrong.
“I’m going to sneak them down here because I think you need to meet them.”
Literally one of the best moments of my life.
They were the tiniest babies I had ever been around even though in the NICU world they amounted to linebacker status. Baby A (The Bear)- 5# 4.7 oz. Baby B (the Bug)- 5# .5 oz. The most gorgeous creatures I had ever seen in my life. It was love and confusion all at once.
I held them. I remember kissing The Bug’s tiny head. I remember whispering to both of them that I loved them.
I remember trying not to cry so people wouldn’t think I didn’t love them.
After everyone left and I had time to myself I looked up and challenged God. “I don’t know who You think You are but You have the wrong person. I can’t do this.”
I remember praying to God a second later, “Please let them be wrong.”
I remember crying and hurting. I remember everything. I remember every second of that recovery room. I remember it in detail. I remember the smell. The chill. I remember the shaking happening in my body that had NOTHING to do with the temperature. I remember feeling lost and alone and scared and angry. I remember being madly in love with those babies. I remember knowing that the doctor was right. I remember thinking that I somehow knew this was what I was meant to live through.
I accepted it and rejected it simultaneously.
It took a few days before we had the results. I was broken once again with the confirmation. My husband saved me. He was my rock. He told me that the boys were perfect. I never doubted it again.
I took that trip down memory lane so that this next part makes more sense.
Today was a rough day. I have challenging days every now and then, most of them stem from the fact that I feel stretched too thin, have too much on my plate, and feel like a general failure most of the time. Like I am never enough me to serve all those I love.
I decided to find some joy and salvage the night so I asked The Bear if he was ready for his bath. The boys are 8 now and still not able to fully bathe themselves properly though they’ve made huge strides in this area. That coupled with the fact that if left to their own devices in the tub the entire second floor of my home would be soaked and bubbly, it’s just better if there is a grown up in the room. So, I was watching my son play in bubbles and talk quietly to his toys and I was struck with a feeling a peace. It occurred to me that no matter what else I do wrong in a day, my kids are always happy with who I am and they love me unconditionally, just as I love them.
After he got out of the bath and I dried him off, The Bear turned to me and put both hands on my cheeks and smooshed them in and smiled at me and then he gave me a big old Bear kiss. The fact that he immediately turned and spanked his little tush at me and ran out of the room laughing didn’t entirely ruin the moment. It made me laugh.
I helped him dress and told him I love him. He looked at me and I felt like he always sees me. He SEES me. The Bug does this, too. They see past the bs and the façade and the image I try to project to the world and they see to the important stuff. It’s like they see the potential in me but they already think I am pretty darn great.
I hugged him again and as he got ready to run downstairs he turned and said, “Thank you.”
I wish those boys and their sweet little sister realized just how full they make my heart. I wish kids had the ability to understand how deep a mother’s love really runs.
They have made my life immeasurably better than I could have ever imagined.
If I could go back in time to that recovery room and whisper in my own ear I would say, “You have no idea how lucky you are. Your life is going to be amazing. All the good things will come because of that extra chromosome. Breathe easy, momma. The adventure is just beginning.”