Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Life With Miles: A Birth Story
I can't believe I'm actually doing this; letting people read my private thoughts. But I've had so many thoughts since Miles was born that I am compelled to share. I have to share them, no matter what happens. Which might be nothing. It's very possible that no one will read this and that's fine too. So here goes....
My son Miles was born on September 1, 2009 in Los Angeles, CA. About one hour after Miles' birth, we were told that there was a possibility that Miles had Down syndrome. I was still coming off the drugs from my Cesarean, shivering and twitching like a junky on his first day in rehab, when the on-call pediatrician delivered the news. I don't like that woman very much and I'll never forget her face. It's not her fault, she was just doing her job, I recognize that. But I have to direct some of my anger at her because I can't be rational all the time!
As you can imagine, it was a shock. The worst kind. At that moment, I looked at my husband and I could see that it took everything in him not to faint right then and there. Our hearts were ripped open and stabbed with a flaming dagger. Or something like that.
How on earth was this possible? I had the perfect pregnancy. All our test results were great. According to my OB/GYN my chances of having a child with Down syndrome were 1 in 8,021. How that's even possible, I don't know. So here we are, first kid, first grandkid.....and he has Down syndrome. So many thoughts swirled in my head. I thought about the little girl that lived next door to us in Panama when I was a kid, she had Down syndrome, right? She was cute and funny. But she was mentally retarded, no? I thought about Corky from "Life Goes On". I thought about me, what did I do to make this happen? Was it all the headstands I did while pregnant? Maybe I should have taken it easier. Was it the glasses of wine I had here and there? Was I not meant to have a baby? Was the Universe telling me that I was not meant to have a kid? Maybe I was too greedy, too mean. I've had a beautiful, blessed life, maybe it was time to have some tragedy in it. I can go on for days about everything that went through my mind, but the point is that I had a baby with Down syndrome and I had no idea what to do about it.
The next two and half days were the longest in my life. I was recovering from the C-section, learning how to breastfeed my newborn and anxiously awaiting his test results. At times I looked at him and I couldn't see it. Other times it was blatantly obvious. I cried a lot! More than I have ever cried in my whole life. Deep sorrowful cries. I looked like I'd been to Hell and had lunch with the Devil himself.
Meanwhile, Miles was thriving. He had no heart condition, no jaundice, no problem nursing, no hearing problems....nothing. He just wanted to sleep and eat and get cuddled. So I fed him and I watched him sleep and I cuddled with him. And I knew. I knew that the results would say that he did in fact have Down syndrome. And I also knew that it would be all right. All I needed to do was Love him. Love with a capital L because that is who he is. He is Love. Mr. Love. My Little Loverboy. He is the product of Love and he is so full of Love that even at a few days old his Love was bringing my husband, Zach, and I closer than we had ever been. It was amazing.
When the doctors came with the test results, Zach and I had already been expecting the diagnosis. But it was still hard to hear it. Even harder to tell our families and see their reactions. Yep, dealing with people's reactions was one of the hardest parts in the beginning. Dealing with my shattered expectations was another.
It's funny because when I was pregnant I spent a lot of time talking to Miles, thinking about him, wondering how he was doing, meditating on him, dreaming about him and I would tell Zach that we were going to learn a lot from our baby. That it wasn't so much what we would teach him, but what he would teach us. Ha! Little did I know how right I would be!
So here we are now, seven and a half months later and Miles is growing and learning and teaching us so much! He's got the juiciest, chunkiest thighs; turkey thighs. And his checks are round as an apple. He sits up and he rolls over and he laughs heartily and he lights up my life.
And every day I thank the Universe for bringing this beautiful little angel to me.
But that's not to say that life is all honky dory. It's not. It's a massive roller coaster of highs and lows and twirls and falls and sudden stops. Right now I happen to be on a mountain top. Tomorrow? who knows how I'll feel tomorrow. And that's what I'll be sharing in this blog: My Life With Miles.