Friday, September 25, 2009

The Fear

Hello boys and girls... I don't have much to report this week... Everything is status quo, with Big Brother still trying to learn to walk, but not quite there yet, and Little Brother trying to figure out how he can ingest massive quantities of milk and stink up more square footage. Oh, Big Brother is working on that second task, too. Diamonds are NOT this girl's best friend... The Diaper Genie is!

So there is a story I have been wanting to get out for a while, but my words seem to fail me on this one. I'm going to give it a shot tonight, though...

Every parent-to-be, I think, experiences The Fear. That worry, that "what if" that maybe you don't talk about, but it's there. Every parent dreams of their child becoming the President, or a doctor, or a sports legend. No parent hopes for a child who is disabled or sick. In fact, most parents will tell you that is their biggest fear.

Why is that? Is it a fear of what the child will face? Or is it a fear of our own weakness?

With improvements in prenatal testing, parents are now able to know with great certainty if their children will be born with certain syndromes or birth defects. Many parents opt to abort their pregnancies if there are foreseeable issues, and just "start fresh" with a new child who might be okay. I can understand that reasoning. When my husband and I first became pregnant with the twins, we both had The Fear, and we had to wonder... "What would we do?"

Don't get me wrong, we're both pro-life, but still we wondered...

So we opted out of prenatal testing... And we dreamed of our children being presidents or doctors or sports legends... And lived with The Fear.

I asked earlier why parents fear. Our fear was selfish. We weren't worried about our children, we were worried about us. Were we strong enough? Could we handle it? Would it inconvenience us if we had a child that was different? Would it embarrass us?

And then Aubrie was born... Way too early, with a brain bleed she would never fully heal from if she lived. And you know what? All of a sudden, it didn't matter anymore.

The Fear disappeared. We just wanted her to live. She was ours, and she was perfect.

Over our months in the NICU with Daxton, we were faced several times with potentially life-altering diagnoses. I admit, sometimes The Fear crept back, but this time it was not for us. Would Dax always live in pain? How significant will his disabilities be? Will other kids make fun of him? Will he even live long enough for us to know?

The night before Dax was to discharge, and two days after we discovered we were pregnant again, a neurologist gave us a devastating diagnosis. The MRI results pointed towards a genetic syndrome that would render Dax dependent on others for the rest of his life, and there was a 25% chance our new baby would have the same disorder. He told us to take the night and think long and hard about whether we wanted to abort the new baby after genetic testing was complete.

We were heartbroken.

When we lost Aubrie, and when Dax was so sick, we discovered a strength we never knew we had. We were blessed beyond measure. But could we possibly go through it again? Could we handle it? There's no way...

But then it hit us.

If someone had told us at the beginning of our first pregnancy that our twins would be born months too early, that our daughter would die, and that our son would spend eight months in the hospital clinging to life... That our son would have more health problems than we could fathom... That he would come home on oxygen and monitors and feeding pumps... What would we have done?

But, what would we have ever done without them? Our broken, imperfect little babies had taught us more about living, and loving, and fighting, than either of us had ever learned before. Our broken, imperfect little babies had shown us what real happiness was all about. Our broken, imperfect little babies had taught us how to treasure the small miracles in life, and how to seek the impossible even when it's completely out of reach.

And all of a sudden we realized there was absolutely nothing to fear... And with the birth of Tyler, we were able to witness another sort of miracle entirely.

So does God give us children so that we can teach them, or does He give us children so they can teach us? I'm not entirely sure. What I do know is that none of our children are perfect. Had you known in the beginning that your child would one day be anything less than perfect, or grow into a less than perfect adult, what would you have done? And what would you have missed out on?

I, for one, am incredibly thankful to not know.


JenniferNe said...


ArmyTwins said...

very well written...what you wrote hit home with my little twins

Laura (speaking for everyone!) said...

Mollie- that was absoultey beautiful and so well written. I am sitting here wiping the tears from my eyes and can empathize with some of what you feel. No parent wishes to be a preemie parent- but, it completely changes you and makes you what you are. These babies are miracles- regardless!

Drayke's Mom said...

Amen Mollie. Parents of premmies discover a strength that they never knew they had.

Tiff-E said...

Well written Mollie; I couldn't agree more. I could've never fathomed having my twins at 23weeks,4days like I did. I'm glad I didn't know how it was going to turn out. I'm glad I didn't know my son would die and my daughter would barely make it. I'm glad I didn't know I'd be bringing home a baby on oxygen/monitors. And I'm glad I didn't bat an eye when the doctors discussed all the long term worst case scenarios about micropreemies. Everything makes us appreciate life more and appreciate the miracles that are in front of us.

Our little Miracles said...

Well written and many comments you've made could be said of our family as well. Similiar circumstance and feelings.

ski said...

Great post Mollie. There are lots of things I am glad I didnt know, even more things I am glad I will never know. It does help to know God has a plan...but sometimes (like I have said before) I wish he would spell it out infront of me bith bright red crayon! Thanks for sharing.

Patti said...

LOVE this. wow. just love this.