How does one deal with the ultimate good news and the most tragic bad news all at the same time? I have had two in the last week.
My business partner Mary’s nephew and niece-in-law were having twins and one died in utero. They were forced to delivered both. The surviving twin was born at 31 weeks and miraculously is breathing his own and has been named Owen. Mary immediately pointed out: “How do I celebrate the joy of Owen while we grieve for the other child?” I had no answer for her.
And then, a call that hit much closer to home came last night. My oldest friend Dana and her husband Chris were due with their second child any day now. So when I saw their name on the caller ID, I started jumping up and down, knowing that baby girl was here! I put the voicemail on speakerphone for us all to listen to and indeed their little girl Avery was born on Wednesday (7 pounds 4 ounces). However, there are problems and she has Down’s Syndrome and 2 heart defects that will require open heart surgery. They will be transferring her to another hospital for the cardio specialist to care for her and in the meanwhile she is in the NICU… they are taking it day by day.
By the end of the message, I needed to sit down and my sweet little Declan immediately put his hand on my hand because he could tell I was so upset. He asked what the message meant and we explained to him that Dana’s baby girl was born and we were so very excited about that, but that she was born sick, so we were worried about little Avery.
Later after Declan was in bed, I shed a few tears on Bryan’s shoulder and said… “It breaks my heart what a hard road they are going to have.” And my ever-inspirational husband said, very simply, “Not necessarily.” Meaning – just like Declan, Avery may have a rough start but after a few hard knocks, she’ll prove what a kick-ass kid she is and take on the world with a fierceness of a tiger cub. And yes, while it will probably never be easy for Dana and Chris, they will certainly have some of the most beautiful, joyous, amazing moments they never dreamed of before having a child with Down’s Syndrome. All things I would not have thought of until my Free Spirit husband reminded me that there is joy in pain. All things I would not have if my oldest friend Dana had not introduced me to Bryan and then convinced me that a Free Spirit was exactly what I needed in my life.
So, Dana and Chris… many many congratulations on the birth on your daughter Avery. I cannot wait to meet her.