When One Is Not Like the Other


As most of you know, one of my twin boys has Down Syndrome and the other does not. One thing I have found is that we have not come across many other families like ours, so I thought it might be helpful to share our experience thus far. 

First, to answer a question I get most often…

No, we did not know Dominic’s diagnosis before birth. 

I think this is a good jumping off point. We did not know that Dominic would have DS but we were aware of the possibility. Because I was pregnant with twins and had undergone IVF, I was immediately referred to a specialist because I was considered high risk. There, it was suggested that I take a chromosomal blood test to check for any abnormalities. Although the test could not tell us a definitive yes or no, it could tell us if there was a greater chance of one or both babies having a chromosomal abnormality. My test revealed that there was a greater chance for one or both of the babies to have DS. At that point, they asked if we wanted to do further testing for a definite answer, and we chose not to put our babies at risk because we knew it didn’t matter to us.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy and neither babies showed any “soft markers” for DS. Many babies show signs of having DS while in utero, but both babies looked perfect until the last month of my pregnancy. Dominic’s growth had slowed down and there was a definite placental issue, so instead of letting me go to full term, my doctor decided to induce me at 37 weeks. In that last month, as a final attempt for Dominic to gain some weight, I increased my protein and caloric intake. It worked and my boys were born at 37 weeks at 5 lbs 5 oz and 5 lbs 12 oz. 

From birth, we could see that Dominic could have DS but he lacked a lot of the physical traits, so the only way for an accurate diagnosis was to get his umbilical cord blood tested. Shortly after birth we received the confirmed diagnosis. A lot of people share that they felt grief upon learning their new baby has DS. I think that the early on chromosomal test is when I grieved. I took that news very hard because we had worked so hard to get pregnant and I felt like once we actually got pregnant, everything would be perfect. I was worried that we would have anything less. Little did I know, my boys are beyond perfection. I know how that sounds, but it’s true. 

While we were still in the hospital, there was a moment with Dominic that I will always cherish. I took him in my arms and held him close, smelling his head and kissing his face, telling him how I felt about this life we would share together. I told him that people may not see how special and wonderful he is right away. They may make judgements before they get to know him. That things may be harder for him. That we will need to support one another every step of the way. But first and foremost, he is loved and wanted. We could never possibly understand what this love would feel like. To be a new mom and have these two gorgeous babies was nearly too much for my heart–I thought it could burst. 

Twins are a very special and unique thing. My boys have known each other since the very beginning, and to see them smile at each other, you know that their bond is unbreakable. I know that there will be fights and jealousy, but I believe in my heart that they will always support one another. I feel like they were born to be together, to be best friends. To know that Dominic will teach Giovanni to love without bounds and to be inclusive, while Giovanni will teach those around him by his example, is such a gift. I think that they will be each other’s biggest fan and protector.

So, yes, one is not like the other and that’s how we like it in our home. True individuals but cut from the same cloth. 

xo

Advertisements

Life with Two Tiny Humans

fullsizerender-14-copy

The last time I shared a post, the boys were 3 months old, and so much has changed since then as we approach their first birthday. I have missed writing here and sharing about our life, so I have given the blog a new look and will be sharing as much as possible about what’s going on here. I will, of course, be more focused on motherhood, but I will still share about cooking and food, secondhand finds, home renovations and decor, and our adventures. For any of you that are new here, allow me to fill you in a bit.

After a long struggle with infertility, the combination of an amazing doctor and his team of nurses along with tremendous support from family and friends, we hit the baby jackpot and became pregnant with twins. Our boys are the greatest gift imaginable and our lives are forever changed. Giovanni is spunky and curious, while Dominic is sweet and soulful, and their love for each other is clear. Dominic was born with Down Syndrome, so not only are we new to parenthood and twin life, but we are also a part of this wonderful Down Syndrome community.

Back when I was writing more regularly, we were in the first home we purchased, enjoying Taco Tuesdays, I worked full time, and my adventures involved lattes and concerts. Nowadays, we are in our forever home, and as a full time stay at home mom, I cook more often than Tuesdays and it’s not usually tacos, and our adventures are leisurely walks and sometimes include farm animals. Life has evolved into something new and it’s pretty amazing.

christmas-tree-2

I do hope that you’re along for this new ride with me and my tribe.

xo

 

Perfect Moments

The boys take a lengthy nap in the mornings, so I’m able to shower, eat breakfast and prepare for the day. Yesterday was not the smoothest of mornings, but we won’t get into that. Today has included one of those perfect moments, and I think I will remember it forever. 

I heard Dominic’s stirring go from quiet and content to angry and loud. As I picked him up from his crib, he stopped crying immediately and buried his sweet face into my chest. I held him close and took in his amazing baby smell. We walked from room to room, talking about what we saw, pointing out family members in photos. We eventually ended up in the living room and snuggled up on the couch. The quiet in the house was something I rarely hear. There were no barking dogs, no babbling baby noises, no hum of a rock n play baby seat, and no chatter of the television. 

We sat there together and I told him the story of how I met Marv, how we fell in love, and how badly we wanted to expand our family and have babies. I told him how hard it was to do something that seemed so natural and simple. I told him how happy we were to learn that we were going to have two babies. And most importantly, I cried a little as I told him how wanted and loved him and his brother are. I told him how special and perfect we think he is. 

I’d love to say that he fell asleep in my arms at that moment, but this isn’t a movie, this is real life. Really, I had to put him in the Bjorn to get him to sleep because I was starving and had to eat some breakfast. In real life with twins, moments like this don’t happen often, or at least they haven’t for me up to this point. I find it hard to have quiet moments with one baby, but today…today, I did. I will always cherish this perfect moment. 

xo

Sweetness.

I have kept something from friends and family. I have not done this on purpose and some people do know, but for those who don’t, it is not because you aren’t important to me or because we aren’t close. I have kept this to myself because I didn’t know how to say it, when to say it, or how you would react. So, here it is…our Dominic was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. 

First and foremost, we are not sad, angry or disappointed, and he is more than we could have ever imagined. Our boys are the sweetest, most wonderful gift and we would not change a thing. The love we have for our boys is unreal. Dominic is totally healthy, without heart problems, thyroid issues, or breathing problems, and he passed his hearing test and has been a great eater from the start. We have been so lucky so far.

At this point, milestones are becoming more important and clear to see, so we are beginning to become a part of the DS community so we can use therapy and play to nurture him as much as possible. Lucky for him, he has a twin brother with whom he can learn and play.  

I’m happy to put this out there because maybe some other mamas will see it and share advice, or maybe I can help an expectant mama, and maybe it will help us connect more with the DS community. 

People’s reactions have been interesting, so by writing this, I’m hoping to avoid some hurtful and ignorant ones. First off,  we don’t want or need to “fix” Dominic. Secondly, we are not joking, so please don’t say “shut up”. Lastly, we are not sorry, so please don’t say that you are. I think I just want you to ask if he’s healthy so I can boast about just how healthy he is. Or maybe you could ask anything you would ask a mom of any 3 1/2 month old…does he like tummy time? Actually, yes, he does! You could ask if he’s smiling, so I can show you pictures. You could ask if he’s cooing, but you’ve been warned, I have videos and your heart might burst from all the cuteness. 

I don’t have all the answers, I just know how I feel, so I can share about our experience, and I’m happy to do that.

xo