Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Ten years ago tonight, like the night before it, my son Harrison woke me at around 2 a.m. insistently kicking me, not letting me rest. His kicking was so uncharacteristic--hard and unrelenting that I remarked to Steve, "Honey, I wonder if Harrison is trying to tell me something. I've read about mothers whose babies kick and kick and it's something wrong." He was reassuring, but I wasn't so sure. What did I know? I had never been pregnant before and no one I knew had been pregnant with twins. At twenty-four weeks five days along, my fundal height was 39 cms, I felt huge, I was huge, my back ached and it was happening. It was happening nearly four months too soon.

The next morning, my dog Winston (yes, for that Winston) stayed near me. He wouldn't leave my side. He knew. I was in denial.

By noon, after telling a friend, "I need to rest", I should have known. But that's the thing about denial, you deny. Finally, I groaned into the phone to my husband, "Come home. Now."

He tried to rub my back and I whispered the three classic words from transition, "Don't touch me.....please."(I try to be polite during childbirth--I don't want to be one of those women.) "Are you okay?" No I was not okay. Maybe you should call the ambulance. He did. As he tried to help me to the bathroom my water broke. And I broke. And I haven't been whole since. I never really was.

Two little babies were born at 750 and 820 grams. Harrison was the small one. Tough. A breather. And ultimately, a survivor.

He changed my life. He's still changing my life.

He loves music. He loves opera. He loves dance. Today, he took his first dance class. The steps were hard. He has trouble coordinating his body. He cried. And my heart was filled with pride. He works so hard to do what is easy for everyone else.

Harrison is a miracle. He should be dead. Technically, he died in the hospital. Twice. He should have kidney damage. He should be blind or at least have tunnel vision. He should be brain damaged. He should be unable to eat. He should be in a wheel chair. He should have asthma. He should be anything but what he is: a living, breathing, healthy boy who turns ten tomorrow.

Before bed he said,"Mom, I want to be a superhero."

They aren't, real, you know.

"They aren't?"

No, real people become heroes by doing heroic things--like fireman.

"Well, I want to dress up like Superman, even though he's not real."

Okay. Maybe for your birthday you'll get a superman costume.

For my super little man, I figure that a costume is the least we can do.

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