Friday, January 6, 2012

A special boy and the big 'D'

As I type, our youngest son, Colin, is in the next room with a speech therapist. Colin will be 3 in April and he says only one word: "ya." He uses it all the time, sometimes with different intonations, and though we can typically understand what he's trying to communicate, there are daily frustrations. He can't talk to us, we often can't understand him, and there are regular fits and tantrums.

But I'm not complaining. After all, Colin is our miracle baby. For those of you who don't know him, here's a quick recap. Colin was born not breathing. Within minutes, he was fully intubated, with a machine breathing for him. He weighed 4 pounds.

He spent 10 weeks in intensive care, underwent a double hernia repair, had a G-tube put in, stopped breathing and turned the most sickening shade of blue I've ever seen, and was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that we never knew existed in our family: myotonic dystrophy. He came home to us with the G-tube and an elaborate feeding machine. He was hooked up to a monitor for his heart and lungs. We had an oxygen tank close by in case he needed intervention.

From that point, everything got better. Colin ate so well that we gave up on the G-tube and had it removed. We stopped using the monitor. We sent back the oxygen tank. He grew stronger, and his weak little cry (like the soft "baaah" of a lamb) turned into a real baby's cry.

Every stage of development was months behind the "average," but he eventually got there. While his peers would run around the room, Colin could only sit in one place and watch them. He could not crawl, nevermind walk. Then one day he crawled.

A few months later, he began pulling himself up on furniture, and months after that, he actually walked. I taped those first few steps with tears rolling down my face. The kid who we thought might spend his life in a wheelchair was walking across the family room rug and collapsing into Mom's arms.

Today, he runs around the house, pushes cars into walls, climbs up and down the stairs and kicks a soccer ball. His favorite game is chasing his two older brothers, and he doesn't mind that he can never catch them. While they run away like he's the "bad guy," he laughs and laughs and waddles his little body after them.

So while I wish Colin would start talking, I really can't complain. Everything we get from Colin is a bonus. A week ago, we had a breakthrough with speech. Colin made a "D" sound. Just to hear anything from him other than "ya" is incredible. Now he's making "h" sounds and "D" sounds, and he's using some of them in combination with the sign language we've been teaching him.

I'm now certain that Colin is going to talk to us someday. And like his brothers, he'll probably get to the point where he never stops talking. For now, we're happy with the Big 'D.' Or at least I am. After all, we all know his first word will be "Dad." Just like his brothers :)


  1. so happy for Colin, he is truly a miracle baby!
    P.S. I am hooked on these articles, I cant believe I didnt know about them before!

  2. I remember those early days. My heart broke for you and Jennifer. I am so happy to hear Colin is doing so well. He is truly a miracle boy and he has a truly amazing family supporting him.
    Love reading your blog:)

  3. Thank you, Sue and Michelle, for the kind words. Though it may seem that way, I really don't write these as a way to get compliments. We all know my ego doesn't need it :)

    Nevertheless, I appreciate the positive feedback. As for the blog, I'd love for people to sign up as a Follower, or to sign up for the e-mails. That way I can stop cluttering up people's Facebook pages with my musings on parenting.

    Thanks all!