Thursday, October 21, 2004

Unleashed upon the world


Life is sometimes funny. One minute, you're arguing about lunch. The next, you're in an operating room undergoing what surgeons euphemistically call "Not an Emergency C-Section, but one we better do pretty quick."

So it is that we unleash upon the world Will Henry Kurth, a 2 pound, 6 ounce, 14-inch dynamo of spunk that's already made his parents proud, humbled and terrified.

He was born at 12:05 PM Friday, October 15, about 24 hours after a routine ultrasound at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak turned into every parents' nightmare. Technicians alleviated our worries and found no signs of placenta previa (a condition when the placenta blocks the cervix), but instead discovered that our son was dangerously small. At 32 weeks, Will is about the size of a 28-week old.

There was some hope the C-section could be delayed by a few weeks or even days, but overnight tests showed Will's heartbeat plummeting severely.

Sign #1 that you're not leaving for lunch anytime soon: The head of High-Risk Obstetrics hands you a business card, pulls a curtain and begins drawing diagrams.

Sign #2: A nurse throws Joel hospital scrubs and says there's no guarantee there'll be a C-Section soon, but he might want to put them on just in case.

We'd planned on naming our firstborn Henry, but opted for Will because we think he has -- and needs -- a strong one. We're not exaggerating or being melodramatic by saying the next few days were some of the most harrowing of our life. At one point, a nurse told us to "brace ourselves" for his death.

Will is doing better, but could remain in Intensive Care for a few months. Doctors don't know why he's so small, but fear he may have a genetic condition that could make his life challenging. Or maybe not. He could be fine and perfectly proportioned, as at least half premature babies are. Many tests are in our future, but so far, easy answers are elusive. We may just have to wait to see how he develops.

But those are future worries. Today, Maureen and I got to hold our son for the first time, listen to him whimper and see him turn bright red with rage like his mother. We've already fallen deeply in love and are so proud of our son that it sometimes hurts. He has beautiful strawberry blond hair, long eyelashes and a chest like Michael Phelps. So far, his hobbies are sleeping, kicking and opening one eye for a moment, then shutting it.

We're sure there are many more sleepless nights, tears, triumphs and setbacks ahead, but we're trying to handle them with humor, love and -- this is a new one for us -- patience.

Many of you already know about Will's arrival, and we thank you for your support, thoughts and prayers. We are lucky to have you as friends, and him as a son.


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