Winter in Chicago is known to be exceptionally freezing and windy and downright bitter. When Chris and I found out we were pregnant with our first child and due in December 2011, I remember thinking how warm our hearts would be that winter as we welcomed our new little miracle!
I had quite a textbook perfect pregnancy, with a slight hiccup of a breech baby, therefore a c-section was scheduled for December 8th, 2011. We barely slept the night before, and were headed to the hospital at about 4:30am on the 8th to have our baby. We didn't find out the gender pre-natally, but both of us were pretty convinced we were having a boy, so we chit-chatted about boy names and our dreams as parents the entire ride downtown to the hospital.
The c section began very typically - they got baby out with no issues and everyone started yelling "It's a GIRL"…we were shocked and ecstatic and started crying. That's about when I started noticing how quiet the OR got, and how quickly I saw more and more nurses coming in the room and crowding around the bassinet that our baby girl was just placed in.
There is so much about this day that I can remember vividly, and so many parts that feel like they were a dream. I can still remember how quiet the operating room was, the stares and fearful looks on the faces of all the doctors and nurses, but mostly the proud smile on my husbands face.
Mary Catherine was immediately whisked to the NICU for observation, and to be checked on by more doctors whom might have a better idea what her diagnosis would be with fused fingers and toes and craniosynostosis.
About eight hours after her birth, a geneticist from the Children's Hospital made his way over and made the preliminary diagnosis. We were shocked and sad and more terrified than we had ever been in our lives. As we listened to the geneticist list all of the issues that are related to Apert Syndrome, and all of the surgeries that our beautiful baby girl would have to endure, it felt like our world was crumbling down around us.
We spent most of that day crying and trying to find any information that we could get or hands on about how our life would be as she grew up. The internet seemed to be our worst enemy and our best friend. We stumbled upon a blog by the Skees family called More Skees Please, and had a glimmer of hope! We saw a happy, smiling Aiden and big brother Ethan, we saw what to expect from the surgeries he endured, but mostly we saw the Skees like any other family we know, just going about life on a day to day basis having fun.
We cried happy tears and knew that is exactly what we wanted for our family! We connected with them pretty shortly after, and we shared birth stories and tears and laughs, and they kept reassuring us that everything would be ok. We were finally able to breathe, and were so thankful to have this wonderful family a few years ahead of us in the new journey.
As time went on, we saw that though Mary Cate looked a bit different, she was just like any other baby. She loves to play and laugh and go to the park, and swim, and be pretty mischievous, but most of all she loves to be a big sister to our 2nd daughter, Maggie.
She is the light of our lives, has changed our perceptions on life, shown us the definition of bravery, and has become a pint-sized ambassador to #choosekind. We have enjoyed visiting many Chicagoland area schools to teach children about differences and acceptance and remembering that God has made us all different and unique, and we should embrace that.
Like Taryn, our family is determined to raise awareness and educate others on Apert Syndrome, and thus ApertOWL has been formed.
We are so happy you have found us, and look forward to sharing our life with you, as well as learn all about your life. We are here for the support you need!
The Lynch Family -- Chris, Kerry, Mary Catherine, Margaret, and Brigid