There was very little about Charlie's entrance into this world that went as I had expected.
I was expecting to have time to defend my thesis, sew burp cloths, get my hair cut, and then to have the all natural birthing experience I had worked for.
I didn't expect to have him taken to a different hospital just hours later and stay there in the NICU for eight days.
He was going to stay in my arms until we went home together.
I completely and totally never expected PKU.
I had never even heard of it until the doctor told us the news.
I felt shock. There had to be a mistake.
I felt intense anger. This was not fair and I was SO MAD!
I felt confusion. Why? Why? Why? And what does it mean for him? For us?
I felt completely and totally overwhelmed and inadequate.
I didn't expect at that point to feel strength and peace.
But it was there.
I never expected to take blood tests on my baby twice a week. I never expected to HAVE to supplement nursing with formula. Let alone a prescription formula that is weighed out to the gram every day, to an amount given to me in twice weekly phone calls from a dietitian.
I also didn't expect to feel so grateful that this special formula exists so that my baby can grow up and live a healthy and happy life.
I didn't expect the miracles. Like Charlie learning how to nurse weeks after the feeding tubes and bottles.
I never expected to feel the prayers and faith of others like that. It was so very real. It was tangible. It was SO POWERFUL.
It told me that someone else had expected this and was going to make all things possible.
I didn't expect the daily assurance that this wasn't an accident and that I am supposed to be his mother,
and I couldn't have expected the intense joy that comes with that role.
I never expected it to be this good.