“ARE YOU SERIOUS!” was the 1st thing that flew out of Jillian’s mouth when the doctor told us we were pregnant. Those words were repeated again when the doctor informed us that we were having twins. Tears of joy followed as our dreams of being parents were finally becoming reality. As we left the doctor’s office we felt like we were floating! The only other time I heard Jillian scream that loudly with joy again was a couple months later when we were told we were having 2 boys. The thought that our sons would grow up with a brother always by their side warmed our hearts. We could not have been happier.
For 23 weeks and 5 days we had a model pregnancy with zero complications. At 23 weeks and 6 days we were in the hospital and Jillian was put under strict bed rest as her water broke for one of our sons. Immediately they started anti-contraction medication as she was starting to experience slight contractions. Jillian laid in bed for 6 days and never was allowed to raise her head above a 45 degree angle. It was 6 days of anguish as we worried about our son’s health and because Jillian was enduring extreme discomfort by not being able to move freely. After 6 days of encouraging test results the doctors stopped the anti-contraction medication and Jillian was permitted to get out of bed but only to shower. 12 hours later Jillian was in labor and was rushed into an emergency C-section surgery. Our joy had been turned into absolute fear as the idea of giving birth at 24 weeks and 5 days was now a reality.
We had envisioned a day of rejoicing when the boys were supposed to be born but now our only hope was that the boys would live. At 8:45 pm Lincoln James Gorfido & 8:46 pm Paxton Michael Gorfido were brought into this world. Lincoln was protected by the amniotic fluid and was bigger than Paxton as he weighed 1lb 11oz. It was Paxton’s water which had burst and without any protection he born at 1lb 6oz bruised from head to toe. Although we were terrified over the circumstances that had brought our sons into this world, we experienced a joy and happiness that we had never felt before as this was the first time we laid eyes on our beautiful sons. They were perfect.
For 31 hours and 37 minutes Paxton fought with everything he had. For 31 hours and 37 minutes the doctors did everything they could. At 4:23 am on July 16th Paxton passed on. This was the best and worst times in our lives. The overwhelming joy of seeing our precious sons for the first time had turned into eternal sorrow over the loss of Paxton. After the initial shock over losing Paxton wore off, our anxiety was now multiplied with the thought of losing Lincoln.
The only hope we could hold on to was the hope that Lincoln would live. That hope, along with the love and prayers from thousands of people around the world, has given our family the courage and strength to endure over 3 months in the NICU. On October 22nd Lincoln spent his 100th day in the NICU but is now over 6 lbs of pure love and joy. There are still moments of fear and uncertainty but those now take a back seat to the love that overcomes us when we are holding our son.
The days in the NICU are long and when you have to travel 20 miles each way just to spend time with your child, the experience is taxing and slowly wears you down. After 3 months the multiple daily trips, lack of sleep and trying to add in work and regular life has become a challenge. But if Lincoln has taught us anything it is that we are stronger than we know. We are hopeful that Lincoln will be able to come home by thanksgiving but the doctors cannot give us a definite date as it all depends on Lincoln’s health. He is still on oxygen and it is a good possibility that he will have to come home on oxygen. His eyes have not developed properly so far but the ophthalmologist is hopefully that the blood vessels will develop given more time. His blood pressure is on the high side but the doctors are waiting to see if it regulates before we start medication. He has already overcome multiple infections, a PDA heart valve opening, severely under-developed lungs and a minor level one brain bleed. He is the definition of a warrior.
Since his birth he has faced every challenge with courage and strength and we know that he is not alone. Paxton has been by his side every day, watching over him and helping his big brother. We know that even after we get him home safely, we will not have a normal first year. A lot of challenges lie ahead but the only thing that matters is that our son will one day get to experience a normal, happy & healthy childhood. We will always be grateful for the love and support of all who have given us encouragement over these months, and most importantly we will always be indebted to the staff at St. Mary’s NICU for the miracles that have performed on a daily basis that allowed us to bring our son home.
Tadd & Jillian