"This one is just weird"
8 October 2005
Throughout my life, I have had the good fortune to be able to meet several people who are well known in their respective fields, from Nobel laureates to politicians to authors to movie stars. It's been an interesting ride.
Today I had the opportunity to meet two big stars of the Internet.
Well "big" stars maybe a misnomer, since these guys are anything but big in stature, but their Internet following is large and worldwide.
Today I met Mason and Avery.
Mason and Avery came into the world, and onto the Internet on groundhog day, 2005. Mason weighed 1 lb 15 oz, Avery weighed 1 lb 11 oz.
The boys' mothers, Mary and Andrea, live here in town. Mary went to school with Ned. Andrea, who takes photos professionally, began keeping an internet journal, liberally illustrated with with beautiful photos, charting the ups and downs of the babies as they struggled for their life in the NICU.
We all watched, through the journal entries, as they began to gain weight, were able to be picked up, to be dressed, as they had setbacks and continued to fight back.
I told people about the babies and their following grew. The photos were so beautiful how could you not be drawn into their story, to be cheering them on? A woman in Chicago knitted some newborn caps for them and sent them to me to deliver to Mary and Andi.
At 17 weeks, Mason was strong enough to come home, leaving his brother behind in the NICU.
Avery remained in the hospital another month, with Mary and Andi dividing their time between their at-home baby and their in-hospital baby. Finally, on July 24, at week 24. after recovery from hernia surgery, Avery came home.
Today, I was invited to meet them.
What do you take to Internet stars with a large following who surely must have been receiving gifts from everyone for months? I decided that they probably didn't need any more stuffed animals or cute outfits or toys so instead I picked up several specialty cheeses, bakery bread and fancy crackers and brought them to the mothers, who must surely have little time to think about fancy stuff like that.
The boys are amazing. Avery is still on oxygen ("O2D2," they call the tank which sits in the middle of the family room and whose humming sound provides the backdrop for our conversation). He will probably remain on oxygen through his first winter to help safeguard against infection, and he is significantly smaller than his hunky younger brother.
It's amazing to think they are the same age, since Avery is so much smaller, acts younger, and cries with a newborn baby's cry, while Mason is more coordinated, acts almost like his chronological age (8 mos) and has an older baby's cry.
Mason, Mr. Personality, who is solid as a tank, cuddles up and gives you a big smile. Andrea pointed out that Avery, the oldest (by 1-1/2 minutes) will probably be receiving his younger brother's hand-me-downs for awhile. I spent a lot of time bonding with Mason, though Avery (who just went off steroids for an ear infection yesterday), was obviously uncomfortable and I decided not to try juggling a fussy baby and the oxygen cannula at the same time.
I watched Mary and Andi deftly juggle babies and bottles and diapers and machines while keeping up a running commentary on the prognosis for the boys, their sleeping schedule, their eating difficulties, their massage class, all the while turning to beam at the baby in their lap and speak to them a little bit before turning back to continue the dialog.
This is a house full of such love and such hope and such energy. It's too soon to know what will be the ultimate prognosis for them, whether they will diagnosed with cerebral palsy, whether they will have learning difficulties, whether there will be other neurological problems. But for now, they are just cuddly little babies who have two wonderful loving mothers and literally a world of people hanging on to every report of their progress.
(For reports on Mason and Avery at home, you can check this link.)
PHOTO OF THE DAY