Don’t Go Nuts gave snack bars for today’s Walk for Kids in California. It’s a double privilege for our family because we’re representing our beloved food allergy community and thanking the Ronald McDonald House for being a safe haven at the time of our twins’ premature birth.
I have recently been thinking a lot about my pregnancy, the birth of my twins and the eleven weeks in the neonatal after. It’s a two-year period of time in my life that I hold preciously. It was one of the most difficult and vulnerable times and also a time when the pure loving power of kindness and generosity was most evident. Thank you to Bianca Mora for coming into the DGN daily life recently…and for giving me the gift of remembering. I’m so glad you asked us to be a part of this Walk. Our company is about safety and love, and so is the Ronald McDonald House.
I was admitted into Memorial Hospital fetal maternity wing at 17 weeks. I was in full labor and ready to deliver. I quietly lay in my hospital bed, in constant prayer and positive visualization, with a deep knowing that my babies would be ok…whatever that meant. I had to trust our benevolent Universe and with the love and care of many beautiful nurses and doctors, my family and friends visiting often, and my husband Doug’s ever present devotional strength…our twins delivered at 27 weeks. Our lives changed forever in this moment. They were tiny, beautiful and fierce. They wanted to be here and we needed them to be here…all of us. Truly miracles. From the first moment they arrived, their unshakable bond was clear and powerful. It is a bond that has sustained them throughout the almost eighteen years they have walked this life together.
Lily was diagnosed at three with severe, life-threatening food allergies. Our lives changed again in that moment, and we had no idea what that meant. We had no clue that every decision we would make from that day on would revolve around keeping her safe. Her twin bother, Gray, has been an allergy educator since he was three, and he stepped into that role with the same fierceness he entered the world in that neonatal. This role of “being” beside Lily is bigger than Doug and I can comprehend…it was from a place much bigger and more powerful than any of us. It started at birth (probably earlier) and during the first three weeks of their lives in the isolette (incubator) at Memorial Hospital. Gray was quite strong at birth and got stronger day by day the first week. They were in separate isolettes with beautiful care every second of the day because they were so tiny. Thank you Ms. Kim, Robbie and Anne Marie. Gray was beginning to thrive and our Lil was not. We were waiting to hear if she had experienced a massive brain bleed, and that could not be determined until she was three weeks old. Doug and I thought we had already felt the loneliness of uncertainty to its depths during the time trying to keep our babies in…and we had not. This three weeks felt like 100 years.
At one week old, our doctor said that Lil needed to be with Gray. Even though we had two more weeks before the clear diagnosis for the shadow on Lil’s tiny little brain would be revealed, she needed to be next to her twin brother to get stronger. At one week old, Lil and Gray were put in the same isolette and within 60 seconds of being near her brother, Lil’s breathing stats went from the low 80s to 98…and have stayed there since. She began to thrive, and we heard grateful shouts from Colorado Springs to the beaches of Maine, where my family was at the time of the news, that the shadow was not a brain bleed and that Lily was premature and would have that road to walk…and was healthy. Another miracle.
Life will constantly present challenges and miracles. What I know for sure is that every challenge my children have ever faced has been met with the unbelievably powerful miracles that come from great love. Sometimes the miracle is just that you know you’re not alone and that someone cares. Sometimes the miracle is you go through anaphylaxis, and your child survives and is safe in your arms. Sometimes the miracle is you get a vision of starting a company that will serve allergy families, and you don’t question it. Sometimes the miracle is seeing a need and walking courageously. Sometimes the miracle is meeting a stranger who asks you to be a part of something, and you get to remember all of your miracles.
~ Jane Pinto, Founder