Lennon Rudolph Plumbo was born on April 19th, 2007. I was 35 and his dad was 42 when we got pregnant with Lennon so I had a quad screening. We were found to have a 1 in 45 chance of having a child with trisomy 18. We then worried like crazy for the rest of the pregnancy. My ultrasound at 4 1/2 months was fine and the doctor said everything looked good so he said we would treat the pregnancy like a normal pregnancy. We just wanted our son to live; we did not care if he was disabled or whatever.
Lennon was born by scheduled C-section due to the fact that his brother Jim, 17, and his sister Rhiannon, 15, were both c-sections. The first thing we heard when he came out was "look at all that hair!" he had some head of hair! After he came out they took him right into the back. As time passed and they did not bring him out to us I started to worry. Suddenly the ob came out and said "he has an extra toe on each foot but that is not uncommon." we were like, ok, no big deal. They then brought my boyfriend into the back where Lennon was and had him cut the cord. The nurse then told him, "See how his hands and feet are still blue? His circulation is not good" I then finally got to see my son for a minute before they put him in an incubator and took him and his dad to the nursery. After a short time there he was taken to the NICU. He was having trouble breathing so he was given oxygen. I was taken to the NICU a short time later to see him and that is when I really saw his broad, flat, angulated thumbs, his large big toes that were two webbed together, his low set malformed ears, his tiny head and mouth, the angel's kiss on his forehead. At 6lbs 3oz he was much smaller than both of my other kids. I like many other RTS moms suddenly grew huge around 8 months and we could not believe he was that small. We thought he was going to be huge based on the fact that my belly was huge and his dad is 6'2".
A cardiologist came in and did an echo of his heart. We were there when it was done and when we overheard "look at the left side, its not there" we were devastated! The geneticist came in and RTS was tossed around but he was not positive. Lennon was then sent to St. Christopher's in Philly. His dad joined him the next day but I was not released from the hospital until 1 1/2 days later. When I finally joined them, we met with the cardiologist, geneticist and neo-natal nursey director. We were then told the devastating news that Lennon was not a good candidate for the Norwood procedure to repair his hypoplastic left heart, due to him also having RTS. He was not likely to survive the surgeries (3 of them) and if he did, his health was likely to be very poor. So we had to make the decision of whether to try the surgery and most likely condemn our beautiful boy to a life spent in and out of hospitals or take him off of the medication that was keeping his ductus open and therefore keeping him alive. We were told that we would have anywhere from 2-3 hours to 2-3 days once he was taken off the meds. We then put our own needs aside and thought only of Lennon. we brought him back to St. Lukes in Bethlehem where he was born. After 5 more days in the NICU there, awaiting a second opinion on the RTS, our worst fears were confirmed. The doctor in Cleveland, via e-mail pics, confirmed the diagnosis of RTS.
We decided to take Lennon home. We were SO glad that we did. Once we got home, without any tubes, wires, bells, temp checks, heels sticks etc, we were able to really enjoy our son. His eyes, which mostly only opened when he ate in the hospital, were open much more often at home. It was pure joy for us and all of the family and friends that came to visit him. He ate well and even nursed from my breast a couple of times. We could tell he had reflux and he also had undecended testicles. We were blessed with 4 wonderful days and nights at home with Lennon. He lived for 12 days total. Once we joined him in Philly on his 2nd day, we did not leave his side once. We slept in the hospital and Lennon slept only in either mine or his father's arms, never in a crib. We took over 700 pictures and 4 1/2 hours of video. Lennon was so beautiful, to look at him, you could not believe he had so much wrong with him. He passed in my arms with his dad by our side and a living room full of his brother and sister and family and friends.
We will never forget our little RTS angel Lennon. He taught us many lessons and he is still teaching us. Life is very fleeting, so always make the most of it and your relationships. And how to be unselfish. And how wonderful your friends and family are in a time of need. Even the nurses and doctors that we dealt with were all wonderful.
A woman that we have never even spoken to, a friend of my boyfriend's sister sent us the poem at the top of the page and we find it to be quite beautiful and exactly how we feel. It shows how much compassion people still have for other people.
Dedicated with love to our precious angel.
Nicole Mollo and Bruce Plumbo