I’ve mentioned here and there how we have so many bizarre and unusual things in our house, but I don’t think I’ve ever listed them all in one place here. I think we’ve actually gone way past “one in a million” at this point. I don’t even want to multiply the odds out.
First off, we have triplets. They were not completely natural triplets, so the odds on that aren’t as high as they would be otherwise, but still pretty high even for taking Clomid. They started out as quadruplets, which bumps the conception odds up to 1 in 333. I don’t have any idea what the numbers are for a set where one spontaneously aborts. Moving along, the triplets were born at 26 weeks 2 days, very early even for triplets. Average birth weight at 26 weeks is 760 grams, or about 1 lb 12 oz, and multiples are usually smaller for gestational age due to crowding. My kids were 900g (2 lbs), 830g (1 lb 13 oz), and 810g (1 lb 13 oz), making them a bit big for their age and huge for triplets their age and giving them a leg up in the NICU. At 26 weeks, they each had about a 30% chance of some long-term disability. With only one having cerebral palsy so mild you can’t tell it today, and a few scars here and there, I think we beat those odds.
In the process of having triplets and the multiple surgeries that entailed, I found out that I am resistant to anesthesia. The triplets were born in what ended up being essentially unmedicated major abdominal surgery, and subsequent surgeries, while not as traumatic, have confirmed my resistance. I am also resistant to analgesia medications, even the heavy-duty ones. I have no idea what the odds on this is. Every time I try to look into it (most recently out of concern for a child of mine), I run into a wall of disbelief from doctors. Either it’s really rare, or they’re really good at covering it up.
When the triplets were three and we were expecting number 4, Brian got laid off. Seven months and another baby later, he found a job across the country, and they paid to move us there. That’s right, we left Texas and came to Michigan for the money. (Anybody in Michigan knows how crazy that is!)
After moving to the Great White North, we found out that one of our kids was allergic to the cold. No, really. It started with swimming pools; he would break out in hives whenever we went swimming…except when we were in Texas. Eventually, he started wheezing in cold air, and developing stomach cramps and body aches if he spent to much time in the cold without enough protection. It’s a real condition, called cold urticaria, with an incidence rate of 0.05% according to one study.
On the positive side of the odds game, I managed to have 2 all-natural, out-of-hospital VBA2Cs with pretty big babies. The rate of successful VBA2Cs is somewhere around 30%. Booya.
On to the eyeballs: Brian’s eyes are so unusual, he ended up being seen by every doctor on staff at Bascom Palmer when he was two years old (awake, poor guy!) (and he still got the wrong diagnosis!). He’s been stopped in bars by ophthalmologists who just wanted to have a quick look. We were told it was not genetic, no way, not possible, we’d be in the record books if our kids inherited his eyes. Oops. It’s genetic, and four of our kids have it. It’s rare enough that most optometrists and even ophthalmologists will be lucky to see even one case in their entire careers. Research papers state that they believe only 10% of the carriers of our mutation will ever show symptoms; in our family, it is 100%.
A couple of years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, specifically acute myeloid leukemia caused by the 15:17 translocation. It almost killed her, but her oncologist said at the time, “If you are going to get cancer, this is the one you want to get, because this is the only cancer we use the word ‘cure’ for.”
But wait! There’s more! Kender was diagnosed with autism last year. There’s no real sure answer on how unusual this is. The autism rate in the general population has passed 1%, but it has historically been overdiagnosed in blind children. Many blindisms look just like autisms. We were lucky to find a psychologist who was willing to learn and work with us to tease out the differences.
There you have it, our one-in-a-million family. Who knows what lightning is going to strike next? I just spent way more time writing that up than I originally intended, mostly because I kept finding these awesome articles and papers to read as I looked up statistics. If the end is a bit scattered and abbreviated, it’s because I’m cross-eyed. Good night!