The Cranky Ol' Bat

Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - RuPaul


I'm an Aunt! For Real This Time!

That's the good news.....and I'm proud to announce the birth of the most beautiful little girl in our family since 1967.....hat tip to Alena Joyce, born 9/6/06 in Scottsdale, Arizona around 1 pm.

Then there is the not-so-good news.

She's in the NICU. The doctors are 90 percent certain that she has Downs Syndrome.

I wish more than anything that I could be there with Alena, her mother Mary, and my brother George right now. I know there is not one damn thing I could do for any of them, but being stuck here, unable to travel, makes me and the Tsar feel so helpless.

I could hear my brother's heart breaking from thousands of miles away as he told me the news. And there wasn't one damn thing I could do or say to make it better. For the first time in my life, I really feel like I have somehow failed on my promise to always watch out for him that I made back when I was nineteen at the side of my mother's hospital bed (and repeated at my father's side when I was twenty-five).

I have never before greeted the birth of a child with such a mix of joy and tears like I have right now. The thing is, all of us thought if any child were likely to be born with this condition, it would be our Joey, since I'm well into my thirties and at the age where doctors "strongly encourage" amnios. Alena's mom is only 19, so the doctors pretty much decided that based on her age alone, there was only about a 1 in 5000 chance.

Looks like Alena is that 1 in 5000.

This was completely unexpected. Of all the different things any of us thought would happen, no way did we anticipate this. What her future will be is a mystery. The dreams and hopes we had for her will have to change.

There are a few things, however, very positive things, I do know right now.

I won't be convinced otherwise that little Alena doesn't have two special guardian angels who will be with her always. One's a cranky former Lithuanian airplane mechanic, the second's a irritable former Slovenian airline ticket agent. I'm not sure they could stand each other in life.

They wouldn't be anywhere else now but at the side of their first grandchild, a beautiful little girl blessed with dark hair and blue eyes, named after her great-grandmother.

Most of all, there is no possibility that there is another child in Arizona who could possibly be more fiercely loved and cherished tonight than Alena Joyce.

Welcome to the world, precious little girl, from a loving aunt and proud uncle who can't wait to meet you someday soon.

UPDATE: Alena has a heart defect. She was born without a pulmonary valve. The doctors have given her medication to keep a blood vessel open between her pulmonary artery and her aorta to help keep her stable until they can determine what surgical options they have for her. A pediatric cardiologist at Phoenix Children's Hospital will make the determination soon.

I've been staying up looking up "pulmonary atresia" (the name of her condition) on the web, and the good news is it looks like it generally can be treated successfully. Maybe my favorite little girl just caught a break today. I sure hope so.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ok, I've had some time to do some research on the 'net about Downs Syndrome. I now feel fully qualified to make the following assumptions about Alena and her future.

(Ahem! Had to clear my throat there.)

1. She already is smarter than Cameron Diaz and Jessica Simpson. Combined.
2. When she does learn to talk, she will be far more articulate than Paula Abdul critiquing an American Idol contestant.
3. She'll have more sense than to dress skanky like Christina Aguilera.
4. If she decides to take up acting, no way could she possibly be as bad as Paris Hilton or Mariah Carey.
5. She'll be intelligent enough to know that Kevin Federline is not marriage material.
6. She'll probably never jump on a couch again after the age of seven, unlike Tom Cruise.
7. She'll never show up on the daytime talk shows with ten guys trying to figure out who is the "babydaddy".

I'm not going to deny that she will have a more challenging life. That's for certain. But at least she'll never embarrass the family in those seven ways....and for that, I'll be eternally grateful.


  • At 10:50 PM, Blogger Scone said…

    Oh Kory! Hugs and tears for you and your family, and prayers for the best outcome possible.

  • At 10:55 PM, Blogger Slap-Happy said…


    Yeah, that's a mixed bag, and I wish all involved the best.

    Distribute love liberally.

  • At 4:29 PM, Blogger Deacon Blues said…

    Kids, ya gotta love em.


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