By Dennis Claire, D.P.M., Father of Denny and soon to be Ronan
Well before she was pregnant, my wife said, “If it’s a boy, he’ll be named Ronan.” Our first son, Denny, had a name which was predestined through generations of naming a son in the family Dennis.
I didn’t want to break Irish tradition, and I especially wanted to continue the good name of my loving father who passed nearly 10 years before my son was born.
As we considered our second child, my wife, Lindsay, loved the name Ronan. In the Celtic languages that exist along the rocky shorelines of Ireland and Scotland, there is a story that gives birth to this name.
The seal, a sacred creature to the working Celts of the coast, is known on beautiful days to shed its thick skin at the shoreline. Underneath, a beautiful woman lies. She sunbathes on the rocks without her coat, and legend says, if a man takes this coat, the beautiful woman shall be his.
She will love her human mate thoroughly and give birth to little ‘Ronans,’ her children, but she always longs for the sea.
On our first ultrasound, the slight, fair-headed ultrasound technician spoke with a nervous tremolo, for just months out of school she had encountered her first challenge all of us have faced in the medical field. How do we stay professional, caring, and truthful in dealing with bad news for our patients?!
My wife and I had already been fixated on the near mirror-perfect images modern ultrasound provides. Something was not right.
Our childs’ fingers and toes were not all there. Something about his nose and face was disfigured. Our inquiries were met with the nervous reply from the overwhelmed ultrasound tech that a doctor would be able answer our questions.
We were rushed into the video conference room to speak with a specialist in the largest city near us, Portland, Maine, a city of only 66,000, 150 miles away.
As we felt isolated from all humanity, the pediatric neonatologist said, “I believe your baby has EEC Syndrome…” which stands for ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting.
Helplessness, fear and indignation enveloped our physical and mental state of mind. When we arrived home, we began studying. To me, hope is defined by the progression of education and humanity.
In a few short weeks, my wife and I traveled the mental and physical planes that come with accepting the suffering of the human condition in an unborn child.
We found strength through the NFED and will be forever grateful. For this alone, I have offered myself as a volunteer with no reservations.
Ronan is arriving by C-Section on July 2nd. He still exists peacefully in the oceania of my wife’s womb, a sentient being unaware of the legion of people who will always support him near and far.
He is a Ronan as close to the Earth as any man, as close to the sea as the Celtic legend that gave him his name.
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