"I don’t know what inspires me or taught me, I just do it. I draw because it is fun. I do it for the fans, everyone wants a picture. They ask and I draw. When you draw you can do whatever you want with the paper. When I draw people or action figures, I pretend I am them. It’s cool. I like drawing, playing video games, playing basketball with my dad and listening to music."
At a ripe age of 13, Rylan has experienced more medical adventures than many of us do in a lifetime. He is one of the bravest kids I have ever met.
Rachel (Rylan’s Mother) is one of the strongest Mother’s I’ve ever met. Her love for her children is inequitable. Her outlook on life and sense of humor is inspiring. It is an honor to share their story.
On August 15th, 2001, girl found out their miracle was actually 2 miracles! However, just 4 weeks after finding out there were 2 babies, were told the first of many heart breaks. At a routine appointment, their Dr. told them they were going to have to see a specialist. Their radiologist wasn’t able to find a sac separating the 2 babies, which if true could be devastating. Just 3 days later, on a Saturday morning, they found themselves sitting in front of their new Dr. He took his time during the ultrasound, and after almost an hour, found a this sac membrane. Wow, what a relief! He then sat an additional hour taking to the boy and girl, explaining and helping them understand more about this journey with multiples. He had then follow-up 4 weeks later, but felt very good about the pregnancy. Girl had no morning sickness and was progressing nicely. At this appointment, boy and girl found out their miracles were BOYS!! How exciting!! Dr. then told them that since things were progressing so smoothly that he was releasing care back to original Dr.
In October 2001, girl was at work and her lower back was really bothering her. She tried to stick it out at work, but as the day progressed something just didn’t feel right. She called her Dr. and went for an exam. Then office monitors weren’t picking up any contractions, but the Dr. didn’t want to take any chances, so she sent the girl to the hospital. Once hooked up at the hospital, their monitors told a much different story. The girl was contracting, every 1 to 2 minutes. The girl was so scared, since she knew at only 19 weeks, that her precious boys wouldn’t live if delivered. Thankfully with prayers, and medical intervention, the labor was stopped. The girl stayed overnight to make sure things were not going to start again. The next day she was sent home on bed rest… and back to the specialist. After 2 weeks of continually bed rest at home, the specialist felt the the girl was doing well enough to go back to work part-time (since all she did was sit all day calling insurance companies, begging them to pay the VA for past bills!). Two weeks later, over a long weekend, and just 3 days before another routine appointment, girl started to feel like she was getting the flu. No fever, just tired and achy all over. She knew she could get through the weekend knowing she was going to see her Dr. on Tuesday morning. Little did she know how much her world would change at that visit… During the visit she explained how she was feeling, and they did an already scheduled ultrasound. During the scan, the boy and girl were able to see their active boys! Baby B was not happy with sharing his living space with his brother. He then proceeded to show that feeling by kicking his brother, repeatedly, in the face! After seeing how nicely the boys were doing, it was then hard to hear the news that came next.
What the girl thought was the flu, had actually been pre-term labor, at least 3 days worth. When checked there was significant cervical change, and the Dr. dropped the bomb that the girl was going staight to L&D. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. You will see nothing but your hospital room until these active boys make their debut. They were devestated. The girl more so, knowing that at just 23 weeks, those active boys wouldn’t surivive delivery if they came in the next few days. It was just 2 days before Thanksgiving. Over the next 5 weeks the girl did everything they asked of her. Eat 4000 calories a day, done. Take 2-8 shots a day to stop contractions, done. Take 2 steroid shots in the hip to help develop their weak lungs, done. Be moved to delivery 3 times, and put on horrible magnisium sulfate to stop labor, done. Every day they checked a day off the calendar. Every week the girls’ parents brought a un-birthday cake to celebrate the fact that girl was still pregnant. The girl put her on needs on hold for those of the 2 precious baby boys that she carried. For a precious 5 weeks and 5 days, the girl stayed pregnant. Giving her boys the most precious gift , besides life, that she could give them… viability.
The girl knew that when things happened, God willing, her boys would survive. On December 24th, 2001 at 12:10pm, the time had finally arrived. After having some complications, the boys decided they had waited long enough. Things progressed so quickly that the girl had to be put to sleep for the emergency C-section, and the boy had to wait in the hall. Neither being able to witness the birth of their miracles. But at 12:27 pm, Baby A; Alexander Michael Whiteman, a hefty 3 lbs 1 oz and 16 in long was born. Then just one minute later, at 12:28pm, Baby B; his smaller but equally hefty brother at 2 lbs 12 oz. and 14 3/4 in., Rylan Gabriel Whiteman was born. Knowing that they were being blessed with miracles, their own angels, the boy and girl gave the boys middle names of the only 2 named angels in the bible. Not knowing how this journey would go, they knew that they names would be fitting… either outcome. This is were the war over these two small creatures truely begins. Although they were big for being only 28 weeks and 4 days (they were in the 80 & 85% for their gestational age), they were going to be prove to be fighters. They Neonatal Intensive care unit always gives new parents very generalized information. Each baby is different and will respond different, but generally, NICU babies are released around their due date. Generally identical babies, will take the same road, and have similar NICU treatments and stays. As they had already proved, these boys were anything but “general” babies! From the moment of their birth, continuing to present day, the only thigs these boys have ever shared is their DNA and birthday.