Seven months after their infant daughter died, Georgetown football coach Bob Benson and his wife, Potomac School field hockey coach Meghan Alexander, became parents again. Kaylyn H Alexander Benson was born on Sunday at 8:27 a.m., weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces. Mother and baby were expected to be released from the hospital yesterday.
Kaylyn's middle initial is in memory of her sister, Hope, who died on Jan. 14 -- four days short of her seventh-month birthday. Hope was born with trisomy 13 or Patau's syndrome, a rare chromosome abnormality. The average life span of trisomy 13 babies is 21/2 days.
Alexander said it was Benson's idea to remember Hope by having H be a part of their child's name. "The thought process is down the road all of our kids will have H as a middle initial," Benson said.
Because of what they went through with Hope, Benson and Alexander were understandably anxious throughout this pregnancy. "I was paranoid," Alexander said. "I had every test done. I think I was more anxious as I got closer to delivery. I was no longer naive. I knew what could happen."
Everything has gone smoothly so far, but that hasn't eased Alexander's fears. She admits to watching Kaylyn breathe.
"I am scared to be happy," she said. "You never know. The last thing I want to do is be an overprotective paranoid mother. . . . I'm grateful for every cry that she has."
Benson's football team opened practice on Aug. 10. Alexander's field hockey team will begin practice on Monday. Just as with Hope's birth, neither coach is taking much time off -- although Alexander will coach only part time. They are looking forward to diaper changes and feedings that don't require a tube.
"This is what I would call having a full plate," Benson said. "I'm looking forward to it. It's good."
-- Kathy Orton