Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quad Screen, Take 2

Today is the day before Thanksgiving. And I would be a selfish fool to think I have little to be thankful and grateful for. I'm 18 weeks pregnant with baby number two, and though the pregnancy was a bit of a surprise, we always wanted to have kids close in age, so we're ecstatic. However, as a mother of a child with Down syndrome, my risks for having another child with Down syndrome dramatically increase to 1 in 100 vs. the 1 in 800-something during my first pregnancy. So of course, it's been hard to breathe easily during these first 18 weeks as I awaited the Quad screen that reveals if there are increased levels indicating Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities.

We had the Quad screen done last Monday, and I thought that surely the results would have been in by now, so I called my nurse to find out and she was able to reveal that everything on the screen was negative, meaning I'm carrying a baby with 46 chromosomes. I don't know why I was so happy to receive the news. In fact, when I got off the phone with my nurse and called Dan to tell him, I started crying because I felt guilty and ashamed for being so relieved, mainly because I wouldn't change Bear for anything.

So as I said, today is the day before Thanksgiving. I have much to be thankful for: a child with 47 chromosomes who is the most perfect gift, a child on the way with 46 chromosomes who will be a compassionate and courageous individual who fiercely loves and protects his/her big brother, and a husband who is the glue that holds us all together.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Dearest Baby,

One year ago today, the most wonderful gift came into my life. You. Upon my first glance at you, I immediately felt my heart expand, and never could I have fathomed that it could hold so much love; I should have known then that you would continue to blow all expectations I could hold for myself or for you.

Twelve days after you were born, I received the scariest news I had ever heard: you had Down syndrome. I tried to be strong, to keep it together, but I couldn't hold back the flood of tears. I didn't know what all that meant. All I could think of was how you wouldn't be the child I had hoped for. I was so wrong.

Today, twelve months after that diagnosis, I find that I am the most blessed woman on this earth. There are no words to express the incredible love I feel for you or the joy that you bring to my life. You are the most joyful, pleasant baby I have ever laid eyes on. Your sweet spirit exudes from every part of you. Your eyes say it all--how much you love me, how happy you are, how much you want to bring that happiness to others. I cannot wait for the day that you can express that love and joy in words. Long before you were born or before I knew you had Down syndrome I prayed for a few specific things, one being that you would bring love and joy to this world, and the other being that you and your Daddy would be best friends. You are a constant reminder of God's faithfulness to answer prayers. Everyone who knows you is already so full of that love, and God answers my prayers over every day when new people learn that love.

My sweet, sweet baby love. Thank you for being the baby I never knew I needed, for changing your mama's heart and expectations. For bringing me the greatest love I've ever known. For teaching your Daddy and me to dream bigger dreams. Forgive me for thinking any differently, for being scared, for being ignorant. You are my baby of whom I am proud. You are my love. You are my life.