As some may know, my pregnancy had some complications. Other than a potential heart defect (that came out to be nothing!) his growth issues and the fear of having to deliver the baby way too early, there was also the possibility of our sweet boy having Down Syndrome. It’s been out in the open for a while now but as of several weeks ago we recieved the test results that confirmed August indeed does have DS.
When they took August back to be weighed and cleaned shortly after he was born, Jimmy followed behind and snapped photos and that was when the tears came for me. I began to weep. I said goodbye to the child we expected and mourned that loss. Then through tear-filled eyes I glanced over at my husband and son and looked at Jimmy’s face and all I saw was pure adoration as he stared at his son and took photo after photo. The tears were still there. But they were tears that for me, were the first steps towards acceptance. Because even though we didn’t get the confirmed diagnosis until weeks after his birth, in my heart I knew. I just knew. And as I laid there with voices all around me and nurses oohing and ahhing over our new baby, I heard only one voice. And it wasn’t my own.
So he may have Down Syndrome. But you and Jimmy are going to be so blessed with this precious gift from Me.
Then they handed him back to me. His huge eyes opened wide and blinked around the room, then stared straight into mine and something happened. God answered my prayers…that a Down Syndrome diagnosis wouldn’t be the only thing I would see when I looked at my son. There was an undeniable bond between us and our son and tears of happiness, heart swelling happiness overcame me.
Look, I can’t say that life is rainbows and sunshine with our new baby 24-7. It’s hard. We have tons of appointments. Some that will be out of state. Tons of follow-ups. Medication. Physical therapy/occupational therapy/speech therapy, Appointments that are essential to go to, but still hard to cope with. We as parents are struggling bigtime. And I worry for his future and potential obstacles he may come across. I feel an intense mama bear instinct to protect him. And when I struggle with thoughts of the future and less than great news at doctors appointments, the anger and “why us?” thoughts begin to surface. How did this happen? Why did this happen to us? Our odds were SO low, yet we were “the one” in so many thousands. How are we ever going to be cut out for this? It’s not fair…
But we were chosen by God to be his parents. And I’m realizing that if we did end up having a baby with typical chromosomes, it wouldn’t be August. And I want August. He is ours and he may have that extra special chromosome, but he is normal. He is our normal. He whines and yells at you when you change his diaper before he’s been fed. He loves baths and getting his hair washed. He loves loves LOVES to be cuddled and held skin-to-skin. He is no different.
And when we announced to friends and family that the test results came back positive for DS, I got flooded with inbox messages and many of them shared about a person they know with Down Syndrome, whether it was a relative, family friend, someone they went to high school with, or someone they worked with. Every single person shared how much of an impact that special person made in their life. How they had never known anyone so loving, happy, and wonderful. They told me funny stories, told me about how smart these kids were, and how they along with so many people loved being around them. The more messages I read, the more I realized as Auggie grows up, he will be THAT boy. He will grow up to be that special boy and later that young man who people will tell stories about. He will be the person that will impact so many lives and give hope to those who are learning to take those steps forward to getting to know their new blessing. And the cycle will repeat itself. And I love that my son gets to be a part of that cycle.
So please, no “I’m sorry” comments. Down Syndrome is not a tragedy or a death sentence, it’s a blessing. HE is our blessing. No, better yet, our tiny miracle.
But like I said, we have a long way to go. We still need to ask God to lift those feelings of anger, sadness, and worry for our son. But as the ever so popular essay goes, We thought we were going to Italy, but we landed in Holland instead. And that’s where we will stay. Not what we expected, but no less beautiful. And you know what? I think in time, we’re gonna be more than okay with that.