Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guest Post: Blessing of Down Syndrome

This is officially my first guest post, and I couldn't be more thrilled than to share with you a dear friend of mine. 

I remember sending her a message {yes, back when I was on Facebook} to tell her congrats on her second pregnancy. We happened to be pregnant at the same time, only months apart. She ended up moving closer to me and we soon started to meet up and a friendship began. 

We would go on play dates together and proudly march around with our baby bumps and watch our crazy toddlers run around with each other. We talked about God, life, pregnancy, our kids, lots of things.

I can honestly say that our friendship grew even closer though after she had her adorable baby girl, Taylor. 

She is a beautiful mommy and her love for her kids just overflows from her. She even gets me to bake sometimes and she keeps telling me we are going to do something crafty. :) Love her! 

Her story inspires me and I couldn't wait to have her share it with you... 

Here is Fay... she blogs here... and this is her story.

I wanted to start by thanking Heather for inviting me to share my story with you on her blog!  It is my pleasure.This is a long one so please bear with me.

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Taylor it was a big shocker.  After all, my son, Brayden, was only 6 months old!  What the heck?!  How can I take care of two kids 15 months apart?  Luckily, it was my last semester of college and I graduated just in time to have my daughter.  It was perfect timing for having a surprise pregnancy if I do say so myself. I was so happy I was done with school and could focus on being the best mommy for my two precious babes. 

Taylor's birthday started out like any other day.  We were laying sod that morning after months of trying to get our dead grass to grow from seed and fertilizer alone.  I woke up feeling a little crampy but didn't think anything of it.  I did not anticipate going into labor since I had to be induced with my son and it was 4 days before my daughters due date.  I thought I at least had another week or so.  So I got up and ready for the day.  I remember I made circus animal waffles for Brayden that morning.  As the morning progressed the cramps did as well.  I wanted to help in the yard and I got yelled at a few one wanted me to go into labor; at least not while they were trying to put the front yard in.  So I stayed back and took pictures of my little man wanting so badly to be big and help his daddy and grandpa. That afternoon we had planned to go to a birthday party for Mark's cousin's daughter. By early afternoon the cramping started feeling more like contractions, but I’m telling you I didn't believe anything was going to happen. I didn’t want to halt all plans for the day so we carried on. We got ready to go to the birthday party and headed out.  I drove with Mark's parents because he was finishing up some work.

On the way to the party my contractions really kicked in lasting at least a minute long and were five minutes apart.  We went to the party anyway.  I didn’t want to be that woman who went in for false labor.  I think I dealt with the pain for almost two hours before I decided it was time to go.  Mark still wasn't there yet so we left Brayden with Mark's dad and his mom drove me to the hospital.  It felt like a dream.  I didn't feel ready.  I didn't have my bag for the hospital, my camera or video camera and I didn't have anything for my baby.  This was not how I had imagined things going.  So I went in signed my papers and they checked me.  Yay!  Good news...I didn't have to leave.  I was dilated to a 4.  What? A 4?  Really?  So we called Mark and told him to head to hospital ASAP.  By that time it was 4:00.  They got me all hooked up and filled me with fluids that made me blow up like a balloon.  I endured a little bit more of the pain and finally asked for an epidural when I was dilated to a 6.  Thank goodness my pain was eased and Mark was there.  Our baby could come now...we may have not been ready but we were waiting.  Finally, after breaking my water and one push she arrived on June 12th 2010 at 7:07 p.m. That little girl was ready to make her entrance! 

The doctors handed her off to me and there I held my baby girl.  I studied every part of her from head to toe.  I knew right away that something wasn't right.  I knew right away that she had Down syndrome.  She had very swollen eyes that were slightly slanted up.  Her nose was flattened and the back of her neck had thick skin.  Those were the only things I knew were associated with DS. Later I would learn the other things that are associated with it also.  I didn't say anything to anyone about what I was feeling or thinking.  I didn't want to ruin this time that was supposed to be a celebration.  No one said anything all night long.  Not a nurse, not the doctor, no one.  So there I was all night with my sweet baby girl that came into this very big world only needing me to love her, hold her, and nurture her. I didn't hold her very much the first night.  I didn’t snuggle her, kiss her, or love her like I should have.  I let her lay in the bassinet next to me.  "She was so good." I thought.  "She doesn't need me to hold her."  I didn't feel connected to her right away like I did with Brayden.  I don't know why, but maybe it was because I was scared of the unknown.  I wish I could take that first night back. 

I was anxious all night and couldn't sleep.  I felt alone and just wanted to blurt out what was on my mind.  I didn't want to say anything because what if I was wrong?  Bright and early the next morning the pediatrician came in to do the routine checkup.  I hated it.  I hated how long it took for her to check over her and make sure she was okay.  I hated all the questions she asked and the things she told me.  I hated that she went to go get the Neonatologist to come in and check her out.  I hated that after he examined her they went to the hallway to talk.  I hated that when she came back into the room she gave me the news I was dreading to hear. My heart sank.  She said it.  She said what I was thinking and knew deep down.  I lost it. I thought “this is not how things are suppose to be.  The daughter I dreamed about doesn't have Down syndrome.  That wasn't part of my plan.  We were supposed to go home with a clean bill of health.”  Instead of celebrating I was mourning the daughter I didn't have.  I felt horrible.  What kind of mom could I be to have these feelings?  I didn't want this to be my life.  How would it affect our family?  What would we have to give up?  Why me?  Why us?  I'm too young to have a child with special needs!  I felt like it wasn't fair and I envied all the moms who were able to take their child home that was everything they ever wanted and more.  I was jealous of their joy.  The joy I was supposed to have, but instead I had a broken heart. 

We couldn't take her home for a few weeks due to some health issues, but you better believe we were in the NICU everyday by her side.  I loved my daughter, but I had to get past the fact that she had DS to fall in love with her.  I had to stop looking at her and just seeing DS.  We had to wait a few days for the definite diagnosis of DS all the while we were still holding onto some hope that maybe it was all a fluke.  The results came in and I lost it again.  This time because it was really for real.  No questions about it.  Our daughter has Down syndrome. How would we tell people?  What would they think? It was hard for it all to sink in and truly accept it, but we did and we are so thankful for her.

We quickly learned about all the services that are out there for families and other children like Taylor with special needs.  We got involved in a wonderful support group where we have met some pretty amazing families and have formed friendships that will last a lifetime.  I have grown closer to God because of her, knowing I can’t do this on my own.  I have turned to him for guidance, strength, encouragement, peace, and comfort.  He has been there for me through it all, never leaving my side.  Even in my darkest moments in those first days he let me know it was going to be okay. I now know the plan that I had for my life is not the plan that God has for me and I had to learn to trust him. It was hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel, but now I have realized how much of a blessing my daughter has been to our family.  She brings so much happiness to our lives.  I appreciate the small things and enjoy them so much more.  You never realize how big those little things are until you have seen someone work so hard to achieve them.  I never thought I would cry when my daughter would roll over, sit up, pull herself to stand, and even babble a few sounds.  She has shown me the true meaning of life.  I wish everyone can see my daughter through my eyes.  We don’t treat Taylor any different than we treat our son. She absolutely loves her brother and enjoys doing things a typical child does.  We do everything we can to help our children learn and grow and become kind loving children.  All we want is what is best for them in this life.  I will be my child’s advocate whether they have special needs or not. The last 16 months have not been easy and I know the road we are on doesn’t get any easier, but I would not change a thing.  Because of Taylor I am a different person.  I am continually learning and growing.  I am still so excited to be a mommy to my two precious kiddos and strive to be the best I can for them everyday. 

At Sawyer's 1st birthday!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month and I want to help spread awareness.  I want the questions you have to be answered.  I want you to be able to see a person with special needs and feel nothing but love for them.  They want nothing more than to fit it.  Remember they are more like you than different.  Yes, they may have some delays in development and a few different features, but it doesn’t mean they can’t achieve the same things you and I do.  It doesn’t mean they don’t have hopes and dreams for their lives just as you and I do. 

How cute is that helmet? She needs open up an Etsy shop!!

Buddies for life.

A few facts about Down syndrome

·         People with DS have 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. The extra chromosome is located on the 21st pair, which is why it gets the name Trisomy 21 or T21. This causes delays in physical, cognitive, and language development.  Despite these delays individuals with DS can still do many of the things you can do as long as they are given the opportunity to experience all that life has to offer.
·         DS occurs in about 1 in 733 live births and can happen to anyone, affecting people of any age, race and socioeconomic level (You don’t have to be 35 and older to have a kid with DS…I was 22 when I got pregnant with Tay).
·         It is not known was causes DS.  It results in an error in cell division called non-disjunction.  DS usually occurs in the development of the sperm or the egg before conception or immediately following conception.  The extra chromosome can come from the mother or father, but in many cases it is the mother.

Every year in October a Buddy Walk takes place to help raise funds for the Down Syndrome Association of San Diego as well as the National Down Syndrome Society.  The money raised helps provide important services that help enhance the lives of individuals with Down syndrome.  If you feel it in your heart please donate.  Every dollar counts.  Just click on the link below.  Thanks for reading my story!! ♥

Linking up here today! ☺


  1. What a beautiful mother you are. Your heartfelt story is lovely. Thank you for pouring out your heart to us so we can understand the journey of parents who have a sweetie with DS. We have a son with Asperger's Syndrome. I can relate to a lot of the emotions you shared.

  2. WOW! what and AMAZING glad I found your blog and I'm jumping over to her's now!

  3. Thanks for reading ladies! This experience has truly been life changing :)

  4. What a great story!! and she is sooo stinking cute! I just love her little heart. Ur an amazing mommy!!

    xoxox♥PIeces of Luv

  5. Such a great guest post. Thanks for sharing! happy to have stumbled across your blog!

  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. So honest and real. You are blessed.

  7. tailors story just touched me so much tonight. I was just blog hopping and I started to scroll through your blog till I got to your friends guest post. The story was riveting and to see your strength is just amazing. you are such a strong women, and I it's amazing to read this story...thank you for sharing...


I'm blessed by your sweet words!

They inspire and encourage me to keep sharing my story...

Thank you.