Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today is an Anniversary

Not one I EVER thought I would celebrate. But on this day, three years ago, we were told our baby has Down Syndrome. We found out from an amnio. Everyone knew we were having it. It wasn't a secret. So when the phone calls started coming - "how's the baby?", "did the doctor call yet?", etc., I lied. At first I just said something like "no news is good news!" and then I REALLY lied and told people that everything was fine. My dr called on a Friday so it was an ugly weekend. I thought "this really sucks" but I didn't allow myself to go into specifics about WHY it sucked. By Monday, I was ready to start learning about Down Syndrome. I got on the internet and searched and searched (only at night - we hadn't even told the kids yet). About 6 weeks later, we finally told the kids. They made me cry when immediately, they were protective. I thought they deserved that, to be told first. A week or so later, we told my parents, then Allan's. A short time after that, I wrote a BIG, long e-mail to everyone in our lived that I had an e-mail address for, to explain that we knew Jack had ds but it was okay, and we were ready to be his family and looked forward to enjoying him and seeing him grow and how much we loved him already. Mostly, the response was super supportive and it was not an issue the rest of the pregnancy.

The reason I'm thinking about this today is since having Jack, I have found out that almost 90% of women who find out their baby has ds prenatally, abort. I'm in a huge minority. And it breaks my heart. If I could talk to a mom who finds herself in that situation (prenatal diagnosis) this is what I would say.

1. Your baby is still your baby. You WILL find yourself thrilled by the little toes (and most babies with ds have the CUTEST toe gap, btw!), and ooo-ing and awww-ing over tiny yawns. You'll still need diapers, little sleepers, tiny socks. Your baby will fall asleep in your arms and you will let those arms fall completely numb before you put that precious bundle down. You will be sleep deprived, frustrated, and deliriously happy all at once. When that wee little sweet-heart smiles at you for the first time, you will MELT. (Sounds like any other baby, right? That's the point!)

2. You will still have fun, go places, and do things as a family. Your child can still participate in sports, go camping, love concerts, whatever your family likes to do. You may have to re-think the way some of these things are accomplished, but it can happen. Jack is learning to ride his little bike. He loves going to the pool. He goes camping, and loves boat rides, and will go to Six Flags again this year. He's a typical little brother 99% of the time - getting into his siblings' stuff, being noisy when they are on the phone, grabbing their sodas when they leave the can unattended. But he loves them so much and they totally love him back. When any one of them walks into the room Jack just lights up. All of them have grown so much because he's taught them patience, tolerance, and how to love someone just for the fact they exist. Your child will be an amazing, wonderful, IMPORTANT member of the family. (Sounds like any other baby too, right?!)

So here's a pic of new Jackson (not too scary, right? just a little oxygen):

And here's the whole gang (yeah, we really traumatized our other kids by having him, can't you tell?!):

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The prior pic was of my kids watching Jack sign a card for my parent's anniversary! His signature looks like a bunch of squiggly lines but if you're careful, you can see the letters (or if you're me, who is impressed with whatever he does!). I still have another surprise for them, but of course, it isn't ready yet. Someday, I will get lots of things done, and my house will be picked up, and I will be very sad, because that will be the day my kids are all grown up and gone.

We spent last week at the Lake of the Ozarks, in a vacation house owned by my in-laws. They very graciously loan out the house to almost anyone who asks - we're waaaaay spoiled like that! They're on the lake, but in a cove off a cove, so swimming is great (no big waves) and the water is pretty shallow where we were. They have a nice Sea Ray though, so we went on plenty of boat rides. I have lots of pics to share but haven't gotten them off the camera yet so there will be another post with them.

This week, we had a cardiology check-up and an ENT check-up. Both went really well! Still no holes in Jack's ticker (Daddy's joke) and both tubes still in his ears. I was trying to remember the last time we saw a Dr. for Jack being ill and I think it was spring of last year! He's had shots but no sick visits! How cool is that?! So our little man is in good shape. Have to get some routine blood work done (thyroid) and a dental and eye check-up, but he's pretty darn healthy (yes, I'm knocking on the desk even though I'm not supersticious!).

My last thoughts are about my first baby - Andrew. He turned 16 this week! How the heck did that happen? I remember like it was yesterday when I went to the hospital to have him. I was scared to death and thought it would be completely awful but I've been so lucky having my kids. They've all come really easy and quick too. But back to Andrew. After he was born, and cleaned up, and we were tucked away in a room to get some rest (HA!), he was wrapped up like a burrito and I was gazing at his adorable little face, and he looked right at me with big wide-open blue eyes and that was it. I was absolutely, totally, completely in love. I remember having to remind myself to breathe. He and I are a lot alike and I think, when he's an adult, I will really like him as a friend. I need to get some of my pre-digital camera photos scanned so I can share how cute he was as a baby. Dad and I love you Andrew, and we're so proud of the young man you are becoming!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Look at this cute pic of my babies!

Can you guess what's going on here? There's a very special event coming up on Sun - my parents' 50th wedding anniversary! I have a couple little surprises for them that I'm not revealing here! I just thought that was a very cute photo!