Friday, December 22, 2006

What A Nice Day

This morning, Paige slept in after we were all up and ready to go off to work and school. It is very unusual for Paige to have to be woken up, as she is quite the early riser.

Dakotah and I went into her room, and she was laying on her pillow, sound asleep, with her hands behind her head. This was quite unusual as well, as Paige usually sleeps with her face planted somewhere between her toes!

We were looking at her sleeping, and Dakotah says, "Isn't it amazing how perfect she is?"

Can you imagine how much I loved both of my children at that very moment?

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Tonight, we decorated the Christmas tree. O.k...Wayne and I mostly decorated it, as the kids got bored somewhere in the first half hour of production!

Paige laid on her belly and swung her feet behind us, and just looked at the lights and all of the ornaments while we were decorating. Dakotah played with the dog, took 20 pictures of herself on the digital camera, played Christmas music for us, etc.

And...I had an incredible deja vu moment. After suggesting that we anchor the tree to the wall to my husband for the 100th time -- "Look, all we have to do is tie a string around it, the hook is already there!" -- the inevitable happened -- one ornament tumbled the tree!!

So, off to the van he goes to get the twine that we needed. Suddenly, I was transported 10 years back in a very real way. Almost 10 years ago to this very day, Dakotah was 3 years old, watching Frosty the Snowman on TV, Wayne was at the gym working out, and our tree took a tumble.

I sent Dakotah off to get the phone and bring it to me so I could call Wayne as I held the tree in place. As she went to hand it to me, it rang.

It was my ob/gyn with my amnio results. "I'm very sorry to have to tell you this, Mrs. L, but its Down syndrome."

At nearly 28 weeks, the conversation continued, with her offering me the chance to abort -- explaining that in the case of genetic problems such as this, therapeutic abortions can be offered to mothers because of the stress involved, and the risk to the mother's health because of this great stress.

I don't know that I had a reaction to her suggestion of abortion -- I was more interested in knowing the sex of my baby -- a GIRL!!! just what I had wanted! And thoughts swarmed my head of what she would look like, how her life would be, etc.

All this as Frosty played in the background and I held onto that tree for dear life.

When Wayne came home, we talked about the baby, and the news we had gotten. I think I was stunned, and suddenly very conscious of my role as a Mom - that this was our child, and our destiny was about to change in a very big way.

That night, my little girl once again put my life into perspective. As I tucked Dakotah into bed, she kissed my stomach, as she did every single night of my pregnancy, and whispered, "good-night babydoll, I love you."

In that moment, I realized that the baby I was carrying was the exact same baby that she had been the day before, the week before, the month before. Nothing had changed, except I knew a little bit more about her.

In the weeks that followed, I would have many ultrasounds that would show us over and over again that the baby had no functioning kidneys or stomach -- that she was surviving simply because she was inside of me.
Our hope for her became the hope that she would live long enough to be able to harvest her organs and give the gift of life to some other newborn.

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What a difference those 10 years have made! If I were to ever get that call again, "I'm sorry, Mrs. L., its Down syndrome -- and a little girl" --- I would have to drop that Christmas tree right where it stood, so I could fall to my knees and thank God for this great blessing -- this very, very perfect child.

At the same time...these 10 years have not changed everything. Dakotah still sees her little sister as a beautiful, perfect little girl.

And I still thank God every single day for both of these children, created just for me, perfect for me in every way.

7 comments:

Rebecca said...

Oh Betsy, this is so beautiful, and I agree about how amazing the gift of a child with DS is.

Merry Christmas!!!

Shelley said...

Such a wonderful post yet again Betsy - thank you!. I would hope that 10 years and projects such as Gifts will also help medical staff who 'have to tell' women such as ourselves - 'Down Syndrome' - may they feel comfortable enough to be able to recognise our need for adjustment but also to be able to tell us the truth - God bless you and this wonderful child - a child that is like all others, a child that is also unique.

Tara Marie said...

What a blessing Miss Paige is, as without her, I would have never gotten to meet her amazing Mother and learn about her beautiful big sister.

Betsy, again, I leave with so much to think about and so much to give Thanks for. Thank you my dear friend.

May you have a Glorious New Year.

Nicole said...

I just love you Betsy! You are a great teacher and friend.

jennifer said...

You have a beautiful family and a lovely blog. I am starting a new one, for parents of children with Down syndrome, called Pinwheels. Is it okay if I link to you?

You can view it at: http://jennifergrafgroneberg.wordpress.com/

Tara Marie said...

Happy New Year!

Camille said...

Knowing Paige personally, I can only thank God that you Felt the you did!!!
Had not Paige been around, our lives with Emma would definitely have been very, very different.
Merry, Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!