I want this book.
*forgot to mention that I STILL don't know how to imbed a video into this blog so FYI, the link is to the book trailer.
I remember reading Kelle's blog post about the birth of her second daughter, Nella, while we were still in Mexico. A friend had sent it to me. I can't exactly remember the context but timing wise, I'm guessing it was when we were expecting our 4th baby, because I can remember exactly where I was sitting while I read it. Cried buckets. Beautiful post. Had nothing to do with me though.
Little did I know.
That baby we lost to a miscarriage in April. That year we wound up not being able to return to the mission field. Seemed like doors shut right and left and we wound up back in Washington. Not in my plan, people.
Then Alan found a job. Great, but that meant we really WERE going to be here. Then in January, we found out we were expecting again. Excited but nerve wracking. Every day was filled with some moments (fleeting for the most part) of dread of the possibility of losing another baby, but as each week passed, that eased. All along fetal testing was recommended but finally, I said it won't matter and that was the end of it. Then at 18 weeks we had our high level ultrasound because of my age. Everything checked out fine except for one element on the baby's heart. It wasn't a huge deal and no other 'markers' for anything scary were showing up. We declined an amnio and off we went. The rest of the pregnancy went like clock work and life moved on.
October 4th, 2011 at 9:31 am Charlotte arrived. Gorgeous, crying, and big. As I looked at her though, some red flag went up. She looked so much like Janelle but her face seemed a little 'off'. I remember asking Alan over and over again if she was okay.
When they handed her to me, she was wrapped up like a babushka and I remember thinking that was odd how covered up she was. I couldn't seem to get her unwrapped. I chalked it up to the way things were done now-a-days in the medical field. It'd been 10 years since I'd had a newborn and frankly, all that was a blur.
Several hours went by and finally a pediatrician came in and checked over Charlotte. When the words 'Down Syndrome' came out of her mouth something inside me cracked. It was so strange. I had been concerned that something wasn't right but HONESTLY, Down Syndrome never even entered my mind until she said that. All the sudden things clicked into place. Something like a puzzle piece finally fitting after working to shift the angles - only that wasn't the picture I'd expected.
I remember feeling like two people. On the one side, the mother who feels like life is suddenly over. The other side - knowing that it will be fine and we will love her. Postpartum hormones are a rather sucky roller coaster.
Other details began happening and crashing around us but that is for another day.
As we came home and began living and processing things, several people sent me Kelle's blog post again. I re-read it with raw context now.
*PSA: IF you're going to read that in the middle of the night, postpartum, scared spitless, sleep deprived, and feeling lousy, you may want to bring a box of Kleenex to bed with you instead of using the sheets to mop yourself up with. :/ *
That was messy. Some element of me felt irritated with myself of how casually I'd read it before. Cried, sympathized - but it felt cheap compared to how I was reading it now - as a mother of a newborn with Down Syndrome. She does a beautiful job of 'letting it all hang out' for a bit. Then you get to watch the rest of the story unfolding and for me, with a new sweet one on the verge of a road I'd never even thought I'd take and shadowy places ahead, it has been a bit of a promise. Every day I grow a little more grateful to those who've written their stories.
We are working on blooming. We've accepted the reality of our lives for the here and now. I will say with all honesty that we are still working on rejoicing in it continually. We are gaining glimpses of the great joy that there can be in each day. There IS great Charlotte Joy in the midst of Down Syndrome.