One year ago today, we got THE call from our high risk doctor/genetic counselor. The call that would forever change our world and we would enter a new world as parents of a special needs child. A world that was so unfamiliar to me that I was instantly lost and overwhelmed. As I think back to that day, it seems like yesterday and the emotions easily come flooding back to me.
It was a Monday and I went to work and tried so hard to keep my mind from thinking about the "what ifs". I watched the clock and as each minute passed, it seemed like hours. I left a few minutes early so I could get home for the phone call.
I had asked that they call me at home so Ryan and I could be together. They finally called and even though we knew what we would hear, the moment we heard that our baby girl would have Down Syndrome, time stood still. I couldn't breathe or think but the tears started flowing and I don't recall when they finally stopped. We started making phone calls to our parents and my SIL and through the tears we explained what little information we had learned. Our family was devastated yet supportive. That night my Dad called and through his tears all I heard was "I need to see you" and I ran to my parents. Ryan understood... we had cried together and now I needed my parents to hold me and let me be their little girl again (if only for a little bit) and that is exactly what they did.
That day began a roller coaster of emotions for the rest of my pregnancy and beyond. I was angry, sad, full of fear and also experiencing grief for the daughter I thought we would have. I prayed a lot but now I admit that I was praying selfishly and I thank God everyday that those prayers were not answered. I felt guilty for the emotions I was experiencing and I prayed that I would be able to accept Isabelle's diagnosis even though our future was unknown to me.
However, now I have my "special needs" baby in my arms but all I see is my Isabelle. I don't see her as "special needs or a baby with Down Syndrome". She is just Isabelle... the baby girl we were meant to have. Sure, she learns things at a slower pace but the point is... she learns things and I am learning to accept this and not compare her to other children. She is and will continue to do everything my boys did as babies and on into adulthood. Just a small brag (even though I just said I won't compare... don't judge- I am still learning), she rolled over much earlier than both of her brothers.
Had I known then what I know now... I would have enjoyed the rest of my pregnancy. This was my last pregnancy and the last 5 months were anything but good. Trust me... we have had both good and hard times in these 7 months of Isabelle's life but we have made it through. Isabelle has taught us so much in this short amount of time that I am excited to see what the rest of our life has to offer. I have learned that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. When it comes to my children, I can and will do anything. It may be hard and I might struggle but I will always protect them and stand by them. In these short 7 months, Isabelle has started therapy, had OHS and blown us away with her progress and her strength. My baby girl is my hero. I love her and I am so thankful she is a part of our family.