My Great Grandma Mae had lots of dolls around her house that she would fix up and make clothes for then donate to local children in need. When I was a little girl I was told that I could pick out a doll from her collection ... any doll that I wanted. I chose perhaps the most hideous doll available. She had lost most of her hair and her head was littered with holes where the hair plugs once were. Adding insult to injury, the hair that did remain was short, black spikes randomly shooting out of her head in all directions.
Around this same time some family friends brought home their new baby boy from the hospital and after a visit with them I decided that my doll would be named after their baby ... Michael.
Oh, how I loved my Michael. I had no idea that she was so ugly. And to top it off I had named her after a boy. I carried Michael around with me everywhere for years and I remained blind to her obvious shortcomings. I do remember comments being made about her appearance but I wasn't phased in the slightest. She was my baby. I had picked her out and I loved her.
When I was in early elementary school my parents decided to take Michael to the doll hospital to have a wig sewn on her. It was a present to me. I remember feeling a mix of emotions ... anxiety about the change, excitement about her new hair ...
The day had arrived to get Michael back and as the doll dr. handed her to me I felt a sense of dread. They had changed her. She was now donned with a beautiful, blonde wig and I hated it. In an attempt to make her "normal" and "beautiful" I had lost her.
I didn't play much with Michael after that. It might have been because I was getting older or it might have been because Cabbage Patch Dolls took her place. But, really I think it was because she had been ruined in my eyes. I had loved Michael as she was and I loved her despite her hideousness because she was mine.
At the time my parents discussed with one another that God might bless me with a special needs child one day. A child that I would love to pieces despite his/her shortcomings. It had been made obvious to them that my love could extend beyond appearance and normalcy. I would be blind, as I had been with Michael, to the obvious "ugliness" that the world would see and I would love that baby simply because it was mine.
Some 20 years later I'm sitting here on a random Wednesday morning wondering if my parents' prediction might be coming true. Am I prepared for this? Have I grown enough in my faith to handle such heartache? Will it even feel like heartache if Nate and I accept the challenge as a gift? We're a swirl of emotions right now.
A few weeks ago I told Nate that something was different about this pregnancy. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, but I mentioned that perhaps the baby had Down Syndrome. I'm not even sure where that assumption came from. A few days later I ran across a blog (http://www.kellehampton.com) that moved me to tears. I turned to Nate and blurted out, "If we have a child with Down Syndrome I think we'll be ok!"
Two days ago the nurse from my OB's office called to talk about the results of my ultrasound. She said that my cyst is shrinking (yay). She also said that they found an Echogenic Focus on the left ventricle of the baby's heart. She proceeded to tell me that it usually wasn't an indication of anything, but that they would do another scan at 30 weeks to see if it had gone away.
I told Nate what she had said and through tears lamented the possibility of having a child with heart problems. We have been following several children's stories through our cousin's ministry, http://www.gofundme.com/Operation-Matthew-2535. We have seen the fatigue on these parents' faces as they bounce back and forth between hospital and home. We have seen the children that have been sent back home to die in peace surrounded by family. We pray for them. We cry for them.
But, we don't want to be them.
After lots of research we figured out that this bright spot seen on the heart is no indication of a heart problem!!!!! It is a rather common occurrence actually ....... especially in children with Down Syndrome.
And now we wait. What will we do with this disappointment? Is it even disappointment? This is not something we would ever wish or pray for. If we were forced to choose between a child with health problems and a child with Down Syndrome we would definitely choose the latter. Do we view this is a gift then?
So, I guess this is where faith comes in. Faith that there is a purpose for these grave unknowns. Faith that He has a magnificent plan. Faith that we will have the strength to face this with a spirit of thanksgiving and peace. Faith that we were chosen, that we were specifically selected to have this honor. Without this faith we all just simply fall apart. We have absolutely no control of the outcomes, only our attitudes.
While we are desperately hoping that our baby doesn't have Down Syndrome, we can assure you that no matter what our baby looks like, no matter how many chromosomes he/she has, no matter how the world defines it .... we will love our baby. Love with all our hearts.
Because children are a direct gift from God. Even if it hurts.
- I'm a work in progress. I'm a mom to two, soon to be three, awesome kids that have taught me things I didn't know I needed to learn. I'm married to a kind and handsome man that I genuinely love to be with. I like to be around interesting people and enjoy learning from others. I'm quirky, energetic, have a glass that's usually half full (of wine) and am spontaneous when it fits into my plans. My life is much slower than it once was and even though I sometimes miss the old days, I never take these new days for granted. So, I've given up alot of things in order to give more of myself to my family ... and they better appreciate it. I mean, I expect nothing in return for my selfless love.