I am the type of person who likes to plan and prepare. I am the queen of list making- you'll find hundreds of them in my house, note pads filled with budgets and grocery and packing lists. Lists of what needs to be done around the house and what I want to buy for my kids. Schedules and calenders, ect ect. Being able to prepare for whats ahead keeps me sane. Surprises? Not so much my thing. It depends on the surprise of course. Coming home to find my house clean, dinner made and the kids tucked in bed so I can relax- I love that kind of surprise. But the surprise, there is something wrong with the car that is going to cost $200 when I already had the budget down to the penny for the month- those I could do without.
Planning felt like it was out of my hands for those four years. I didn't plan on meeting this man, or falling in love with him for that matter. And I most certainly did not plan on getting pregnant before we got married... let alone with twins! I wouldn't change a thing that happened those four years. And the fact that I lost control of what was happening in my life and survived and was happy.... it was all to prepare me for later surprises I would encounter in life. I was now only 23 years old and about 7 years ahead of my original plan.
After the wedding and all the planning for that was over, I took on my next thing- to plan a pregnancy. We started trying... which we knew would not take long, we were both young and already knew we were fertile- after all we did have twins on birth control. We got pregnant first try. I prayed and prayed that it would be just one baby and be my little girl. The first ultrasound ruled it was just one baby this time. I was too impatient to wait for the next ultrasound with the doctor to find out what the sex was, ( I was anxious to start preparing) so after begging and pleading with my husband, we did a 4D ultrasound at 14 1/2 weeks. It was a girl! I am not the screaming kind, but I screamed and would have jumped out of the ultrasound chair if the technicians hand had not been on my belly.
"Today was one of the longest, most painful days I have ever experienced. The doctors found that you have some pretty serious complications. I am trying my hardest to keep remembering that God is in control and that his purpose is greater than mine. I am in so much pain for you and scared of everything our family is about to go through. Your little heart did not form correctly. You are growing, your heart beat is healthy, but your heart is not right. They also found that your feet are turned in. If that is all that is wrong, both problems are most likely fixable after birth with some major surgeries. I will be praying everyday that that is the extent of the situation.But Baby, there could be a lot more wrong with you. This is what scares me the most and what I really need God's help with being strong. If you do make it, I pray that you learn to love God and trust Him in everything. Although I don't like what is going on, God knows and has a plan for you and our family that is greater then I know. On a more positive note, we did get to see you a lot today in all the ultrasounds and you look adorable! No matter what happens your father and I love you and you will be the most beautiful girl."
Surprise! The next weeks ultrasound at the doctors showed us that this was not a normal pregnancy.
That day of nearly 7 hours of seeing doctors is still a blurr to me. Each doctor, each ultrasound the news kept getting worse and worse. They feared a chromosome disorder and recommended an amnio. My husband I both knew we would never terminate a pregnancy no matter what the results of the test, but I wanted to know so I could plan and prepare for whatever it was we were looking at. Two long weeks of waiting and the test results finally came back.
" My beautiful baby, you've been diagnosed with Down syndrome. A part of me was relieved that its not something worse and that I finally had an answer, but the other part of me was crushed that you're not perfect. But I am wrong. You are perfect. You are more then just perfect, you are a blessing and exactly the way God planned for you to be. I had an idea of what you were going to be like and how our family would look, and though its not going to be the way I dreamed, I know that God's plan is better then mine so you will be more amazing than I had imagined. I'm still scared for you and your little heart. Thank you for moving around today, it brought me the most comfort. I love you with all my heart."
I cried and cried after I got that phone call telling me the test results. I cried for my baby, I cried for my family and I cried for myself. I cried until there was no tears left and as quickly as the pain came, it left. I felt a calm I cannot describe and a peace settle in that told me we can handle this. This was why I wanted to do the amnio- I wanted this pain to come before I held my baby in my arms. I knew it would pass, and I did not want to feel it when I was holding my little girl. I'm sure I will cry when she is born, but I am hoping those tears will be mostly tears of joy and not tears of fear. I stayed up late into the night reading Down syndrome web sites and blogs Kelle Hampton- her blog called Enjoying the Small Things and her account of when her beautiful baby girl, Nella, was born with Down syndrome brought me so much comfort. Here was a woman- a family, who was able to embrace this difficult situation and still see the world as beautiful. Her blog was my motivation to start my own, though mine will never compare with her beautiful words and photography. I still go there almost daily for a smile or to cry (something my husband will never understand, that sometimes you just have to cry it all out to feel better). By day two, I truly felt that with God's help, I could handle anything and everything to come. Although I have had many breakdowns since then, simple things such as feeling her move inside me or a quick visit to Kelles blog bring me back to my calm, peaceful place.
professional maternity shots, white dress by: Kelle Hampton