Thursday, October 3, 2013

A special month for a special boy

Deep breath, Jennifer. Deep breath.


Leaves changing.
Soup stewing.
Colors vibrant and colors brilliant.
Brisk mornings.
Fall Festivals.
Tailgate parties.
Skinny jeans and bulky sweaters.
Haunted houses.
Spider rings.
Witches brew.

I love October for all of those lovely things.
But since a memorable call on December 16, 2011, I love October for something else.

Some of you know the story.
I was leaving my school on a Friday afternoon. My room cleaned, leaving no evidence of Christmas parties and presents regifted with love from children whose names will forever be imprinted on my heart. I was full in every sense of the word. A growing baby nestled comfortably between the sausage balls and sprinkled cupcakes I couldn't refuse, and staying toasty warm from one too many cups of hot cocoa. He wasn't a he yet. Well, we didn't know he was a he. Teachers said joyful goodbyes, as we wouldn't enter the doors of the school house until the next year.

I stopped abruptly at a red light, with thoughts of sugar cookies, gift wrapping, and mentally preparing my Saturday agenda. "One quick call," I thought. I had gone in a week prior for my quad screen, and had pushed it to the back burner, with the hustle and bustle of a busy week clouding my thoughts. But before I began my holidays, I wanted to hear for sure that everything was just fine with my little baby.

I called, expecting to hear a standard "Everything looks great, we'll see you next month." Instead, stopped at that red light, with Chick-fil-A across the street and my school close behind, I heard something very different. My precious nurse, who I always admired for speaking in such an articulate tone, confident in herself and her knowledge, stumbled. Her voice quivered, and she implored me to call back once I returned home. I don't remember the drive. Somehow I maneuvered my car the eleven miles from school to home. The thoughts of pending errands a blur. Brian wouldn't be home for another hour, and knowing I couldn't wait all weekend, I called the doctor back. Through shaking hands and already tear filled eyes, I sat hugging my knees, planted firmly on my plush bedroom comforter in my dark room, willing the doctor's words to be anything else. The words he spoke plunged fear into the depths of my being. He conveyed the results of my test - my baby had a 1 in 6 chance of being born with Down Syndrome.

The next minutes, hours, days, months were a mixture of emotions. We celebrated, but we also worried.

We knew there was a chance, but never confirmed this speculation.

On May 11, 2012, our baby boy, Baker, was born. He was 5 pounds, 13.9 ounces of pure joy. Almost 19 inches of delectably soft skin. He had long skinny legs, the most kissable lips, a smell I can still remember when I close my eyes and breathe in deeply, bright blue eyes. And he also had Down Syndrome.

It was there. It was obvious to us. But it was not the first thing we noticed.

Those first few days were scary. There were cords tangled across his teensy body. The beeping machines pierced the stark quiet room. Bili lights and masks made it impossible to gaze into his eyes. And not getting to hold my baby was the hardest thing I have ever experienced. Tears well and threaten to spill over even now.

Those first few days were overwhelmingly wonderful. There were first feedings. And first burps. First gowns. First kisses. And pictures of everything. Oh, those first days were sweet.

We have loved him all along.
From our dating days when we dreamed about getting married and starting a family, to the days we were praying oh so hard for a baby, to the day in late September when two pink lines appeared, to the day in December when the news tumbled in, to the day we found out he was a he, to the day the ultrasound picture revealed a little baby with arms and legs and not just a big blob, to the sweetest day in May when he was placed on my chest for the first time, to the first time he rolled over, to the day he ate his first food, and first said my name, to the day he sat up and crawled and signed his first sign.
We have loved him all along.

In October, in addition to all of the other wonderful things about this month, we celebrate Baker. We celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness.

I will do a few more posts in honor of this month about where we are now, Sign Language, therapies, milestones. I will do a few more just because posts, and smitten with love posts, and posts to make you aware. That Down Syndrome is a thing, but it's not the thing. It's an okay thing. It's not who Baker is, but it is a part of who he is. It is a part of us. Our everyday, but not something we think about everyday.

We celebrate you, my sweet Baker Boy. And we celebrate the other families who have been blessed with this gift. Cherish it. For every day, every milestone is a gift.

1 comment:

  1. Love your post! Made me cry.