-I've always been interested in Down syndrome. It's hard to explain. If I saw someone out and about with Down syndrome I would always try to sneak a glance. I was probably one of "those" people that stared. Not with any malice, just curiosity.
-My very best friend growing up, Kristen, had an uncle with special needs. Uncle Mike didn't have Down syndrome though. He was so so sweet. I remember her mom, Debbie, telling my twin sister and I about Uncle Michael before the first time we met him. Debbie had picked us up from our house and she was taking us to her house for a sleepover. She said, "My brother Michael was born different but he's just your Uncle Michael, okay?" I must've been maybe 5 years old. I remember not understanding what she meant by "born different". I honestly thought she meant that the process of him being born was different and that he was born out of his mom's ear (?!?!). Cut me some slack, I was 5!! I was puzzled. Then when I met him I remember, clear as if it were yesterday, that she meant he only looked different. I felt much more comfortable with him looking different than what my little 5 year old mind was imagining. And you know what? He was really and truly just our Uncle Michael. I know Debbie's world lost a little bit of light when Michael passed away. He made a big impact in this world.
-Another best friend, Sarah, has a cousin with Down syndrome. I don't even ever remember learning that Jonathan had Down syndrome, it was kind of a non issue. He's a good guy. The last time I saw him was at his grandma's funeral, before we were even pregnant with Lauren. We had a normal conversation that would take place between two friends who hadn't seen each other in some time. Right after we got Lauren's diagnosis I remember thinking that if she turned out anything like him then we would do pretty good in life.
-When I was in my pediatric rotation in nursing school I had the sweetest patient ever. Well, she wasn't even my patient but I could not make myself stay out of her room! She was this adorable 3 year old girl with beautiful long blonde hair and an extra chromosome. I remember being enthralled with her hair, it was so long and thick. She looked like a miniature porcelain Rapunzel. Oh, and I was pregnant with Lauren at this time and didn't know it yet. I get goosebumps thinking about it.
-The night before our anatomy scan I went out to dinner with my twin sister. (Keep in mind we had done absolutely no early screening so we had no clue that Lauren had Down syndrome).Out of nowhere she said, "What if you have your ultrasound tomorrow and the baby has Down syndrome?" No joke, that really happened. We had a long talk and both agreed that the baby (it feels so weird not to call her Lauren but we didn't even know for sure she was a girl yet!) would be a blessing either way. I think she said something along the lines of, "Some babies just need a little more love!". We found out at around 8:30 the next morning that our baby Lauren did indeed have Down syndrome. When I called her at work before I had the amnio I think both of us were thinking about our conversation the night before in total shock.
So, at the risk of sounding like a lunatic... I think my heart has been being prepared for Lauren for my entire life. I just didn't know it until September 26, 2012. I was meant for her and she was meant for me. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
(I had to post this picture again, I am obsessed with this little girl!!)