Welcome to my blog!

A blog about our busy family with two amazing kids, one of whom happens to have Down syndrome!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Deciding to be done

I have agonized over the decision to have another child for the past three years. Greg has always wanted two children. I had always wanted three.

I hated the thought of Lauren having Down syndrome having any part in our decision. Because I would choose her over and over again. And I would welcome another child with Down syndrome happily.

But I also know how to protect myself and my heart. We are at a greater risk for a baby with any chromosomal disorder, not just Down syndrome. Sometimes I feel like I barely came out alive after Lauren's hospitalization, illness and surgery. I'm a totally different person than I was before we had her. I'm still not totally sure if I like myself better then or now, but the result remains the same. I am different. Anyone with a child who has been critically ill will likely tell you the same.

I'm not one to live my life based on "what if", truly I'm not. But I do feel that I've come to a point where I need to protect myself.

When we found out Lauren had Down syndrome we were offered termination. I immediately and angrily refused and demanded it not be brought up again. I could never choose that.

Right?
I hate the question mark that follows that word. I hate that its become a question for me.

And here is where the "what if" comes in. What if my next pregnancy resulted in a chromosomal diagnosis considered "not compatible with life"? Of course I want to think I would never terminate. But I have lived through the pain of not knowing if my baby would make it. Not knowing if I would bury her in the outfit I chose for her to wear home from the hospital. Not knowing if I would ever again hold her with a beating heart after handing her to the surgical team. I have lived through the self-loathing that comes with the failure to bond with a baby I wasn't sure I'd get to keep. And I know I can't ever put myself through it again.

I felt guilty for wanting another child- like people would think Lauren wasn't enough. And I felt guilty for not wanting another child- like people would think I was too afraid to have another child like her.

There are no guarantees in life. I know this to be true. I thank God every single day for the amazing, beautiful, healthy and PERFECT children he has blessed me with. They are my world.I am content.

I am protecting my heart with a fierce sense of self-preservation that I no longer feel like I need to apologize for. This new woman I have become since Lauren changed my life is more confident, independent, and I can now trust that the Lord has awesome things in store for our family as we are.

I am healing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Meeting friends!

One of the very best parts of our Down syndrome journey is all of the friends we've made. We literally have friends all over the world who also enjoy their lives with chromosomally enhanced children. We've received gifts and cards from friemds- and most importantly for me as a mom, I know there are women everywhere who "get it".

Most recently we got a postcard from friends all the way in Indonesia!!!

I love this journey.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Talk it up

Lauren's speech has really taken off in the past couple of weeks. It's amazing!! She will repeat anything- provided she feels like it.

Her new phrases are Let's go! and Come on!

Can you tell patience is not the strong point for a three year old?!

I am loving this. I worried if she'd ever be verbal. Obviously she is way behind her typical peers, but well, she isn't typical. I'm thrilled with her progress.

I took her out to dinner yesterday with friends and the restaurant has a ton of TVs. One of them had baseball, which apparently Lauren loves! She was shouting "Yaaaaayyy" and clapping. She also said "baseball" about ten times! Once the baseball game was over I had to get out my phone and find baseball on YouTube for her to watch. It was a riot! She ate French fries, dipping each fry in ranch dressing. She also insisted on kissing each French fry for a while, her love knows no bounds.

While we waited for our table she borrowed my chapstick and made both of us apply it multiple times. Once we (finally) got seated, she waved to the rest of the hungry and waiting crowd like Miss America and told them all, "Bye!"

She says Mom, Dad, Pa, Grandma, Tio, 'Sus (for Jesus, her cousin), Mel (for Melanie), Ry, Mar (for Martha). She can say the names of several more family members.

She had her end-of-the-year progress report sent home. She's doing really well with her IEP goals! She's met several of her speech goals. She's doing pretty good with her physical therapy goals but still needs work. She has days where she's really steady on her feet and days she falls a lot. Not too shabby for a kid who just started walking 6 months ago! She has a tiny issue with stealing her classmates' seats when they get up, which cracked me up. I can so picture her doing that! Her teachers and therapists are recommending she repeat the 3 year old class next year with continued speech and physical therapy. That is exactly what we wanted! She started early at 2.5, so we assumed she'd do two years in the 3 year old class.

Overall, life is great. And so, so different than I expected. When we found out Lauren had Down syndrome when I was pregnant I could not (or would not allow myself) to see this far into the future. She is truly a joy to parent!

Ryan's parent teacher conference went AWESOME! They said he's totally ready for kindergarten in the fall. He's really excited. I am so excited for him, yet so sad that he'll be away from me all day. It's once step closer to both of them being at school all day and I feel like I'll fall apart when that happens. Thank God we get a couple more years of half-days for Lauren.

Spring is thinking about arriving in the Midwest. Next week it's supposed to be in the 40's for a couple of days!! I can't wait to air my house out and deep clean take naps while the birds sing!