September 24th, 2009.
That is the day that forever changed my life. I thought that it meant that my life was over.
September 24th, 2009 I spent in absolute turmoil, utter devastation, and inconsolable tears.
I think this time of year I will always remember. I will remember the depressing phone call from the genetics counselor. I will remember seeing my husband cry for the first time. I will remember resenting my baby. I will remember wishing that my baby would die.
How much one year can change.
I looked in my planner from last year to make sure that I had the date right, and I found a list of Pros and Cons that I had written out when I was struggling through this. I won't share the whole thing, but here is a sample of what was going through my head:
Pro / Con
Makes us stronger / Everyone else is having a normal baby
God is creating her perfect in His sight / Could be severely mentally retarded
Brings us closer to God / Won't look like us
and so on.
I look back at that list now. I recall all of the memories that I have of last year on the anniversay of hearing the news that
"I am so sorry. Your baby has Trisomy 21. She has Down Syndrome."
I wish present Deanna could go back and comfort past Deanna. I wish I could tell her not to cry. I would tell her:
"It's OK. You have no idea how wonderful this is going to be. You are going to love this baby so much that it isn't going to matter to you that she has an extra chromosome.
Yes, this is a different path than everyone else- a path less trodden, but it is the only path that will give you your perfect daughter in all of her glory.
What do you mean she won't look like you? If you compare her baby pictures to yours- you would think it was the same baby.
As far as the mental retardation, it is just a medical term that happens to be attached to this label of Down Syndrome which honestly hides a lot of beauty.
I just went to check on the sleeping princess, and I have to tell you- you have so much joy in your future. I know that it seems like you will never be happy again. But I am here to tell you, that this little girl that you are resenting so much right now is about to make you happier and more content than you have ever been before in your life.
She is a miracle baby. She will slowly wrap her chubby self around your heart and become an integral part of your life. You will find that you can't imagine a life without her. Without the Down Syndrome. You won't be able to imagine yourself down a different path because you love the one you are down. Dry those tears. Don't be silly! Embrace this new path and look forward to meeting your daughter, because I am here to tell you- she is so awesome. You are blessed to have been chosen for this.
Don't be jealous of those other Moms having "normal" babies. Having met Addison myself, I couldn't imagine trading her for one of those normal babies, because she is the perfect baby. She is the perfect baby for you."
Today Aaron and I went to the Vermont Youth Orchestra Concert. Last year, I cried through most of it thinking that my daughter would never be able to do something like that.
This year, I eagerly pictured her as a violinist (or maybe cello), and I could imagine her up on stage playing her instrument. I could imagine that it was her that everyone was clapping for. I could see her cute self hiding behind her instrument, ready to get on with the show and impatient that we have to take time for clapping. I could see her stealing the show in some way unique only to her. I could see her soloing with the orchestra and loving to make music.
Addison is amazing. There's no holding her back.
How much one year changes.
(I wonder what future Deanna wishes that she could come tell me now?)