This was the beautiful, fall week in gorgeous Vermont that all the beauty turned to ash because of a suspicious ultrasound and a conclusive phone call following the amnio. This was the week that crashed my hopes and dreams- shipwrecked my ideals- exploded my pride. This was the week that I found out that my unborn little girl had an extra chromosome.
At one point this week caused me only pain. The memories were so fresh- wanting the baby to die-feeling as though my life was over- convinced that I would never be happy again. But now the thought of this week three years ago has just faded into the background of my story.
Am I embarrassed of the way I responded to the news? Did I trust God less because for the next twenty weeks I cried every night from the minute I got home from work until the late hour that I finally fell into a restless sleep? Am I a bad Christian because for the first time I understood the feeling of not wanting your baby so badly that you would start calling the baby a "fetus" and wish it would just disappear?
No, no, and no. I am human. I am weak, but I serve a big God. I look back in amazement at how wrong I was about my life being ruined. I can barely believe some of the things I said/thought, but I'm glad I wrote them down when I did. I think honestly is important because that's when it can really help someone else going through a similar situation. I have chosen to be very frank on this blog and in my ebook about my thoughts on this subject not because I enjoy exposing myself in that way but because I know that my story is not the only one to be forced onto an path of the unknown.
Addison has changed my life. I went through such a dark time wondering if I could ever love her. I worried about her future, how she would look, what the label "special" would do to my family. And perhaps some of you reading this think that I am just fooling myself because I am living with a beautiful three year old. That I don't know what I'm talking about because I haven't lived the life of parenting an adult with a toddler mentality.
But I just want to say- that these past years being Addison's mother have been amazing- life altering- mind blowing. No matter what the future brings, I wouldn't trade the gift of the past 3 years for anything. I love her just as fiercely as I love my son, and when I look at her I see my little girl. Not Down syndrome. Not a mistake. My daughter.
She walks, laughs, "reads" books, dances at music class, climbs at gymnastics class, and steals food from her little brother. A little girl.
She says and signs new words every week, plays long hours with her iPad, stacks blocks, climbs furniture, pitches fits when things don't go her way. A toddler.
She gives her brother hugs, competes for toys, runs him down if he gets in her way, has "social bottle hour" with Carter in his crib, explores with him by her side. A sister.
I think that's the thing that I was missing the most three years ago this week. That no matter what the doctors told me- no matter what the google searches revealed- no matter what horror I built up for myself in my imagination- I was having a baby, a person complete with personality, a sense of humor, and a sin nature.
What I thought was the worst thing that could ever happen to me was actually "the good" sent to me to complete my life- to heal a sickness that I didn't even know I had- to make me into a better person, challenging me to new growth every step of the way.
This week three years ago: once a source of great pain, now a point of great thankfulness for the good in my life.
This is a short clip that I wrote for my book No Guarantees, but have cut it out in more recent drafts. It really sums up these past three years, so I'm sharing it here: