I Wouldn't Change A Thing
Fay is one of my closest friends. I am blessed to know her and for you to get to know her. This is her story of becoming a mommy to Taylor.
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Taylor it was a big shocker. After all, my son Brayden was only 6 months old! Luckily, it was my last semester of college and I graduated just in time to have my daughter. It was perfect timing for having a surprise pregnancy if I do say so myself. I was so happy. I was done with school and could focus on being the best mommy for my two precious babes.
The day my daughter was born is a day I will never forget. I was anxious to meet my baby girl. I couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms. I wanted to kiss her cheeks and looked forward to bonding with her; snuggling her, nursing her, and loving her all night long. I was excited for her brother to meet her and to have a sister to play with, teach, and watch over. I went into labor on a hot summer day in June and a few short hours later she was here. Our family of three had now become a family of four.
The doctors handed her off to me and there I held my baby girl. I studied every part of her from head to toe. I knew right away that something wasn't right. I knew that she had Down syndrome. She had very swollen eyes that were slightly slanted up. Her nose was flattened and the back of her neck had thick skin. Those were the only things I knew were associated with DS. I didn't say anything to anyone about what I was feeling or thinking. I didn't want to ruin this time that was supposed to be a celebration. No one said anything all night long. Not a nurse, not the doctor, no one. So there I was all night with my sweet baby girl that came into this very big world only needing me to love her, hold her, and nurture her. I didn't hold her very much the first night. I didn’t snuggle her, kiss her, or love her like I should have. A few hours earlier I couldn’t wait to do all these things, but all I could do was sit there lost in my own little world. I let her lay in the bassinet next to me. "She was so good," I thought. "She doesn't need me to hold her." I didn't feel connected to her right away like I did with Brayden. I don't know why, but maybe it was because I was scared of the unknown. I wish I could take that first night back.
I was anxious all night and couldn't sleep. I felt alone and just wanted to blurt out what was on my mind. I didn't want to say anything because what if I was wrong? Bright and early the next morning the pediatrician came in to do the routine checkup. I hated it. I hated how long it took for her to check over her and make sure she was okay. I hated all the questions she asked and the things she told me. I hated that she went to go get the Neonatologist to come in and check her out. I hated that after he examined her both doctors went to the hallway to talk. I hated that when she came back into the room she gave me the news I was dreading to hear. My heart sank. She said it. She said what I was thinking and knew deep down. I lost it. I thought “This is not how things are suppose to be. The daughter I dreamed about doesn't have Down syndrome. That wasn't part of my plan. We were supposed to go home with a clean bill of health.”
Instead of celebrating I was mourning the daughter I didn't have. I felt horrible. What kind of mom could I be to have these feelings? I didn't want this to be my life. How would it affect our family? What would we have to give up? Why me? Why us? I'm too young to have a child with special needs! I felt like it wasn't fair and I envied all the moms who were able to take their child home that was everything they ever wanted and more. I was jealous of their joy. The joy I was supposed to have, but instead I had a broken heart.
We couldn't take Taylor home for a few weeks due to some health issues, but you better believe we were in the NICU everyday by her side. I loved my daughter, but I had to get past the fact that she had DS to fall in love with her. I had to stop looking at her and just seeing DS. We had to wait a few days for the definite diagnosis of DS all the while we were still holding onto some hope that maybe it was all a fluke. The results came in and I lost it again. This time because it was really for real. No questions about it. Our daughter has Down syndrome. How would we tell people? What would they think? It was hard for it all to sink in and truly accept it, but we did and we are so thankful for her.
We quickly learned about all the services that are out there for families and other children like Taylor with special needs. We got involved in a wonderful support group where we have met some pretty amazing families and have formed friendships that will last a lifetime. I have grown closer to God because of her, knowing I can’t do this on my own. I have turned to Him for guidance, strength, encouragement, peace, and comfort. He has been there for me through it all, never leaving my side. Even in my darkest moments in those first days He let me know it was going to be okay. I now know the plan that I had for my life is not the plan that God has for me and I had to learn to trust him.
It was hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel, but now I have realized how much of a blessing my daughter has been to our family. She brings so much happiness to our lives. I appreciate the small things and enjoy them so much more. You never realize how big those little things are until you have seen someone work so hard to achieve them. I never thought I would cry when my daughter would roll over, sit up, pull herself to stand, and even babble a few sounds. She has shown me the true meaning of life. I wish everyone can see my daughter through my eyes. We don’t treat Taylor any different than we treat our son. She absolutely loves her brother and enjoys doing things a typical child does. We do everything we can to help our children learn and grow and become kind and loving children. All we want is what is best for them in this life.
I will be my children’s advocate whether they have special needs or not. The last 16 months have not been easy and I know the road we are on doesn’t get any easier, but I would not change a thing. Because of Taylor I am a different person. I am continually learning and growing. I am still so excited to be a mommy to my two precious kiddos and strive to be the best I can for them every day.