20 Mar 2012

Not what I expected

Not what I expected.

My name is Beth and my story lies within the almond shaped eyes of a 6 lb 15 oz baby girl, born August 2011. Born 20 days early, she was not the little girl I expected but she stole my heart anyway. On a hot humid night in early August I went to bed feeling very tired and very pregnant. We were finally expecting our second child after 6 years of waiting for the "right time," to have another. We arrived at the hospital where I would try to VBAC, but was not successful. After several attempts at a spinal and epidural, I had to be put to sleep, which was so disappointing. I was just so happy to finally be meeting my perfect little girl, I didn't really care how they took her out, as long as she was okay.What happened next, I was not prepared for or maybe I was; I always had this nagging feeling throughout the pregnancy that something was different or not quite right, but hearing it said to me outloud just confirmed it and made it all too real. I will never forget the words the doctor said to me as I awakened from the surgery. "They are testing your daughter for Down Syndrome, she had a few of the characteristics." I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach, what did this mean, where was my baby, when could I see her, was she okay? I felt like I had just waked up from a coma, everything was so fuzzy, and unclear but I understood what she had said like she hit me in the head with it.After waiting, they finally brought her to me and I felt her warm body in my arms and saw those beautiful almond shaped eyes looking up at me. I was hooked, she was the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen. I just loved her and knew we would get through whatever this Down Syndrome had to throw at us.What followed was also nothing that I expected, family members didn't react the way I thought, I needed someone to hug me, to wipe my tears, to tell me everything was going to be okay. It did happen, people were there for me that I never expected to be there, it was the people I thought would be there who weren't that was so heartbreaking and disappointing. That night we learned that our little girl had several holes in her heart and would need surgery to repair it in the coming months. I was unsure that I would be able to handle this and felt so sad, so alone, so angry, why my little girl, I wanted her so much, planned for her, did everything right, why oh why God was this happening? I wanted to take her from that hospital and run away, run far away, where there would be no doctors, no nurses, no needles, no tests, just her mother's love, that was all we needed. We faced her surgery in October and she got through it all, all the tubes, all the pain, all of it, I thank God everyday for the doctor's who saved her life. I love her more than words can ever express. Love, such a strange word, but it's meaning beats within my heart, my soul, my whole being, the love I have felt for this little girl is so intense, so wonderful that I needed her, needed her to be around for a long long time, so in order for that to happen she had to have surgery, so it's off to weekly cardiologist appointments and pediatricians, EKG's, blood tests all in the name of love.My little girl was certainly not what I expected when I arrived at the hospital that warm August night, but she has become so much more to me and has taught me how to love and cherish.I am slowly learning to enjoy each day as it comes. She is my little girl, Down Syndrome or not, I will love her and give her a wonderful life.

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