|Ellie Marie--Doesn't she look like a baby Mother Theresa?|
Those are the words I hear from Ellie's doctor just after Andrew went home to get some much needed sleep and clean clothes. Alone, I hear these words and the tears come. It was not that I was sad I had Ellie. Goodness no! My big Mama heart was already filled with so much love for my little girl. It was more that I knew, then and there, that life would be just that more difficult for her. The risk of heart defects, the need for various therapies, kids teasing her for being "different", the cognitive disabilities. Also, I mourned for that nonexistent child that I thought we would have as I carried our little peanut in utero for 9 months.
My little girl didn't even have a name yet, but she had a label.
|Look at that little Angel|
The thing is, I suspected the minute they placed her wiggly body on me after birth. I saw her little slanted eyes and thought "hum". Yet, I didn't see the low set ears or the Simian crease so I must be paranoid. Then they took her away for "her bath & vitamin K shot". Andrew and I did not see her for over 5 hours because the nurses were "delayed with the bath". I imagine that while it was 3am and I am frantically googling on my iPod about slanted eyes and microcephaly (small head) the doctors were carefully checking her heart and other body systems.
Even though I saw the signs, we were still slightly in denial until the results of her karotype arrived. Every day I called the pediatrician's office to see if the results came in. After a while, I requested that they call the lab to check on the results. Then, at our cardiology appointment, Dr. H says something to the effect of "with Trisomy 21. . . ". I exclaimed "so she does indeed have Down Syndrome?!". Poor Dr. H didn't realize we didn't have the official diagnosis yet.
Andrew and I experienced a wide range of reactions from various people. I will not share the specifics, but "I'm sorry" or "there are surgeries to correct her eye shape" along with a few other responses are not my favorites. We had a baby! A baby! A blessing! A miracle! Congratulations are in order.
September 16, 2009: The greatest & most challenging day of our lives. The day Ellie chose me and Andrew as her parents!
(April 12, 2008 is also the greatest day sweetie!)