My pregnancy was uneventful. We declined all prenatal testing, because it wouldn't change anything. We were under the impression that the only reason for all the testing was to terminate if things didn't look "perfect" (I have changed my opinion on this some, but I'll save that for another post). My ultrasound at 20 weeks revealed we were expecting a little girl, but nothing else raised any concerns with the doctor. Oh my heavens, what would we do with a girl? How do you raise a little girl? I had her gender double and triple checked a couple of more times through my pregnancy. I have chronic high blood pressure and had low fluid when I was pregnant with my middle child. Neither of those issues creeped up during Hailey's pregnancy. I feverishly worked on a to-do list the night before having Hailey. I had too many loose ends. I'll never forget the look on my husband's face that night. He looked up at me and said, "You don't think she is waiting until March 21 (the date of our scheduled c-section)?" I shook my head, "Nope, I giver her maybe two more weeks." Little did we know...I was already in labor.
I wasn't prepared to have a baby that day. It was too soon...she was too early. I was more scared for her birth than I was the previous one. Everything was so unplanned and happened too fast. Everything seemed to be wrong and out of control. It was such chaos. So when my husband and the doctor returned from the special care nursery, I felt like it was all a dream when the doctor announced that Hailey has Down syndrome. What did that mean? How could that be? Even though I was 36, the odds are still relatively low that she would have DS. Our life was over...the boys' lives were over. What would we do? How would we face our family and our friends? I didn't want anyone's pity. The doctor rambled on about how she was still just a baby and our baby. We take her home and love her. Take everything as it comes. He also mentioned that every family that he knew that had a child with Down syndrome said their lives were better than before having that child. I couldn't hear him by that point. I didn't want t hear him. I wanted to start the day over. I wanted the baby I was supposed to have...the one from my dreams. You know, the one that was going to be the apple of daddy's eye and mommy's little girl. Could we even still name her Hailey? Why our daughter? Why not someone else? Was this punishment for wanting another baby?
I didn't get to see Hailey much that night, but my husband spent a lot of time by her side. He couldn't sleep. I drifted in and out in a fog. Maybe it was all a dream. Maybe the blood test would reveal the doctor's suspicions were incorrect. It had to be wrong. The days and weeks that followed in the NICU were long and exhausting, but this mother's heart needed them. They helped me see my daughter. Many days it was just her and I. Those deep blue almond shaped eyes called out to me. She needed me to step up and by her mom. She grabbed my heart and told me everything would be okay.
I realized none of this was about me. It wasn't about my husband. It wasn't punishment from God. Everything had to do with her. Her life was meant to be. She belongs here. She belongs with us. God makes no mistakes.
|Hailey in the NICU|
|Hailey yesterday cheesing for the camera.|