Faith, love and miracles …

Despite posting these words every year they still bring me to tears. Happy tears. Tears that warriors cry after winning a long battle. I don’t think I will ever be able to change how I tell this story. To do so would be an injustice to her and to me. And to all of our family and friends who stood by us then and who continue to walk through this life with us now. This story is about our beginning together. The story that we all fought so hard to tell. It is a story about faith, love … and miracles.

When I was about 11 weeks pregnant we were told that she did not look quite so “typical” … I didn’t care. I loved our baby. And I prayed.

A few weeks later we were told, that not only was our baby “not typical”, but that there was a chance I would be delivering her stillborn. I wanted our baby even more fiercely than I had before. And I prayed.

Several weeks later, we almost lost our baby … to which I screamed an angry and adamant “NO!” And I prayed.

A month later we were told that our baby had a “very large hole in her heart” … to which I said, “I don’t believe you.“ And I prayed.

Two months later we were told, “Your baby is small” … to which I laughed and said, “Of all the things that you have told us, this seems pretty manageable.” And I prayed.

Two weeks later, on what was supposed to be a brief doctor’s visit before we headed to our local water park, we were told that our baby was not growing, that she was too small and that she was not acting the way that she should be. We were told that I would be given another amniocentesis to see if her lungs were developed. If they were, my doctor wanted to take her right away. I felt like my body was failing her. And I prayed.

My doctor gave me a drug to speed up our baby’s lung development. The results of the amniocentesis were not what we had hoped for. My doctor told us that our baby’s lungs were not developed, our baby could not breath on her own. Now we had a team of medical professionals. They hoped nothing would go wrong for the next 48 hours so that the steroid they had given me would have time to help our baby’s lungs grow … to which I said, “OK”. And I prayed.

Less than 24 hours later I had a hospital room full of people wearing blue. They were running around and pumping my body full of fluids and drugs. We were told that we could no longer wait. We were told that our baby would not be breathing and that she would be very small and weak … to which I cried in her father’s arms and said, “I’m scared.” And I prayed.

Minutes later I was strapped to a table. I had refused anything that would alter my mental state. I wanted to be there for our baby. It took a long time to get her out. I was told that she was so small that she kept slipping through the doctor’s hands. I kept screaming, “Is she out?!?!” And I prayed.

Then, I heard a cry … to which I thought, “That is a loud cry for a baby who is supposed to be weak, small and not breathing.” And I prayed.

A few minutes later our baby was brought over to me, warmly swaddled, pink as could be, breathing all on her own and with no hole in her heart. (Sure, she had some extra chromosomes, but who cares about that?) And when I saw her I thought, “You are my miracle and I love you.” And then, I praised God for our beautiful daughter.

Nine years ago today, through God’s amazing grace, Reese Lindsey Grace Henry was born by emergency cesarean section. She was 6 weeks early. She weighed 2lbs 15oz and was 15 ½ inches long. My world has not been quite the same since that day … and I would have it no other way.

Happy 9th Birthday to my precious miracle! Reesey Roo you are my JOY, the smile on my face and my WHY! Mommy loves you and all of your extra parts 💕

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate a miracle … and always remember to pray!!!

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Partying for days …

We are heading into another fun weekend of birthday celebrating. To say I feel THE LOVE is an understatement. I’m overwhelmed by how kind the people in my life are. They know how much I value time, theirs and mine. They understand that I’m not into material things, so they spoil me by allowing me to collect moments with them. For them to give me so freely of their time, is a treasure. I know that I say this a lot, but I am truly blessed by these incredible souls.

Well, I hope you all party for days!!!

Still JOYFUL …

Every year I come up with a new birthday mantra. A short personal saying that I believe will help me shape the next year of my life. Some years they come quickly to me. Other years they take a bit of time and reflection. This was definitely one of those years that required some thought. And I’ll tell you why.

I don’t think that one simple saying can ever describe how grateful I am to turn 50 years old today. I honestly want to scream it from the roof tops that I MADE IT! There were years that I was skeptical because of my family history. And moments, when my personal health seemed grim, my pain was unbearable and I felt so ill, that I made peace with death. Trust me folks, encephalopathy is no joke. I’ve been in that ugly place where I had to face my own mortality. I have had to surrender to what was happening to me because I was too weak to do anything more. But I have also felt God’s beautiful grace when He blessed me with full healing. TWICE. I know not everyone is that “lucky”. But for some reason I was. I was given more time to live life with the people that I love … and I simply couldn’t be more thankful. Again, “thankful” just doesn’t seem like enough. There is no word that even comes close to describe how it feels to be HERE. To breath, to laugh, to love and to LIVE in this moment is just about the best feeling I have ever known. And I am not going to waste one second of it. No way. No how. God gave me THIS. My life. My story. My miracle. And not being able to describe how I feel about all of this is incredible. I am 50 and life still leaves me speechless. It can still completely consume me with emotion leaving me with no other choice than to just be IN IT and FEEL IT. And if that isn’t the best gift EVER, I just don’t know what is.

So, I guess that leaves me with only one choice for my new birthday mantra. This year I will continue to do what I have always done, to try to see the best in everyone and in every situation. I will continue to carry hope in my heart. And I will celebrate every season, the good and the bad, that I am blessed to experience. Because I know that life is precious. Very, very precious. Every. Single. Moment.

Well, I hope you all have a year where you are STILL JOYFUL!!!

Celebrating EXTRA …

Today is World Down Syndrome Day! And we all know that I have someone very special in my life who has Down Syndrome. My beautiful 8 year old daughter Reese!

March 21st is a global day of awareness that has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. How cool is that?!?! This date was chosen to represent the triplication of the 21st chromosome (3/21) found in individuals with Down Syndrome. Today I celebrate Reese and the amazing community of people with whom we share our lives.

I was told when I was 15 weeks pregnant that Reese had Down Syndrome. I did not grieve or cry. I did the complete opposite. My heart was immediately filled with hope for the future. And not just for my future or hers. From the moment that I was told that she had Down Syndrome I knew that Reese was going to change the world for the better. It was like a blanket of understanding that I had never felt before. And I have witnessed her work her magic time and time again ever since. She has softened the hardest of hearts and changed the most ridged of minds. I am so proud of her! This little girl of mine is smart, silly, kind and caring. Her compassion for others runs deep. She is a bright light in this dark world. She has taught me SO SO SO much and has showed me what real strength and perseverance looks like. And best of all, she loves me HUGE! Reese is an incredible human being and I am humbled that God chose me to be her mommy. It is truly a blessing and an honor.

I love you my Reesey Roo. You are my hero!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate EXTRA!!!

Decorate your life …

Our family has at least five events going on over the next week. Some requiring more sprucing up than others. Needless to say, I should just camp out at our local party supply store.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you decorate your life!!!

Celebrating my greatest heroes …

October is both Down Syndrome Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Needless to say, it’s a huge month around our house.

Well, I hope you all have a month where you celebrate your greatest heroes!!!

A story about faith, love and believing in miracles …

I post these words every year. I don't think I will ever be able to change them. To do so would be an injustice to her. To me. And to all our family and friends who stood by us then and who continue to share this life with us now. This story is about our beginning together. It is a story of faith and love … and believing in miracles.

We were told when I was about 11 weeks pregnant that she did not look quite so “typical” … I didn’t care. I loved our baby. And I prayed.

A few weeks later we were told that not only was our baby “not typical”, but that there was a chance I would be delivering her still born … I wanted our baby even more fiercely than I had before. And I prayed.

Several weeks later, we almost lost our baby … to which I screamed an adamant and angry “NO!” And I prayed.

A month later we were told that our baby had a “very large hole in her heart” … to which I said, “I don’t believe you.“ And I prayed.

Two months later we were told, “Your baby is small” … to which I laughed and said, “Of all the things that you have told us, this seems pretty manageable.” And I prayed.

Two weeks later, on what was supposed to be a brief doctor’s visit before we headed to our local water park, we were told that our baby was not growing, that she was too small and that she was not acting the way she should be. We were told that I would be given another amniocentesis to see if her lungs were developed. If they were, my doctor wanted to take her right away … I felt like my body was failing her. And I prayed.

My doctor gave me a drug to speed up our baby’s lung development. The results of the amniocentesis were not what we had hoped for. My doctor told us that our baby’s lungs were not developed, our baby could not breath on her own. Now we had a team of medical professionals. They hoped nothing would go wrong for the next 48 hours so that the steroid they had given me would have time to help our baby’s lungs grow … to which I said, “OK”. And I prayed.

Less than 24 hours later I had a hospital room full of people wearing blue who were running around and pumping my body full of fluids and drugs. We were told that we could no longer wait. We were told that our baby would not be breathing and that she would be very small and weak … to which I cried in her father’s arms and said, “I’m scared.” And I prayed.

Minutes later I was strapped to a table. I had refused anything that would alter my mental state. I wanted to be there for our baby. It took a long time to get her out. I was told that she was so small that she kept slipping through the doctor’s hands. I kept screaming, “Is she out?!?!” And I prayed.

Then, I heard a cry … to which I thought, “That is a loud cry for a baby who is supposed to be weak, small and not breathing.” And I prayed.

A few minutes later our baby was brought over to me, warmly swaddled, pink as could be, breathing on her own and with no hole in her heart. (Sure, she has some extra chromosomes, but who cares about that?) And when I saw her I thought, “You are my miracle and I love you.” And then, I praised God for our beautiful daughter.

Eight years ago today, through God’s amazing grace, Reese Lindsey Grace was born by emergency cesarean section. She was 6 weeks early. She weighed 2lbs 15oz and was 15 ½ inches long. My world has not been quite the same since … and I would have it no other way.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate a miracle … and always remember to pray!!!