Changed for the better …

Last night was the 40th Year Celebration of our local Down Syndrome Association. It was wonderful! I have been blessed to serve as the facilitator for one of their support groups for almost 7 years now. The event could not have been more perfect. The venue was lovely, the entertainment was fantastic, the food was tasty and the guests were simply amazing. It was a great evening connecting with old friends (and making some new ones) and celebrating the organization that has so positively and profoundly impacted our lives. What an accomplishment it is to serve a community of people with such dedication and diligence for four decades. It literally brought me to tears last night. I am truly grateful to have shared in DSAOC’s incredible history both as a client and as a facilitator.

When I was pregnant with Reese and found out that she had Down Syndrome I never shed a tear. Reese was going to be who God created her to be and I was the woman He chose to make sure it happened. I promised Reese that I would always be the mommy that she needed me to be. And that I would make sure that she would become who God intended her to be. Even as a social worker, at the time, I wasn’t quite sure what that all would look like. But I knew that I loved my daughter fiercely and that I would somehow figure it all out. DSAOC helped me do exactly that and I simply couldn’t be more thankful. Without a doubt, I would not be the person, or mommy, I am today without their influence on my life.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are changed for the better!!!

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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!!!

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!!!

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!!!

Everything went wrong but it still turned out perfectly …

Eighth years ago today my family and I were headed to a local water park. I was 34 weeks pregnant with Reese. We had planned on stopping by my doctors office for a brief check-up before. The hospital was just down the street from our water park so we thought our morning would go easily. It didn't. Things couldn't have gone more differently than we had planned. But in the end, it all couldn't have turned out better.

Well, I hope you all have a day where things go wrong and still turn out perfectly!!!

Celebrating and praying … 

I post these words every year. I simply cannot bring myself 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. It is 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.

Seven 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!!!

  

A very special delivery … 

Today is G3’s 17th birthday. I can’t believe so much time has passed since that first day I got to hold him in my arms. It’s down right shocking. I remember all of it like it was yesterday. My sweet baby boy was finally here. I had had a pretty difficult pregnancy with him and was worried about him incessantly. After he was born, on several occasions I found myself holding him tightly, kissing his precious little face and telling him “I missed you”. It was so odd to me! Miss him?!?! I hadn’t even met him yet! Heck, I didn’t even know he was a boy! But when I really thought about it I realized what it all meant. I truly believe that my heart and my soul somehow knew that one day I’d have a son to love … we just had to wait for him to get here.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate a very special delivery!!!