16 years ago today, it happened. A bit earlier than I thought, by 3 weeks. But finally the baby was here. It's a girl! they said. We spent about 2 hours with her before they told me to get a few hours of sleep. They whisked my baby away.
In the morning, I was awakened by our new pediatrician. She told me Lea had a "dusky spell" while they fed her. She said to call my husband so we could discuss the situation. Brad arrived quickly. The doctor then told us she suspected Down syndrome. She said "heart problem." She said "mentally retarded." She said we need a geneticist to know for sure. We need a cardiologist. Then she did the best thing she could have done. She sat there quietly while we cried. When we were done, she asked if we had any questions. She explained Down syndrome. She said Lea would lead a great life with some therapy. She said we were blessed.
Still, I was grieving the loss of the baby I thought I was having! I was grieving the loss of PERFECTION.
All of Lea's problems were swirling around my head. I did not call one person on my list to tell them she was born. I could not say the words "Down syndrome" without sobbing uncontrollably. They moved Lea to the special care nursery. They wouldn't let us in for hours as she was having testing done.
Finally, the time came. We were gowned up and washed down. My fear of everything about Down syndrome and heart problems had me a bundle of nerves. Then, I saw her. She had an IV in her head. She was the sweetest, most precious thing I could imagine! I held her for the first time since all of the bad news. And then I REALLY saw her. And guess what?? Perfection! The nurse took this picture at the moment I realized she WAS perfect. God gave her to us for a reason and she would be ok! We were a family now, and we would all be ok.
Happy Sweet Sixteen to our perfect blessing, Lea Renee!