Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Mark picked up Piper's birth certificate this week. Seeing her name on an official document makes me smile. It feels so real, she's official. Her social security card also arrived in the mail so we can now get her birth registered with the British Embassy so she can be a dual citizen. We can also get her passports and set up a bank account for her. I feel like my to do list just gets longer. Oh well I better get started.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Well lets see how this goes, I'm new to blogging. I never really knew what it was all about, or how to do it. So I never really got in to it. Maybe part of me was afraid that if I learned how to make my own blog and to actually start blogging, I would become addicted and never get anything done. I must say it didn't seem that hard to set this up.
Let me start off with why I finally decided to give blogging a try. I have a friend of a friend who is now becoming a friend in their own right, who writes this wonderful blog about her son Colin who has Down Syndrome. I believe one of the reasons she started the blog as a way to deal with the fact that Colin was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. I met Colin and his family less than three years ago at a birthday party, he was just a few months old but was full of life. I have loved seeing him grow and develop and it is great to see him progressing through the blog.
Recently my husband and I have begun reading the blog about Colin, and were touched when there was a posting about us and since then I have thought to myself, "I should give this a try, it can't be that hard right?"
So here's some history about my family:
I have wanted my own kids since I can remember and my husband and I had this grand idea of the perfect time to have a child; own a house, settle down, the right job etc etc. In Sept. of 2009 we found out we were pregnant and were over the moon. Everything seemed fine until we went to our 12 week ultrasound and learned that I had miscarried. We ultimately learned through chromosomal testing that our baby girl had Turner's syndrome, a chromosomal anomaly that more often than not causes miscarriage. We were devastated by this, more than either of us thought possible but we vowed to carry on and try again.
Later in the year we learned we were pregnant again. Our elation was still there but was battling with a fear that something again could go wong. It was almost like the previous miscarriage had removed the innocence from this pregnancy. At around the 8 week mark I fell ever so mildly ill having contracted Parvo Virus (also known as 5th disease) from a student in my class (I am a Pre-K teacher). While there was no real danger to me we soon learned that we would need extra special fetal monitoring as 1 in 20 who contract Parvo Virus will ultimately miscarry. The medical care and special monitoring I received was great and although difficult we tried to hold on to the thought that 1 in 20 was a good statistic. It meant that 95% of pregnant woman who contract Parvo will have a good and healthy pregnancy. After 2 months of extra ultrasounds my husband and I had this undescribable feeling that something was not right and at my next 15 week ultrasound we learned the devastating news that we had once agin miscarried. Chromosomal testing was again performed and our little girl was found to be chromosomlly "normal", but the amino came back positive for fetal Parvo. I was that 1 person in the room of 20!
Heartbroken, but still wanting desperately to have a family we tried again and with the blink of an eye so to speak, we were pregnant again. Our feelings with the third pregnancy were very different. We didn't get excited, we were too fearful to. We didn't do any announcing but even thought there was this underlying sense of fear we thought "third time's a charm right". Wrong! A month later I was rushed to the ER when I started bleeding from what was discovered to be a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Two hours of emergency surgery later and luckily I am still here to talk about it. You see up until the bleeding I mostly felt just fine. I had no idea anything was wrong or that I was bleeding internally. In the following weeks I became somewhat depressed, wondering what have I done so wrong to deserve this much pain and loss. All I wanted was a family. How hard is that? I would think about all the people out there who don't mean to get pregnant and have babies. Those people who put their unborn babies in danger during pregnancy through lifestyle choices who ultimately have healthy children. None of this seemed fair.
After a few months of healing we tried again.......
When my husband and I went to our 20 week ultrasound we were told that they found two "soft markers" which when combined with our borderline normal nuchal lucency test (initially we had simply been told that it was normal, not normal but borderline) were indicative of increased risk of haveing a baby with Down Syndrome. They found an echogenic focus (bright spot on the heart) and pyelectasis (enlarged kidneys). My husband and I took the news very differently. Even though this is not what the Doctor said, he heard "your baby has Down Syndrome", and I heard "your baby has a kidney issue". Eight weeks later we had the kidneys checked out again and they were fine so my worries faded away and I didn't much think about it throughout the rest of the pregnancy. My husband on the other hand had a feeling throughout the rest of the pregnancy that our baby would have Down Syndromen even though genetic counseling had told us that even with the increased risk, chances were that our baby would not have Down Syndrome.
Our beautiful baby girl Piper arrived four days early. I guess she didn't want to be an October baby. When I was first holding her I was trying to see if she looked like she had Down Syndrome but honestly I couldn't really tell and I was so exhausted that I just wanted to go to sleep. My husband was 50/50 on it but had a gut feeling. Later that day, the hospital peditrican came and talked to us. We kind of expected the talk but I guess hearing it from the Doctor made it all that much more real. I was kind of numb and didn't cry when she told us her suspicion of Down Syndrome. A lot of things were going through my head about what Piper's life would be like etc etc. No parent wants their child to have a hard, tough life, and I instantly thought how hard Piper's life was going to be.
As the days went by, I didn't see my daughter as having Down Syndrome. I stated to see her as just my daughter, she was the baby I had always wanted, she is beautiful and precious. I was happy. It wasn't until we got the call with the chromosomal testing results that it really hit me. I was devastated and had been holding on to this slight hope that it would all come back "normal".
I'm not going to let Down Syndrome define who Piper is. She is going to be a lot of things in her life and we'll just have to wait and see what they are. For all I know she could be a an olympic swimmer, a drummer or a ballerina. She might go to college and get a job that she loves doing. Bottom line is "who knows!".
Being a parent isn't easy and I've learned that very early on in this journey. Piper is a blessing to our lives and will be to everyone she meets.