Well it has been 3 short years since the diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome for baby Rachel and what a ride! It all started on that rainy day when we had our 20 week sonogram. Yes, you were 41 years old and knew there were risks but after that sonogram you were told the risk was greater due to an abnormality at Rachel’s heart. Remember how Shawn, my hubby, rushed you out of that office as you cried. Being the amazing salesman that your husband is, he told you the stats of how Rachel should be fine and that we were going to not overreact. He truly had you believing that she was just fine, he is really good! You know Shawn did that to calm your nerves since you had enough stress, Rachel was your 8th child and your oldest child already had special needs.
I remember telling people that Rachel was either going to be my most laid back child or something was wrong because she barely moved in the womb. Little did you know about poor muscle tone. Anyways, birth day arrived. Rachel was induced and came quickly. She felt very floppy when they handed her to me and Daddy followed Rachel to the warming bed. He asked lots of questions about Downs Syndrome but the nurses pointed out all the things that were normal about Rachel and didn’t give us a hint. About 24 hours later, the pediatrician came and confirmed that she was 95% sure that Rachel had Downs Syndrome.
We weren’t worried about loving Rachel, we already did! We weren’t worried about taking care of her, we would just need to do some research on that. Yet, I cried for 24 hours after this news. I knew the Dr. was right because Rachel was just different than her other siblings. I cried, mostly because I felt badly that Rachel would have to work harder than a normal child. I knew the hard work that therapies and early intervention required and I didn’t want her to have to do it all.
Our first visit to the Down Syndrome Center was really such a pivotal visit. Dr. Vellody took so much time with my husband and myself. His sharing of personal life experience with Downs was just so touching. He seemed to be the first professional that was so positive about Rachel. We also got books from the library before we met so that we could learn and also read books to Rachel’s siblings to help them along. I just have to say that the initial visit was therapeutic, enlightening and just such a comfort. It truly was a God sent for us to have access to the office. The work there is more than just a job, it is a ministry to families.
Here we are, Rachel is 3 1/2 yrs old. Early intervention has ended and I don’t think we could have asked for a better team of therapists. I guess the advice I would give you the day after Rachel’s birth would be, to not second guess God. He knew that Rachel could handle all the work involved, he designed her to be exactly as she is. Just Rachel! Oh yeah, with this little disability. Rachel has brought such joy to your family, her smile and enthusiasm melts everyones heart! She surprises you with all that she is capable of, all that she understands. She just fits perfectly in your family. I guess I would say, don’t cry for Rachel. Rachel will love life! Instead, celebrate Rachel! God entrusted you with this angel so just sit back and enjoy the ride. There is a time for crying and a time for celebrating and this was a time for both! Just enjoy Rachel’s sweet moments and cherish her. Your life will never be the same and you wouldn’t want it any other way!!