family picture IMG_1501 WDSD Zoe 1

Dear Self,

First off remember to breathe, there will be so many times you feel like you can’t breathe but force yourself to take deep breaths.  Also, it’s alright to be scared and to worry.  You cannot even imagine how your life will change in the next almost 3 years.  Your journey is just beginning and it will be an amazing ride and worth every second.

You had it rough, two rounds of IVF and preterm labor but all looked great on the sonogram and doctor visits are going well.  You are 38 weeks along and it is finally time to meet your baby girl! Labor was easy and Zoe Armene is finally here.  Then your world came crashing down. The words just ring in your ears, Trisomy 21, possible heart defect, hearing issues, infection, jaundice, low muscle tone, PT, OT, DV, Speech and the list went on and on.

This can’t be happening, I can’t lose her, not your miracle baby! The next 6 days will be the hardest days of your life.  This is supposed to be the most exciting time in your life and they have rushed your baby across town to Children’s Hospital and you have to be apart from her.   It’s ok to cry and it’s ok to rely on Patrick (your amazing husband) to be with our daughter while you can’t be there.  You will live at Children’s while Zoe is there, you will need to rely on your parents, your mother-in-law, your brother and his family, your friends, and extended family and they are there to help.  It’s ok to cry, be mad, and question.  Ask as many questions as you can and get as much information as possible.  There are so many resources (the Downs Clinic, support groups, parent to parent, Early Intervention) and use them and your family and friends for support.

I know that you will always worry about Zoe and be scared but you and Patrick are strong and you got this! Follow your gut and instincts.  When you feel that you need help its ok to ask for it and to reach out.  Remember it takes a village to raise children and you have lots of village people on your side.

By the way, Zoe Armene Dunlap is amazing!  You will be proud of her every second of everyday! She is strong willed, determined, ornery, smart, sweet, hardworking, beautiful, loving, and the strongest person you will ever meet! She will teach you and her family more in these almost 3 years than you could ever learn in any textbook, seminar, or doctorate course.  Continue to push her and have high expectations for her.  God knew what he was doing when he picked you as Zoe’s parents and her as your daughter. You’re great parents and it shows in your beautiful miracle baby!!!


Your Current Self