July 26, 2016 is the day that changed my life forever. It’s the day that changed the path I thought I was on, to the one that God had me on from the beginning. He knew I would walk this path in life with Easton before He even knitted me together in my mother’s womb. He knew I would be here today with this sweet ray of sunshine that I have named Easton. He knew that I would feel shame, embarrassment, anger, sadness, disappointment, and fear when I learned that Easton would have Down syndrome. He knew that I would need my “tribe” to get through it. He also knew that I would eventually see the light at the end of that very dark, lonely time in my life. He knew I would still be standing here today.
July 26th is a big day. July 26, 2017 is the day my little boy turned six months old. He is truly the light of my life. He makes me happy every single day. When he smiles, I feel like my heart is going to explode out of my chest with love for him. I don’t see Down syndrome when I look at him. I see my son. I see his beautiful eyes, and his perfectly soft hair. I see his sweet smile, his kissable cheeks, and his sweet, happy demeanor. I see his future; and let me just say- it’s a bright one! I can’t wait to watch him succeed in life. I can’t wait to see how much he accomplishes, and how many lives he changes along the way. God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave me the honor of being this little boy’s mama.
July 26, 2016 is a completely different story. It’s the day that changed my life’s path forever. It’s the day that my world was rocked. I was brought to my knees in fear, pain, sadness, anger, disappointment, and shame. It’s the month that was the start to the rest of my life. The day that started me on this crazy roller coaster of a journey called motherhood. It’s also the day that brought me closer to God. July 26, 2016 is the day that I got the phone call. The call that would change life as I knew it. I heard the genetic counselor say, “Unfortunately, it looks like your Nuchal Translucency test came back with a very high risk of Down syndrome.” “What does that mean?”, I said quickly in shock and disbelief. “Your scan of the fetus looked fine, but the blood work came back with a 1 in 116 chance of the baby having Down syndrome. We need to pursue further testing to find out more.”
To simply say that I was in shock would be an understatement. Down syndrome? My baby could have Down syndrome? There is no way. That is impossible. Stuff like this doesn’t happen to me. 1 in 116 doesn’t seem like very high risk. That’s still less than 1% chance. I tried everything to talk myself out of it, but at the same time, I already knew.
As soon as I heard the genetic counselor say there was a chance, I knew immediately that it was true. Looking back at my life, God has been preparing me for Easton for years. He knew my life plan before I was even born. He knew He was going to give this child to me. He knew I would be able to handle it. He also knew that I would need some preparation before hand, which He gave me.
When I started sharing this news with my close family and friends, that’s when I realized God had started preparing me for this. Each and every person I told met the news with grace, encouragement, support, and love. They assured me that they would love Easton with everything they have, his life was something to be celebrated, and that he would make a meaningful impact in this world.
I started to realize that God had purposely put these amazing people in my life. Every place I had been, every relationship I created- it was all for a purpose. He was helping me find my tribe- one by one. He put Drew in my life because He knew that THIS was THE person that was going to be strong enough to stand next to me through all this. He gave me an amazing family, friends, nurses, and doctors. As I am sitting here typing this, I am truly realizing that He has been walking alongside me through this entire journey. Even though His actual footprints aren’t present- the proof of His presence is everywhere.
I know Easton is going to make a meaningful impact and difference in this world we live in. I just pray that I am also. I hope that a mom who has had a Down syndrome diagnosis reads this and realizes that there IS a light at the end of the dark, lonely tunnel that she is in. So to that mother: Your baby will be AMAZING. Your baby is worth it. It’s okay to feel all the emotions that you are feeling. Feel them. Embrace them. But just know, that once you have your sweet babe in your arms, you will feel so silly for feeling the way you did. You will feel as though those tears you shed were for nothing because this IS the child that you always wanted- you just might not have known it yet. Be joyful and take pride. You are on a journey you never knew you wanted to be on. But trust me, you will love it.