Sunday, February 10, 2013

8 Blessed Years

8 years ago this month, my life changed forever. O & his twin sister, Yo, were born. 

I was 16 years old at the time and had been running the house with my then 14 year old sister, Ez, because the twin pregnancy was tough on my mom. Finally, one Wednesday night, my mom went into labor, so down to the hospital we all went. After a long night, the twins were born. 

Ez & I had stayed with my mom in the hospital all night, so we were exhausted as we stood in the hall outside of the operating room waiting for the news of the twins arrival. Eventually the nurses wheeled them by us in a little bed. I remember their tiny little faces both staring up at us as they whisked them by. They were so small. So cute. And we were so excited for their arrival. 

Shortly after they were taken into the NICU, my dad came out of the NICU saying, "there is some bad news..." I know I've posted this before, but it's so clearly etched in my memory of their birth. I remember exactly where we were standing and I have a picture of that moment frozen into my head. After my dad said those words, in the second before he finished his sentence, my sister & I's hearts sunk, not knowing what he was going to say. My dad finished his sentence by saying, "it looks like the little boy might have Down syndrome." Our hearts were relieved and I felt like I could breath again. We both said, "that's not bad." 

And his diagnosis is not bad. I was completely clueless at the time as to the details of what Down syndrome was. In my 16 years of life, I had never once thought about having a sibling with a "syndrome" or special needs. But, was the excitement of having two new siblings going to change because one had a "syndrome"? No. It's just another step along this journey of life. And I determined to jump on the bandwagon with him and do whatever he needed and whatever we would need to do. 

I quickly learned a lot about Down syndrome. That first year there was a lot of learning that had to be done. And it had to be done quickly, because a little guys life and well being depended on it. 

Throughout the years, we've had our challenges. But, it's just part of this journey. I couldn't be more thankful that God put O in our life. I'm so thankful he was put into a large family, because it has been a tremendous help for him. Having so many "cheerleaders" around him all the time, has encouraged him to get to those milestones.

It's hard to believe O & Yo are 8 years old now. I remember not being able to picture what it would be like when he would be 5 years old, let alone 8. I remember when I first joined certain listservs and I would be getting advice from parents with "big kids" who had Down syndrome - their kids were 5, 8, 10 years old - and that seemed so far off.

It has been a blessed 8 years. O struggles with some things still, but is thriving. He is doing so well, it's truly a blessing. His biggest delay has always been his speech clarity, but most of us (who are around him all the time) understand him. He says full sentences, just needs help in clarity.

Seriously, I think a lot of people would be way better off if they had the blessing of someone with Down syndrome in their life.

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Mardra said...

You may be right. My husband has said that for years, "If everyone had someone with Down syndrome in their family, the world would be a better place." All I can say is I know our world wouldn't be nearly as joyful without our boy.

Laura said...

Happy 8th birthday!


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