When I first created this blog a few years ago, I had planned to use it as a vehicle to write all the stories, experiences, lessons, whatever I encountered as I raised my daughter, Ailsa. I had planned to post as often as I could, turned out that meant hardly ever. With so many things going on, both personally & professionally, I had little time to put it all down on paper..well, e-paper. I often told myself I would write more if and when a certain situation arose. Well, that time is now.
A little backstory, a few years ago my Karen & I decided to try for baby #2. Ailsa was old enough and we felt we were ready to bring in a new addition. It turns out this time around did not go as smoothly as when we got pregnant with Ailsa. Numerous tries resulted in negative results. After a year or so of trying, we decided to seek out medical help because obviously something wasn’t meshing. Even then it took almost another full year of trying before we finally were able to nail down the problem. It seems the scarring from my wife’s C-section for Ailsa had attached to her tubes, thus causing blockages that prevented anything we created. A surgery later and we tried our second IVF procedure. Then…success.
I remember the call from my wife, she said ‘hello Daddy’. Elation is an understatement,considering we were already expecting bad news since all the signs of the previous IVF (which failed) were showing. But this time it worked. It was actually Father’s Day weekend, talk about the perfect gift.
So we ventured down the pregnancy path once more. Appointments came and went, and things proceeded according to plan. Along the way, our doctors suggested we (well Karen) have a Free Cell DNA test done. With Karen being over 35, they considered her to be advanced age & high-risk. These tests are done to test for such genetic diseases as Down Syndrome and other more serious afflictions. We were offered the same test with Ailsa, however Karen was younger and thus our insurance did not offer to cover the pricey test. This time around, they did. So Karen had the testing done. They said they’d call in 7-0 days with the results. We waited.
The call came just this past Wednesday, the same day as our appointment with our regular doctor. The moment is etched in my brain forever. Karen immediately tearing up as she mouthed the words ‘Down Syndrome’ to me. I was crushed. I sat back on the couch feeling completely numb. Not knowing what to do or where we would go from here. I thought back to the call Karen made to me when we first found out we were pregnant with Baby #2. Talk about two extremes.
You immediately think, well the test is wrong. It has to be. They say it’s 99% likely it will happen. Do you hold out hope of your baby being in that 1%? Or do you accept your fate and move forward? Bracing yourself for what the future will hold. I chose option 2. I immediately hit the internet and found a wealth of positive information on DS. Stories left & right of people who have this condition who live happy, fulfilling lives. Not only just the individual, but their families as well. As I read these stories my fears subsided. I knew we would have a challenge ahead of us, but what child isn’t a challenge? Raising a child is always a challenge. This will just be a different kind of challenge.
Also what helped ease our minds was the outpouring of support we received from all of our families & friends. In such a short time as well. Co-workers sharing stories of personal connections they have to DS as well as other, more serious, conditions. Telling us those individuals are happy, successful, and able to function like everyone else. We grow more & more confident each day that we will be fine and be able to welcome our new baby into the world and shower her with love and help her grow.
A quick final thought before I end this post. I will expand on this thought in a later post, but for now I just want to get it out there that I have no doubt in my mind Ailsa will be the best big sister and be our strongest ally as we raise our baby. We always said how loving and accepting she was to everyone she met and well we now know how extra awesome that is. She will love her sibling like no one else could and be an excellent guide through life. She won’t let a thing happen to her sibling that’s for sure.
So that’s it for now. This blog will now shift in a direction that will share our lives as we prepare to welcome an extra special person into the world. We know we will have so much support for everyone around us and I just want to say from the bottom of my heart as we start down this journey….Thank You!