A year ago, I was blissfully unaware our world was about to get rocked. Barely able to hold in the excitement as we walked into the 4D ultrasound to find out if the little peanut in my belly was a boy or a girl, all I was praying for was to hear the words "its a girl". There are few moments in life that are so intense that you can still feel your nerves when you think back on them. And the moment that I found out I was having a little girl was one of them.
But a week later my excitement would turn to complete fear as the next ultrasound showed our little girl had serious medical issues. And the words, "something is not right with her heart" will resonate with me always.
March 11, 2010 was a day my world crashed down on me. I can't explain how hearing those words stole the wind from my sails. And the hours that would follow just poured salt on the newly opened wound. That was the day "Down syndrome" was introduced to my world. And oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now.
If I knew how beautiful my daughter would be, I wouldn't have been so sad.
If I knew how amazing people with Down syndrome are, I wouldn't have been so mad.
If I knew how resilient kids are, I wouldn't have been so scared.
And if I knew how much more precious life would become in my eyes, I wouldn't have been so resentful.
As I was mourning the loss of the baby I thought I was having, I was learning about a whole new world I was completely oblivious to. A world where different really isn't that different and where the unexpected brings beautiful surprises. We named Fiona Hope because it was hope that got us through those first few weeks. And hope is what continues to carry us as she jumps one hurdle after the next. Fiona well blew the low expectations given to her out of the water. To think that we were incouraged never to give her a chance, and to see how little the Down syndrome is effecting her and how resilent she has been with fixing her birth defects, is hard evidance that everyone deserves a chance.
March 21 (3.21) is World Down Syndrome Day. The significance of the date is that people with Downs have 3 of the 21st chromosome. Prior to Fiona, I had no clue this day existed. But a year later, its a day that is a significant part of our life. Just as I had once thought Down syndrome was a tragic diagnosis, so many others are still in the dark. Overseas, many families leave their babies once learning that they have Down syndrome, and here in the US, a vast majority abort their babies after receiving the diagnosis. We, ourselves, were encouraged to abort, given little hope for our baby. This baby.
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To everyone who donated to Reeces Rainbow, I am proud to say that they not only reached their goal but surpassed it! If you want to know more about this amazing orginazation, please visit REECE'S RAINBOW. Your donations helped a team travel to Bulgaria this 3.21.11 to better educate their country about Down syndrome, potentially changing peoples view on a group of children that otherwise were viewed as a burned on society. Thank you!
(Thank you Ashley Allbee for all the beautiful pictures you have taken of our Fiona)