Our "LT"

Our "LT"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

OCTOBER IS DOWN SYNDROME AWARENESS MONTH


October is Down Syndrome awareness month. Each year I share why I am truly blessed that we were chosen to the parents of our daughter, Lauren. She is 14 years old and was born with Trisomy 21. 
When I was pregnant The Captain was an active duty, enlisted Marine. We lived in southern California and she was our first child.
Early on I began to get sick and I learned I suffered from hyperemisis. I later found out this would continue with all four of my pregnancies.
At our 20 week ultrasound our lives would take a big turn. The Captain pointed out a small mark on our babies belly and within 10 min we were set to have an amniocentesis. It was a marker for either Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis. The next few days were a blur for me. However, on a Friday we received a call from our doctor. Our baby was going to be born with Down Syndrome. We were asked if we wanted to know the sex. Under the circumstances we said yes. "Its a girl" Dr G proudly exclaimed. By law in California we had to be offered an option if termination. Although Dr. G didn't want us to take this route he would support us. He said "because you are now 21 weeks you only have until Monday to make the choice. I will wait to hear from you then."
I won't lie, I was devastated. I went and fell on the floor of her nursery and cried. I went through everything in my head. What had I done wrong? Why me? How could I raise a child with a disability? Would The Captain stay or leave? So many painful thoughts flowed with my tears.

The Captain allowed me about an hour alone and then the door opened. He sat in front of me and held my face in his hands. I clearly remember his words like they were just spoken to me yesterday "this is OUR BABY and you have cried enough. You are probably making her upset. We got this, together. She will be amazing and beautiful just like her momma." I knew at that moment we were going to be okay.
We had to call our family and share the news with our friends. We had a few people that were sure we couldn't do it but mostly we were surrounded by love and support.
I would spend the next few months reading everything I could and attending new parent meetings. It was hard but I knew I was making the right choice. I could already feel her moving around and we picked her name "Lauren Taylor"
The day came for her to join our family. She came into this world early and loud. I could see her features right away but she was just so stinking cute all I could do is cry.
In my mind I could hear all those people saying she would never be anything, do anything or achieve anything. The moment she was placed in my arms I knew this wouldn't be true. I would make sure of it.

She had open heart surgery at 4 months old and we were told she was going to die. 12 days later she was home and 1 month later she was crawling.

She's had 9 sets of ear tubes and she can't hear well, yet she talks, reads and sings.

At 15 months she started running. I have chased her from that moment on.

She knew the words and movements to every Barney song ever made and now she knows them all to One Direction.

She can play some on the piano. She sings like she is a rock star. She loves freely even if you have hurt her.

I could go on and on. Our society sees her and people like her as disabled, different and some even say a burden. I say she is perfect. People like her, in my opinion, are how God intended us to be. To love unconditionally and to live life without fear. She has a connection with people I have never see before. She can ease the pain of a lost life and she can make you smile even after she just went through her own pain.

Thank you Lauren for making me a better human being. I don't know how long I will have you on this Earth so I will love you and enjoy you just as you are, a normal, funny teenage girl that just wants to live life. I promise to fight for you. I promise to love you. I promise to be there for you as long as I am alive.

You are truly amazing.