that one time when i found out my baby had down syndrome

Monday, September 22, 2014

When I first began blogging about our journey to, and our life with Archie, I had no idea all of the people I would have the opportunity to support and walk with in their own journeys. I recently received a message from an old friend. Tiffany and I went to high school together, and her husband Matthew and I went to school together from Kindergarten on. I hadn't seen either of them in years. Tiffany sent me a message to let me know that she and Matthew had just found out that the baby girl they are expecting has Down syndrome. She had been following our story and reached out for support. Our families were able to go sit down and have lunch together and they got to meet Archie. I am humbled to walk beside them during this time and can't wait for their newest bundle to arrive. 

That One Time When is a place where we want to share your stories of how your life has been impacted by someone with Down syndrome! If you would like 
to submit a guest post, just use the "Email Us!" form over there ----->

Today's post is by Tiffany Lim

Matthew and I found out that we were pregnant with our second child this past April. We were excited and we were ready, but it’s always just a little shocking when you see that positive pregnancy test. After finding out we were pregnant, I felt like I had to brace myself. I’ve had several close friends and family members have miscarriages, I didn’t want to let myself get attached to our baby “just in case.” I went to my routine obgyn appointment and everything seemed normal. We wanted to know the gender of our baby as soon as possible and heard that you could do this early through a blood test. So when I went in for my next visit at 12 weeks, I asked if I could take the Panorama blood test. I knew that the Panorama was a non-invasive screening for genetic abnormalities, however, I didn’t think anything of it. I just took the test because we wanted to know the gender of our baby as soon as we could. 

One week later, the nurse called. I had mixed emotions when I saw the voicemail icon on my phone. I knew that I would be finding out the gender of our baby! We already have a sweet baby girl, Madeline, who is almost 2, and I knew that Matthew wanted a boy, but of course, we would both be happy with whatever baby that we were blessed with. When I called the nurse back, my world started to crumble. She said that my test results showed that I was “high risk” for Trisomy 21. I didn’t know what high risk meant, I didn’t know what Trisomy 21 was. She said this was Down syndrome, but I didn’t even know what that meant. She said the obgyn wanted me to come in to see him that day. When I got off the phone, I was paralyzed in shock. I had no idea what was going on. I am young. I am healthy. I already have a perfect, healthy child at home. We didn’t have any family history of anything like this. I knew that most people in our small city don’t opt for taking this test and most don’t even know it exists. So, I banked on it being a mistake. Maybe they switched my blood with someone else’s. It just wasn’t right. Matthew joined me that afternoon for our visit with the obgyn, and things started to get real. When my doctor showed me the test results, he said that the probability of our baby having Ds was >99%. He was confident that the test results were accurate and there hadn’t been a mistake. The world fell completely silent. It was as if I were alone, Matthew sat next to me, but it felt so unreal. I felt like nothing mattered in the world. Our world was shaken.

When we got home that night, the tears would not stop. I tried to hold it together when Madeline was awake, but when she went to bed, Matthew and I just sat and cried. We didn’t sleep. I cried so much and so hard, I threw up all night. Matthew and I tried to talk about how we were feeling, but it just seemed like there weren’t words to describe it. We didn’t know anyone who had Ds, so our worst fears ran through our minds: The comfortable lifestyle that we had planned for ourselves was no longer obtainable. The idea of our family going abroad for Matthew’s job was no longer a question. We would have to take care of our child for the rest of her life. We would have to ask Madeline to help take care of her sister. We would outlive our baby. Would we be strong enough to stand up for our baby?  

Even through all the tears, the silence, the storm, there was constant peace in me. Yes, it was hard and it hurt, but there was a stillness in me that can only be described by God. In my very minimal research after receiving the results from the blood test, I knew that only 1 in 691 children are born with Ds and that there is no reason found that some babies are born this way. That told me that the only reason we were having this special baby was because God had chosen our family. We know that God is perfect and makes no mistakes. He chose our family to raise this precious child and will use us to glorify Him. We completely surrendered. Slowly, and I mean, very slowly, our fears started to turn into excitement. Through a little bit of research, talking to our genetic counselor, and reaching out to friends and their friends of friends who know someone who has Ds, we learned that kids with Ds can do almost anything normal kids can do, they just move at a slower pace, but that makes their accomplishments that much sweeter, and they are probably the most joyful people that you will ever meet. Eventually, we were able to grasp the understanding of the diagnosis that we had been given and share our news with our family and close friends. The response that we received was overwhelmingly sweet. Initially, they mourned by our sides, but turned quickly to a desire to walk with us and support us in our journey. 

We know that our adventure will be difficult at times, but we know that God is faithful and equips us with everything that we need to endure if we surrender to Him. 

To my baby girls, we love you. Don’t ever forget it. Every day and every second we love you and can’t wait to share in the challenges and joys to come.

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