Grace - Dealing with what you?re dealt?

Posted in Our Stories

Monday, 4:30 p.m.: “Hello?” “Hi Cristalee, this is Dr. Smith, do you have a minute? Your triple screen test came back abnormal.” “What does that mean, doctor?” “It might not mean anything, but it could suggest your baby may have Down syndrome or C.P.” “Thanks for the call.”    Monday, 4:33 p.m.: "What?! ME?! MY family?! Something ‘wrong’?! What are we going to do?! This is not happening! Wait - don’t think about it – it’s only a silly test… with a silly suggestion…… right?….   Friday, 1 p.m.: 20 week ultrasound – I am wondering why this is taking so long? Why is this technician focusing on my baby’s heart so much?? Why is it so quiet?? Why is it getting hot in here??  “Mr. and Mrs. Allan? The radiologist isn’t in today, so we need you to come back first thing Monday morning for another ultrasound with him. That’s all we can say right now…”   Monday morning, 9am: the radiologist says “It is ‘worrisome’ that your baby may have Down syndrome – so you need to make a decision.”    MAKE A DECISION?! I made my decision alright, a simple decision indeed - I decided not to punch the radiologist……    March 8, 2007 5:45 p.m.: A baby is born. A baby named Grace. A baby who is a perfect miracle. A baby who is instantly loved. A baby who is immediately whisked away to the NICU…   March 8, 7 p.m.: “Would you like to hold your baby?” Of course I would – wait a minute, THIS is my baby?! This baby right here?! This baby with needles in her head and a tube stuffed down her throat?! This baby who is hooked up to monitors of all sorts?! This baby who was instantly loved, and immediately whisked away from my arms?!?!….. of course I would….. Oh My God…    Fast forward to today – it is a normal day, for a normal family, normalness - it’s all around me – and yes, I have a daughter with Down syndrome…    Though things may seem unfair at times – like when “simple” tasks take extra time to learn or complete, or like when we need to see cardiologists, speech pathologists, physical therapists, etc; or like when we get people looking twice at us as Grace walks through the mall; one thing is certain – God gave us to Grace, and more importantly in my eyes, He gave Grace to us. Who knew I needed work done in my own heart? Who knew I was judgemental? Who knew I lived such a rushed life? The most humbling thing I’ve learned from Grace over the past few years is to look at any and every person I come across throughout the day and no matter what they look like, or what they are doing, still want to say ‘hi’ and share a smile (Grace wants to give them a hug!) To pay attention to simple things like birds singing, to enjoy the smell of rain, to cherish things such as laughter, to appreciate everything, even little gross bugs on the ground in the summertime – these are things I now take the time to do.    Who knew I needed to learn a new kind of card game, a game where I have to deal with what I’ve been dealt instead of asking for a re-deal? Who knew I could do it? Who knew!