Another guest blog today because this one should be read every Mother’s Day. This one is from another friend named Sarah – Sarah Tacoma. She blogs here. Get the tissues!
19 Weeks Pregnant thats a magical time in a pregnancy. Youre almost half way done, you can feel the baby kicking AND you get to finally have the ultrasound where you can find out the sex and really see the baby. I had an exciting date with a 3D ultrasound.
As the doctor started the ultrasound – he first told us it was a boy!
He moved the paddle around some more and then the doctor told us that the baby had a calcium deposit on his heart and that was a marker for Down syndrome and did we want to get an amnio. Shock. Sadness. Fear. Dread. I went ahead with the amnio and was numb as I paid the nurse extra money for the fish test so we could find out in 24 hours. The next afternoon – I got the call that – yes our baby had Trisome 21. I told the lady thank you, hung up the phone and started screaming.
There is an enormous grieving process that you go through finding out your child has Down syndrome. Retarded. Special Needs. Cognitively Delayed. Disabled. Different. I lost a child that day. I lost the baby I thought I was going to have. I lost the life I thought I was going to have. And really felt my son Quinn had lost the sibling I had so pictured for him.
As the weeks went by and the depression continued I really felt that I couldn’t connect with the little boy inside me, who had no idea how sad I was because of him. And one day at about 23 weeks I decided that I needed to name him – so maybe I could start bonding with him. So one morning I called my husband at work and said I want to name him now and I just know his name is supposed to be Gideon Michael. And God bless Mike – he took this surprise phone call in stride – and said “okay then, that’s his name.”
Two weeks later we were sitting in church and to be honest I just wasn’t paying attention. The minister was reading a Bible passage “blah…blah and the Israelites…. blah.. blah..and then Gideon….blah blah blah.” I sat up straight and whispered to Mike – did he just say “Gideon?” And Mike nodded. Now I have attended church most of my life and not once up to that point had I heard a sermon on Gideon. Briefly – This is the story of Gideon – The Israelites were at war with the Midianites and losing big time. And God came to Gideon and said you are going to lead the Israelites to victory, but you have to reduce the army of 22,000 men down to only 300 soldiers. Gideon did not understand how he was going to win with so much less at his disposal, yet he followed God’s orders and did indeed lead the Israelites to victory. As soon as the Bible passage was done – the Pastor, who really had my attention now, said “Well this story is about a man who had a huge disadvantage. God took away from Gideon. God gave Gideon less. God gave Gideon less to work with than other men. And yet Gideon overcame, because God was with him.”
Less? Disabled? Disadvantaged? Maybe, but with a little faith on my part I was pretty sure God was telling me that it wouldnt matter.
When we first got the diagnosis, it was a string of negative adjectives that tried to label a baby we hadnt even met yet. And initially I dwelled on the negatives of his diagnosis and not the vibrant portrait of the beautiful, quirky person that Gideon is growing into. At 2 years old Gideons first full sentence was Ma! I La You Ma! And like most little boys Gideon loves to zoom anything that has wheels cars, trucks, trains & airplanes. At 3 years old he has more ASL signs (100+) than I do. He adores his big brother and does his best to imitate him. Hes super polite and says hi and bye with enthusiasm to anyone coming and going. And my favorite is that when I walk in that front door Gideon stands up and cheers that I am home. Ma! Yeah Ma!
So here are the words that REALLY describe him. Exuberant. Joyful. Determined. Stubborn. Practical Jokester. Smart. Affectionate. Loving.
Nine out of ten babies after diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted.
90%! Ive been in that black hole of grief when that decision needs to be made. Gideon and all the other kids with Down syndrome that I have had the privilege of getting to know LOVE their life. They live it with, quite frankly, a zest that is unmatched by the rest of us. I truly believe THAT is the measure of a worthy life. THAT is the identification that truly maters.