From the time I was just a little girl, I always wanted three things:
1. To meet someone special to spend my life with. I married my very best friend, Rob, eleven years ago.
2. To be a teacher. More on that later.
3. To have three or four children. My children, particularly my first son, Dylan, will be the primary focus of this blog. But, then again, who knows where the Lord will lead!
They say; if you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans. Our plan was to wait a few years before having kids. Rob and I had been married a mere seven months when heaven was roaring with the news of my pregnancy!
Dylan was born in the middle of my Jr. year at Bethany University...on the day of my Statistics final. I have always detested math and what better excuse than labor to get out of taking that final? He was not due for another three weeks, but, Dylan is Dylan and he has always had his own agenda. December 10th it was!
I pushed for 10 minutes before we got to see that beautiful head, full of red peach fuzz. Immediately, the doctor said his lungs were "wet" and that he would need to go to the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They agreed to give me ten minutes to hold him before they took him away. They suctioned his mouth and nose as best as they could then placed him in my arms for the very first time.
Instantly I knew that something was not right. He was nearly three weeks early and struggling to breathe on his own, but I knew there was something else going on. I had no idea what. Neither Rob or I saw the Down syndrome and, if anyone else did, no comment had been made. The room was a whirlwind of activity but I felt completely at peace. I held Dylan for fifteen minutes or so before they whisked him away to the NICU. Rob asked if he should stay with me or go with Dylan to the nursery. This was a “Duh” moment. "Go with our SON!”
The birth room, once a flurry of activity, was suddenly calm and quiet. I ate dinner in my room, completely alone. I do not remember a lot about what happened next. Rob was in the NICU. Our family was observing as much as they could from a NICU window. My Dad came to my room to check in on me. I told him I was fine and that Dylan was in good hands. As the night wore on and I was transferred to the post-partum wing, the pediatrician came to deliver some news: Dylan was 90% dependant on oxygen. He was being treated for an infection because of the fluid in his lungs. He had a mild heart murmur and an x-ray of his heart had been taken, but nothing serious was detected. The goal was to slowly wean him off the oxygen, but it was hard to say how long that would take.
After the pediatrician left, we went to see Dylan. At almost eight pounds, he looked HUGE in the NICU. Babies weighing only one to four pounds surrounded him! There were cords everywhere and his head was under an oxygen hood. We held his sweet hand and prayed over him, asking God to hold our sweet boy while we could not.
The following nine years - and present - will be the primary focus of this blog. I can now look back and put a label on that period of my life: Solitude. The Lord had placed me in solitude with Him. He has been teaching and preparing me for the past nine years and the time has come to step out and share. He is revealing a “bigger picture” daily. Recently I came to understand that bigger picture, partly through Jan Johnson's amazing book, “When the Soul Listens”.
You should know that I am a mother of a special needs child and I have learned to be open, honest and even candid. I want to openly share this part of my life in the hope that it will help others who may be going through similar circumstances or want to gain insight into the life of a special needs family. My nine years of solitude is over. The next step is to write about it.
I have wanted to share about our life with Dylan, and our family in general, for a long time and I finally I feel the release of the Lord to do so. In a strange way, I feel like I have a responsibility to begin writing now. I am going to share my life and the things God has taught me as a wife and mother. My mind is exploding with the things I want to share.
I am writing for the Lord. I am writing for you. I am writing for me. I am writing for anyone who will read with an open mind and listen with an open heart. The blogs are intended to be a springboard to discuss the amazing picture the Lord is putting together in each of our lives.
Today is Sunday, March 21st. My blog debuts today because it is a Sunday, the Lord's day, and the day Dylan was entrusted to Rob and I. It is also World Down Syndrome Day. Each Sunday, beginning today, I will give you a glimpse into our life. May this blog be a celebration to living the upside of life with Down syndrome!