Thursday, January 13, 2011

love first

i've started writing this post ten times.
mostly in my mind, as i wait to wander off to sleep or while i'm in the shower or while i'm waiting at a traffic light...
and i still can't seem to find just the right words...

when ben was born, we had no idea that he down syndrome.
we decided not to do any special prenatal testing.
he grew inside of me just perfectly.
at every checkup, things looked great.
there weren't any indications of heart problems.
no markers of down syndrome.

his was the easiest and best birth of all my children.
i was relaxed and excited.
john was calm and elated.
the doctor placed him on my chest and i was all smiles.
he was screaming and pink and we were happy.
i noticed his teeny tiny ears. and his little starfish hands.
i was instantly swimming up to my eyeballs in love.

fast forward 12 hours and our pediatrician came in to visit ben.
we sat there, on my bed, with our other children and a close family friend, and the doctor told us for the first time that he thought ben might have down syndrome.
i cried for the next 12 hours straight.

ben would not nurse.
although i was still reeling from the idea that ben might be different from what i had expected, i was crushed that he might not be able to nurse.
i reluctantly pumped and we tried a bottle, but still no success.
we tried and tried, over and over.
it was a long exhausting night.

just before dawn, while john slept on the chair next to my bed, ben began to stir in my arms. i knew he was hungry.
i was in tears while i positioned him to nurse, knowing he wouldn't do it and i would be let down again. even still, i would try.
he could do it, i whispered to him, in his teeny tiny ears.

this time, he opened his mouth wide and latched on perfectly like he had been doing it forever.
just then the night nurse came in to check on us before the shift change.
she asked me if he was nursing and then she heard for herself. gulp, gulp, gulp.
we both started to laugh and i felt this huge wave of CALM rush over me.

i remember this moment like it was yesterday.
in my mind i can see the hint of daylight seeping through the hospital window, john curled up on the chair, hear the squeaks of the nurse's shoes as she quietly entered the all seems so real.
i think back to that early morning and i feel like maybe it was God comforting me, or the Holy Spirit guiding me, or Jesus spilling his love over me when he knew i needed to be reminded.

when i feel the pain of ben missing a milestone, or watch him fail, or compare him to someone else...if i listen closely, i am reminded of that morning when i learned to love first and worry later.

speaking of love, ben's birthday is coming up in march.
i am planning on doing a series of posts related to down syndrome.
if you have any question you'd like me to answer or have any topic in particular you'd like me to discuss, please leave me a comment or shoot me an email. feel free to do so anonymously if you'd like. thanks! :)


Adrienne said...

Beautiful Amy! Ben was such a cute little newborn!! I can see why you fell instantly in love with him!

jessica kiehn said...

this is so, so precious. I LOVE what you said. Love first. You are such a good momma.
He looks like just your oldest son! How did they find out he had Downs Syndrome? I mean, what made the doctor even check? He didn't look like your typical Downs baby, usually you can kind of tell.
He was (and is) SO CUTE!!

Heather at Blessed Little Nest said...

such a wonderful post. i think my most favorite of yours- ever.

what a gift it is to have that moment to carry with you and pull out when things begin to spin away. God is so good to give us those! ahhh, just warms my soul thinking of it.

...Nancy said...

"love first and worry later", food for my soul this morning.

Kylie Mc said...

perfectly written. :)

meg duerksen said...

how lovely.
what a blessing that God gave you in the carry forever. He is so good to us.
it's so interesting to hear people's story.
i love it.
it connects us all....bonds of motherhood....hopes and dreams....joys....diasppointments...we all have our own kinds.

i am so glad you are open and let yourself be vulnerable with us. it's scary sometimes!

Kimberlee said...

Well said! I tearfully identified with much of it. Looking forward to more from you!

Lisa said...

Oh goodness, lots of feelings after reading/seeing this. Don't those pictures make you want to go back in time and give that lady in the hospital gown a big hug?? Her baby is SO beautiful! How great that he was able to nurse as a newborn! Love first, I like that. Kind of like a new twist on the people first philosophy. xoxo