Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Finally here!

On Friday March 30, 2012, our lives changed forever. I realize that with the birth of any child, one's life is drastically changed....but when our little man arrived, we were in for quite a surprise. My labor and delivery was very easy, and our son was finally here! After a few minutes with the nurses, he was handed over to Kevin and I. With tears in our eyes, we were meeting our son for the very first time. But my heart was screaming that something didn't seem right. I searched his face for signs that he looked like his dad, or one of his proud big sisters....but it was wasn't there. I felt panic rising throughout me as I looked at Kevin and said "Does he look funny to you?" I'm ashamed to admit that those were some of the first words out of my mouth when he was born. Kevin asked what I meant, and I said..."he looks like he has Down's Syndrome".

The nurses came back in the room, and I said I had a strange question to ask. I mentioned that he didn't resemble his sisters, and I asked if they thought he looked like he had Down's Syndrome. My delivery nurse put her hand on my shoulder and said "yes, he does. We've called your pediatrician and he's on his way now."

I don't recall much of the next several hours. It was a whirlwind of emotions: sadness, shock, elation, excitement, fear, happiness, wonder, anger, and did I mention fear? We cried and we cried, because all of a sudden the son that we had dreamed of for 9 months, didn't exist. In his place, was a beautiful baby boy who just happened to have an extra chromosome 21.

For those of you who aren't sure what Down's Syndrome is, here are some nuts and bolts;
The medical term for Down's Syndrome is Trisomy 21. Babies that are born with Down's Syndrome have an extra (3 instead of 2) chromosome 21 in some or all of the cells in their body. Chromosomes are a tiny thread-shaped thing inside our body that tells us how to grow - they tell us what color our eyes will be, what color our hair will be, and if we will be short or tall. Chromosomes dictate how our faces will look, how our voices will sound and many many other things. When a child is born with an extra chromosome 21, it "mixes up" these direction a bit. Because of this, babies born with down syndrome might look a little different, and they will learn differently also.

Now, back to our beautiful baby....he needs a name! We had forgotten our list of ideas on the fridge at home, so we just started digging in our memory for the names that we liked best. But nothing fit - he suddenly didn't look like a Loren, or a Philip (like we had talked). Literally out of the clear blue sky, I said "what about Sam?" Kevin's response was "where did that come from?" I honestly didn't know. But Kevin looked up the meaning of Samuel and it brought tears to our eyes. Samuel as a boy's name is pronounced SAM-yoo-el. It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Samuel is "God heard". Also possibly as "requested of God", "God's heart" or "God's name". Well, there you have it. We had three beautiful daughters and had asked for a son, and here he was. And we're learning each day that God had heard of other things we needed in our lives, and he's giving them to us through Sam....more on that later. : )

Though it took some time, we realized he is perfect in so many ways that matter, and we love him more than we thought possible. The emotions do sneak up on us every now and then, but all in all, we just see him as a lovable, huggable little boy - and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

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