Sunday, April 27, 2008

Expecting (Our Story--Part I)

I found out I was pregnant with Bridget on Christmas Eve, 2005. I had a sense from the very beginning that something was different this time.

I honestly didn’t think we would have more children after my own health crisis the year before. When I found out we were expecting another baby, I sensed there was a reason that this child was meant for us.

For the first time (other than my mom’s reaction when we found out we were expecting Sara), people cried—some even sobbed—when we shared our news. Our friends and families were glad to see that we had moved past the frightening moments of 2004 and were moving toward happier times.

The pregnancy progressed typically. As usual, I was sick for the first 4 1/2 months, and Bridget kept me up at night with lots of activity. I craved mayonnaise, of all things, and gained plenty of weight :). All signs indicated that I was carrying another healthy baby.

In the months leading up to Bridget’s birth, I kept having this overwhelming feeling that she had Down syndrome. Nothing was that different from any of my other pregnancies, and Bridget was very active and strong. We declined prenatal testing (other than routine ultrasounds), so we didn't officially know...but I knew. I can’t explain it really, but I almost felt like I was being tapped on the shoulder and asked to notice things.

One day, I was standing in line at the grocery store (by myself, which is unusual since there are usually at least two kids with me). The woman in front of me had three adorable young boys, all close in age. I could tell that the little one in the front of her shopping cart had Down syndrome, which is interesting because I had never really seen--or noticed--a baby or toddler with Ds before. I couldn’t take my eyes off that little boy, or the way he was interacting with his mom and brothers. He was precious, and they were just a normal family. I had a sense that I was getting a peek into our future with Bridget.

I thought often about how our lives might be different when she arrived. I knew that adding another child would be an adjustment in itself for all of us. I wasn’t sure, though, what it would mean if our new baby did indeed have Down syndrome.

I spent hours combing DS message boards. I read some things that comforted me and highlighted the joy that all children bring to our lives. Some parents seemed to have taken the diagnosis in stride, and others were clearly fighting it. Parents described emotions and feelings on all ends of the spectrum—from elation to despair—over their child’s health, progress and place in the world. I understood that all of these feelings were normal, while I struggled to make sense of my own.

I had fallen asleep in the middle of the afternoon one day, about a week before Bridget was born. I’d guess I only slept for about 20 minutes, but I had a very realistic dream that my water broke early and that my baby was born with Ds. In the dream I did not see her…she was quickly whisked away and someone at the hospital relayed the details.

When I woke, I sat still for quite some time, breathing deeply and trying to process the information. I felt Bridget moving vigorously inside me and could see my stomach moving from side to side. At that moment, I knew that the dream was meant to prepare me for her arrival...


  1. Hi Lisa,
    I just came to your blog from another. It gives me chills reading your story, similar things happened to me when I was pregnant prior to finding out about my son's DS. It seems like a lot of us moms experienced "knowing" before knowing.

  2. I am so glad I stumbled across your blog. I was searching for comort by reading about your wonderful DS daughters. But this post especially caught my attention. I too knew that my son was going to be born with DS. When my daughter was born she looked, to me, that she had DS but did not. Within hours her features were "normal" but it left me with a strange feeling that I never shook. 10 years later I became pregnant again...we also turned down the AFP test but I started thinking about when Sami was born and how she looked Downs and I began to notice adorable DS babies everywhere I went...when he was born I was prepared and even expected it. He lived a wonderful 5 years and passed away in 2005 fr the complications of leukemia. Reading your blog keeps my heart happy to see your girls so happy and doing so well.
    I recently had another baby 2 years ago. A son who was born "normal". It is funny to say, but I was almost disappointed that he didn't have DS. My husband and I would have been very fine wtih it...
    Keep up the good work and your girls are so beautiful