Our journey through a prenatal Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) diagnosis and beyond

I wish it were possible to recognize at the beginning of our life’s story what an incredible journey we are truly on. If so, I would have sat down years ago and begun documenting all the ordinary and extraordinary events in this amazing life I have been blessed with. Sometimes, though, it may take just one more thing to open your eyes into the beauty of the life you have led and causes you to pause and truly count the blessings that are now so many they will never be enumerated.

If you are just joining us, please go back to September 2012 to get caught up.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

To the "strangers"...

For some of the people who have made a huge impact on my life this year...

You have welcomed us into a community family.

You have been honest.

You have been cheerleaders.

You have been a shoulder to cry on.

You have been a soft place to fall.

You have given me points of reference (of greatness).

You have shown me the reality of this journey.

You have selflessly shared personal, intimate thoughts and details about your family and your life so that I could thrive.

You were strangers that quickly became some of my greatest friends.

You have been there in the middle of the day and night.

Some of you knew like us that this would be a part of your life story.  Others were surprised. 

Regardless, our paths have crossed and intertwined and for that I am so incredibly grateful.

Thank you to all my new friends this year.  Whether local or continents away, the footprint you've left in our life story will always be.

Merry Christmas and getting ready for the big 1!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Gift of Possibility

I am joining with some incredible friends this month to share the gift of possibility.

Months back, a new friend asked me to join her on a new adventure.  We shared a passion for getting women REAL information.  We had a desire to connect with moms and families receiving a diagnosis.  We felt a calling to do something and work to change the hearts and minds of some in the medical community that viewed T21 as an anomaly to rid the world of.

And so it began.

We are now a dozen or so women strong and working out details and preparations to launch our new venture.  Until then, however, we have been working in many ways to support our mission.  Today, we invite you to join us in connecting with the medical community.  Send a holiday card and/or note to medical professionals in your area that you feel need to see what life with T21 can look like -- not the textbook version of all that may come our way, but what a snapshot in time looks like with our family.

Join us and make change in hearts and minds in your community. Share the gift of possibility.

2013 Holiday Card Campaign

Monday, November 18, 2013

Celebrating another new friend!

I've meaning to write this post for awhile, but it hasn't happened. This is the perfect time, though because Owen has a new special friend in his life: Miss Sherry! And this week is her birthday, so.....

♪♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪  Happy, happy birthday Sherry!! ♪♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪

We met Sherry through the I Run For program. It matches up runners with people that may not be able to run for themselves. Now, I was hesitant to sign up at first. I don't want to lead any of my kids down a path of "you'll never be able to..." But the friendships and genuine care/concern that I have seen on the sure are awesome. My new hope: someday O will run for someone who can't :)

I have met more families and feel like it is a whole new set of prayer warriors for our family. It has also been a cool way to spread the word about DS and what it is really like. I do feel the more people who can see our daily lives understand how little DS really impacts us each day. One step at a time!

There is a ginormous waiting list of runners who would like to be matched with someone to dedicate their runs to. If you feel the call, register yourself to run or your kiddo to be matched!

How to get involved:

Monday, September 9, 2013

365 days.

I'm not sure how Thursday will have me feeling. Pretty sure it won't be any different, but one never knows.

September 12, 2012. 4 pm. Diagnosis confirmed. Our new little boy has Trisomy 21.

I've reread posts from that time this week. And I am so grateful that I wrote about it in real time. The pieces and parts that I've all but forgotten now and so interesting to read as I am on this side of things.

The clear memory from that moment was relief. We had an answer and could move forward. I was convinced we wouldn't get an answer at all; that we would be left hanging further. But no, my wish was granted that day. An answer.

Was it the answer I hoped for? No, I feared so much that I didn't understand about DS.

Was it the answer I knew in my heart already? Yes.

One year later my days and nights are not consumed with an extra chromosome.

A year ago, I would have found that hard to believe. Really hard.

But, it is true.

Nearly 9 months into the world of the 21st chromosome and life is more the same than different. And the differences really have very little to do with T21 and much more to do with 4 kids.

How do 47 chromosomes impact my life right now?
  1. Owen has lower tone.  If you hold him, he is wonderful and snuggly.  Not real solid sometimes. He sits up for a bit, but after a while, will just face-plant forward or whip himself back. But he is getting there.
  2. SuperO will be in his infant carseat a bit longer since he can't quite manage to sit up in the shopping carts yet. (Bonus, my right arm is in tip-top shape!)
  3. I can become consumed with Facebook and all our new friends.  This is truly the most life impacting piece.  Getting to know these moms and families over the past 6 months has been life-altering in the best of ways,  But sometimes the dishes and laundry aren't done quite as quickly while I putter around online.  (Sorry dear!) Although the money saved in therapy bills surely balances it all out in the end...although with all the trips I'd like to take to meet moms and babies, this might not be the cheaper option....
  4. ummmmmm....
That's it.  3 things.  All of which seem pretty minimal in the scheme of life.

But, if you told me that a year ago, I wouldn't have believed it.

Don't get me wrong.  This is not the case for all families connected to DS.

In the hundreds of moms I've had the privilege to meet, there have been (and still are) many medical ups and downs.

There have been scary moments.  There have been thoughts and prayers sent at full force to families around the world.

But I am sure you all have a story of a kiddo who has been sick. Really sick.  And most likely, they did not have Down syndrome.

Crummy things happen every day.  But for our family, DS is not one of those things.

But, if you told me that a year ago, I wouldn't have believed it.

One year later....I love deeper.  My kids. My husband. Myself.

One year later....I have more faith, grace, hope. These make up the cornerstones in my life.

One year later....I am quickly growing to be the person I am destined to be.

But, if you told me that a year ago, I wouldn't have believed it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

8 months old!

We all know it goes too fast, so I won't dwell on it. Instead, here is a photobomb of the eight-monther and my loves!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

One year.

One year ago I went to our anatomy scan.

One year ago I couldn't wait to find out if we'd be having a new little girl or boy.

One year ago I sat with my doctor and he explained that my baby didn't appear to have a nasal bone.

One year ago the words were spoken: Marker for Down syndrome...
Recommend Level 2 ultrasound...
Talk to your husband and decide what you want to do...

One year ago I cried as I shared this with my husband.

One year ago he held me, comforted me and helped heal my briefly wounded heart.

One year ago I made an appointment to find out more information.

One year ago I began my obsessions with google.

One year the waiting began.

One year ago my faith was cemented.

365 days.


It seems impossible that the time has swept through so quickly. Yet, I am grateful that it has in a way. Because now I am here and ok. Owen is here and ok. We've made onto the other side stronger and more wise.

I knew on some level a year ago that Owen would have t21. But the coming weeks will be full of anniversaries: out first appointments with the perinatalogists, our choice in testing, our results.

One year.

Looking back I really would not change a thing.

Would I have googled less?
No. I found so much that shaped my journey and how I approached it.

Would I have worried less?
No. It would have been impossible in those moments.

Would I have told more people?
No. I was somehow brought to the right people at the right time.

One year.

We've come so far already and I cannot wait to continue on this journey with my family.

Here is Owen at 20 weeks and at 7 months. Love that profile!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Where ya from and why are ya here?

Not to be rude, but I am just curious who happens upon my random thoughts (and adorable pics!)

If you would be so kind, would you comment below?  I'd love to know where you are and how you got here :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Aren't we all just carrots?

The final carrots of the garden today... and here were my thought as I scrubbed the earth away...

They are all carrots.

Planted at the same time.

From the same seed packets.

Sown the same way.

Sharing the same dirt.

For the same season of growing.

Some are larger than others.

Some have twists and turns.

Some have extra pieces.

Some are quite small.

Yet they are all carrots.

Inside and out.

And I believe the differences make them awesome and interesting.

It is strange how I am drawn to the unusual ones: The one that requires a second glance. The one that immediately looks "just like..." The one that is just different enough to stand out.

The 'perfect' carrots also catch my eye as I think, man those are too good to eat (almost!).

But for the most part, they are neither perfect or unusual.

Just. Ordinary. Carrots.

I love that my hubby had a garden. Gardening has been such a gift in so many ways-- the lessons in science and life for the kids. Access to better, healthier food....

But for today, it is a gentle reminder for me in life.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My heart is FULL

This weekend I had one of those moments that you continue to replay in your head and that come not too often.

I got to meet some of the FB mom group IN REAL LIFE.  Complete with babies and hugs.


I have never had a moment like this.  I couldn't wait to hug moms and babies that I have watched grow over the past 6 months. I was emotional to think about the journey that we have all traveled together.  It was truly amazing to be with people who get it. Who I can post to or message anytime of day or night and feel part of something greater and not so alone in this.

I am so grateful to have met these women and their adorable kids.  That they are willing to share all that goes with this with me is something special. 
 My heart is full. 

Full of love for my family for making it possible for us to go and meet these families. (10 hours in the car is no small feat for a family of 6!)

Full of hope that our kids will have such a bright future and that we are never alone in this journey.

Full of faith in humanity as we move forward in this adventure.

Full of memories had and those yet to come. 


A lovely mom took some pics of the weekend and I will be checking with the moms to be sure that I can post them here soon.  I cannot wait to share with all of you the beautiful kids and families I have come to know all because of this pesky extra chromosome.  Until the "official" pics are up, here are a few of O and his buddy N.  Blessed to have connected with an awesome mom (who happens to not live too far away!) and getting to spend time with them this weekend.

Monday, August 5, 2013

So blessed

It really is how I feel more often than not.  Well, it is how I feel when I have 5 quiet minutes in our home and in my heart. 

Blessed beyond belief would also be an appropriate name for the blog.

This past few weeks have brought about many reminders of blessings. 

Family.  My greatest challenge and love and success (most days!). 

We celebrated Colton as he turned 2. Wow.  My little squirt is 2. Where did that time go?  From his brown little cowboy boots that go with EVERYTHING, to his giggles and facial expressions, he is has brought so much more joy to our home. I look at his adorable smile and quickly forget what ever minor crime he has recently committed. Can you blame me?

He is also such a powerful reminder to me as to the greater plan in life.  Because he came into our lives, I have had the opportunity to grow into the person I strive to be. 

Amazing how children have a way of doing that, huh? I learn from the little army we've created every day and they encourage me to be the mom they deserve and need.  

2 years ago I walked away from a job that I loved. Today, I am exhausted. Tired.  Worn out.  But in a really wonderful way. Although I sometimes think it would be less work to actually work, I do not regret a minute of any day home with these kids.  I will really be missing the kids as they head back to school. 

This week we are also preparing to celebrate Sir Andy.  He will be turning 7.  Yep, I said it.  7.  He is growing into such an awesome kid.  His sense of humor has us laughing all.the.time. (And in other rooms when we can't let him know how funny he really is!).  He can't wait to be an inventor someday and I am confident he will do anything he sets his mind to.  It truly is a gift to watch your children grow and become the people they will be.

Here is our almost-seven year old at the zoo checking out his favorite animal- the rhinoceros.  He was in heaven!  Although it only fueled his desire to go on that African safari.  Someday!

Miss Kate and I had a big week too!  Girl night out with Taylor Swift (and a few thousand other people).  Concert tickets for her birthday were totally worth it. It was so neat to watch the concert through her eyes.  It was a late night, but she was soaking in every minute. The smiles on her face and listening to her sweet voice sing along was awesome.  A high point of the evening was watching Taylor come around near our section and perform just a few feet away for several songs.  I thought the girls were going to go nuts! She loves to write songs and I hope this showed her what is possible with a dream and lots of hard work.  If nothing else, the girl time was wonderful.  Kate has been such a tremendous help this summer with the little boys and I will miss having her kind and sweet little self around when school starts soon.

Speaking of blessed, can you believe all the "no-news" in this post?!  I must remember to continue to post in these incredibly blessed days and will try to do it more often. 

SuperO has been his normal wonderful self.  He has been healthy and happy (unless it is bath time or his soon-to-be-through teeth).  He is getting much stronger and working on sitting up.  Owen has quite the appetite and loves to chew on his puffs.  He is getting the straw cup down pretty well and loves to be outside. So far, so good.  Boring is fabulous these days!

If you are looking for some entertainment, check out the page he has with one of his gorgeous little buddies, SuperB. Really its the moms entertaining ourselves, but you will get to see some cute pics of the kids 

The final thing that I am reminded of daily is how blessed I am by the incredible partner I have in this life. Another anniversary has come and gone and I look back at photos and really believe this was just yesterday, although not.  I would not a trade a day or season of the ups and downs of marriage because we are where we are today because of it all.  I am so very lucky to have a husband who strives to be the man our children and I deserve.  His love and support over the past year, in particular, have reminded me each day how fortunate I am.  12 years in a blink.  Hoping I can keep my eyes opened a bit longer during the next dozen and continue to enjoy each moment we are so lucky to have in this life.


The next few weeks will be filled with the chaos of back to school and schedules and routines.  But it will also be filled with memories of last year.  What an adventure life continues to be.  It will be a reflective few weeks and I really can't wait to sit and think about the past year. From diagnosis to birth to now.  What a blessing...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dear Doctor:

Here is a letter that I sent to my OB's office after Owen was born.  You may (or may not) recall that I switched docs mid pregnancy so that O would be in the same hospital/health system as his siblings and pediatrician.  I felt like it was important he hear from me afterwards to let him know how it was going...

Dear Dr. _______:
I apologize for how long this letter has taken to write.  I intended to get it to you months ago, but four kids sure take up a lot of my free time!

An update….Owen Henry was born at 38 weeks 5 days on December 28, 2012.  He weighed in at 7 lbs 7 oz (our biggest baby!).  And somehow he already turned 4 months!  Time sure does fly!  At his check up, he was 15 lbs 10 oz. and 25 inches.  He is currently meeting most all his milestones; loves to smile and roll around.  Medically, he has some hearing loss, believed to be due to fluid from his tiny ear canals.   He is getting temporary hearing aids this month and we will schedule him for tubes once his ears are large enough.  His muscle tone is a bit on the low side, but other than that, he is not any different that his siblings.  We have been so blessed to have another healthy child!

First, I would like to thank you for how you all handled the time during our diagnosis.  I cannot imagine that this is a part of your jobs that you particularly love.  To find anomalies during an ultrasound and still continue on with your work is quite admirable.  Although I began to recognize that something was “off” I felt very comfortable knowing that information was being gathered to care for baby and I in the best way. I apologize that the name of the ultrasound tech has escaped me, but the day the nasal bone was not seen, particularly, was one that I appreciated her professionalism, compassion and kindness.  She was always attentive at appointments and it is appreciated.

Secondly, I very much appreciate how you approached the suspicion of the Down syndrome diagnosis with me.  I have heard horrific stories from my many new friends about their experiences during the time of their prenatal or birth diagnosis.  I have been appalled with some of the conversations they’ve been a part of and sad that they were not provided the same medical care I was.  In reflecting on our conversation I believe you were giving me options without saying them because I believe you knew me well enough as a patient that termination would not be an option.  For that I am grateful.  This was a challenging season in my life and I am incredibly appreciative that I did not have to also deal with the awful reality that seems to be more common than I fully understood in a T21 prenatal diagnosis. 

I also appreciated the assistance of the staff as I switched practices to better serve Owen.  I am so very thankful that he did not have any further medical concerns arise, but for the hearing/audiology alone, it has made for an easy transition within the system.  Owen did spend 6 days in the NICU due to pulmonary hypertension and we were glad to have the consistent care with the NICU doctors and our pediatrician.  Not having a headache with the transition of my paperwork and records was very nice.

Finally, I wanted to extend my help, support and/or guidance to any moms who may find themselves in the world of Down syndrome.  I have found the community of moms who’ve experienced what we have has been invaluable.  If you ever come across a mom that would like or needs support, I would be happy to talk with them.  This has been a life-changing few months, but life is a lot less different than I originally expected.

I began blogging shortly after our diagnosis and have kept it current.  If you would like to see the diagnosis and birth experience through a family’s eyes, I’d encourage you to check it out.  Please feel free to pass the blog address and my contact info to anyone that you feel may benefit from it.  I have many DS blogs linked on my page, too.

My life in pregnancy years has come to a close (at least I think it has!) and I am grateful for the support I received through your practice over the years.  After my first miscarriage 10 years ago, I truly believed I may never get to experience motherhood.  Now, 4 kids later I am so thrilled to have healthy, beautiful children.

Me :)

Monday, June 17, 2013


So again I am beginning a post with apologies for the long break. I will update you on life in our world and then end with a photo bomb for all your patience.

Update--nothing, really! It is so good to say that. In terms of Owen, his only current issue is constipation (sorry buddy!). We are trying some foods because he is ready. He screams at dinner while we eat unless he gets something to snack on (prunes and applesauce lately). And he grabs at food if he is in striking distance. It is always nice to see him reach these milestones!

The other kiddos are doing well. We've adjusted to summer scheduling and it is great having them home. Colton appreciates it a lot; apparently I am not as amusing all day as the older ones are.

Owen will be 6 months at the end of this month and I can hardly believe it! We have been in the DS community for nearly 9 months. I wouldn't say a lot had changed, but I feel as though I have changed. In a very good way. My heart and mind are open to so much more.

To that end, I have been busy working on several projects. The first is putting together a book of sorts for new parents to the DS world. A new fabulous friend from down under is working with me and it has already been quite a journey. Collecting stories from moms all over the world about their experiences with DS has been an emotional adventure and I cannot wait to see how many families we are able to support in their own walk with Down syndrome.

The second project is something that has really been one that has been on my heart. A friend approached me about creating a group to support parents in, especially, the diagnosis phase of their path. There is just too much poor and misinformation out there around the realities of DS. In many cases the medical field is unwilling to supply parents with accurate information. In other cases, there is little to know information given at all. We are preparing to equip parents with accurate information and help them understand what life with DS is really like. I will reveal more details once we are ready, but I am so pumped to be using my energy towards such a worthy cause.

House building has proven to be more time consuming than I originally thought. We are busy making some decisions and hoping to complete the planning soon so we can get digging. More to come (hopefully soon!).

Friday, May 24, 2013

For the moms new to the world of Trisomy 21...Believe me, I know...

I know there are lots of new moms and dads coming into the community of Down syndrome everyday.

I know how scary it can be.

I know how strange it is to love a little person so much, but also be a bit afraid of them and what is in store.

I know the waiting for results and checkups and tests often.

I know the mixed anticipation of meeting that little one. Wanting them here safe and sound, yet wishing they could stay put where you could always protect them.

I also know the amazing feeling of meeting this little one who is genetically enhanced.

I know the tears of joy in seeing the family resemblance.

I know the sigh of relief as you hold them in your arms.

I know the trials and tribulations as all the medical tests get underway and something more might be needed for them.

I know the thrill of bringing them home as you begin your life as a family.

I know the hurt at hearing words spoken by others that now take on a whole new meaning and cut like a knife.

I know the anxiety of wondering whether they would smile, roll, hear.

I know the enormous sense of pride in milestones met.

I know the overwhelming feeling of schedules and appointments.

I know the love in a sibling's eyes when I glimpse them staring into those almond eyes.

I know love like I had never known it possible. 

I know there will be much more to learn.  

I know that is not unlike any of the children in my life, whether they have 46 or 47 chromosomes.

Most importantly, I know you may not believe this is all possible right now.  But I KNOW, you will get there too. Then you will tell others all that you know.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

An unexpected week!

I was really avoiding blogging this week. I was having many unbecoming thoughts around the hearing aids Owen was scheduled for on Friday.

It was vain and selfish.

I was so worried about him having one more thing that made him more different than alike. Don't get me wrong, I was THRILLED he would have the support he needed and it wouldn't cause possible further delays with speech and such, but I was back to those thoughts.

O had his check up with the ENT first on Thursday. To be honest, I felt like it was going to be a waste of time. He'd look and not be able to see anything and we would go on our way. Another few hours time spent in the medical world for naught. My "dream" outcome was that they would see both ear drums, see the fluid and miraculously place tubes that moment and Owen's hearing problems would be solved forever! (gotta dream big, right?!)

But, dreams come true in other ways sometimes...

They looked.
They could visualize one eardrum right off the bat.
They cleaned out both ears (small ear canals = much wax build-up) and...
They could see both ear drums!!

But....after all this he saw no fluid.

We were really hoping for fluid as that would have been the reason for the failed hearing tests all along.  No fluid meant that there was "real" hearing loss and our temporary, loaner hearing aids just became a permanent fixture.


The ENT did say that he and the audiologist disagreed on the cause of loss.  The audiologist believed it was fluid.  He did not. 


So, we left the ENT with more questions than answers.  But, frustrated.  He believed the hearing loss, albeit mild/moderate, was permanent. 

For me, that was a game-changer.  No longer was I thinking short-term about hearing aids.  It was going to be a part of our life.

I was a up a lot the night before our appointment on Friday.  Thinking and stressing.  Life hours wasted away to worry.  But, it was a necessary evil at the time.

We never expected the outcome of our Friday appointment with the audiologist.  She started off by running a retest on O's ears via the OAE.  This was the test he had failed numerous times since his days in the hospital.  I was not hopeful. 





The removal of the wax, coupled with the antibiotics clearing up the ear infection and swollen adenoids was the answer! 

She also ran the tympanigram and that also showed the results we so desired.

Unbelievable.  Seriously.

The long appointment were we anticipating, to be fitted with hearing aids was no longer.  One of our shortest on record, in fact.

In 3 months, we will have a recheck (or sooner if needed), but that is where we are today.

"Perfect. Normal" hearing.


So, for now, all is quiet and well on the homefront.  No major medical concerns (for anyone, I might add).  No looming appointments.  Just finishing out the school year and building a house, boring stuff :)

What a blessed life we lead.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Becoming a mom

Becoming a mom is one of the most unexplainable events of a lifetime.

Those who are there can understand what I mean.

For me, it began with a tough start.  

We found out I was pregnant and were thrilled.  I was so anxious/excited/nervous/thrilled after getting confirmation from the doctor. We went for our first appointment and they couldn’t hear a heartbeat, so they scheduled us for an ultrasound.  We brought a video tape (this was November 2003—VHS was still around) to record the first glimpses of our baby.  The ultrasound tech popped in the video, squirted the gel and turned on the machine. 

She never pressed record.  

After giving us a picture of the baby, we moved on to speak with the doctor.  He told us the baby had stopped growing weeks before and had no heartbeat. 

A missed miscarriage. 


The good thing that came from our first pregnancy was our overwhelming desire to have a baby. We knew that is what our future held.  And we couldn’t wait. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the stars right away.

About a year later, after some additional testing, we finally got the news we hoped for.  I was pregnant and due in June 2005.  

I couldn’t believe the incredible feeling of pregnancy.  Exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. I loved my changing body.  I sailed through the first trimester and then it all started.

In March, I wasn’t feeling quite right and spoke to my doctor about it.  Being a first time mom, I had NO idea what to look out for. Preterm labor never even entered my thoughts.  That would be the last time I could say that.

After a weekend on bedrest, I was sent to the hospital.  I was 28 weeks and in labor.  They believed my water had broken.  {Now that I know what I know, I should have been scared out of my mind.  I had no idea what having a 28 week baby might entail. I am grateful that I trusted in my husband and doctors to care for us.}

1 week.  I spent a week in the hospital. Much of that week is a fog.  Between the steroid shots and the magnesium sulfate, it was a blur. I do remember feeling incredibly hot all.the.time.  Usually I am freezing.  So a vivid memory remains of me dripping with sweat, begging for another fan, while everyone else in the room was covering up and layering sweatshirts and jackets. They also performed an amnio-type test to see whether my water hadbroken.  Using a very long needle, the doctor inserted dye.  Then we were to wait over the next hours to see if the dye emerged.

The best part, we found out were we expecting a daughter. A baby girl. Our daughter.

We spent the rest of our hospital time brainstorming girl names. A fantastic distraction. 

After no dye presented itself and the contractions were successfully stopped (thank you to several medications), we were sent home on bedrest.  It was Easter Sunday and I was thrilled to be home.  I spent the next few weeks home on bedrest.  I was lucky to have my mom and mother-in-law visiting often and my friends to stop by and fend off boredom. 

On Monday, April 11, something was not right.  I knew it, but was a bit scared of what was really going on.  My mother in law drove me to the doctor and I was sent to the hospital. Contractions were on again and I was progressing in labor.  I was 32weeks.

That evening my water did break (officially) and I knew we would be meeting our little girl.  After a few short hours (I do remember watching the Bachelor!) I got an epidural and we were moved to a birthing suite to get a bit of rest before the big moment.  The moms were both there and had found a space on the floor to rest for a bit.  Ironically, I believe they had just gotten the pullout bed ready for Brian when I asked to go to the bathroom.  {Apparently, that is code in labor and delivery and I had no idea what was going to happen next.  I thought it meant I would be using the bathroom.  Little did I know!}

Within minutes, the room was transformed and there were a gaggle of staff from the floor, including the NICU.  I began pushing at bit after 1 am on April 12 and our tiny Katelyn Elizabeth was born at 1:21 am.  

4 pounds.  8 ounces. 
She cried.  The most glorious sound EVER.

They rushed her to the NICU for evaluation and Brian was able to go be with her.  A short time later, it was me and a nurse left in the room. I remember making some phone calls at 2 am. I was alone and scared and desperate to really see my baby. Patience. This was the first of my lessons as a parent.
Brian returned and updated me.  Kate was doing well.  They were giving her an IV and monitoring her closely.  It was the best news I had EVER heard in my life.  

We called the moms in and told them that their newest grandchild had arrived.  They were in disbelief and it took a bit of convincing and a trip to the NICU with dad to fully believe it.  

I think back to that time and how much faith I required.  Having a child in the NICU is an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It was also much different than the NICUs of 2013.  No private rooms.   A movable curtain of privacy.  Leaving my daughter every night. It was up early at the hospital, sit by her bedside all day in hopes of a diaper change or feeding, and leaving late at night. Only to do the same thing the next day. We spent 30 days of hands-on parenting with training.  It was a rollercoaster of emotions, but in the end we brought our baby girl home the day after Mother’s Day.
For me, it is a strange holiday.  I fully understand and appreciate the sentiment behind it.  But my first Mother’s day was not at all what I envisioned. It was kind of crummy, in fact.  I thought I was bringing my baby home, but needed to wait 1 more day.

What is Mother’s Day for me?

It is a reminder that my job description is not glamorous. My dress code is now yoga pants and my favorite tee or sweatshirt. My daily schedule is not ultra-exciting.  The goals I aim for have shifted dramatically.  But it is truly the BEST and MOST WORTHWHILE work I have ever done.

I am exhausted, but energized by a smile, spoken word of understanding or move towards further independence.  

I am hungry, but my soul is fulfilled in watching my children grow into the people of faith and character they will become.

I am not always freshly showered, but liberated in the sandbox of life with my kids.

I am a mom.

And to my kids, that is enough and more.