23 July 2015

I Blinked.....

I blinked and two beautiful years have flown by. Adele will be two years old tomorrow.

Our sweet and wondrous baby arrived in a flash. She was quiet yet full of life and love. My time with her was very brief. I was allowed one kiss and then she was whisked away to the NICU. I remember looking at her little face, thinking that she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I felt the worries dissipate. I felt love take over my heart and mind. I couldn't wait to hold her and reassure her that I will always protect her and love her until the day I die. I could hear a nurse tell her colleagues that when she saw Adele, she saw beauty. My heart felt warmth and comfort.

The first time I saw Adele in the NICU, my eyes filled with tears. It was over twenty four hours before I could touch her hand, run my finger along her tiny nose and tell her that she just made my whole world complete. As I looked at her perfection, the room was silent, there were no nurses, no beeping machines, no other babies. Our little miracle was all I could see. I cried for Adele, I cried for myself, I cried for all the times that I had doubted myself and for the times when I allowed ignorance to dictate my emotions.

As the days passed, my love grew and bloomed to a point where I knew that Adele had chosen us, she had chosen our family, she had chosen to be a part of our world. Brinley would sit in the NICU with me everyday for over two hours and cuddle her sister, she would touch her hair, hold her hand and rub her cheek. She felt a bond, a love that only siblings could feel. I knew that love and commitment to each other would knock down any negativity or hurt that would present itself in the future. The girls would be best friends.

As my love grew, there were still worries and fears that would creep in from time to time. I would feel overwhelmed and at times, my heart ached thinking about the future and what it would hold for Adele. I sometimes got lost in negative thoughts and let concern consume my days. I have worked hard to be present, to enjoy these precious moments and to celebrate all that Adele has accomplished in these two short years. Adele is truly a miracle.

As I watch Adele grow and try to find her place in the world, I can't help but feel reassurance and gratitude for the life that we have been given. I am in awe of all of her capabilities and mastery of so many skills. I am in awe of her beauty and excitement for life. I am in awe of how she wakes up each day and laughs and shows love to all those around her. She has impacted thousands of lives, all across the globe. Her stubbornness and fiery personality shows us that she has determination and a zest for life. What a beautiful life.

Our world completely changed two years ago. Our world became a place where we have been taught to see beauty in all people. We have been taught that slowing down and taking in each moment, makes the days better and brighter. We have been taught that we don't set limits, but that we encourage and celebrate and love the beauty that lies within each and every one of us. What a beautiful life.

I am proud of Adele. I am proud that I am her mother. We will travel this wondrous journey together. We will celebrate, we will cry, we will overcome the obstacles. When we celebrate two years tomorrow, I will look back on all of the moments, the ones that hurt, the ones that felt amazing and the ones that have made me a better person. The day will be filled with emotion and love, feelings that only a mother can feel for her child.
Two years ago, my world became brighter, my world became complete.

Thank you Adele. xo

12 July 2015

Let's Be The Change That The World Needs

We are back from vacation! It was restful and relaxing and the girls had a blast. There were no major catastrophes and we only had to whip out the first aid kit a couple of times. All in all, it was a successful week long vacation.

Today, I delivered two baskets to very deserving and beautiful families. The first one, we had the opportunity to only visit for a few minutes, but the conversation has repeated itself over and over again in my head, throughout the course of the day. Baby is still in the NICU and mom is very anxious to get her beautiful daughter home, so that they can start to get into some sort of routine and begin their lives as a family of three. Most baskets that I deliver are to families who receive a diagnosis at birth. It can be a bit of a difficult time with lots of emotions and tears. It's overwhelming for families, but with the right support system and community resources to help guide you, it all works out. My little girl has brought so much love, laughter and light into our lives and to countless others all across the globe. Two years ago, the world became a better place.

The new mom was telling me that they received a pre-natal diagnosis and that all throughout her pregnancy, she was encouraged by doctors and medical professionals to terminate the pregnancy. As she was telling me this, I could feel my blood start to boil and my heart really did ache for this beautiful family. Mom is not from this country, so she has some difficulties expressing herself and getting out the right words, deemed to be a bit difficult. She was not able to stand up for herself in the way that she wanted to. She knew that she wasn't going to terminate her pregnancy but she didn't receive the support and guidance that she deserved.
When we received our diagnosis, I was 15 weeks pregnant. My OB was caring, compassionate and she allowed us to grieve. We did grieve. We went through a few weeks of feeling sorry for ourselves, lots of worry, fear and upset. We were entitled to this time, but we also were surrounded by people who didn't allow us to wallow for too long. The medical professionals in our lives didn't tell us that they were sorry or that our child with Down syndrome would not have a bright future. They took us by the hand and guided us in the right direction. They gave us facts about OUR unborn child, not a book filled with grim statistics that were not relevant to our pregnancy. We focused on the ultrasounds and we educated ourselves.

I don't know what James and I would have done if we were told over and over again that this child has no right to be in this world, that she would be a burden on society or that this child would be a burden to us and our family. We looked up to these people, we valued their opinions and knew that they would never tell us to do something that we would later regret, for the rest of our lives. You are vulnerable when you receive news that you don't expect. You are in a state where emotion takes over logic. You fear the worst and let worry creep into your mind. All you need is for your hand to be held and told that it will all be ok. You need to be told to breathe and relax and to not let those who are ignorant and uneducated dictate what you should do with your body, with your child, with your future.

I am not for banning abortion when a family receives a pre-natal diagnosis. I was not put on the earth to judge others. Telling a woman what she should and shouldn't do with her body, is the wrong way to go about it. What needs to be law, is that when a family receives the diagnosis, they must get educated, they must meet with a family, they must meet with those who are qualified, those who can explain the beauty of Down syndrome and what our children will achieve. When a woman receives a diagnosis and is told that is against the law to terminate, here is a pamphlet and is sent on her way, that is not making advancements, this is not going about things the right way. With some education, a woman and her family will see the potential, the beauty, the gift that lies ahead.

As I stood there with this mom today, she felt lost, she wasn't given the resources, the forms, the community supports that are available to her and her family. She is fearful of the future and is unsure how to proceed. I reassured her that I will hold her hand and be the support that she needs and deserves.

I so badly wish that the world would change. I know that it sounds like such a silly statement, but I was hurt today. It is going to take all of us to change the world. We all need to be in this together. We need to be the parents that our children need us to be. We need to keep advocating. We need to keep showing the world the beauty that lies within each of our children. When we stand together, we will be the change that the world needs.

The lovely pictures of Adele were taken for a photo shoot that we did for Acorn & Leaf. Thank you Modern Nest Photography for taking such amazing and beautiful pictures.