Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Stella's Birthday in Pictures

It occurred to me after I wrote that post about Stella's birth, that I failed to mention that my hubby and Stella actually share the same birthday! Sorry babe! We often joke that it's not really his birthday anymore.  It's now Stella, Stella, Stella and oh yeah, Mickey too.

But really what a wonderful gift, to be able to share a birthday with his daughter !  I for one wish she had been born on MY birthday.  You see, her due date WAS October 18th and my birthday is October 14th.  If she had stayed in a few weeks longer, I very well may have been the one sharing a birthday.

Ah, but I digress.  Here are a few pictures of Stella (and Mickey's) birthday party. There was no partaking in cake for our Sweet Stella this year.  She was having nothing to do with it.  A combination of too short a nap, being tired and more then likely overstimulated, contributed to the lack of cooperation on her part.

Even crying and sad I still think she looked oh so adorable.

Stella's view of her decorations

Martha Stuart I am not.  This is the best that it gets.

Present Time!! The big sisters must help, of course.

The biggest hit so far? The wrapping paper!

Oh, wait this gift interests me.

Such a grown up picture of  her! 2! 2....say whaaattt?

No smiles with her cake this year.  In fact, quite the opposite.

2nd attempt at a picture, with Daddy (it's his birthday too!).

3rd attempt. No smiles, but the crying has stopped.
A lovely party with family and friends!

Perhaps next year Stella will eat her cake.

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Day of Stella's Birth

Stella, 11 Days Old
Photo By: Photography By Eiko

September 24th, 2010, 9:09pm. One of the most memorable, wonderful days of our families life.  Our family was officially complete.

I must say though, I was NOT expecting to go into labour at 36 weeks that's for sure!

Labour sucked, but I guess that's why it's called "labour".

At 9:09 pm Stella made her appearance into this world.

Photo By: Photography By Eiko

I looked down, and reached my arms out for her as they placed her warm, gooey body on my belly.  I looked at her face and saw her almond shaped eyes and her little button nose, her slightly turned down lips. I looked over at my hubby, our eyes locked, words were not needed as we both knew.

She was perfection, just like her two big sister's before her.  She was ours.

The nurses took her over to the warming lamp to suction her lil mouth and check her over.  I watched as, wiping tears from his eyes, Mickey smiled at our new baby caressed her little forehead and talked to her. 

The doctor attempted to ask us some family history questions.  "Sooooooo, any history of family health problemssss...." clearly she was uncomfortable and trying to figure out a way to tell us what we already knew.

"We know she has Down Syndrome". My hubby and I both stated this in a very calm, no big deal, manner. 
"Oh" is what I remember her saying.  I don't remember what else she said but I do remember her being quite surprised with how calm and happy we were.  I guess she was expecting us to be crying and sad and devastated.  I must say it felt really good to show everyone in the room that night just how happy we were.  At that moment in time all I felt was absolute love and happiness.

If I am going to be 100% honest it was a bittersweet moment.  Our journey as a family had changed, in more ways then one.  We not only had a third child, but we now had a child who was not exactly the child we had originally envisioned.  Yet at that moment in time nothing felt different   I was on the "I just had a baby, I love EVERYONE"-high, just like with my two babies before.  Stella was attached to my boob just like my two babies before.  I was telling all the nurses how awesome they were and "thank you sooo much, your were sooo helpful", just like my two babies before.  I was just oozing with happiness.
Yet in the back of my mind, there was a big unknown.  Something I never felt before.  We were officially in uncharted waters.

I was VERY selective in what pictures of her I showed to the world (of facebook).  As happy as I was that she was here, I didn't want to post any pictures that, in my mind, may make people wonder.  I was not fully ready to share that Stella had Down Syndrome.  I just wanted them to fall in love with her first... then throw the Down Syndrome diagnosis in there as side note.

Photo By: Photography By Eiko

Big sisters with Stella

Stella's birthday is coming up soon! I still find it hard to believe that she will be turning 2!


Stella, 11 months, August 2011

Stella, 23 months, and big sister Sophie, August 2012

What an adventure this has been so far!!  So normal, so typical, yet in some ways so different.  A good different.  I have truly loved every minute of Stella being little and what a pleasure it has been to have her in that "baby"stage for just a little bit longer.  Every milestone (especially the little ones) has been cause for celebration.  She is on the verge of walking, and with that comes....toddler hood!  A "hood" I am all so very familiar with and am looking forward to with a mix of emotions.  I feel sad because the last of my babies will no longer be a baby.  But yet happy to see her reach another milestone she has worked so hard to achieve.

So I end this post with a "shout out" to Stella.  Happy Birthday my blue eyed, fair skinned little girl! We love you to the moon and back! 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A 1 in 200 Chance- My Journey to Acceptance

It was May 2010, and I was in Victoria visiting my parents and sister.  Mickey had gone back home to "The Hat" to go back to work.  I had left my two girls with my mom while I went shopping for some maternity clothes.  I was super excited as Old Navy had some really cute and affordable clothes.  So there I was walking into Old Navy so excited that my belly was growing and so looking forward to trying on some cute clothes.  I walked around a few times, and found nothing!!  So I asked the sales girl and she then informed me that Old Navy no longer sold maternity clothes except on line!!  I was soooo annoyed and disappointed!! As I started to walk out of the store looking and feeling extremely annoyed, my cell phone rang.  It was my hubby. I proceeded to inform him of the travesty that I had encountered.

Now I can't remember exactly word for word what my Hubby said to me next, but all I remember is that a nurse called about my triple marker screening blood test. It had come back positive. I now had a 1 in 200 chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome.   I was at a higher "risk" that the little miracle happily nestled inside my body was going to have chromosomal "abnormalities".

So here is where I hesitate continuing with my story.

I am ashamed of my reaction.

Simply put, I was devastated.

We had no definite answer yet I was reacting like we already knew for sure.

Even though I know it is a normal reaction, I still feel guilty.

"No!" I wept, "I already had a baby with Down Syndrome!  How is it possible I could have another baby with Down Syndrome?!"

My mind instantly rewinds back to 2007 when we got results back from the testing they did on the baby that I lost at 13 weeks gestation.  "The baby had Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome", is what my midwife
explained.   Back then, I really had no clue exactly what Down Syndrome even was.  I was shocked! I mean I wasn't even 30 yet!  My midwife then informed me that Down Syndrome happens when there are three chromosomes of the 21st chromosome instead of two (hence T21).

"Whew", I thought. 

Do not misunderstand. 

I was devastated, my hubby was devastated.  We lost our sweet precious little baby.  But a part of me felt like we had dodged a bullet.

I hate that I felt like that. Especially knowing what I know now.  I was just very ignorant and really had no clue.

So back to 2010:

There I am, leaving Old Navy, openly weeping as my world has been turned upside down once again.  I am face to face with the possibility of my sweet precious baby being different, being not at all what I had been planning.

Keep in mind, we had no definite answer.  My chances were 1 in 200. 

We had our regular 18 week ultrasound and the baby's measurements all came out "normal".


Baby Stella
There was a tiny hole of light found in the baby's heart.  Not a big deal based on the information sheet that was given to us.  However, this information sheet also suggested that this is a sign of a chromosomal abnormality.

My heart sinks.

We were at a cross roads.  Do we go to Calgary, get a more in depth ultrasound? Do we get an amnio?  I felt so unsure! I was torn, I couldn't stop crying, I wouldn't touch my belly. My poor sweet baby, when she kicked my heart ached. 

"Should we get another ultrasound?" I asked my hubby. 

"Why?", he asked.  So calm, so strong, so sure.  He just knew it would be ok.  That this baby was our baby and was loved no matter what.

I talked/cried to my mom on the phone. "I don't want people to stare at her, at us because she looks and acts different." "I don't want people to treat her differently or be mean to her. I'm so terrified that she will be sick all the time or what if she has a heart condition?"

I prayed to God. I don't go to church, but I do believe in God. So I prayed. I prayed to God begging, for our baby to be OK. And by OK, I meant to not have Down Syndrome.

Then one morning I woke up and felt calm, felt at peace and that no matter what the outcome, that this baby was ours and was wanted and loved so very much.

My pregnancy progressed, my belly grew, our baby kicked and I talked to her, rubbed my belly and just went on with life.  I read up on Down Syndrome and educated myself, to prepare myself, just in case.  Although at the time, in my heart I truly did not believe that our baby would be born with Down Syndrome. 

Photo by: Photography by Eiko

I had prayed to God asking Him for the baby to be ok and I think in a round about way He was trying to tell me that our baby would be OK AND that she would have Down Syndrome.

You see, for the rest of my pregnancy no matter where I went it seemed I always saw someone who was truly rockin their extra chromosome!   I went to the library with my girls and low and behold I picked up a children's board book.  It was titled "Kids Like Me Learn ABCs" and this book was filled with adorable babies and children who had Down Syndrome.  Another time in the summer my family and I went to a local summer fair.  As we were walking along, a couple sauntered past us.  They were just walking along, doing their own thing, enjoying the day....and they were both apart of the T21 club!
My mind already knew what my heart was not quite ready to accept.  That we were going to win the lottery.  That we were going to be the 1 (out of 200) that would get the chance to see the world in a totally different way.

My journey to acceptance had begun.

Big sister
Photo by: Photography by Eiko

Little, big sister
Photo by: Photography by Eiko

Kids Like me Learn ABCs book:
Triple Marker Screening Info:

Photography by Eiko:

Monday, 10 September 2012

To Blog or Not to Blog

This is the question I have been asking myself for almost 2 years. But something has always held me back.........ME! I have read a few blogs by these amazing writers who can so eloquently express their feelings and thoughts of having a child who just happens to be rockin an extra chromosome. Reading these blogs has given me a good excuse NOT to blog.  "My writing is just not interesting enough. Who will really care to read about our struggles and triumps?" These are the thoughts I have said to myself many a time.  But always, always, way back in the corners of my mind, a little voice has kept whispering "Do it anyway. You know you wanna."

So I have finally decided to listen to my tiny little inner voice, who has been goading me, taunting me, attempting to inspire me.
But WHY?  Why do I want to blog?  Why should I blog?  The answer is quite simple...
All but a few hours old and rockin those 47 chromosomes already!

  I want to be one of the hundreeds of bloggers out there showing the world that having a child with Down Syndrome is NOT the end of the world.  That some information given by doctors and health professionals is outdated and incorrect. That a prenatal test CANNOT predict your child's future!

I want to be one of the hundreds of bloggers showing the world that a child with Down Syndrome is just that... a child.  So much more alike then different. But....

I also want to show people that being different is OK too.

Stella at about 5 months old.

Stella, 23months old and sooo much hair!

One more reason that I have decided to blog is because I have come to realize just how much of my feelings and emotions I hold inside.  I can sometimes be very hard to read, so perhaps this blog will be a good way for my family and friends to get somewhat of an idea of what goes through my head regarding being on this new journey also.

So there you have it folks. My journey as a blogger begins!