We are the Stow Family and this is our story. Our lives are blessed by Love, Joy and Hope. Follow our sometimes interesting stories on loving our two boys, exploring parenthood, and celebrating a little extra - two parents, two boys and an extra chromosome!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

If you want to make God chuckle... Make a plan!

Dearest Malakai,

Just like any good story that starts in the midst of the action (with your birth), I thought I would take it back a few years and tell you the story of how you came to be in the first place!
As the title of this post will hint to you... I was full of plans!! But nothing happened as I planned... and everything happened as it should!
It was 2005 and Mommy and Daddy had been married for about 3 years and had just returned from a year living in Scotland. We loved it there and lived at a hotel, in a broken down old caravan, next to the longest fresh-water loch (Loch Awe) in the Scottish Highlands. It was a magical time for Mommy and Daddy - we lived with no responsibilities except to ourselves! What a wonderful escape we had that year!
We decided to come home in January 2005 and 'rebuild' the life that we had left behind. In the April of 2005 Mommy fell pregnant... I cried because I was scared and having a baby was not part of my plan... It turned out that it was not part of God's plan either because the baby did not live past 6 weeks. But, having been pregnant for that short time, I knew that I wanted to try again to become pregnant. It was as if I had been touched by the "Mommy Brush" and wanted to be pregnant so very badly!
December 2005 brought my second pregnancy. Daddy & I were so excited! But again, it was not part of God's plan and the baby did not live past 8 weeks. I was devastated... wondering why my body could not grow a baby properly.
It would be another year, my angel, until you came along! In December 2006 I found out that I was carrying you! This time, God's plan unfolded as it should!
The next 38 weeks were spent growing and expanding! My pregnancy was so simple! I had no problems at all! I even remember the screening test (for Down Syndrome), and my score of 1 in 900 chance. After that, I never had another thought that there would be anything out of the ordinary! Our monthly visits to the doctor showed you growing beautifully - right on schedule! I loved to see you inside me, moving around, kicking, turning around! In fact, you were so active that sometimes the doctor couldn't measure you properly! Also, you often had hiccups, causing my tummy to bounce ever so slightly!
I had decided to deliver you by c-section, but only once my true labour started - just so that we knew you were ready to arrive!
The day that you decided to start your arrival I met with the doctor one last time. You were completely 'engaged' (meaning your head was in my pelvis and ready to come) and my doctor still joked that you were on your way that night! I went home and that night, lo and behold, my contractions started! From 7:30pm to 10pm dad and I sat and counted the pains as they came, and when they were 10 minutes apart we headed off to the hospital. I had already packed your and my bags weeks before, not wanting to be caught off-guard.
Once we got to the hospital, however, the nurses were convinced that I was not actually in true labour. They put me in a hospital bed for observation and sent Daddy home. In retrospect, I wish I had demanded that daddy stay with me, because I spent the night in lot of pain, in a dark ward with 3 other sleeping women (who I didn't want to disturb), with very little pain management. I asked the nurses over and over again for more pain medication, because the contractions were so very sore, coming every 5 minutes, but they said they couldn't give me anything more. So, at about 5am, when my waters broke, I was so relieved that they would finally have to believe that I was in labour! I called your daddy and told him to come quickly and by 7:04am you were born! The pains of labour, the dark ward, being alone and scared to make a noise - that all became completely meaningless when you arrived!
My angel, your daddy put you on my chest in the theater and your eyes were open. I remember looking at your perfect little face and being amazed that you had just come out of my tummy! I was soon wheeled out of the theater into the recovery room, holding you tightly... It was then, when we were alone, that I looked at your dad and told him that you had his lips, my nose, but I couldn't figure out why your eyes were so different...
"They think he has Down Syndrome" daddy said.
Everything went hot, noises seemed to fade into the distance as a ringing noise started in my ears. "Are you serious?" I asked? "Are you messing with me?..."
I cried, your daddy cried. We were scared of what we did not know - and we did not know Down Syndrome at all!
Back in the ward we were visited by the Paediatrician. She showed us all the physical symptoms of Down Syndrome that she had seen - your almond shaped eyes, your ears being lower on the side of your head, the line across the palms of your hands, your second toes being very far from your big toe... Blood was taken to be tested - we would find out for sure on Monday...
"But all the signs are there" the pead said kindly but firmly. She did not want to raise our hopes or be too negative about the prognosis. So! We had the weekend to get to know you first, before a blood test could give us a scientific diagnosis. As the pead left, I remember her saying that if you couldn't feed, they would take you to Neo Natal ICU. Not feed? I was so clueless on Down Syndrome that I didn't even know that was a possibility! No way, I thought, you would feed and be by your mommy.
As God's plan would have it - you did feed... absolutely beautifully! You also seemed to miss the memo that said that you would have low muscle tone... because you were (and are) so strong! We had all sorts of tests run on your heart, eyes, hearing and thyroid - all came back fine.
You are beautiful my boy. I look at you now and still forget that you have Down Syndrome! I will not let an extra chromosome tell me who you are going to be! Scientific blood analysis cannot tell me if you going to enjoy riding bikes or flying kites or painting pictures... Science cannot tell me of the love that we share, of the bond between us! You are part of me and I of you! You are my child, my angel, my Reasons for Being!
I don't know how Down Syndrome will form part of our lives - but I welcome and honour it because you have it, but it does not have you! I have already come across a global community of families with children who have Down Syndrome and their stories fill my heart with hope and joy! As I educate myself on Down Syndrome, I remember that you are unique. Only time will tell who you are, and what your strengths and challenges will be.
I no longer make plans... I know that that is really quite silly considering the journey I've been on! With your and daddy's help, I live in this moment, embracing the perfection of reality.

Ok, and one last time for this post - I love you my angel boy!

You are all my Reasons for Being


Caden Paul said...

Beautiful Loren!

Conrad, Megan and Our Precious Keaton said...

I am in total awe of your writing, your complete honesty, your wonderful optimisim, your love for your son, your experience of life that are far beyond your (our) years...... Loren, I learn from you each and every day, that life is a gift full of love and joy and happiness, there will be good times, there will be bad times BUT nothing or no one will rob us of it, just as you say no obsticle will ever stop us of dreaming, of hoping, of achieving EVERYTHING we put our minds to... I look forward to the day were both our boys WILL be flying those kites in the park!

Lisa Reid said...

Loren!!!! Im on hormones!!! Sitting here crying behind my desk!! You write so beautifully and Malakai is gorgeous love the new pics, put some more up : )

Deqlan said...

You are so right DS will never have Kai - i felt exactly the same with Deqlan - Cancer would never have Deqlan - your words, determination and absolute love and devotion for Kai are so clear...

Anonymous said...

Loren, you truly do have a way with words. Your love for Malakai is evident in every sentence. It takes my breath away whenever I read your letters to him. He is such a beautiful little boy, and one of the luckiest too, to have such wonderful parents. God has blessed you all!!!!

All my love and best wishes
Sam (and Don, Mia and Liam) from the UK xxxx