Two doctors, one baby, a lifetime of love and respect

I thought I’d share a few pics of Eli’s nursery. For those of you who have followed my blog since our journey started, you’ll see a familiar Bible verse, Jeremiah 1:5, on the wall above his crib. That is the verse our OB, Dr. Michael Lawler, quoted to us the day we saw him after our MaterniT21 test confirmed that our baby would have Down syndrome (for the whole story read my very first post to this blog, “Acceptance”). Yesterday, at our last visit with Dr. Lawler before our c-section on Thursday, we showed him the picture of Eli’s nursery wall with that verse. We wanted him to see just how much that verse, quoted to us by him, had impacted us. It changed my perspective on everything. It led me towards acceptance.

I am forever grateful to Dr. Lawler, as well as our radiologist (ultrasound doc), Dr. Kevin Case. These two men have been instrumental on our journey. They have helped us to keep the faith. Both encouraged us at our weakest. They never implied that we should give up on our baby (sadly, many doctors do). We have been so blessed to have these two spiritual, compassionate, honest men lead us down a path we once saw as difficult. Now that we are at the end, we see the light and we give many thanks to these fine doctors for helping us get there. Please keep both men in your prayers – for they truly deserve all of life’s blessings.

20121024-053243.jpg

20121024-053300.jpg

20121024-053313.jpg

20121024-053343.jpg
A special thank you to my amazing husband for making Eli’s room absolutely perfect!

Acceptance

May 8, 2012 at 1:15pm our world changed forever. We got the call from the genetic counselor that we had been dreading. The baby I have been carrying for 15 weeks, is not healthy. He/she has Down Syndrome. What?! How can this be? I’ve done everything right. I don’t drink, smoke, take medicine, eat foods I’m not supposed to. Why me? Why us? Cause I’m old? But I’m not old! I’m only 36. What will this do to our family? I’ve gotten mad, sad, anxious, confused. Will I be able to love this baby? What does their future hold? Bullying, dependence, frustration? What does Cody’s future hold? Constant defending? Other peoples intolerance? Jealousy? What does our future hold??? I can’t even go there right now. Everyone assures us that they’ll love the baby regardless and that they’ll always be there to support us. Will they? Will we? Can we? I have felt thoughts that I never thought I could feel about my unborn baby. Those thoughts make me angry, sad, and feel very un-mommy like. I’ve prayed for forgiveness of those feelings. Can I handle this? Can Chuck? Will our marriage survive? Is it worth risking? Right now, I don’t know the answer to those questions. I pray for clarity, for love, and for acceptance. I pray for peace. I pray that everything will just be alright.

I wrote that journal entry a few days after we found out that our baby has Down syndrome. It makes me sad to read it now. I felt so out of control. So desperately trying to understand what was happening. I’d go to sleep and wake up not remembering if it was a dream or real. I would pray it was a dream then remember it was not. We cried a lot. We stopped praying. We felt betrayed by God. We worried and worried and worried. We grieved for the child we thought we were having and didn’t know if we could ever come to terms with the child we were given.

After three long, insufferably challenging weeks my eyes were finally opened when my OB doctor (of all people!) quoted the bible during an appointment. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;…”. All of a sudden, it all made sense to me. We were chosen by God to be this child’s parents. He knows we are capable of loving this child unconditionally. He picked us for him and him for us. I walked out of that appointment knowing everything would be ok. There was a feeling of calmness and acceptance that was such a new, welcomed feeling for me. Chuck still wasn’t there. He was still depressed. I feared he may never get to a point of acceptance like me. What if he never did?

A few days later we named our son. Eli Michael. There is a lot of meaning to his name that I won’t go into right now. But now our baby, our son, had a name. He was real. No longer just a scary diagnosis to us. He became ours.

We spent the following weekend on the Washington coast. If there’s a wonderful place to reflect and gain insight, it’s the beach. We were surrounded by peace. We were filled with love. As we took pictures of the three of us on the beach I had an overwhelming feeling that our family was going to be what it was meant to be. The four of us. Me, Chuck, Cody, and Eli. A family that was chosen. I took a picture of Cody playing on the beach. When I looked at the image on my camera I could not explain what I saw. Instead of one shadow standing with Cody, there were two. I just knew it was Eli. I just knew we’d be ok. That weekend was the best weekend of our lives (so far). We both accepted the child we were given. Not only accepted, but embraced.

20120621-155917.jpg

20120621-161405.jpg