Holland

In just over two weeks, we will visit Dr. Fennimore for our 2nd appointment to see how you are progressing and to make sure everything is “all right.”

At that appointment, we had decided we would do the bloodwork to determine if you have Down syndrome, spina bifida and various other chromosomal disorders. In the past, age was mostly a factor that health professionals associated with Downs and some of these other disorders….now the screening is recommended for all mothers.

We were going to proceed for two reasons:

1. the bloodwork test is not invasive and i thought, “eh, why not?

2. I thought I wanted to know…..

then….i started thinking about it. Day and night with my heart and soul.

I emailed my best friend Whitney to ask if she had done the testing and her simple words adequately described EXACTLY how I am feeling….Whitney is a beautiful person and friend, but these words are a testament to how wonderful of a mother she is.

As far as the down syndrome test goes I didn’t get it because it didn’t
matter to me whether the baby had it or not.  No it is not ideal but I
would love him just the same (if not more).  Some people choose to abort
now that it can be identified so early on(and they have every right to
do so) but honestly my friend Brandy’s sister had down syndrome so I
feel like I have a different “appreciation” if you can call it that for
those individuals.  It is just another thing that we all worry about so
don’t feel like you are the only one.  Don’t stress about it, just cross
that bridge when you get there.

I started wrestling with the question, “What would we do if our baby does have a disorder?” I knew abortion was not an option, so why did I need to find out?

I also knew that if God blessed us with this child and IF it did have a disorder, then HE must think we can handle it….and we WOULD love that baby even more. We would cherish it and give it every opportunity this world had to offer. I would fight for it. Fight for it’s rights and fight for it to be an equal. If God gave us this challenge, we could handle it.

This being our first child, obviously we have found ourselves saying what so many (probably EVERY) parent says, “as long as it’s healthy we don’t care if it’s a boy or girl.” What a sad comment. What a slap in the face to parents whose children aren’t healthy.

Whitney passed along this beautiful writing by Emily Pearl Kingsley called “Welcome to Holland.” For extra emotion I read the poem to myself aloud. It’s beautiful. Please read it.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum.  The Michelangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy!  I’m supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan.  They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place.  It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” 

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever  go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

Baby, I DO pray that you are healthy for wanting that is not an insult to other mothers, it’s a simple wish every parent has for their child….but i don’t think having the test tell me one thing or another will make a bit of difference as to how much we love you.

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