One Year After Our Prenatal Diagnosis of Down Syndrome

March 1st, 2016 will forever be a turning point in my life. On this date, I heard the words “abnormal test results” for the Trisomy 21 portion of our prenatal screening test. If I had known, I wouldn’t have taken that call in the middle of the work day.

Because Kara is so incredible, it’s easy to say I wish I would have known then what I know now, but it’s not that simple. The diagnosis was hard for us. I needed time to grieve my expectations, to learn, to grow. I needed to be there for my husband and know that he was going to be there for me, too.

Anything after March 1st has become, “after we knew.” I look at pictures before that date and think, “Those people are so worry-free and uneducated.” I search my own face in photos and see innocence. I want to say, “You just wait, you just wait until the 1st and your world is going to change forever.”

March 1st was the same day we found out we were having a girl.

The calls were divided. I got a call from our physician that afternoon telling me the next step was to meet with a genetic counselor. Shortly after, Jacob got a call with the news of our baby girl. He was to keep the secret and surprise me with our gender reveal that weekend, but you know how plans change.

He did great keeping the secret. When I told him I needed to hear some good news that afternoon, he shook his head. But then a few minutes later I got a text message. I looked down to see the image of a giant, sparkling, pink bow illuminated on my screen.

My eyes filled with tears, “I was right?”

“You were right,” he said.

What a day.

Six days later we met with a genetic counselor and had an ultrasound. Seven days after that I had an amniocentesis.

The day the results came back, a friend stopped by to drop off a gift. A tiny little black and white dress with a yellow bow. Minutes before Jacob had told me the results of the amniocentesis. My friend had no idea she’d be walking into our living room to see me a sobbing mess.

Kara has long grown out of that dress, but I packed it away with extra special care, along with the flood of emotions it brought back.

Many of my fears have now diminished.

I was so scared my daughter wouldn’t be smart, beautiful or strong. Now, I feel silly when I think of those feelings because she’s all these things and more.

I was terrified she wouldn’t have friends or supporters, but again, I was proven wrong. Since that day, we have aimed to be experts on everything Down syndrome. I have gained a lot of knowledge, but nothing could have ever prepared me for the love I feel. She has my whole heart.

Termination was never, ever an option in our minds. I feel lucky our physician did not lead us in that direction. We made it clear from the beginning that the results of the amnio were to prepare us, nothing else.

On March 1st, 2016 I was sick to my stomach with fear and uncertainty, but the fear is nothing compared to the pride I now have for my little girl. The world is a better place with her in it, just you wait and see.

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