The Day I Fell in Love With My Daughter With Down Syndrome
I arrive at the hospital and walk down to the NICU. I show off my hospital band to the security guard as if I’m flashing an ID to get into some elite club — although I’m not dressed for the occasion. I’m wearing yoga pants that have never been to yoga. Messy bun on top of my head that hasn’t been brushed since yesterday morning. A makeup-less face paired with a puffy set of tear filled eyes. I walk in and drop off chocolates for nurses. I scrub in.
I enter the NICU anticipating the usual: my baby girl hooked up to wires and machines. Tiny little purple feet poke out of her blanket covered in bruises from all the blood draws. I hear beeps coming from her machines indicating her oxygen is low and her heart rate has increased… I stay calm.
There are nurses busily running around like the super heroes they are, but without the capes. I see a doctor in the corner checking the heart of another baby. I see a (possibly) 26-week-old premature baby with “stronger” stats than my full term baby.
This is my new normal…
Ever since that little test turned positive, I have felt love for my baby. When I found out I was going to have a “sick” baby, I still felt love. When Emily arrived, I allowed myself to be consumed with fear. The thought of her going into congestive heart failure at any time has literally made me feel frozen. Nonetheless, I loved her.
Something happened today. Today I held my daughter. I allowed myself to turn my brain off. I didn’t see the monitors. I didn’t see the nurses. I didn’t see the purple feet or hear the beeping of the machines. My eyes filled with tears but not the typical sad tears… they were happy tears. I saw Emily through those tears and in that instant, I didn’t just feel love — I fell in love.
I finally allowed myself to turn off my fear and just be in the moment.
Day 8 I fell in love with my daughter.
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