I had a God sighting today.
A holy moment.
It may not seem like a big deal to anybody else - or, if anything, someone might say it's luck or a great coincidence or a fortunate happening, but today, I know that God cares about me.
Where to start? How about when Ben was born? That morning was so surreal and strange. Emmett was still on an airplane flying home to McAllen. The hospital pediatrician came in at 5 a.m. and said "You know about the Downs, right?" and I - in a sleep-deprived and hormonal stupor - said "yes." And then he mentioned something about testing and left the room.
A couple of hours later, still before my husband arrived, my OB came by the room. She's the one who told me about Ben's heart defect, and she spoke so matter-of-factly about all the babies that she has delivered who have Down syndrome. That's when I began to understand that Ben has Down syndrome. Dr. F. said that one of her other patients has a boy with Ds, and she would get her number for me. The mom's name is Alisha.
I didn't call Alisha. Not because I didn't want to talk to her, but because there wasn't time. I had a new baby - with a hole in his heart (!) - and two other kids who were starting school in a few weeks - and family coming into town - and then all that trouble nursing - and then pumping 'round the clock. I remember feeling like any time not spent pumping was so precious. I wanted to talk to people, but I also wanted to eat. And shower. And sleep. I barely had time for people that I already knew, much less trying to connect with someone I didn't know.
And really, I wasn't thinking that much about Down syndrome. I was thinking about Ben's heart and whether he was drinking and peeing and pooping enough. Breastfeeding was an urgent and immediate concern.
A few weeks after Ben was born, one of my good friends from church stopped by. She mentioned that her husband works with a woman who has a child with Down syndrome. The woman's name is Alisha.
"No way! My OB mentioned her, too!"
My friend gave me a couple of books from Alisha about gross motor and speech in kids with Down syndrome, and I started reading.
Note: Just after I started reading the book on communication, God introduced me (by way of a Pampered Chef party hosted by a friend from MOPS) to Belinda, a wonderful speech pathologist who invited me to learn with her about some tools and exercises for babies with Ds. I can't write a post about holy moments without mentioning Belinda. I think of her as an answer to prayer that I hadn't even prayed yet. God just anticipated the need.I still didn't call Alisha. Honestly, the first 6 months of Ben's life were very full. Life was good and busy with three kids - and the pumping. I can't forget the pumping. :) Everything unfolded in a very deliberate order. First, got the pumping sorted out. Then, we started cardiology visits and meds for Ben's heart. Next, Early Intervention. Speech Therapy. Physical Therapy. Extra speech therapy with Belinda. Not to mention, kids in school, soccer, MOPS, church, etc.
By the time spring rolled around, I still hadn't called Alisha.
Finally, it was summer. Evan and Corrie attended Vacation Bible School at a church in town. In the middle of the week, we ran into one of Corrie's preschool classmates. She was having her birthday party that Saturday, and Corrie received a spur-of-the-moment, last minute invitation.
Shortly after we arrived at the party, one of the birthday girl's neighbors showed up with his son. The little boy was adorable. With a quick hello and a big smile, he headed straight for the trampoline in the back. And my jaw dropped. He had Down syndrome! At this point, I had only met one other child with Down syndrome over 2 years old.
I lurked near his dad and learned that his mom would be arriving sometime soon. When she got to the party, I racked my brain for the best way to introduce myself. Ben was at home with Emmett and Evan, so I didn't have my obvious intro. Finally, I bit the bullet. "Hi! I have an almost one year old with Down syndrome."
She and her husband were so friendly and excited for me. They asked great questions about how Ben was doing and told me all about their son. Eventually, she mentioned something about his good friend and kindergarten classmate with Ds, and I thought (light dawning) - "Do you know Alisha?" She looked at me funny, and said, "I AM Alisha."
Oops. Don't ask me how I didn't get her name before that moment.
Anyway, we had a great talk. I left the party feeling so positive about Ben and his future. And I was thankful for God's timing and His orchestration of events. Alisha's family passed on some great climbing wedges for Ben to practice crawling, and she gave me some good recommendations and feedback about therapy.
I don't think I was particularly discouraged that day. I don't remember any sadness or melancholy around that time. I think things were fine. But after I met Alisha, I knew that God remembered me. He knew what was going on with Ben - and that I needed some reassurance. And he gave me someone to talk to - somebody that I'd been hearing about for MONTHS. His timing was perfect.
< There is a blog hop happening on October weekends for Down syndrome Awareness. If you want to check out some other great Down syndrome-related blogs, there's a list below. >