Friday, March 30, 2012

Ella's Story - starting again..... from the beginning: Part Three

......Only Ben gave me any consolation. He went home and did what any parent would do. He Googled it. When I think about how little I knew about Down Syndrome when Ella was born, fear seems like the most logical reaction. He listed the symptoms: Brushfield spots, Palmer Crease, flattened bridge, button nose. She had them all.

And while he tried to keep hope and tell me that it all may be a coincidence, I knew. 

Some cry a gut-wrenching cry, many weep for hours on end, but I have, my whole life been conditioned to be strong and, whether it be right or wrong, keep my feelings to myself and be the voice of reason. When my family fell apart as a child, I kept calm and carried so on the third day, when my doctor finally told me that he had had the same thoughts independently, I kept steady. I asked without wavering what made him think she might have Down Syndrome. He didn't know-maybe the eyes. I could tell this was as hard a moment for him as it was for me. Ella was his first patient to have Down Syndrome and throughout the delivery he just kept saying that she was a healthy beautiful baby girl. 
The thing about a small town is that everything is personal and the guy who fixes your sink isn't just your plumber, but your neighbour, and the arms who help your baby into the world are not just those of your doctor, but of your friend and I often wonder what that night must have been like for him. Did he think about it? Did it keep him up at night? Did he tell his wife? How was he going to break the news to me that he too, thought that there might be a chance that Ella had Down Syndrome and if I hadn't said anything, would he have?
But there it was. A referral to a Genetic Specialist at Alberta Children's Hospital.

Ben's parents and my mom accompanied us on our first outing with Ella. She cried for most of the hour and half drive to the city as I sat next to her in the back seat cheek to cheek and I told her it was going to be okay. It had to be okay.
The doctor welcomed us into an exam room and began to get a bit of our family medical history - no history of genetic disorders, no toxic exposure, overall, healthy parents with no apparent signs of disease. The doctor, in her gentle way, said that usually, after physically examining a child, she could say 90% yes they had Down Syndrome or 90% no, they didn't. In our case, she could not commit either way. While Ella had many of the physical signs, she had very good tone and was very alert. As a result of her uncertainty, she requisitioned for a chromosome count.

I think throughout the whole process, this was the hardest moment for me. I knew, I knew that if she could not tell me no, then it was yes but she would not say it. I cried silently, tears streaming down my face as we finished off the meeting and as they took blood from my perfectly content baby girl. The tears came as we ate lunch and drove home. The tears came and they didn't stop because I knew and yet, I seemed to be the only one.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, on June 23rd, when Ella was just 2 weeks old, we received the call, confirming that Ella had 47 chromosomes instead of the normal 46.

Why am I re-writing Ella's Story? 
When I would re-read time and time again my first account of Ella's story which you can find here, less and less of it seemed to be important. When I wrote it, I was in the mode mentioned above - strong, stoic and in control. I wrote to inform family and friends of the process that we were going through and what the logistics of such a diagnosis looked like, but the reality is most people who read Ella's story now don't need to know what the process looked like for me (because it is different for everyone) but rather, they need to know that what they are feeling is valid and more importantly, that everything is going to be okay. Because it is and it will be. This has been a stretching practice for me as I have tried to recount each moment and, this time, feeling, of Ella's diagnosis. Each and ever tear is a testimony to God's grace displayed to us through Ella. She is an amazing little Girl, with an amazing Heavenly Father and I hope our story will bless many people.There's more to come, but for now, Thank you for reading.


ForeverHis said...

I have really enjoyed these posts revolving around Ella's birth, and just getting a glimpse into how you felt through everything. You have a wonderful way with words that made me feel like I was right there with you! Ella is such a rascal, and an absolute sweetheart.

Becca said...

Beautiful. And I just had a quick look back at your original post, and loved all of those comments you received in Ella's early months - what a wonderful support system you had surrounding you!

Sarah said...

I loved every word. I am very stoic as well...until, well, I just can't be anymore. I think it is sort of a survival skill. I was very much like that right after the twins were born so early.
I think that as we sit and ponder we are able to retrieve more and more emotions from times like these.
I like very much that you talked about your emotions here. I can't imagine what this must have been like for you. I can't wait to hear more and more about your journey to acceptance and emotions you went through. I'm sure it was a roller coaster of them.
Beautiful description Krista. I was very captivated and wished you had written more!!! ;) (in other words, I'm sitting with anticipation for the next post)

ROSALIE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ROSALIE said...

Well, I cried when I heard about Ella. My heart was moved to its core. How could this happen to my beautiful Krista? Hadn't their family been through enough? I didn't know what to do. My heart felt sick and I longed to see and to hold this baby.

Finally in September I got to see Ella and I fell completely in love. It was but a few days later that I went to her home to see her and hold her for several hours while she slept. I've been following this precious angel's life ever since. At times when I would see her mama or daddy pushing her in the stroller I would have to work hard not to cry because Krista didn't like that kind of display of emotions and I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable. But over time I have seen her feelings change and it's almost like she has given herself(and inadvertantly, me) the permission to "feel". That makes me more relaxed to just love Ella the only way I know how. Thanks for the gift, Krista and thank you for allowing me to love your precious baby girl the "Rosalie Way".

Jenny said...

These are so beautiful to read Krista, I am so glad you are sharing all of it with us who are reading. Brings up lot's of emotions for me....

Ron and Shana said...

I have completely enjoyed reading about Ella's birth and what you and your family went through. I can understand in some ways about being stoic. I am the same way. When we were told that our baby boy had cancer I handled it the same way. In fact, the doctor kept asking me if I heard him when he said it was cancer. I just kept saying, "Yes. Now what is our next step!" All too often Momma's have to be that strong front. I am glad that you were also able to have time for tears as well. What a beautiful life, Krista. Thank you so much for sharing. ((hugs))

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...