Tuesday, March 6, 2012

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

Some of you may be wondering why it is that I am "re-writing" Ella's story. Well, it is because when I would go back and read what I wrote in those first few weeks, which I did often, it became more and more clear that it's the not the message new mothers needed to hear. Parts of it were, absolutely, but when I originally wrote it, my purpose was to document for myself, our loved ones, and the few followers I had, the logistics of our journey. But so much of what I wrote just doesn't matter. It happens differently for every family and chances are, if a new mother is reading it, they have already worked their way through a labyrinth of medical terminology,  heart scans and blood tests. 

What they are looking for is hope. 

They are looking for someone who can affirm the complicated emotions that they are feeling, someone who can hold their hand through mourning the ideals they had and yet, through it all, say, "It's going to be okay."

Since I wrote the first edition of Ella's story two and a half years ago a lot has changed. I am not afraid anymore. I am not afraid of Down Syndrome and I am not afraid of being vulnerable, transparent and real and that is what hurting people need. It is only in that vulnerability that a hurting soul can hear God's still small voice.

The night Ella was born and into the wee hours of the next morning my heart ached. I don't think I cried but each breath caught in my heavy chest. It was a pain deeper than the labour I had endured the day before and longer than I had ever experienced in my life.  And yet, in the stillness, God was there. He was there as I prayed without eloquence or poise the prayers that I did not know how to pray. I prayed that Ella WOULD NOT have Down Syndrome. How could I not? While it seemed like a prayer prayed too late, a diagnosis had not been made; like Jesus in the garden before his death, "Father…take this cup from me, nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done". I knew that he had knit Ella together in my womb and I needed to commit her to him and in that moment I knew courage and peace. Alone in the quiet I vowed to Ella that I would protect her. 

God had granted me us the grace we needed in the time we needed it. 

In those next few days, between trying to get Ella to nurse and constant phototherapy for her jaundice I wanted so badly, just to settle into a diagnosis. But each time I brought it up, it was dismissed. The resident doctor even told me that she did not have Down Syndrome and the nurses wrote off my tears of frustration as postpartum depression.

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.

To be continued…..


Kmarie said...

You are absolutely right- vulnerability heals:) I love that picture of you- always have...you seem transparent, vulnerable, wondering, and fighting for love and life. It's probably my favourite picture. And Ella is sprawled over you chillin out:)
Hope and grace are awesome words:)

Sarah said...

Gosh, those must have been some emotional days while you waited. It's like all your daydreams of having this little girl sort of had to change to different day dreams. And I could see how people would have doubted because she does not "look" very "down syndrome" like. Does that make sense? I mean, her pictures now at age 2, you can see, but I'm still not sure I would notice at first glance. And her baby pictures, as a nurse, I probably would have just thought she picked up her moms Asian-type eyes. I can see how some people may have thought "no way!"
I can't wait to read more!

Ron and Shana said...

You SO have me hooked... :) I love your vulnerability and honesty. I adore the picture that you posted above. It speaks volumes...you can see the worry, fear, and concern in your eyes. Ella, on the other hand, is perfectly fine and beautiful. Relaxed and completely comfortable...just as God would have her be... Perfect and protected in your arms. He had a plan and it's as if she already knew that plan too because in this picture her body language says, "It's all going to be just fine." Love it...ready for part 4!

MG Atwood said...

I'm looking forward to reading more. As I read your blog, I think back to my sweet friend Rowdy, 2 1/2 years old now, still has that extra chromosone. :-) There were two weeks that were crazy and confusing, but to know Rowdy is to love Rowdy. I think that's what's most important. I'm sure your Ella is the same way!

ROSALIE said...

am reading and remembering. I know I prayed for you during those days but I'm afraid I wasn't much of a support in terms of visiting, etc. But I loved her from the first time I saw her. Ella is very special to me. If this were to happen to any friend of mine now, I would do things differently. huggggggs

Jenny said...

I love what you are doing with these posts. I have often thought of rewriting Russell's birth story because it doesn't say everything I wanted it to...The things that meant the most.

That picture of you and Ella, its just amazing. It's a picture you can look at and feel the emotion. It's beautiful.

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