Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What We Know

I was brushing my teeth last night when Jason said to me, "I'm pretty sure you're using my toothbrush."
That's just the kind of day it was.

Thank you...all of you...for your comments and emails and texts, and love.
I am blessed by all of you.

Jason and I feel differently about how much to say, and who to say it to.
Because nothing is certain, and probably won't be until little Emily is born, Jason wants to keep what we know to ourselves.  And I understand where he is coming from.
I want to share what I know with anyone who cares to listen...because it's by talking it out that I feel better.
It's by talking about it that I'm able to talk myself down off of the emotional cliff I find myself so often wandering towards.
Husband?  I hope you won't mind terribly that I wrote this blog post.

We went into the appointment yesterday believing that our daughter had a small heart problem.
We left with the words 'termination, amniocentesis, serious heart defects, and markers for downs syndrome' repeating themselves over and over again in our minds.
As the doctor spoke to us I held Jason's hand and cried silent tears.
What we know is that Emily has 3 of the 'markers' for downs syndrome, 4 if you add my age into the mix.
We know that she may have some serious heart problems.
And we know that the doctor gave Emily a 50% chance of being born with downs syndrome.

The doctor gave us the option of terminating the pregnancy.
For us it wasn't an option.
The doctor gave us the option of having an amniocentesis done, but warned us of the risks in doing so.
Again, for us it wasn't an option.
Knowing or not knowing will not change the outcome.
We will welcome our little Emily with all of our hearts, regardless of the difficulties she might be born with.

The next four months are going to be long ones.
And I have no doubt that they are going to be filled with a lot of high emotions.
We have an appointment in two weeks with a cardiac specialist and until then I'm going to focus on the positive.

Friends, if there is one thing I want you to know about me, it's this:
I have absolute and complete trust in my Heavenly Father, and I believe that miracles happen.
I have total faith that God can heal our little one of her heart problems.
I have total faith that He is in charge of the outcome.
And if our little Emily is born into this world with challenges, I have the faith that God will qualify us.  That He will be there to show us the best way to love and care for our daughter.
And one more thing?
I believe with all of my heart that children born with disabilities are God's most choice sons and daughters.
And I am humbled at the thought of being chosen to care for one of those daughters.

But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to cry once in a while.
I'm the mom and isn't that what moms do?


Brynn said...

You are an amazing, strong and faithful woman. Your little Emily is a lucky girl to have you as a mom. Heavenly Father will bless you with whatever it is that you need to be a great mom. Hang in there and cry when you need to. That is what moms do. Love, Brynn

Judy said...

Noelle, you are amazing! Your strength and faith are an inspiration to everyone.

If little Emily is born with Down Syndrome, it is because Heavenly Father knew without a doubt that you and Jason are qualified to love and care for this little girl more than anyone else could.

I thought about you all day yesterday and will continue to pray for you, Jason and Emily.

Elizabeth said...

I'm like you -- I need to talk it out so that everything doesn't seem to huge and overwhelming.

Your faith amazes me and I'm sure that no matter what comes your way, you can handle it. I'll be praying for your little family.

xo -El

Leslie said...

You said it just how I would feel in the same situation and whatever condition your sweet little girls comes into this world in, she will e so lucky to have parents to love her as much as you and your husband already do. And you will be so lucky to have this very special baby sent from Heavenly Father to love.

Unknown said...

OH Noelle I am so blessed to say you are my blogger friend. Emily is so blessed God chose you all to be her parents and like you I know God sits high and looks low on His children. Sending tons of Angels to surround you with grace and strength and love till you hold your beautiful, perfect because she was made by God baby in your arms..

wjmom said...

Amen and amen. God bless all three of you!

Beth Zimmerman said...


Honey! I'm so sorry that you are being called to walk this path but you and I both know that He will walk it with you and that it will mold you closer to His image and make you stronger!

I can also tell you that we faced many of the same concerns and issues when our only child was conceived after my 30th birthday. I consistently refused most of the tests because, like you, I planned to receive and love my child no matter what! He was not born with Downs Syndrome. (Though I know several precious DS children! I agree that it would be an honor to parent one of those precious little ones!) BUT he was born with a hole in his heart. Ventricular Septal Defect. And those big scary words can steal your joy if you let them. DON'T! God has a plan ... for you and for Emily! And He will bring that plan to fulfillment! No matter what medical challenges stand in the future!

I love you!

Nikki said...

Noelle- What a lucky girl Emily is to have you for a mom! Everything you said is so true. No matter what her challenges, she'll be YOUR Emily and a wonderful blessing from Heavenly Father.

Thank you for such an awesome post.


adrienzgirl said...

I believe as you do that only the most special spirits come to this Earth with the challenges your Emily may or may not face. I would be humbled to tears daily at the honor of raising such a choice son or daughter.

I've known for quite sometime that you are one of Heavenly Father's special gifts. You have been chosen for many things in this life Noelle. Many things. Your light is bright and your faith reaches far beyond what you even know. I am honored and humbled to know you.

Deidra Faith said...

I love what you had to say. God is in charge of the outcome and He has already equipped you with whatever you need to get through this. And I'm sure we'll all be praying and no matter what, we will all be excited to meet your little Emily!!!

Kim and Company said...

Dear Friend,

I'm praying you go to Italy.

Dazee Dreamer said...

Heavenly Father knew that you would be the perfect parents for any child.

I will pray that her heart defects will be ok.

And yes, you can cry all you want. It's a mothers perogative.

The Broderick Family Blog said...

You and Jason are in our prayers. I hope that this comment doesn't sound insensitive, but I think you are very wise not to do the amniocentesis. Many times down syndrome can be detected with a simple ultrasound. Amniocentesis can be very risky. Also, the markers they use for down syndrome are certainly not black and white proof. They just use them to quickly screen hundreds of pregnancies to find those with higher risks that could then go on with further tests. The Lord is in charge and knows what is best for all of his children. Hang in there and stay away from emotional cliffs. :)

Natasha and Jesse said...

Noelle, What true words you speak. Heavenly Father never gives us more than we can handle, and I know that He will give (has already given) you what you need to handle this growing experience. You'll be in my prayers.

Sandra said...

Noelle, you are a wise woman. and a strong one and a special one and you are right, "whom God calls, He qualifies"

But- in the mean time it is ok to cry, and grieve what will no longer be while you learn to embrace what is to be. Because, this I know, once little Emily is here you will love and celebrate her life in whatever form it presents.

And now Jason, just know that Noelle needs to be able to process this in her own way- which is different than you. But either way you process it, in the end you will both be the best parent possible for this little one because our Heavenly Father sent her to you.

Diana said...

Noelle to courage, and trust to share your painful and personal report with all of us. But know it brings more prayers for strength and courage than you could know to support you and your husband along this journey that God has brought you to. He is surely in control and has such special plans for your family.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11

Shan said...

I do not have any children who were born with obvious disabilities, but I have a son who's problems and challenges have led me into a grieving process of my own. A few times. And we are suddenly re-facing health problems with Mad that we had hoped we could avoid. It's hard and kind of frightening, no more or less than what I suppose you must be handling, because we are no more parents than you and Jason. You are no less. Once you have felt that love, there's no going back.

I know I'm rambling, so here's the main point I want to make: I work with high school students who have moderate to severe disabilities. I see them when they enter one of my classes at age 14, and I'll be there when they exit (usually) around age 21. Here's what I know:
*Freshmen boys are freshmen boys are freshmen boys. No amount of support or independence changes the fact that they are goofy, gangly and at least slightly annoying. (Maybe that's weird to include... but it's SO true.)
*"My" girls get their hair done. And manicures and pedicures, and they wear the cute clothes.
*"My" kids get braces and have their acne treated.
*They are fully integrated in their families' lives.
*They have friends. Even boyfriends and girlfriends sometimes.
*They work. This is where I come in. My kids are good workers. They are usually happy to see me bring a job into their classroom (I have a few curmudgeonly students, too... because they are people who represent the full spectrum of emotions and personalities.)
*They are FUNNY. Intentionally, hysterically, wonderfully funny.
*They are supportive. And loving. The best thing I ever did for myself when separating from my first husband was to become a job coach for adults with developmental disabilities. They loved me. I saw one of my old clients three years ago... after not seeing him for maybe 12 years. Ever see those old cliches scenes of two people running across a field of daisies toward one another? That was me and Sergio. He asked after my son... knew his name and approximate age and wanted to know how he was doing. Twelve years later. I saw him again in January and we caught up once again. He remembers me and is just as happy to see me now as he was when we worked together.
*We all have areas where we struggle. For some of us our challenges are blatant, for some they blend in, but we've all got 'em.

If Miss Emily does indeed have Down Syndrome, I am sure you will still come to know all the wonderful parts of her and not just that label.

As for her sweet, beloved heart... there is so much that can be done these days. I know a few babies who've had heart surgeries in the past year. They are either already where they should be developmentally or they are finally able to make progress because they are so much healthier now. These are all babies who were due in August of last year. They are doing great!

Alright, end of today's novel. I am sending you love and peaceful energy.


Shan :+)

Amy said...

That faith is what makes you such an incredible mom. No matter how she comes, little Emily is lucky to have you - and vice versa.

Christina said...

Thinking of you both. I know this must be hard to swallow, but you sound like your already ready for whatever comes your way. She's lucky to have you for her Mommy...hugs to you guys. xoxoxox

Vibha said...

Dear Noelle

You said there is a 50% chance for little Emily to be born with
DS . Why don't you think about the other 50% chance of her not having DS?
Well I will think about that chance always from today . And I will cling to that hope . I will pray for that hope .

Dear Jason

When it comes to sharing things and talking to people , I am like you . I just keep to myself . We might be having different reasons for doing so but if we know by chance, what those reasons are then we might completely understand them . Anyway please do not mind that Noelle wanted to share it with us . You see we were also very anxious and worried about your girls (Emily and Noelle)

I need not say you guys to have faith because you have exemplary faith but I will say it any way because I feel that my saying it would give you a little more strength to hang on in tough times.

Natasha and Jesse said...

Just thought I'd share- go to hymn #85 and read verses 3,4, and 5

"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply."

Joann Mannix said...

Your last few sentences made me burst into tears. It is so true, so very true. I've been thinking of you nonstop and one of the things that keeps ringing through my brain is God has chosen you, because he needs a special mom for this very beautiful, special girl. I am praying for the three of you with all my heart, that you will have strength and peace in this time of not knowing and that He will guide you through this time.

And I believe in God's miracles, too. And I know, too, He is so proud of His daughter right now with the way you are handling this with grace and trust in His Holy plan. All my love, prayers, and blessings for you sweet Noelle and your family. I'm here for anything at all.

Anonymous said...

That is what moms do-even when there are no health challenges. Even when the kids are all grown up and capable of addressing their own issues. You and Jason are going to be wonderful parents when your daughter makes her appearance and little Emily is so lucky. You are two people that I know will never ever let her down. Plus PLUS, Noelle, you have that big beautiful family of yours to support all of you. This was a beautiful post, Noelle. Hang in there.

Lalis said...

Noelle, my heart goes out to you. It looks like neither of us had the day we wanted to have. I failed a very important exam that would determine my future, and you... Well, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes.

I want to tell you about a really good friend and his wife who were recently blessed with two adorable twins.

As it was said in their announcement, they "were created with hope" because they had very many attempts at a pregnancy with no success. They're last attempt was in vitro, which is how these babies came to be. The surprise came when one of them was born with Down Syndrome.

I was astounded at how my friend, the dad, responded to the situation. He has had a difficult life and was having a really hard time dealing with the fact that him and his wife would probably not have any kids. But when that little girl was born, it changed his world. He said to me that his expectations changed, but it made him excited for what life had in store for him. He felt humbled that that little choice spirit was in his family and that he was now in charge in her.

I crashed into a brick wall today when a huge FAIL was given. My expectations for life also changed and to be honest, I don't know what's next. Our faith in God is what gives us strength during these uncertain times, but be assured that none of our tears have been unnoticed.

I'm glad neither termination nor amnio were choices to you. I admire you for that, for your selflessness, and the for the love that you're already giving little Emily. You'll be in my prayers.

Mary said...

I know this is a little late to comment, but I finally came back to my laptop. I have to say that when I came to the age thing, I don't buy it as a marker. I was born when both my parents were 43. I think I'm fairly normal. Now there were two of us.But you already know you are not having twins. Remember the older you are increases that chance just as much as anything else.

We are all here for you.

Kate said...

Hugs hugs hugs Noelle. Everything will be alright.

jayayceeblog said...

Fifty Schmifty! Emily has been given the very special parents chosen just for her for a reason. You're awesome! Absolutely focus on the positive and holding that sweet little bundle of joy in your arms soon. Crying cleans out the cobwebs and anxiety and that's just plain good for you. My kids are in their thirties and I still cry over them. It's part of the Mom job!!!