On August 6, 2012 Rick and I loaded the car and headed to the hospital for the arrival of our baby girl. I was scheduled for a C-section since I had one when my son was born. We were so excited we couldn’t stand it. We dropped Will off with my
mom and dad before we left town. Everyone would meet us at the hospital a little later.
When we arrived at the hospital, Rick could no longer contain his excitement. He actually did a little dance for the nurses when we stopped at the nurse’s
station for directions. They all just loved him. All I could do was laugh and shake my head.
They showed us to the room where I would be before surgery. I was so nervous. I told myself we would probably be a little late getting to the operating room.
Don’t doctors always run behind? Not so much! My doctor stopped in to check on me and said she was already at the hospital so we could start just as soon as they got me ready. What? I was totally panicked. It was an hour early. My parents were
just getting there. My sister was still on her way and she was supposed to video! Luckily she made it just in time. I got to see our families before they wheeled me back. I felt much better.
The nurses took me to the operating room to give me my spinal
block. Rick and my sister waited in the prep room until I was situated. I felt much better when they got in the room with me. We waited and waited because the doctor got called to deliver another baby. It was all kind of a blur, but I’m pretty sure we
passed the time with immature and inappropriate comments and nervous giggles.
The doctor came in the room and got things started. They told Rick and Rebecca they had to stay seated and couldn’t take pictures until given permission. Rick, being
the rule-breaker that he is couldn’t help himself and stood up to catch a peak. He had to be reminded to stay in his seat which was pretty funny. Miss Landree was finally here! She let out the most pitiful cry. It wasn’t loud at all and it sounded
like a cat. The nurses held her up just for a second so I could see her. I barely got a glimpse. Rick and Rebecca waited for permission to start the picture taking. The nurses whisked Landree over to the other side of the room and called in another
doctor. They were cleaning her up and talking quietly. Rebecca and Rick watched. I found out later that they whispered to each other that she looked like she might have Down Syndrome. I still hadn’t gotten a good look at her. The doctors and nurses started
talking to Rick about Landree but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. The anesthesiologist, who was also pregnant was so sweet. She said she would do her best to tell me what they said. She told me that the doctors were saying that they noticed Landree
had some features they wanted the pediatrician to check out. What? I was dumbfounded. I knew exactly what that meant. I think I got to quickly see her one more time and they took her to the NICU to check her out. They told me she could be there for 6 to 24
hours. I was devastated. So many times I had imagined getting to hold my baby girl. We waited nine months for her to get here and she was taken away almost immediately. My doctor came over and comforted Rick and me and patted my arm. Rick, Rebecca and I just
kept assuring each other that everything was fine. If she had Down Syndrome it was no big deal, we would handle it. I think we were all trying our best not to cry, but Rick and I both did. Rebecca headed back to the waiting room to update the family. She told
them she thought Landree had Down Syndrome. I think my mom just decided the doctors had made a mistake. We were told that the diagnosis couldn’t be confirmed until genetic testing was done, but the pediatrician would be by later to talk to us.
nurses wheeled me back to my room and gave Rick and me a minute alone. We cried and tried to tell each other it would be ok. I knew it would be ok, but I still felt this sudden rush of grief. Nothing would be like we planned. I’m sure it would still
be good, but I couldn’t help but think she may never get married or try out for cheerleader or become a barrel racer. I know that’s silly, but that’s how I felt at the time. I felt like I would be cheated out of the “normal”
mother/daughter milestones. Within about 30 minutes, the nurse knocked on the door and came in with Landree. She said she had somebody that wanted to see me. I was so excited. The second I held her I was happy. This was OUR baby girl and she was perfect. The
nurse said they didn’t keep her in the NICU because everything checked out perfectly. It was a miracle!
It was time to see if she would breast feed. I have an aversion to breast feeding anyway but promised Rick I would give it a try. The nurse
explained that sometimes babies with Down Syndrome have trouble latching on to eat. She was in shock when Landree figured it out in a minute or two. So far she was healthy and eating. We couldn’t believe it.
That afternoon was a crazy day. Both
sides of the family were at the hospital to see Landree. We were glad but it was wild. The doctor we chose to be Landree’s pediatrician is wonderful. Will has been going to him for several years and we love him. The only problem is he doesn’t practice
at the hospital where I delivered. We had to use the hospital pediatrican and were supposed to schedule a visit with our doctor once we were released.There were probably 15 people in the room when the hospital pediatrician came to talk to us. He stood in the
middle of the room without introducing himself or asking if it was ok to talk in front of everyone. He just looked at us and said “So you know she’s Down Syndrome. Right?” I told him we knew they thought so. He said “Yeah….well
she is.” Then he started explaining all of the terrible things that could be wrong with her. When he was finished sucking all of the life out of the room he just turned and walked out. We all sat with our mouths hanging open for a few seconds. Then I
began to cry. I found out later that my friend followed him into the hall and told him she had seen veterinarians with a better bedside manner. That was pretty great. He was much nicer the next time we saw him.
My mom told me not to worry about what
that doctor said. He was obviously an idiot and I should call our pediatrician. Our pediatrician has a daughter that has Down Syndrome. I called his office crying. The nurse said she would have him return my call. He called me back and I immediately felt better.
He said there are potential things that can be wrong but not to worry. He said we would deal with things as they come. He told me how much joy his daughter brings him and pointed out that all kids have their own set of problems. Even "typical"
kids aren't perfect. They might battle addiction or have any other number of problems that are much worse than anything he's ever had to face with his daughter. Hmm…it made perfect sense! He told me the good news is that all I have
to worry about at this very moment is feeding her, loving her and making sure she has a clean bottom. I felt so much better. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our pediatrician also has a child with Down Syndrome. It all fit together perfectly.
Before leaving the hospital Landree had to pass a carseat test. They took her to the nursery and checked her vital signs while she was in her carseat. I never heard of that before. She couldn’t be released until she passed her test. We prayed
and prayed. She passed with flying colors!
The next morning, someone came in to test Landree’s hearing. Again, we prayed and prayed. Perfect! She passed her hearing test.
Before we were released from the hospital a different pediatrician
came to see us. She was great. She suggested that we have an echocardiogram done on Landree before we left the hospital. She said sometimes it can be hard to get one scheduled after being released. I sent out a text message asking for prayers. Our prayers
were answered! Lots of babies born with Down Syndrome have heart problems. Miss Landree got a good report. I can’t tell you how relieved we were.
I think a lot of people would be surprised to learn that Landree is the most laid back baby I’ve
ever seen. She slept through the night as soon as we got home from the hospital. The only problem we had with her was that she was losing weight because she wasn’t waking up in the night to eat. We started waking her up to feed her every few hours and
she started to fatten up. Our pediatrician suggested she have a sonogram done to make sure her hips weren’t out of place. He said that was common for babies with Down Syndrome and she was very flexible. He wanted to make sure we covered all the bases.
It blows my mind that people worry they will be “burdened” by a child with Down Syndrome.Taking care of her was no different than it was when my son was a baby. If anything, she was easier to take care of. She just
goes with the flow! My kids are the sweetest, cuddliest human beings I have ever come in contact with. I can’t imagine my life without her in it. We would love her whether she had major medical problems or not. I know things could pop up in the future,
and we’ll deal with them. So far her heart, her digestive system, ears and eyes have checked out perfect. We just feel so lucky that she’s here and she’s healthy.
On Landree’s first visit to her pediatrician, he looked up her
birthday on his Catholic calendar. She was born on “The Day of Transfiguration of our Lord.” I googled it to see what it meant. It was the day Jesus gave his disciples a glimpse of the glories of heaven and of the resurrected body promised to all
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up onto a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them and his face did shine as the sun, and his rainment was white as the light.... While yet
he spake, behold a bright cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Matthew 17:1-5
How perfect is that?